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  1. GLENN SPENCER: We've turned the corner, but be wary of labor's refinery racket

    Tuesday, Apr 15 2014 11:01 PM

    Having survived the Great Recession, California is at last seeing some improvements in its economy and finances. Yet a controversial law that went into effect on Jan. 1 could hamper the state's efforts to get back on track. The law in question, Senate Bill 54, threatens to disrupt the operations of California's refineries, drive up costs and potentially put thousands of qualified employees out of work.

    SB 54 appears designed to benefit the State Building and Construction Trades Council, a coalition of unions that has donated millions to political campaigns over the past few election cycles. The law all but forces refinery contractors to use Trades labor by mandating that at least 60 percent of the contractor workforce must have completed...

  2. JAMES F. BURNS: Lost limbs need not mean lost lives

    Kris and Kayla's getting caught up in the Boston Marathon bombing jolted me back into writing on terrorism -- twenty articles' worth after retirement. If you like a story on courage and overcoming disabilities, this is it. Who are Kris...

  3. CURT JOHANSEN: Reviving the valley's downtowns

    Many cities and towns in the San Joaquin Valley once had thriving downtowns with activity, connectedness and economic vibrancy. But as development pushed outward over farmland, these downtowns suffered from underinvestment and...

  4. NOAH FELDMAN: Why Hobby Lobby verdict is so hard to predict

    The prognosticators have already declared that, during the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius oral argument, the Supreme Court justices looked poised to extend religious liberty protections to for-profit corporations. Believe them if you want. But...

  5. AMY BENNETT: We need Congress to fix the Freedom of Information Act

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a critical law for making sure the public has a fighting chance to get copies of records the government might not want it to see. For more than 40 years, people have used the FOIA to uncover...

  6. RANDAL BEEMAN: Dust Bowl silver linings

    Like "awesome" and "epic," "iconic" is a word that our society has devalued due to overuse. Yet when discussing the Great Depression and the significance of "The Grapes of Wrath" to that period, nearly the entire experience of the Great...

  7. MARK BUCHER: What one city's deep-seated financial woes mean for Calif.

    Before Detroit imploded, Stockton, Calif., made national headlines as the largest U.S. city to go bankrupt. But no matter how embarrassing its missteps and how empty its bank account, Stockton has yet to fully embrace the reality of public...

  8. MARK BELDEN: Give private companies a shot at offering key public services

    As many know, one growing concern is the inefficacy in the way public services are delivered to taxpayers. (Let's call them customers.) There should be a California law that allows private companies to compete for delivery of public...

  9. DOUGLAS BORER: Ukraine is ripe for the picking

    There is a very good chance that Russia will annex the Ukraine, all of it, and soon. The Russian Army is not well prepared for war, but it is better prepared than the Ukraine. More importantly, the logic for war is so deeply imbedded in...

  10. RUBEN NAVARRETTE: A symbolic lesson in misusing the American flag

    You have to be careful with flags. They're not just harmless pieces of cloth meant to inspire patriotism and national pride. Those seemingly innocent sheets of fabric can lead to all sorts of trouble. And sometimes, that is the idea. Let...

  11. NEEL KASHKARI: Bullet train distracts from real solutions to state's comeback

    In his annual State of the State address delivered last month, Gov. Jerry Brown heralded what he called "California's comeback." But the vast majority of Californians know better. They know that this "comeback" is anything but a reality...

  12. SOUNDING BOARD: Is a panhandling ordinance the best way to solve an old problem?

    When we asked members of The Californian's Sounding Board for their thoughts on a proposed city ordinance that would prohibit panhandling and "aggressive" solicitation, their responses were as diverse as they were ample. Some readers think...

  13. SOUNDING BOARD: Questions about panhandling ordinance remain

    What do you think about a proposed city ordinance that would prohibit panhandlers and people attempting to "solicit in an aggressive manner in any public place"? That's the question we posed to members of The Californian's Sounding Board....

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