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  1. ROBERT STERN: What happened to Jerry Brown, the reformer we once knew?

    Thursday, Oct 23 2014 01:46 AM

    "Write the best campaign, lobbying and conflicts of interest reform legislation that you can." That was the instruction that Secretary of State Jerry Brown gave me when he hired me as his office's Elections Counsel in 1972. He indicated that he didn't think the legislature would pass any extensive reforms because it was not in their best interests. But he might be running for governor and he would like to be known as the reform candidate.

    This conversation occurred during my first encounter with Jerry Brown at a restaurant called Posey's, a lobbyist hangout where the movers and shakers of Sacramento often dined.

    A few months after I began work in the Secretary of State's office, Brown asked me to look at the lobbyist reports, which...

  2. MEG PENROSE: Executions might be too costly to carry out

    There may be many reasons to support the death penalty, but economics is not one of them. Fiscal conservatives are hard pressed to explain how a punishment that is empirically three to five times more expensive than life in prison,...

  3. DAVID MUHLHAUSEN: Penalties deter many murders at far less cost

    On September 17, Texas executed Lisa Coleman for murdering a 9-year-old child. Death penalty opponents argue that, even in the most heinous cases, executions are just too costly, and that society would do better to substitute...

  4. AARON DAVID MILLER: Barack Obama, disappointer in chief

    All presidents disappoint. It comes with the job, the unreasonable expectations Americans have for their presidents, and the inherent conflict and disconnect between campaigning (promising people all they can have) and governing...

  5. NANCY FONER: Is Tony Soprano quintessentially American?

    It used to be that Christopher Columbus was the major iconic representative of the Italian-American community in popular culture, but he has since given way to the likes of Tony Soprano and all the Hollywood-inspired gangsters that came...

  6. CHRISTINE FLOWERS: LGBT community must be willing to criticize its own

    I make no secret of the fact that I'm (an imperfect) Catholic. That makes for interesting conversations with strangers who only know me by what I've written, particularly former Catholics who still can't believe I go to Mass. So many of...

  7. JOHN DICKERSON: Romney in 2016? Don't bet on it

    Romney 2012 could really have benefited from the speculation about Romney 2016. When Mitt Romney was a Republican presidential candidate, he had to suffer boomlets of enthusiasm for other contenders as GOP Wise Men rooted around for...

  8. JAY AMBROSE: It's time to teach history

    Refuse to think, assume the worst, overreact, disregard laws and rules and then pronounce yourself someone standing up for the best in education. That's what we've recently witnessed in Colorado's Jefferson County, the scene of...

  9. DAN EMMETT: White House security has failed — bring in the military.

    The security breach at the White House last week unfortunately proved that the Secret Service is in over its head protecting the White House. Fence jumping by one person, while a concern, isn't a major issue in itself. That has been...

  10. ANDRES MARTINEZ: Yankee imperialism: Obama's corporate tax system

    The Obama administration is not living up to its promise to move the country away from an arrogant, unilateral approach to the world. No, I am not talking here about national security or counter-terrorism, but rather about money and tax...

  11. MARK BELDEN: Before you vote, study up on the candidates -- and yourself

    I have been on both sides of an election. A candidate for supervisor in my county of residence, Calaveras (1992), and Assembly member of California's 5th district (2012). I have voted in almost every election since the age of 18 in...

  12. STEPHEN MIHM: 'So help me, God'

    Score one for the secular humanists. The U.S. Air Force announced this week that it is dropping the "So help me, God" coda to its oath of enlistment. The phrase will also no longer be mandatory in oaths administered when officers are...

  13. GREGORY RODRIGUEZ: Is this racial quandry our future?

    It's not surprising that the release of Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson's racially provocative email about his team's fan base didn't inspire the same level of public outrage as the recorded rantings of former Clippers owner Donald...

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