Op-Eds

August 27, 2019

These days, all eyes are on California. Our lawmakers frequently make bold changes to address the most pressing issues of our time. In a state that’s home to the innovators of Silicon Valley and the farmers of the Central Valley, we are often on the forefront when it comes to the boundaries we’re willing to push and the policy risks we’re willing to take.

This attention on us means we have to get it right.

July 1, 2019

Over 3 billion people log onto social media accounts around the world. This collective yearning to be connected continues to cause explosions of progress and technological advancements for sites like Facebook and Twitter — for better and, sometimes, for worse.

This interconnectedness comes with a price.

In the fall of 2016, news outlets began reporting a growth in the number of automated accounts — or bots — posting messages related to the major U.S. presidential candidates.

July 17, 2018

by Robert Hertzberg & Nathan Gardels

Last month, three major initiatives were pulled from California’s November ballot after issues raised by the sponsors were addressed in negotiations with the Legislature.

This was made possible by a law passed in 2014. The reform worked as it should on online privacy and lead paint cleanup by replacing the blunt instrument of a ballot initiative with a deliberative process.

June 16, 2018

By Fiona Ma and Bob Hertzberg

California voters — probably the least receptive in the nation to policy edicts from the Donald Trump administration — got an unusual and unexpected bit of good news last week, when the president announced that he “probably will end up supporting” legislation to let states set their own cannabis policy. We’ll take it, but we’re not holding our breath. There’s probably no greater hindrance to a successful legal cannabis marketplace in California than long-held resistance from the federal government.

April 19, 2018

By Bob Hertzberg

The dawn of social media has created immense change in the lives of people all over the world – for better and, sometimes, for worse. Since the emergence of sites like Facebook and Twitter, Silicon Valley has experienced an explosion of progress and technological advancements, and in the meantime has expanded their influence in ways they could have never imagined, and likely never intended.

January 8, 2018

By Bob Hertzberg & Emmett D. Carson

Today, more than at any time, California has an opportunity to continue its leadership in building a fair society. So far, it has missed the mark on an issue that significantly affects more than 4 million residents: traffic fines and fees.

January 2, 2018

By Bob Hertzberg & Dr. Laura D. Tyson

Sweeping legislation with arcane and opaque provisions that is barely deliberated always ends badly for the public. When it is agreed solely on a partisan basis favoring the special interests of the ruling party, and aimed at punishing states dominated by voters from the opposition party, it is a mockery of democracy. Yet, just such a calamitous act — the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax system in 30 years — has just been passed by the Republican majority and signed into law by President Trump.

April 24, 2017

By Bob Hertzberg

California is in a fix. The climate is changing, the state’s spring water supply — its snowpack — is gradually declining over time and we’ve entered a new era of endless cycles of drought.

That is the reality in April 2017, even after an especially wet winter that saw flooding and infrastructure failures around the state. California’s water supply will be strained in coming decades, and we need to take action right now to plan for that.

June 22, 2016

By Bob Hertzberg

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is charting the future, with a bold plan to put a permanent sales-tax extension and increase on the November ballot and tie the revenue to a list of major transportation improvements to be made over the next 50 years. Metro’s $120 billion plan is the product of a lot of hard work and thoughtfulness, and I applaud that. But it has one glaring omission that needs to be addressed: California State University, Northridge.

May 5, 2016

By Bob Hertzberg, Jim Heerwagen, Kathay Feng and Rob Lapsley

Californians face a presidential election year with a ballot full of important decisions to make. Timely information and transparency will be essential to making good decisions, but one key tool, the state’s official website responsible for tracking campaign contributions, is outdated and starting to break down just as we enter our election season.