SheilaKuehl.org

Sheila's Writings

Sheila's Essays

Essay: Oliver Twist vs. Great Expectations
by Sheila Kuehl
August 18, 2013

In Charles Dickens' early and dark novel, Oliver Twist, an orphan is condemned to the poorhouse and forced to labor for an undertaker.  He escapes to London only to be recruited into a gang of child pickpockets.The book presents an unrelenting view of poverty and the social ills that come with it. Dickens' much later novel, Great Expectations, in contrast, sets out a more hopeful view of what could happen if a poor orphan got a little help, set a course for himself, and chose good over evil.  The new proposed budget presented by the Governor to the Legislature in May, after April tax revenues were tallied, generally dubbed "The May Revise", presented the same sort of choices for the Governor and the Legislature, with the choice greatly dependent on whose revenue projections would gain acceptance. READ MORE

Essay: Starve the Body to Feed the Mind?
by Sheila Kuehl
July 21. 2013

At the very end of 2011, a study was published in a British medical journal, in essence advising medical practitioners to "brush up (on their) Shakespeare" as the Broadway musical put it. According to the published study, the Bard was way ahead of his time in identifying the deep connection between the emotions roiling his characters and the physical ailments of which they complained.  READ MORE

Essay: The Tin Man and His Tin Scissors

by Sheila Kuehl
June 29, 2013

In January, as he does in the first month of every year, the Governor sent his first formal draft of the proposed 2013-14 budget to the Legislature. The general description, which, for the last several years, had begun with the term, "budget problem," began this year, tellingly, with the term "budget proposal".  It was a balanced budget, totaling $99.3 billion dollars in General Fund revenues and other available resources and $97.7 billion in General Fund.... READ MORE

You Asked For Essays on the Props - Here's An Analysis of Prop 39: Ending Corporate Tax Choices

by Sheila Kuehl
November 3, 2012

This is the tenth in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay analyzes Prop 39, which would end the ability of multi-state corporations to choose the more favorable way of figuring their California corporate tax liabilities and require all multi-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California, period.

You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's Analysis of Prop 36 (Three Strikes)
by Sheila Kuehl
October 28, 2012

This is the eighth in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay analyzes Prop 36, which would change sentencing for those who commit a non-serious, non-violent felony, after having served time for two, prior, serious or violent felonies (the so-called Third Strike). There are a few exceptions, but, generally, current prisoners could apply for re-sentencing if their third strike was non-serious and non-violent.

You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's An Analysis of Prop 35 (Trafficking)
by Sheila Kuehl
October 25, 2012

This is the seventh in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay analyzes Prop 35, which would greatly increase penalties for sex trafficking, somewhat increase penalties for labor trafficking, define child porn as trafficking, require registration as a sex offender and require email and website information on convicted traffickers.  Not everyone, however, is convinced this is the right way to go.  Please see the last paragraph for concerns of anti-trafficking advocates and attorneys.

You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's An Analysis of Prop 34 (Death Penalty)
by Sheila Kuehl
October 23, 2012 

This is the sixth in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay analyzes Prop 34, which would abolish the death penalty in California in all cases and, for those crimes that would have drawn the death penalty, substitute a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.  The proposition would also apply retroactively to those now under a sentence of death in California.

You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's An Analysis of Prop 33
by Sheila Kuehl
October 19, 2012

This is the fifth in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay analyzes Prop 33, which would alter the factors considered in setting auto insurance rates in contravention of the provisions of Prop 103, adopted by the voters in 1988.
 
You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's An Analysis of Prop 32
by Sheila Kuehl
October 17, 2012

This is the fourth in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay looks at the "neither rich nor poor can choose to sleep under the bridges of Paris" trickery of Prop 32, which purports to create an even-handed prohibition on using employee deductions for political giving.  However, since unions do this and corporations do not, the proposition is designed to set up a false sense of equal treatment that hamstrings unions but continues to allow unfettered corporate giving to independent expenditures, super pacs, etc.

You Asked For Essays on the Props: Here's An Analysis of Prop 31
by Sheila Kuehl
October 11, 2012

This is the third in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay describes the many provisions of Prop 31, which sets out seven changes to the structure and process of state government, including giving counties, cities, school districts, college districts and special districts a unilateral ability to alter the ways in which state-funded programs apply to them, unless the Legislature vetoes their proposals.  The proposal does not provide any new revenue, but takes the position that requiring such changes as two-year budgeting and spend as you go processes will help fix perceived problems in state governance.

You Asked For Essays on the Props Here's An Analysis of Prop 38 and What Happens if Both 30 and 38 Pass
by Sheila Kuehl
October 9, 2012

This is the second in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot.  This essay describes Proposition 38, which amends state statutes (not the Constitution) to increase state income tax for any Californian earning more than $7316 a year, and allocates the increased revenues to K-12 education, state debt and early childhood education.  This essay also addresses (at the end) what happens if both the tax measures, Propositions 30 and 38, should pass.

The First in a Series on the Props: Prop 30
by Sheila Kuehl
October 8, 2012

This is the first in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot. This essay describes Proposition 30, which amends the state Constitution to temporarily increase (or restore, if your memory goes back to the first half of this year) the state sales tax, increase state income tax for those earning more than $250,000 a year, bar the use of any of the new funds for administrative costs (but allow local school boards to decide how to spend their share) and guarantee a portion of the new revenue for "public safety services". These will go to cover the increased costs caused by "realignment" of the incarceration of low-level, non-violent offenders to the counties, along with new duties related to parolees and substance abuse treatment. The essay also sets out the budget cuts that will automatically ensue should the measure fail.

2012-13 Budget Essay #9: The Blue Pencil Blues

I Got The Didn't Think It Could Get Any Worse But It Just Did Blue Pencil Blues
by Sheila Kuehl
September 11, 2012

This is the last in a series of nine essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget, and presents the unilateral "blue pencil" cuts made by the Governor to the final June budget.

2012-13 Budget Essay No. 8: The Final June Budget Or Women & Children First (Over The Cliff)

by Sheila Kuehl
August 31, 2012

This is the eighth in a series of nine essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget. On June 15th, the Legislature sent a majority-vote budget to the Governor.  Over the next two weeks, the Governor and the Democratic leaders negotiated a final budget.  This essay presents the major revisions adopted in that final budget.

2012-13 Budget Essay No. 7: Of Cabbages and Kings, the June Legislative Budget

by Sheila Kuehl
August 23, 2012

This is the seventh in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget. It presents the budget sent on June 15th from the Legislature to the Governor, still lacking his agreement on several large issues.   

2012-13 Budget Essay #6: Coincidence Doesn't Mean Accidentally
Paranoia I Adore Ya: An Agnostic's View of Coincidence on Social Services and Prisons

August 15, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl

This is the sixth in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget, and presents the revisions made to Social Services and Prisons by the Governor in his May Revise.  The first essay in this series explained the general provisions of the Governor's January budget. The second discussed specific cuts proposed to welfare-to-work (CalWORKS), child care and Medi-Cal.  The third analyzed the January proposals related to K-14 and higher education.  The fourth revealed the details of proposed realignment funding, and proposed "government efficiencies".  The fifth set forth the revised May budget concerning the general financial picture, the new plunging deficit and education, 0-16.

2012-13 Budget Essay #5: The Not-So-Merry-for-Education May Revise
April Tax Showers are a Drought, the Facebook "Bump" is About to Fizzle, What's So Merry About the Month of May?

August 11, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl
 
This is the fifth in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget.  The first essay explained the general provisions of the Governor's January budget. The second discussed specific cuts proposed to welfare-to-work (CalWORKS), child care and Medi-Cal.  The third analyzed the January proposals related to K-14 and higher education.  The fourth revealed the details of proposed realignment funding, and proposed "government efficiencies".  Leaving behind the Governor's proposed January budget, this essay moves on to the significant changes made in the revised May budget regarding the general financial picture, the new plunging deficit and education, 0-16.

2012-13 Budget Essay #4: Realignment, Govt Efficiency & Other Euphemisms
Euphemistically Speaking: Realignment, Pre-Owned, Government Efficiencies, Big Boned...
August 2, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl

This is the fourth in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget.  The first essay detailed the general provisions of the Governor's initial, January budget. The second discussed specific cuts proposed in that initial budget to welfare-to-work (CalWORKS), child care and Medi-Cal.  The third analyzed the January proposals related to K-14 and higher education.  This last essay on the Governor's January budget looks at realignment funding, proposed agency consolidations and other reductions labeled "government efficiencies".

2012-13 Budget Essay #3: Schoolyard Tricks and the K-16 Budget

Schoolyard Tricks and the Education Budget: Queenie, Queenie, Where's The Ball?

July 27, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl

This is the third in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget.  The first essay set out the general provisions of the budget sent by the Governor to the legislature in January of this year.  The second essay discussed specific cuts proposed in that initial budget to welfare-to-work (CalWORKS), child care and Medi-Cal.  This essay looks at the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't provisions in the Governor's January budget for K-14 and higher education.

2012-13 Budget Essay #2: Women & Children First (Under The Bus)
July 22, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl

This is the second in a series of essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget.  The first essay set out the full parameters of the proposed budget sent by the Governor to the legislature in January of this year.  In this essay, I present the cuts proposed to the specific programs under welfare-to-work (CalWORKS), child care and Medi-Cal. Read more >>

2012-13 Budget Essay #1: The Tin Man Strikes Again
July 12, 2012
by Sheila Kuehl

This is the first in a series of new essays chronologically setting out the twists and turns of the 2012-13 California budget from its introduction by the Governor in January of this year, to the "May Revise" that changes everything after the April 15th money rolls in (or doesn't) to the final June budget to the Governor's vetoes.  Along the way, I'll identify the winners and losers, the more-closed-than-ever process and the impacts on poor, reeling California. This essay sets out the major pieces of the January budget, as the Governor sent it to the Legislature. Read more >>

2012 Budget Essay #1: This Ain't Roy Rogers' Trigger
Two Triggers: One Stuffed, One Deflated

by Sheila Kuehl
January 6, 2012

Since Governor Brown's staff mistakenly posted his proposed budget on his website, rather than keeping it under wraps till Tuesday, the budget debate season got off to an early, if wobbly, start.  Analysis of the budget will take a few days, so I wanted to begin by bringing you up to date on the triggers that were pulled last month in the 2011-12 budget. This essay describes what circumstances forced the first trigger to be pulled, how the second trigger was not fully set into motion, and who lost what.  Read more >>

2011 Essays


2011 Budget Essay #9: Maybe I'm In For Cryin the Blues
by Sheila Kuehl
August 8, 2011

This is the ninth and final essay in a series setting out the many twists and turns in the road toward passage of California's 2011-12 budget.  This essay identifies a few of the winners and some of the many losers. More>>

2011 Budget Essay #8: Realignment is good for cars, but....
by Sheila Kuehl
August 4, 2011

This is the eighth in a series of essays presenting the roller coaster ups and downs of California's 2011-12 budget history.  This essay presents the concept of "realignment", one of the ways in which the budget signed by the Governor on June 30th "found" sufficient revenues to avoid cuts to K-12 education.  The real name for it should probably be "we'll transfer responsibility to cities and counties for a number of big programs and then maybe we'll also provide enough money to carry them out."  Because local entities are thought to provide incarceration and probation services (i.e.) more cheaply than the state, this transfer is assumed to leave more revenue in the budget for other expenditures. More >>

2011 Budget Essay #7: The Final Final We Really Mean It Budget
by Sheila Kuehl
July 31, 2011

This is the seventh in a series of essays exploring the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride nature of California's 2011-12 budget.  Recovering from a first-ever gubernatorial veto of a state budget, Democrats rallied and presented a balanced, on-time budget with a scattering of rosy assumptions and a hailstorm of additional cuts. More >>


2011 Budget Essay #6: And I'll Huff and I'll Puff
Plan B Is A House of Cards
Blow It Up-Blow It Down
by Sheila Kuehl
July 25, 2011

This is the sixth in a series of essays exploring the wild Indiana Jones adventure of California's 2011-12 budget.  In this exciting installment, finally drinking a dose of "we're not going to get any Republican votes to put tax extensions on the ballot, are we?" reality therapy, the Democrats send a majority vote budget to the Governor on June 15th.   Apparently suffering from some mistaken notion that Brown had signaled approval of the inclusion of a number of --- uh --- creative ways of balancing the budget, Democratic members who had worked round the clock to finish it were visibly shocked and amazed when he almost immediately vetoed it, throwing everything back to square one, with only 15 days left to bring home a budget.  Under an initiative passed last year, legislators began to lose never-to-be-recovered pay, without regard to whether each individual had worked out the budget or not, or whether they had voted to put it on the Governor's desk or not, which is a bit like withholding your paycheck because the guy next to you refuses to do his work. More >>

2011 Budget Essay #5: April $howers=May Flowers (But No Bouquet)
by Sheila Kuehl
July 21, 2011

This is the fifth in a series of essays reviewing the 2011 history of California's 2011-12 budget development.  This essay presents the changes contained in the "May Revise", which is an amended budget proposal made by the Governor to the Legislature every May following the collection of April tax money.  The May Revise reflected the Governor's continuing efforts to get four Republican votes to put a tax extension on the ballot, as well as a slight uptick in state revenues due to a mini-recovery from the recession.  The Governor and the Legislature focused on where a few dollars might be restored to education and healthcare, while continuing to try and convince California voters that the tax extensions were still critical.  More>>

2011 Budget Essay #4: The Hot Sun and Cool Winds of March
by Sheila Kuehl
July 17, 2011

This is the fourth in a set of essays reviewing the history of California's 2011-12 budget development from January to June.  This essay analyzes the measures taken in March in a continuing breakneck attempt to finish a budget and put a tax "continuation" measure on the ballot before temporary taxes would expire.  Following presentation of separate Assembly and Senate budgets in February, the Conference Committee, with members from both houses, reconciled the differences and adopted a final budget, as well as  a number of "trailer" bills.  Five Republican Senators made a show of meeting with the Governor about the possibility of providing votes to put the tax extensions on the ballot, if certain demands were met.  The trailer bills containing cuts were sent to the Governor's office and signed. The budget, as passed, was held in the Legislature.  More >>


2011 Budget Essay #3: February--All Rush and No Gold
by Sheila Kuehl
July 13, 2011

Now that California's 2011-12 budget has gone into effect, at least until the first revenue assumption proves wrong and triggers more cuts, this set of essays reviews the history of budget development over the last six months, culminating in a report on the final budget, as signed.  This essay is the third in the series, and sets forth the breakneck attempt to finish a budget and put a tax "continuation" measure on the ballot before the June 30th expiration of the 2009-11 temporary taxes.  In February, the Assembly and the Senate each held scores of hearings and finished separate versions of a preferable budget, both including the assumption that the Governor would be able to get sufficient Republican votes to put the continuation measure on the ballot in time.  The two budgets were then scheduled to go immediately into a Conference Committee. More >>

2011 Budget Essay #2: How To Make A Mess
Deficits Up, Revenues Down, The History of a Mess

by Sheila Kuehl
July 9, 2011
Now that California's 2011-12 budget has gone into effect, at least until some revenue assumption proves wrong and triggers more cuts, this set of essays reviews the history of that budget's progress over the last six months, culminating in a report on the final budget, as signed.  This essay is the second in the series, and sets forth a short history of decisions made in the first ten years of the 21st century which have brought California to the brink of fiscal crisis. More >>

2011 Budget Essay #1: Would You Like Taxes With That Budget?
by Sheila Kuehl

July 6, 2011

Now that California's 2011-12 budget has gone into effect, at least until some revenue assumption proves wrong and triggers more cuts, this set of essays reviews the history of that budget's progress over the last six months, culminating in a report on the final budget, as signed.  This essay is the first in the series, and describes the provisions of the original budget, as presented by Governor Brown in January of this year.  The Roman god, Janus, for whom January is named, had two faces, looking both backward and forward.  Like Janus, the Governor's January budget had two faces, one with the tax extensions he was seeking, with little damage to education, and one that was all cuts, if the tax extensions failed. More >>

Dogs In the Manger Who Bite the Hands that Feed Them
by Sheila Kuehl
May 10, 2011

Since the Governor had insisted on a budget solution in February in order to get a tax extension on the June ballot, I had thought, by now, I might be writing essays about California's new budget for 2011-12.  However, since there were no Republican votes to put the tax extension on the ballot, the budget, which passed both houses earlier in the year, now waits in limbo.

In the meantime, I regularly receive questions and requests on a whole host of issues at my website address and decided to write a series of non-budget-related essays while we wait.

This essay is about the dismantling of California's once-premier system of higher education caused by a constant downward spiral in funding.  It also reports the cynical acts of legislators (all, interestingly, from one party) whose education was made possible by the low levels of tuition in those same public colleges and universities but who now persist in denying those same opportunities to new generations of students.

Archived Essays

2010 Budget, Final Essay: The Blue Pencil Blues
by Sheila Kuehl
January 8, 2011

In just a few days, Governor Brown will unveil his budget for 2011-12.  This last essay reports on the Governor's extensive line item vetoes which both added to the reserve and drastically slashed monies for the poor, child care, mental health, the elderly and people with disabilities.

2010 Budget, Part Seven: The 101st Day: A Budget In October

by Sheila Kuehl
January 4, 2011

As California awaits the first budget of our newly inaugurated Governor, this set of essays reviews the budget situation over the last eighteen months, culminating in these last reports on the 2010-2011 budget finally adopted on October 8th, 2010.

2010 Budget Fixes, Part Six: Using Oil To Ignite The Lamp of Jobs
by Sheila Kuehl
December 27, 2010

As California awaits the January unveiling of Governor Brown's first budget, this set of essays reviews the budget situation over the last eighteen months, culminating in a report on the new budget. This essay is the sixth in a series describing the continuing budget struggles from 2009 to the present.

2010 Budget Fixes, Part Five: The Unmerrymerry Month of May- A Modest Budget Revision Proposal
by Sheila Kuehl

December 20, 2010

As California awaits the January unveiling of Governor Brown's first budget, this set of essays reviews the budget situation over the last twelve months, culminating in a report on the new budget when it is presented.

This essay is the fifth in a series describing the continuing budget struggles from 2009 to the present.  My first essay described the budget situation in the middle of fiscal 2009-10.  The second set out the Governor's proposed 2010-11 budget.  The third described the first "fixes" proposed by the Democratic majority.  The fourth presented the "fix" bills sent to the Governor, his vetoes and the compromises finally enacted at the end of March.  This essay details the proposed budget revisions sent by the Governor to the Legislature in May of 2010.  Further essays will describe struggles throughout the summer and final passage of the budget in October, as well as problems that arose immediately after that passage.

2010 Budget Fixes, Part Four: March Solution or March Hare?
by Sheila Kuehl
December 17, 2010

As California awaits the January unveiling of Governor Brown's first budget, this set of essays reviews the budget situation over the last twelve months, culminating in a report on the new budget when it is presented.

This essay is the fourth in a series describing the condition of the 2009-10 state budget at the beginning of 2010, the 2010-11 budget introduced in January of 2010, the many Special Legislative Sessions called by the Governor to address the problem of escalating deficits and the tug of war between the Legislature and the Governor on solutions. 

2010 Budget Fixes, Part Three: The February Neutral Tax Proposal

by Sheila Kuehl
December 15, 2010

As California awaits the January unveiling of Governor Brown's first budget, this set of essays reviews the budget situation over the last twelve months, culminating in a report on the new budget when it is presented.  This essay is third in a series describing the condition of the 2009-10 state budget at the beginning of 2010, the 2010-11 budget introduced in January of 2010, the many Special Legislative Sessions called by the Governor to address the problem of escalating deficits and the tug of war between the Legislature and the Governor on solutions.

Go Ahead - Blame the Governor
by Sheila Kuehl
July 29, 2010

These essays have historically presented facts about past and current California budget decisions, with an occasional detour into water bills and other substantive issues.  While we wait for a California budget solution, however, my next two essays are pure opinion, looking at tenets that seem to be increasingly embraced by many in the citizenry without very much analysis.  The first will look at whether we can, indeed, blame the current Governor for the downward fiscal spiral in the California budget. 


Two broken budgets, Part Two: The Gov Proposes a 2010 Bludgeont
by Sheila Kuehl
May 1, 2010

This is the second in a series of essays describing the condition of the 2009-10 state budget at the beginning of 2010, the new 2010-11 budget introduced in January, the Special Legislative Sessions called by the Governor to solve the problem of escalating deficits and the tug of war between the Legislature and the Governor on solutions.  

More Wimper for your Buck
Two Broken Budgets: Starting Off in 2010

by Sheila Kuehl

April 28, 2010

This is the first in a series of essays describing the condition of the 2009-10 state budget at the beginning of 2010, the new 2010-11 budget introduced in January, the Special Legislative Sessions called by the Governor to solve the problem of escalating deficits and the tug of war between the Legislature and the Governor on solutions.  You have received this essay either because you joined my general essay list or someone forwarded it to you. 

In this first essay, I provide an overview of the budget situation at the end of 2009, in the middle of the fiscal 2009-10 year and the problems foreseen by the Legislative Analyst as the year began.  In the essays that follow, I will present the 2010-11 budget proposed by the Governor in January, as well as the "fixes" to the 09-10 budget proposed, rejected, passed, vetoed, passed and signed in March, to meet the crisis of plummeting revenues and shaky budget assumptions that were the "solutions" adopted last year for the 09-10 budget.  As you read this, the Legislature is holding hearings on the various provisions of the 2010-11 budget, which is due to be passed (if a 2/3 vote can be achieved) by the end of June.

Water, Water Everywhere IV: The Bond That Ties
by Sheila Kuehl
January 19, 2010

This is the fourth in a series of four essays describing the five separate pieces of water legislation passed by the California legislature in late 2009 and signed by the Governor.  In total, the legislation amended the oversight structure of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, extended water conservation mandates, set up some groundwater measurement procedures, amended penalties for illegal diversion of water, authorized the use of funds from a past water bond and set up a new bond for voter approval next year.

In the first essay, I provided an overview of some of the problems created by the legislation, and described the bill affecting the monitoring of groundwater.  In the second, I described the central role of the Delta and the bill that crafted a new governance and oversight structure.  In the third, I described the contents of a bill dealing with water rights, penalties for illegal diversion of water and expenditures authorized from an existing bond, and a second bill dealing with urban water conservation.
    
In this fourth, and last, essay, I analyze the proposed 11.14 billion dollar bond to be placed on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

Water, Water Everywhere III: A Diversion

by Sheila Kuehl
December 4, 2009

This is the third in a series of four essays describing the five separate pieces of water legislation recently passed by the California legislature and signed by the Governor.  In total, the legislation amended the oversight structure of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, extended water conservation mandates, set up some groundwater measurement procedures, amended penalties for illegal diversion of water, authorized the use of funds from a past water bond and set up a new bond for voter approval next year.

In the first essay, I provided an overview of some of the problems created by the legislation, and described the bill affecting the monitoring of groundwater.  In the second, I described the central role of the Delta and the bill that crafted a new governance and oversight structure.

This essay presents two more bills: one dealing with water rights, penalties for illegal diversion of water and expenditures authorized from an existing bond, and one dealing with urban water conservation.  In the fourth, and last, essay, I will present and analyze the proposed 11.14 billion dollar bond to be placed on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

Water, Water Everywhere II: What the Heck is a Delta?
by Sheila Kuehl
November 23, 2009

This is the second in what was going to be a series of three essays, but will now be four (could have been fifty, given the complexity of water politics in California), describing the five separate pieces of water legislation recently passed by the California legislature and signed by the Governor.  In total, the legislation amended the oversight structure of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, extended water conservation mandates, set up some groundwater measurement procedures, authorized the use of funds from a past water bond and set up a new bond for voter approval next year.

Water, Water, Everywhere, But Now We Stop and Think
by Sheila Kuehl

November 19, 2009

This is the first in a series of three essays describing the five separate pieces of water legislation recently passed by the California legislature and signed, in many public events, by the Governor.  In total, the legislation amended the oversight structure of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, extended water conservation mandates, set up some groundwater measurement procedures, authorized the use of funds from a past water bond and set up a new bond for voter approval next year.

In this essay, I provide an overview of some of the problems created by the legislation, and describe the bill affecting the monitoring of groundwater.  In the next essay, I will describe the bills related to conservation, Delta governance structure, water rights and expenditures authorized from an existing bond.  In the third essay, I will present and analyze the proposed 11.14 billion dollar bond to be placed on the November 2, 2010 ballot.


As Ye Judge, So Should Ye Be Judged
by Sheila Kuehl
September 26, 2009

This is one in a series of occasional essays on topics other than the budget process.  In this essay, I'm looking at the record of a former legislative colleague who, despite a long history of voting against civil rights legislation, was recently confirmed to the California Appellate Court.  This essay asks the question: if legislative experience qualifies someone for an appointment to the California Appellate Court, shouldn't that same experience be examined for bias?

Budget Essay #13: Women & Children First! oops: no lifeboats....
Line Item Veto Blue(pencil)s:Women and Children First (into the drink)

by Sheila Kuehl
August 5, 2009


This second of two essays presents further information on the budget amendments passed by both houses in late July and the consequent line item vetoes by the Governor. In this essay, I describe the line-item changes made by the Governor without agreement by the legislature and how his decision to increase the deep cuts already contained in the amended budget is impacting women, children, seniors, people with AIDS and the poor.


Budget Essay #12: The Hard Line
California's July Budget Blues: ...For A Man May Smile and Smile and Still Be A Villain
by Sheila Kuehl
August 1, 2009

This first of two essays sets out the latest revisions to California's tattered budget, and comments on its even more tattered budget process. In this essay, I describe the Governor's stance of adamant non-negotiation and his insistence on dismantling the already fragile safety net.

Healthcare Reform: Single Payer and the Public Option
by Sheila Kuehl
June 29, 2009

As many of you may know, I was the author of a bill to establish a Medicare-like, single payer program in California.  The bill passed both houses of our state legislature in 2006 and, again, in 2008, and was vetoed both times by the current Governor.  Since I termed out of the Legislature at the end of last November, the bill is being carried this year by Sen. Mark Leno (SB 810).

In 2008, not-yet-President Obama proposed, as a part of his healthcare reform package, the establishment of a "public option"---an insurance plan offered by the federal government as an alternative to private health insurance, and against which the private companies, left in place, would compete. 
 
I have been asked how those who support single payer should respond to this proposal and how those who want health reform for the country might express their opinions. >> 
 
 
by Sheila Kuehl
June 22, 2009

This is the third in a series of new essays on the current (May-June 2009) state of California budget considerations and analyses on contributing factors.    In this essay, I describe how the Republicans force an all-cuts budget and then vote against the cuts, what the next series of Floor votes means, and options for a majority-vote budget fix. >>  

Budget Essay #10: 2009 Budget Blues Part Two: California Is Terminated

by Sheila Kuehl
June 11, 2009

This is the second in a series of new essays on the current (May-June 2009) state of budget considerations and analyses on contributing factors.  In this essay, I set out the magnitude of the gaps and the Governor's proposals for cuts, cuts, cuts to the 08-09 and 09-10 budgets. >>

Budget Essay #9: 2009 Budget Blues, Part I: Interpreting the Failure of Prop 1A

by Sheila Kuehl
June 1, 2009

This is the first in a series of new essays on the current state of budget considerations and analyses on contributing factors.  In this essay, I report the Governor's opinion that Prop 1A failed because everyone voted against new taxes, and a subsequent poll on the subject which came to a different conclusion.  >>

Prop 8 Ruling: The Court Has Lost Its Way

by Sheila Kuehl
May 26, 2009

It had been my intention to write my next essay on Prop 1A, not Prop 8, and to analyze poll results from voters who opposed 1A, and to go from there to present some possible approaches to a balanced budget.

But the California Supreme Court ruled this morning that Prop 8 could, in fact, be adopted by a simple majority of those voting in an election.  After reading the opinion, I decided to write this essay.

The entire opinion dangled from one very weak premise: that, somehow, even though the Court insisted, in the Marriage Cases opinion last year, that the word "marriage" was so important it couldn't be denied without violating the State Constitution, they suddenly decided, this year, (with the exception of Justice Moreno, writing in dissent) that marriage is nothing but a word and that denying such a word to same sex couples did not represent a "revision" rather than an "amendment" to the Constitution.  Below, language from the opinion (which also upheld the validity of the 18,000 marriage performed before the election, creating an interesting apartheid in California) and some thoughts. >>

Props 1D, 1E and 1F
by Sheila Kuehl
May 5, 2009

This is the second of two essays presenting the contents of, and analyses on, the six propositions on the May 19 ballot.  Props 1D and 1E have absolutely nothing to recommend them.  Prop 1F was a throwaway so that the last Republican to vote for the budget could say he extracted some cosmetic punishment for the legislature.  I recommend a no on all of them.  >>

Props 1A, 1B and 1C
by Sheila Kuehl
May 4, 2009

This is the first of two essays presenting the content of, and analysis on, the six propositions on the May 19 ballot.  A number of people have asked me to write a quick summary of the propositions and to make recommendations as to votes.  I think the arguments on both sides of 1A, 1B, 1C and 1F are, in their own ways, supportable and try, below, to set out information so you can judge for yourselves.  At the same time, I've indicated my opinion on all of them, because, after all, you have to end up somewhere..... >>

California Budget Part 5: How Abel Raised Cain
by Sheila Kuehl
May 2, 2009

This is the last in a series of five essays on the legislature's actions related to California's 08-09 and 09-10 budgets from the time 08-09 was adopted in September of 2008 until both were finally modified and adopted in February of 2009.  My first four budget essays described the torturous path of California budget negotiations up to the second to last vote in February.  This essay describes how the last Senator to agree to vote for the budget extracted some last minute promises in exchange, as well as further cuts by the Governor wielding his "blue pencil" after the passage of the budget. >>

California Budget Part 4: The One Vote Short Budget
by Sheila Kuehl
March 31, 2009

This is the fourth in a series of five essays on the legislature's actions related to California's 08-09 and 09-10 budgets from the time 08-09 was adopted in September of 2008 until both were finally modified and adopted in February of 2009. >>

California Budget Part Three - The Magical Mystery Majority Budget
by Sheila Kuehl
March 21, 2009

This is the third in a series of essays on the legislature's actions related to California's 08-09 and 09-10 budgets from the time 08-09 was finally adopted in September of 2008 until both were finally modified and adopted in February of 2009.  >>

California Budget Part Two - December Doldrums
by Sheila Kuehl
March 11, 2009

This is the second in a series of essays on the legislature's actions related to California's 08-09 budget from the time it was finally adopted in September of 2008 until it was finally modified in February of 2009.  My first essay on this subject detailed steps taken in October and early November because of the need to immediately amend the budget adopted in September of last year.  This essay sets out the failure to adopt an amended budget in November, the urgent consequences of this failure in December and the continuing partisan tug of war. >>

California Budget - What Happened Last Fall
by Sheila Kuehl
March 6, 2009
 
This is the first in a series of essays on what happened to California's budget from the time it was finally adopted in September of 2008 until it was finally modified in February of 2009.  This essay reports on what happened in October and early November, following the adoption of the '08-09 budget (finally) in September of last year. >>
 
A few last thoughts on the proposed elimination of state oversight boards
by Sheila Kuehl
February 14, 2009
 
This is a follow-up to the essay on proposed elimination of state boards.  Several readers of my first essay on the push to eliminate state boards wrote to make a few additional points, which I think are worth sharing. >>
 
No Boards -- No Oversight
by Sheila Kuehl
February 8, 2009
 
This essay analyzes the historical and current push by the Governor and conservative lawmakers in the California state legislature to eliminate state boards responsible for oversight and enforcement of state laws.  >>
  
A New Day In Health Access?
by Sheila Kuehl
January 25, 2009

(note, this essay was, of course, written before Mr. Daschle took himself out of consideration.  It may have relevance concerning the approach that the new Administration is taking to health reform)
 
This is my first health related essay of 2009.  This first essay presents some thoughts on Tom Daschle, President Obama's nominee to head the Health and Human Services Agency. >>