Proposition 15 will hurt homeowners, too

Of the many propositions that voters must decide this November, one of the most contentious is Proposition 15, also known as the split roll initiative. One of the arguments advanced by the proponents is that it won’t have any impact on homeowners because it just raises property taxes on commercial and industrial properties. Can the proponents be believed? Not likely.

On its face, Proposition 15 appears to exempt property that is used for “residential” purposes. But homeowners have good reason to feel threatened.

Without question, the most immediate impact that homeowners would see if Proposition 15 passes would be an increase in the cost of living. California has the second highest cost of living in the nation behind only Hawaii...

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Watch: Where are California’s coronavirus case rates dropping, and how far?

California’s new daily COVID-19 cases have been decreasing steadily since mid-August, as a second round of lockdowns was imposed to combat the spike in cases we saw mid-summer. The hot spots have also been shifting, and this map shows you how.

To see where the virus is spreading, we calculate the rate of new cases in each county, the number of cases reported in the previous 14 days per 10,000 residents, then track that data over time. The animated map shows how — and when — the coronavirus spread around California from April 1 through Sept. 18.

In early April, the virus was most prevalent in Bay Area and Southern California counties, then became more concentrated in Los Angeles and Imperial counties toward the end of the month, spurred by widespread community transmission...

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High housing costs keep Californians poor

Congratulations California, you’ve done it again.

The Census Bureau has once again found that California has the highest real-world poverty rate of any state, 17.2 percent over the previous three years and much higher than the national rate.

The “supplemental” poverty rate includes factors ignored by the outdated “official” poverty rate, such as living costs. And our sky-high living costs, particularly for housing, impoverish at least 7 million Californians.

We topped the poverty charts even as California’s overall economy was booming in the 2017-19 period. The state now is mired in its worst recession since the Great Depression, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and poverty has surely increased.

A new report from the California Policy Lab at the University of California revea...

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El Dorado fire grows more than 400 acres overnight

The El Dorado fire, which claimed the life of one firefighter since it was started Sept. 5 by a smoke bomb set off during a gender-revel photo stunt, grew 418 acres overnight as fire crews Sunday faced another day of high temperatures and southerly winds.

The fire’s footprint was at 22,489 acres and containment remained at 59% Sunday morning. Containment is when firefighters create and hold a fire break around the perimeter of a wildfire.

The firefighter who died on Thursday has not yet been publicly identified by authorities. Thirteen people have been injured in the fire, and two homes destroyed. There are 1,190 fire personnel at the El Dorado fire, with resources stretched thin throughout the western United States.

The fire’s most active area continued to be near the community of Ang...

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Donald Trump versus the military-industrial complex

President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us.

In a farewell address on January 17, 1961, days before John F. Kennedy would be inaugurated, Eisenhower spoke about what he called the “military-industrial complex,” something that he said was a threat to democratic government.

The former general warned that “the immense military establishment” had joined with “a large arms industry” and was capable of acquiring “unwarranted influence” on United States policy.

“The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist,” Ike told the nation, explaining that this was a new phenomenon in America, a “permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.”

President Trump voiced a similar complaint at a recent press conference...

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‘Body Politic’ profiles the people making democracy work

This is the time of year – in a presidential election year, that is – where any reporting on politics can’t help but lean toward that fast-approaching special Tuesday after the first Monday of November. You know the one I mean. In any other year, it would be commanding ALL the headlines, whereas this year, presidential politics have taken a backseat to the pandemic, protests and wildfires.

OK, maybe that’s not quite right, given that our politics these days are like a black hole consuming the galaxy that once encircled it. Which is to say: Once it was a bright, shiny sun – the envy of all the world – and then, you know, it went supernova and collapsed upon itself, and now it’s a churning maelstrom that pulls in and pulls apart anything that drifts too close.

But hey, that’s...

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Mike Drew: Shaking the smoke for some shots

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Same with the pheasants not much farther along. There were hens and a couple of roosters and a trio of this year’s young just getting their adult feathers but man, did they ever scoot when I slowed the truck. It’s hunting season now so maybe they’re a little extra cautious.

The mule deer not far from the pheasants were unperturbed, as mule deer usually are. There was a momma and two babies down along the river and though they did walk off eventually, they basically just stared at me. I love mulies.

Mule deer along the Rosebud River near Redland, Ab., on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Mike Drew/Postmedia
Mule deer along the Rosebud River near Redland, Ab., on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Photo by Mike Drew /Postmedia

The wind picked up a bit more as I passed through Redland and Rosebud and kept going along the Rosebud River...

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Aging in the 2020s isn’t how Grandma aged

Picture for a minute how your grandparents and great-grandparents lived when they were 60 or 70 compared with how you (if you are a senior) or your parents live today.

My grandfather retired as a federal agent when he was only 58 years old. He enjoyed his hobbies, church, occasional social outings (and a lot of TV) until he passed away 39 years later.  Forty percent of his life was spent in quiet retirement.

Times have changed. We see rock stars touring into their 80s. Three famous actresses, ages 82, 74, and 67, hosted a video chat this month about the environment that drew more than 500,000 viewers. Both presidential candidates are well into their 70s.

One of the benefits of social media is how it has expanded our view of what is possible, especially as we age — and it’s not just about...

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Letters, Sept. 20: ‘Banff has it all wrong about COVID precautions’

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Reading in the Sunday Sun about the mother in Acadia shocked at her daughter’s class size doubling. I’m not sure where you grew up as children, but it was Haysboro Elementary for me in the ’60s. It was a relatively new community with not a lot of other choices around back then, as school busing wasn’t all that common back then as kids rode their bikes or walked to school. Not like now with parents driving their kids to school. My point is that it was a busy elementary and I can’t remember the single class that didn’t have 25+ kids in every classroom. They was zero noise problem as the teacher would not have allowed any disruptions in her teaching...

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Dodgers’ Adam Kolarek is thriving in a versatile role

When Major League Baseball raised the minimum number of batters a pitcher must face from one to three, Adam Kolarek was on a short list of players whose jobs might have been jeopardized.

In last year’s National League Division Series, Kolarek had one job: to retire the opposing team’s best left-handed hitter in a high-leverage situation. That happened to be Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto. Kolarek held Soto hitless in three plate appearances and didn’t pitch to anyone else in the series.

When the rule change was announced in February, Kolarek’s role in the bullpen was not immediately clear. Flash forward to September. The 31-year-old lefty is thriving. He began the season with 12 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and carried a 1.02 ERA through Friday.

More significa...

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