Dan Walters writes for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

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There obviously are a lot of uncertainties in the new business plan. But even if all are resolved, the bullet train still looks like a solution in search of a problem, rather than a vital transportation system.

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The GOP may be pulling off one of history’s most audacious political coups, one that could save the seats of several embattled Republican members of Congress and potentially preserve the party’s control of the House.

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Collecting more money from motorists and spending it on transportation improvements is the right thing to do because it needs to be done. Ginning up an overblown, self-serving economic “analysis” undermines the integrity of the act.

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California’s commission process isn’t perfect, but it’s one that other states should emulate because it’s just plain wrong for politicians to draw districts that favor whichever party happens to control the process in the year following a census.

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The Legislature has once again been thrown into turmoil, this time by multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Once again, however, the Legislature is handling each case on an ad hoc basis, rather than via the formal procedures in Proposition 50.

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The Legislature should repeal the very weak, four-decade-old law that provides very limited access to its records and place itself under the Open Records Act that other state agencies and local governments must obey, with limited exceptions for legal and personnel issues.

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With the new San Onofre settlement, the criminal investigation and the effort to open emails involving Brown—if they exist—could just fade away. The episode has been embarrassing to everyone involved except Aguirre, so there’s probably little appetite for continuing to air dirty linen.

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Brown will not be facing voters again and clearly wants to leave his successor a healthy reserve rather than a barrel of red ink – something Brown 1.0 didn’t do in 1983 and almost all recent governors have also failed to do.

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One could infer that Jerry Brown’s entire second governorship has been, at least partly, an effort to bury the “Governor Moonbeam” image he acquired the first time around and compare favorably with the father he now embraces.

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Collective bargaining for California’s public employees may have been a questionable idea. But it’s not going away and there’s absolutely no reason why Capitol workers, except for a small cadre of senior staffers, should not have civil service status and unionization, if they wish.

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California’s education dilemma can be stated rather simply, to wit: The state has 6 million kids in its K-12 public school system, 60 percent of them are classified as either poor or English-learners and as a group they trail badly in educational accomplishment.