Essential California: Stealing Arizona's water
Robin Abcarian Commentary, news and analysis
California vaccine law opponents: passionate, persistent and science-averse

Despite all the noise around mandating vaccinations for schoolchildren, most California adults -- some 67%, according to a recent poll -- think it’s a good idea.

We will soon know whether Gov. Jerry Brown agrees. On Monday, the Legislature sent him a bill that would end the personal belief exemption, a routinely abused loophole that has seriously eroded the immunization rates in many of California’s...

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In a bizarre dissent, Justice Alito predicts gays might seek revenge on straights

Every civil rights victory seems to produce a new, imaginary class of victims.

You might have thought that today's landmark Supreme Court decision represented the end of discrimination against gays who want to marry. But according to one dissenting justice, the decision instead represents a threat to another group of citizens.

Who might they be? People who oppose gay marriage.

Incredibly, Justice...

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Female lawyers take a firmer stand on equality in the workplace

Sitting in her attorney's conference room the other day, Lynne Coates had a strained look on her face. A trial lawyer who used to work for Farmers Insurance, Coates was pressed for time because she was due in court.

Also, the story she was about to tell me was painful to recount.

In 1993, Coates was hired by Farmers Insurance, which employs hundreds of attorneys to battle claims. She spent five years...

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A farmer's straight talk on the drought: Listen up, city dwellers

It was heating up in the San Joaquin Valley this week. Joe Del Bosque, a farmer who had to make some hard decisions this year, was driving toward an asparagus field he's about to plow under. The windshield of his white Yukon was splattered with dead bugs. He didn't seem to notice.

As he drove, he told me a story that has become all too familiar in the last few months.

His sister was at a dinner party...

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A water park during California's drought? Let it slide

On the first day of April, for many Californians, the drought finally hit home.

They saw a photo of their governor in a brown meadow that should have been buried under five feet of snow. The snowpack, which eventually fills our reservoirs, had disappeared. Gov. Jerry Brown announced a 25% mandatory reduction in water use.

In a case of what seemed like spectacularly bad timing, Dublin had just broken...

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Much in common, but worlds apart on the issue of vaccinating children

We sat outside on a gorgeous spring day here, the four moms and me. Lucia Sciarpa Paxton, a former Spanish teacher and professional photographer, had prepared an impressive lunch. For two hours, as we moved from roasted fennel salad to coffee, the women explained why California should not require vaccinations for schoolchildren.

I had met Paxton, 42, in a hallway outside a state Senate hearing room...

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