Monday, April 26, 2021






        Almost all the usual rules of California elections are off today, as the state heads toward its second gubernatorial recall election of the last 18 years.


        The list of candidates to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom will surely be interesting, but perhaps not as odd as what voters faced when they decided in 2003 who should replace then-Gov. Gray Davis. They plainly did not regret choosing movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger for his most interesting role ever, reelecting him easily three years later, in 2006.


        Like this year’s will be, the timing of that election was a little weird: Oct. 7, a month earlier than normal fall elections. Then there was the post-election interaction between Schwarzenegger and Davis. Democrat Davis and the nominally Republican Schwarzenegger, whose liberal stances on items like climate change and voting rights made him unlikely ever to win his party’s nomination in a regular primary, often acted like good buddies during the month or so before power peacefully transferred.


        We may never know if Newsom, target of much more vicious rhetoric this year than Davis ever heard, would be as gracious. But it’s almost certain he would not pull the kind of stunts ex-President Donald Trump did while he was transitioned out of power and into luxurious exile at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.


        Then there’s the list of candidates. With transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner already on board, the current recall drive just might match the eclectic mix attracted by the unprecedented 2003 vote.


        That ballot featured the diminutive former child actor Gary Coleman, who freely admitted he was not qualified and planned to vote for Schwarzenegger, along with former baseball commissioner and Los Angeles Olympics chieftain Peter Ueberroth.


        Thus far, no major Democrat has ventured onto this year’s ballot, many prominent figures fearing they would become permanent pariahs in their party if they run. But if a significant Democrat does break loose – and perennial candidates like Tom Steyer and ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa no longer qualify as very significant despite Steyer’s billions and Villaraigosa’s name recognition – that could give Democratic voters a kind of license to vote Newsom out.


        For sure, it would change the current dynamic that sees Newsom virtually unchallenged when he labels the recall a power grab by Trump supporters.


        In 2003, the sole major Democrat on the list was Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who has in fact been a party untouchable since his distant second-place finish behind Schwarzenegger.


        There are no figures this year like either Ueberroth, who could claim to be a highly capable non-partisan technocrat, or former media mogul Adrianna Huffington.


        But there are plenty of folks taking ultra-conservative stances even more extreme than those of then Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, who talked a lot during campaign debates but didn’t win many votes. In the long run, that cost him nothing; McClintock has been a GOP congressman from the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills east of Sacramento since 2009.


        As in 2003, when the recall field included the last previous defeated Republican candidate for governor, financier Bill Simon, 2018 loser John Cox, a San Diego County businessman, is in the race. Other significant Republicans include ex-San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who often tries to seem like he’s Newsom’s sole rival, and Trump’s former acting chief of national intelligence, Richard Grenell.



        So far, there are no single-issue candidates in the field, the way Los Angeles lawyer Bruce Margolin was last time, running solely to help legalize marijuana. That’s been done, so no need for such a candidate.


        As large as the field will be this time, it may not match the 135 who ran 18 years ago. But one rule that governed then will also apply now: Newsom can get more no votes on the recall than the total for any candidate on the replacement list, but would still be replaced so long as the yes’s beat no’s on the entire recall concept.


        All of which makes this vote very different from the norm, when Democrats might almost automatically dominate because of their sheer numerical superiority over Republicans.


        And then there’s the fact another run for governor starts the day after recall results are in.




     Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, go to







        On some levels, it’s sensible for the University of California’s health system, including famed hospitals like UCLA, UC San Francisco and UC San Diego, to link with the Dignity Health group of hospitals and clinics often located in much more isolated and rural locations.


        While UC hospitals generally operate in major cities and urban counties, Dignity’s 67 California hospitals and urgent care centers serve both urban and suburban locales including San Jose and Glendale. They also span places as disparate as Mt. Shasta, Santa Cruz and the Inland Empire.


        Dignity’s current two-year-old arrangement with UC Health can provide care much closer to home for some patients affiliated with the state-owned hospitals.


        The deal also lets Dignity patients access care and consultations with the many world-renowned specialists working at UC’s teaching hospitals. The two systems are also the state’s No. 1 and No. 2 providers of Medi-Cal services for low-income patients.



        But there are some limits, mostly imposed by Dignity, owned and operated by a Roman Catholic organization. Like all Catholic hospitals and clinics, Dignity obeys the dictates of the church’s national conference of bishops.


        This means most of its hospitals observe dictates of the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Translation: No abortions, unless doctors determine they are a major medical necessity. It also can mean fewer services for gay, lesbian and transgender persons. 


        This is starting to bother some California officials a lot, so pressure is building to end the affiliation, and that pressure appears justified.


        “I could not in good conscience agree to a policy that allows us to continue affiliations with private healthcare operators that limit the delivery of medicine in any way that’s not based on …the best practice of medicine,” UC Board of Regents chairman John Perez told a reporter. Perez, once the first openly gay speaker of the state Assembly, has UC actively considering the future shape of its connections to Dignity and other religiously-affiliated medical systems.


        Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco goes farther, sponsoring a bill to limit UC’s ability to make deals with hospitals or clinics that put “nonclinical” limits on services they offer. Many Wiener bills on subjects like housing and drug use are perennial failures in the Legislature, but manage to move the state’s agenda even if they die. This one has a solid chance at passage.


        As it should. For while Dignity brags on its website that the UC partnership gives “thousands of medical students and residents statewide access to comprehensive clinical training,” that also could mean subtle indoctrination of those same future physicians against giving treatments that many women and others consider essential.


        Yes, Dignity’s hospitals and centers sometimes offer more services than UC for children with traumatic injuries and better inpatient psychiatric care for adolescents, but at what cost?


For if UC hospitals can in any way have care they provide influenced by authorities of one religion, who’s to say they won’t someday move toward other religious preferences – like, for instance, Muslim Sharia law? This is a Pandora’s box UC would be wise to slam shut while the arrangement is still young and not solidly ingrained in its habits.


Said one UC spokesman, “Our goal in establishing relationships with other health care organizations is to extend the reach of the university’s high-quality care and expertise.”


That noble idea could also be accomplished if UC set up new clinics in less urban locations than where its hospitals exist. It’s also possible to link up with non-sectarian clinics and urgent care centers, even if no other chain has as many locations and patients as Dignity.


The bottom line: The deal with Dignity brings too many pitfalls for it to be good for UC’s health system or for many of its patients. Let’s end it sooner rather than later.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


Monday, April 19, 2021






        Where would you rather be during the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which earlier saw Americans die by the thousands each day for many months? Florida or California?


        If they could choose today, almost 4,000 now-deceased Floridians might pick California.


        It’s true those folks would have had to pay state income tax had they lived in California, as opposed to Florida, which has no such levy.


        But they’re no longer among the living, thanks to the virus or its consequences.


        A comparison is very relevant today as Republican interests that funded and worked to qualify a vote on recalling California Gov. Gavin Newsom continually insist Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should be a prime candidate for president if Donald Trump does not try for a second term in 2024.


        They may not have looked at the latest contrasts between wide-open Florida and still somewhat closed California, set to reopen substantially more on June 15. Numbers from the week between April 1 and April 8 can be instructive here. Florida, with about half California’s population, had 37,293 new Covid cases during that week to California’s 17,366. Its death rate also topped California’s, at 157 per 100,000 persons to 148 per 100,000. On one day during the following week, Florida recorded more than 6,400 new cases to California’s 1,200-plus. So who is managing the pandemic better, Newsom or DeSantis?


        Meanwhile, if Newsom beats the recall and then is reelected next year, he will surely be touted as a prime prospect for the Democratic nomination the next time that slot opens up – perhaps in 2024 or 2028.


        For both men, handling of the pandemic’s onslaught has become a prime issue determining their ultimate potential to lead the nation.


        Newsom was the first governor to shut down his state, ordering a lockdown in mid-March 2020 soon copied in myriad other places. DeSantis never issued a full stay-home order. Similarly, while California has required masking to stem Covid almost from the start, Florida requirements have been spotty, the only actual masking orders issued by city and county officials in a few places.


        To understand any comparison, it’s important to note that California has almost twice as many people as Florida, 39.985 million compared with 21.48 million Floridians at last count.


        California stood at about 59,500 Covid deaths in mid-April, while Florida had just above 34,000.


        California has seen a somewhat lower percentage of its populace perish during the pandemic, especially lately. In actual numbers, figuring for the states’ population differences, the figures amount to almost 4,000 more Florida deaths than would have occurred if that state performed just like California.


        This was despite natural advantages Florida’s far more humid climate provides: Several studies suggest that aerosol droplets emitted when humans breath, talk or sing fall to the ground much faster in humid air than in a drier climate.


        DeSantis celebrates that he kept schools open through the pandemic, while most were closed in California. But the 1.5 million more elderly persons here could have fared far worse had California stayed as open as Florida.


        The question: Were the lives saved here by using Newsom’s tactics rather than those of DeSantis worth extra sacrifices by other age groups?


        That’s essentially being debated right now in the recall drive, where Newsom is roundly criticized for keeping businesses and schools shuttered longer than many found comfortable, even though teachers and school districts often have the last word on reopening.


        The bottom line on all this is that both governors operated from basic instincts and principles: Newsom placed lives saved above all else while DeSantis wanted to save lives, too, but not if his state’s economy suffered beyond his supporters’ comfort level.


        In both cases, the governors accomplished their goals. Newsom kept California in 29th position among the states when it came to death rates, even while its climate and senior populace could have pushed fatalities much higher without the strategies he employed. DeSantis kept his state at 25th, fatalities never mounting to levels threatening to his political future.


        Their contrasts in philosophy and the results will be remembered, especially if these two eventually oppose one another for the presidency.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit






        It is high time nursing homes loosen up and abandon most of the pandemic-induced rules that have limited visitors to nearly none for more than a year.


        Similarly, assisted living homes that have prevented their residents from venturing into the rest of the world on pain of two week quarantines within their rooms when they return also need to get sensible.


        Those rules seemed reasonable during the height of the coronavirus surges that plagued this nation starting in March 2020.


        They appeared prudent at first, but only until the infections afflicting and killing more nursing home residents than people in any other living arrangement made it crystal clear that the restrictions were not working. Those rules always presumed that isolating denizens of nursing homes would prevent them from infecting one other.



        Yet, they became infected and died by the hundreds of thousands over the last 15 months anyhow. That happened because while residents and patients could be isolated, the staffers caring for them could not. Nursing home workers at all levels from the lowliest aides to top-ranking facility directors went out into the world. Like everyone else, some isolated themselves carefully at home and did not venture into bars or onto crowded beaches. Some went to those places. Some masked whenever they were not at home, others didn’t bother except in grocery stores and places where masking was required for entry.


        This all explains why nursing home residents and staff were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines when they became available in late December. As a result, nursing home rates of infection with the virus have run below those in the general community for more than two months. Cases there are down more than 90 percent since last fall, but visits remain limited, often just one guest per day per resident.


        Lower caseloads do not mean effects of the crisis are over. Many months of near isolation from friends and relatives created other problems for nursing home residents who had been accustomed to seeing visitors regularly.


        Advocates of nursing home residents say they need those visits for mental health, to give them a sense of purpose, a reason for going on with life.


        Those concerns may have been outweighed at the height of the crisis, but no more.


        “The residents, the families, the caregivers have all had enough,” Michael Wasserman, past president of the California Assn. of Long Term Care Medicine, told a reporter. “We’re now approaching the point where, if you’re not vaccinated in a nursing home (and some residents have declined), the primary risk is to yourself (and not to fellow residents).”


        Yes, from the earliest days of the pandemic, television showed moving scenes of nursing home residents seeing relatives through ground-floor windows as the only form of visitation open to them.


        This was heart-rending, if not as damaging as the fact terminal Covid patients were not allowed even deathbed visitors in hospitals, and were forced to say farewell to their families via cellphone – where that service was available.


        Even now, nursing home management is not agitating or lobbying government for an end to the extreme limits on visitation. This may be because pre-pandemic visitors were the main check on those owners, with relatives and other guests often noticing patients who were dehydrated, soiled bedding and other problems the residents themselves may have felt too weak or dependent to protest. The relationship between nursing home operators and visitors has long been uneasy.


        So long as Covid ran rampant among their residents, the operators were relieved of all this.


        That’s over, thanks to mass vaccination efforts, often led by drugstore chain employees who carried syringes into the homes.


        So it’s high time state authorities ordered an end to the pandemic rules. Perhaps a transition, with visitation at levels somewhere below unlimited, is appropriate until the nursing home toll has been lowered even further.


        But progress in cutting back incidence of this plague has at least been sufficient to end the companion plague of isolation that preyed on residents’ mental and emotional health at the very time the virus hit them physically.

    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

Monday, April 12, 2021






        The biggest argument against the idea of requiring vaccination passports soon to enter restaurants, airplanes, movie theaters, ballparks and other venues is that it would create two classes of Americans – those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.


That is correct. Once cost-free coronavirus vaccinations have been available to all Americans over age 16 for several months, there will indeed be two classes in this country: Those who took advantage of the chance to free themselves from the tyranny of COVID-19 and those who declined that offer, endorsed by President Joe Biden, ex-President Donald Trump and every sane politician in between.


        And yet… there’s Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who provided easy access to vaccinations early on to the wealthiest parts of his state while making it far more difficult for those in poorer and more vulnerable populations. Sometimes within the same counties.


        DeSantis, who hopes to run for president in 2024 if something -- anything -- prevents Trump from trying again, issued an executive order the other day barring Florida businesses from requiring documentation of coronavirus vaccination before admitting or serving any patrons.


        Because his state required no anti-Covid tactics of anyone at the time -- no masking, no social distancing, nothing at all -- this was an invitation for the unvaccinated to mingle closely among themselves and with those who have some protection. It’s no wonder Covid cases are up considerably in Florida since the DeSantis order.


        Yes, there is at least one other potential problem with the notion of a vaccination passport. Almost everyone who has been jabbed at least once received a wallet-sized card designed by the federal Centers for Disease Control, with the date and type of vaccine administered spelled out. The card also has blanks for information on follow-up shots and future boosters, if they should materialize.


        Forensic experts say it’s easy to forge copies of this and to write in fake information. One response to this problem would be digitally-stored information that could be carried on smartphones. But electronic confirmation of vaccinations has so far gone out routinely only to those who received shots at mass vaccination centers run by some counties. That leaves millions of the vaccinated out, meaning that the CDC cards right now are the best documentation available, even if those can be falsified.


        And yet…the CDC has said frequently and authoritatively that the vaccinated can safely mingle together maskless. Its experts also say the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines assure those who get them that even if they are among the small minority who nevertheless contract Covid, they won’t get a serious case. Once vaccinated, that means, death is no longer a threat from this virus. So there is no need for any more fear among the vaccinated than the general population felt in pre-pandemic days.


        In turn, that means vaccination really has created two classes of Americans: Those who take advantage of an opportunity to win back freedoms they lost for more than a year of Covid restrictions and those who believe old wives’ tales about vaccines causing autism or even that they make recipients into Bill Gates clones, plus a lot of other claptrap.


        It’s hard to understand, what with Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell both endorsing vaccinations, why half of all Republicans consistently tell pollsters they intend not to get vaccinated. It’s a free country, so of course that’s their choice. But it should also be the choice of businesses and others not to serve or admit folks who make that decision, since they can endanger people who can’t get the shots for legitimate medical reasons.


        Then there’s the notion that an electronic vaccination passport would infringe on privacy. It would, but only so far as it would contain information about whether a person was vaccinated, when and where. No one has proposed that any such document, physical or digital, contain any more information. How is anyone damaged by that information being known, any more than they suffer when ordinary identification contains age, residence and citizenship information?



        So let’s get on with vaccination passports as soon as possible, so most of us can get on with everything else with a minimum of fear,   


Elias is author of the current book “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government's Campaign to Squelch It,” now available in an updated third edition. His email address is






        Rarely has the “big lie” technique been used against an American state as effectively and persistently as with the myth of a great and unique California exodus over the last few years.


        The Economist, a London-based magazine whose reportage on California almost always contains errors, reported last fall that California lost population between 2018 and 2019. False. The recently departed president, who detested California for its solid and repeated vote margins against him, tweeted disparagingly about California more than 600 times over his four-year term, most of his “information” false. Even the Los Angeles Times titled a recent story “California in the rearview mirror.”


        It’s part of a pattern reminiscent of the “big lie” technique outlined in the 1930s by Nazi German propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, who observed that “The bigger the lie and the louder and more often it is told, the more people will believe it.”



But lies only survive until facts emerge. And the facts don’t support the myth of a great California exodus. One magazine reported last fall that California lost more than 3 percent of its populace to other states over the last year. Not so. In fact, about 175,000 California residents moved to other states in 2020. That’s about four-tenths of one percent.


The departures were more than made up for in new births and legal foreign immigration, which created a 21,200 person population increase from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020, reports the state Department of Finance.


One reason the population increase wasn’t much: the coronavirus pandemic, which caused job losses pretty much preventing anyone who moved here from finding employment. So in-migration from other states all but stopped and will not fully resume until the plague fully ends, or at least until enough folks are vaccinated to end the deadly threat of the virus.


        Then there’s the notion that net out-migration to other states never before matched the numbers of the last decade. Not so. The non-partisan state Legislative Analyst’s office (LAO) issued charts in 2018 showing domestic outmigration in the 1990-’95 period far exceeded anything in the last five years. In 1993 alone, about 600,000 persons left California, while only about 300,00 came here. The difference was vastly exceeded by the foreign immigration tide of that time, giving California substantial net growth.


        Take a look at who has been most active in perpetrating the ongoing big lie about California. Business relocation agents were the first to promote it, writing op-ed after op-ed about the “vast advantages” for businesses that move elsewhere. A Texas state agency has also produced numerous commentaries touting that state’s tax breaks for incoming businesses, which famously induced the likes of Oracle Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (cq) to move headquarters there from Silicon Valley. The last previous move of similar magnitude involved Toyota Motor Corp.’s American headquarters, which in 2014 went from the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance to Plano, Tex., near Dallas.


        Then there’s the L.A.Times narrative, which depicted numerous recent California arrivals unable to afford comfortable housing here and leaving for cheaper hunting grounds. That’s partially correct, and is largely because even as rents dropped over the last year in California’s big cities during the pandemic, with white collar employees shifting to working at home, rents and home prices in exurbs of Los Angeles and San Francisco rose steeply.


        In fact, statewide average real estate prices gained about 8 percent over the last year, at the same time governments were impelling the creation of thousands of “affordable” apartments, condominiums and single-family homes.


        Yes, California has problems, including often-clumsy government (recent example: the slow start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout) and high income taxes (often made up for by lower-than-average property taxes). But that has not stopped start-up companies from proliferating, nor does it lessen the state’s attraction for higher-income, better educated workers. The LAO charts demonstrated that California has actually gained ground over most other states in those categories in the last decade.


        So not to worry too much, Californians. This state has a long history of solving its problems and chances are it will again as new Googles and Facebooks and Hulus and eBays keep arising.


    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

Monday, April 5, 2021






        After a two-year battle, California now has a model ethnic studies curriculum for its elementary and high schools.


        But no one knows how many schools will actually use the 700-plus page study plan, as there is no state mandate forcing anyone graduating from high school to pass such a course.


        That’s because Gov. Gavin Newsom unexpectedly vetoed AB 331 last fall, killing a bill to impose just such a requirement even though he okayed a similar condition for graduation from California State University campuses.


        Newsom explained that he didn’t sign the bill because conflicts over the K-12 ethnic studies program were still playing out. But the plan was okayed unanimously last month by the state Board of Education. Yet, the controversies it spurred remain strong.



        All this means the battle now shifts from the state level to local school boards, which will decide what parts of the model curriculum to use, what to ignore and what to leave up to individual teachers.


        This is not a new fight. Even as the curriculum underwent revisions over the last year, school boards in places like Albany and Alhambra, San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward endorsed it sight unseen. They did this at the urging of advocates of a school of academic thought known as “critical ethnic studies” and the organization that pushes it, the Critical Ethnic Studies (CES) Association.


        Several websites describe the central question guiding CES as “How do the histories of colonialism and conquest, racial chattel slavery and white supremacist patriarchies…affect, inspire and unsettle scholarship...”


        In brief, CES believes African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian American/Pacific Islander Americans have always been downtrodden in America.


        Its advocates contend – and got this view enshrined in the new curriculum – that pale-skinned immigrant groups gave up all or most of their prior identities when they arrived in America, eagerly assuming a position of “white privilege.”


        This contention persists even though the new curriculum has sections on the difficulties encountered by immigrant Irish, Sikhs and Jews, among others.


        It’s also a bunch of hooey, say leaders of some of those groups.


        One is Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative that tracks campus anti-Semitism. “The curriculum…has a politically- and activist-driven mission that will incite hate and division and is dangerous for all high school students,” she said. “Profoundly disturbing is the portrayal of Jews…as white and privileged at a time when anti-Jewish sentiment, hostility and violence has reached alarming levels. Indoctrinating students to view Jews (that way puts) an even larger target on the back of every Jewish student.”


        It’s the same for Irish and Armenians, who are declared privileged despite decades of discrimination extending to property codicils that until recently often forbade sales to them and some other groups.


        While scores of university scholars, religious leaders and other nationally recognized experts opposed much of the new curriculum, no one knows who might get involved in the local battles now that this plan is official state policy.


        When CES activists began approaching school boards last spring, they met little or no organized opposition. So several districts endorsed and a few actually began teaching units from the then-draft curriculum about figures like self-described “lifetime Communist” Angela Davis, former Black Panther leader Bobby Seale and other violent, divisive figures.


        In one of the few places that saw substantial expert opposition to this campaign, the Vallejo school board rejected the curriculum after Robert Lawson, a school board member and former history teacher, said “People shouldn’t be fooled that ethnic studies are mainly to instill pride in one’s heritage. It’s a means of getting even.”


        The bottom line is that the curriculum is little better than what was roundly rejected as hate-inducing in 2019. But it did attain the level of accuracy and balance needed to get the state school board’s support.


        That means this material ought to be viewed as merely a bunch of suggestions, not a blueprint, when local schools plan approaches to ethnic studies. It also means Newsom – or his recall-induced successor, if there is one – would be wise to veto any new bill establishing a high school ethnic studies mandate if one should reach his desk later this year.

    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit








        California spent most of the last four years as a target, the object of continual presidential resentment from Donald Trump because he lost here in 2016 by almost a 62-38 margin, the state’s differential providing all 3 million votes by which Hillary Clinton defeated him in the popular vote that fall.


        But with the end of successor Joseph Biden’s first 100 days in office drawing near, things look very different for California today.


First, a look back at California’s background with Trump.


The popular vote numbers against Trump were somewhat higher last fall than in 2016, but the percentage was virtually the same, this time slightly more than 64-34 percent, suggesting few minds changed over four years.


        Trump took out his resentment in myriad ways, refusing to come here for almost anything but visits to his vaunted border wall and a couple of fund raising dinners. More substantially, his presidency meant less money for California schools than before, and less funding for police, highways, parks and almost anything else the federal government helps pay for.


        When it came to new federal projects and climate change measures, forget about it. As for top appointments, almost no one from California except big donors to Trump campaigns got any. The big exception was Stephen Miller, the only close advisor who was not family that lasted the length of Trump’s term.


        Miller, a Santa Monica High School graduate whose family suffered financial losses during his youth that forced a move from the most affluent part of his hometown to a lesser area, became the ideologue behind Trump’s extreme hard line policies on immigration.


        With Biden’s accession – something Trump fought to stop right up to inauguration day – things quickly turned around for California.


        Start with the vaccination program against the COVID-19 plague. Under Trump, there was virtually no program. Some health care workers managed to get inoculated before Biden took over, but there were no mass vaccination sites, small supplies for hospitals and health systems and tiny numbers of people getting the shots.


        Within less than a month after Biden’s arrival, California had dozens of large-scale vaccine centers, and six weeks into his term, about one-third of Californians (13.5 million) had been jabbed. There was some confusion, but except for weather-caused shipping problems, there have been no supply shortages or vaccination stoppages. With the advent of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson version of the vaccine, the rollout gained speed and hurtled toward herd immunity, slowed only by a chemical mixup in one J&J plant in Baltimore.


        Biden aimed for 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days, but the campaign far exceeded what at first seemed an impossible goal.


        California also ceased to be the center of resistance to federal policy, that role shifting to states like Texas and Arizona, run by conservative Republicans.


        Instead, Californians – none part of the Biden family – moved into one top policy-making role after another. UC Berkeley Prof. Janet Yellen became Treasury secretary, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra became head of Health and Human Services, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm – a Berkeley professor most of the time since she left office in 2011 – is Energy secretary. Many more Californians got sub-cabinet jobs.


        For California, this means treatment as a most-favored state rather than the least favored. It means California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s new bill to permanently ban offshore oil drilling along the West Coast – a direct descendant of the anti-drilling movement that began with the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1968 – stands a good chance.


        Plus, Biden ordered a moratorium for new oil drilling from federal land and waters within less than a week of taking office.


        Biden’s arrival also means the million or so Dreamers whose status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by ex-President Barack Obama and targeted by Trump, now breathe easier. Immigration raids and deportations of the undocumented, some of whom have lived and worked here for decades, are much reduced and targeted more to known criminals than others.


        It leaves California’s universal mail balloting unmolested by federal interference.


        For California, then, Biden has meant the last election had consequences that figure to increase every day.




    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit