William Bradley

William Bradley, a California-based political analyst, has served as a
senior advisor to Democratic presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, a
chief consultant to state legislative committees, and a Los Angeles energy

Recent Articles

Cattle Call

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- As the imminence of war in Iraq has increased -- and even as American public opinion has become more supportive of that war -- opposition emerged as the central theme of a California Democratic Party convention last weekend that was visited by a half-dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls. In the first major campaign "cattle call" outside Washington, the opponents of war with Iraq, most notably former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), were rapturously received. The supporters of war, widely regarded as the leading candidates in the nascent campaign, were not. California draws significant attention from presidential candidates not only because of its role as a national political ATM and its standing as the source of one-fifth of the electoral votes needed to win the White House, but also because next year's primary calendar may make it the biggest prize of the primary season's Super Tuesday. The earliest engagements -- in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere...

The Left Coast Goes Lefter

California Gov. Gray Davis' signature on legislation that would bring far more power to the state's legendary farmworker union has capped and brought into focus a stunning year of progressive accomplishment in the Golden State. Together, a very liberal Legislature and a very calculating governor have enacted the most extensive renewable energy requirement in the country, the first law to fight global warming, the first law authorizing state funds for stem-cell research on fetal and embryonic tissue and the first comprehensive paid family-leave program. But nothing is more dramatic than the first major legislation in a quarter-century helping the farmworkers, who are not covered by national labor law. The irresistible force behind the farmworker bill caught Davis by surprise. In late summer, he was opposed to legislation that would mandate binding arbitration between farmworkers and growers when the growers refused to negotiate a contract. Then, on Aug. 15, the union set off from the...

Customized to California?

He's been called the harbinger of a "New Republicanism," a West Coast Michael Bloomberg who can customize the GOP for a Democratic California much as Bloomberg has for a Democratic New York. But for all the hype and hope that's been invested in Richard Riordan, the former Los Angeles mayor who's trying to eke out a victory in the March 5 Republican gubernatorial primary, his stumblebum campaign has revealed a candidate who has trouble defining himself, let alone redefining Republicanism. Consider, for instance, this tableau of Riordan in action. It's late January, on the last leg of Riordan's "Tough Enough to Turn California Around" two-day buscapade through Northern California and the Central Valley. The bus itself is stunning (once leased by Dennis Rodman, it comes complete with plush black-leather furnishings, black-marble flooring, and mirrored ceilings); but there's trouble in paradise. Riordan is reeling from news of a fresh wave of ads from Democratic Governor Gray Davis that...

Bingaman with a Plan

After two decades of drift and a year of crisis, the Democrats have finally proposed a serious, future-oriented energy policy. The Energy Policy Act of 2002 (Senate bill S1766), introduced by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, does not come a moment too soon: The lack of a coherent Democratic energy doctrine has played to the benefit of a particularly oil-intent Republican White House. Notably, House Democrats helped George W. Bush and Dick Cheney beat back amendments on auto fuel efficiency and Alaskan oil drilling last summer. Of the two parties' long-term energy strategies, Bill Wicker, communications director for the Senate Energy Committee, remarked at the time: "We agree on far more than we disagree." Bingaman's new bill doesn't exactly come out swinging, but it provides a welcome starting point for those who wish to reverse the trend of the last 20 years. Since the 1980s, massive public subsidies have poured into the fossil-fuel and nuclear industries...

Enron's End

The spectacular fall of the house of Enron would have been a huge news story were it not for the terror war. Just a few months ago, Enron Corp. ranked number seven on the Fortune 500. But in little more than 15 months, it managed to lose over 99 percent of its equity. As the nation's biggest electricity marketer in the late 1990s, the company led the way for the energy industry--taking advantage of deregulated markets, boldly forging ahead into new ventures around the globe, and impressing uncounted business commentators with its "innovation" and "brand-new thinking." Enron's vaunted CEO, Kenneth L. Lay, emerged as one of the principal backers of, and advisers to, George W. Bush. "Enron was the next big thing," says V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. "Like the dot-coms, it lived and died on that." But unlike dot-com companies that rose up and flamed out with little fanfare, Enron cut an enormous swath through the real...