California Political Watchdog Dan Walters Will Discuss Trump and Transportation at UC Riverside

Walters, who has spent 57 years as a journalist, knows the most pressing issues facing California

State Capitol building

The state capitol building in Sacramento.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — After watching California’s politicians for nearly 57 years, acclaimed political journalist Dan Walters isn’t slowing down.

Walters, a Sacramento-based columnist, is scheduled to speak at the University of California, Riverside on Oct. 26 as part of the Randall Lewis Seminar Series, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development under the School of Public Policy. Walters, 74, will talk about the most pressing issues of our time, including California’s resistance to President Trump and the infrastructure problems facing the state.

Walters, who retired from The Sacramento Bee in June after a 33-year run at the storied newspaper, has continued to write a column on state politics for the online journalism venture, CALMatters.

In an interview, Walters said he would speak about the policy issues that some politicians are neglecting, in the face of “sexier” endeavors like “posturing before cameras about how tough they are on Donald Trump.”

“Californians drive 330 billion miles a year. That’s 900 million miles a day,” Walters said. “That beats up the roads. That just beats the hell out of them.”

He added that it is was time for policymakers to pay attention to the state’s aging infrastructure, which could lead to a crippling effect on other parts of the economy.

“We’ve been coasting on the infrastructure that was done in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Walters said.

Walters pointed to overcrowding at the state’s public universities as a troubling sign, especially in light of new developments in the economy that now require workers to receive more education. “The ramifications go beyond infrastructure,” he said.

Walters began his professional career in 1960 at the Humboldt Times in Eureka, when he was still attending high school. He joined the Sacramento Union in 1975, just as Jerry Brown started his first term as governor. In 1981, he began writing a daily newspaper column on California’s political, economic, and social events. Four years later, he moved the column to the state capital’s other daily newspaper, The Sacramento Bee.

Walters offered one piece of advice for California’s political elite: don’t get so pre-occupied with resisting Trump that you ignore the issues connected to the state.

“Most of these issues have nothing to do with Trump,” Walters said. “I’m not sure Washington is paying much attention to the jumping-up-and-down.”

Walters’ lecture will be held Oct. 26 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the CE-CERT building: 1084 Columbia Ave. in Riverside. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to cssd-walters.eventbrite.com.

The Randall Lewis Seminar Series is funded by Randall Lewis, executive vice president of Upland-based Lewis Operating Cos. The seminars focus on a wide range of regional sustainability topics such as infrastructure planning, affordable housing and the fiscal health of cities.

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E-mail: rchang@ucr.edu

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