GOP a Player Again in Special Sessions

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Jerry Brown made the Republican legislators relevant again. Brown’s call for special sessions for transportation and Medi-Cal funding invariably brings talk about possible tax increases. With a two-thirds vote needed to raise taxes, and the Democratic majority shy of the super two-thirds mark, Republicans must be part of the conversation.

Despite their best efforts offering innovative approaches to some of California’s difficult problems during the legislative session, the Democrats on major bills and the budget that needed simple majority approval mostly have sidelined Republicans. But that will not be the case when revenue solutions are sought and debated during the special sessions.

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Do All Californians Need to Take an Oath Before They Vote on Ballot Initiatives?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

It’s a fair question. Indeed, it’s a question raised this week by none other than the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts.

Roberts was writing in dissent to the court’s 5-4 decision that the redistricting commission in Arizona (and presumably a similar commission in California) was constitutional. The case turned on what the U.S. constitution means when it says that state legislatures should draw Congressional districts.

The redistricting commissions aren’t legislatures, but the Supreme Court majority found that the voters who established those commissions by ballot initiative were also part of the state legislature. In other words, voters on initiatives are part of the State Legislature.

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Who Should Immigration Be Helping?

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Recent revelations about the firing of American tech workers and their replacement by temporary visa holders reveal, in the starkest way, why many Americans are wary of the impact of untrammeled immigration. Workers in American companies have been removed from their jobs not because they could not perform them, but because their replacements, largely from India, are simply cheaper and, likely, more malleable.

The H-1B temporary visa program was purportedly designed to help tech firms hire specialized talent to fill needs not adequately addressed by the U.S. labor market. But what it has really become is a way to lay off workers for cheaper ones.

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California’s Growing Publishing Industry

Donna Levin
California novelist and author of California Street (Simon & Schuster)

Is the printed word becoming as old-fashioned a way to tell stories as carving figures into totem poles?

If you attended the American Library Association Convention at Moscone Center last week you would know that books are not only alive and well, but beloved my many, including the over 22,000 librarians, library workers and library supporters who attended.

In the vast exhibition hall, the large New York publishers had their booths: Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hyperion, W.W. Norton, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins. So also though were hundreds of other specialty publishers—publishers specializing in photography, or medieval history, or children’s literature, or poetry, or the old West.

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Happy 4th of July!

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors
 

In celebration of the Independence Day, F&H will not publish today. Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July holiday everyone.

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Will Union Members Stay if Friedrichs Wins Case against CTA?

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

The United States Supreme Court announcement that it will consider the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case next fall produced handwringing and dire predictions that this could result in the end of public unions. Those who make those statements must think that the public unions are not offering representation that their members want. If the court sides with teacher Rebecca Friedrichs who opposes mandatory union dues, mandatory dues would end but voluntary union dues can continue. If the union does what the members want they will continue to get support.

David Savage’s article in the Los Angeles Times, which covers the circumstances around the case well, quotes Friedrichs, “I don’t have a voice or vote in the union, and I’m opposed to forced fees and forced unionism.”

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Justice Scalia Is Right. California Isn’t the Real West 

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on the wrong side of most Californians, and history, in his cranky dissent to last week’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation.

But, much as we might hate to admit it, Scalia was right when, in the same dissent, he argued that California isn’t part of the American West. And in so doing, he raised—almost certainly unwittingly—an important question about California’s future.

Scalia made his point via a swipe at his colleagues for being unrepresentative of the United States as a whole (and thus being foolish to impose their views on marriage equality on the entire country). After noting that all nine justices attended Harvard or Yale law schools and that only one grew up in the Midwest, he wrote: “Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner.” But what about Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is from Sacramento? Scalia’s answer came parenthetically in the next line: “California does not count.”

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On July 4th, Declare Your Independence From Shakedown Lawsuits

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

When we gather with friends and family this July 4th, it is the perfect time to reflect on some of the things that make our country great – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights provide a solid foundation for our roles as citizens, but unfortunately, our founding fathers were a bit vague in the area of personal responsibility.

Maybe they assumed we all had common sense and a feeling of accountability for our actions. However, it seems like we could have used some guidance in these areas. All too frequently, we see people – urged on by lawyers seeking to profit from the abuse of our lawsuit system – forsake their own responsibility and head straight the courts when they believe there is money to be made. This even happens in cases where no one has been truly injured.

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Californians Deserve the Right to Re-Vote on High-Speed Rail 

Senator Andy Vidak
California State Senate, 14th District -- representing Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties

During an extraordinary session of the Legislature on transportation and infrastructure issues, I introduced bipartisan legislation along with  Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) to allow Californians to vote again on the controversial High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

The High-Speed Rail of today is not what the voters approved in 2008.  Californians deserve the right to re-vote on this massive transportation project that could end up costing hundreds of billions of dollars if it is ever completed.  The money would be better spent on local roads and highways.

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GO-Biz Launches New California Business Portal

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors
 

(Editor’s Note: The following release from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) offers information important to small businesses and entrepreneurs.)

As part of an ongoing effort to provide more on-line tools to businesses, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced the launch of the California Business Portal, a one-stop-shop website for business owners looking for information and assistance. (www.BusinessPortal.ca.gov)

“The California Business Portal is a response to the needs of the business community and their request for better on-line tools,” said GO-Biz Chief Deputy Director Panorea Avdis. “California business owners now have a resource to make it easier to do business in the state and GO-Biz will continually update the portal to ensure it keeps up with the demands of business owners and entrepreneurs.”

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