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Debunking Myths about Proposition 2

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

With the election heading to the home stretch, this is the last chance to debunk some of the myths about Proposition 2.

Proposition 2 will hurt local school districts.” School business officials and a parents organization claim that Proposition 2 will trigger a statute passed this year that would unreasonably limit school district reserves.

First, since the limit was on reserves was passed as a statute, it can be easily changed if it’s found unworkable. Second, the statute will only take effect in any year the state makes a deposit into the education reserve, which itself would be used to protect school budgets rom falling state revenues. No deposits would be made into this state reserve unless and until statewide school finances are fully funded and all school debts are repaid. Only then would the limits on local reserves go into effect. In other words, the limit on reserves would take effect during circumstances when the reserves are needed least.

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Assembly District 16: Weird & Whacky Antics Put Bay Area Seat in Play

Judy Lloyd
President of Altamont Strategies

A very wise political consultant once told me that the last 7 days of a close campaign weren’t the ones to watch – they were the ones to watch out for. It’s that magical time when your opponent hurls lies about you in the mail.

It’s getting pretty whacky in Assembly District 16 where Republican Catharine Baker is turning up the heat against her Democrat opponent Tim Sbranti.

Most pundits believe that the seat currently occupied by Democrat Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan would be in solid Democrat hands. Democrats hold a registration advantage of 39.42% to 32% over Republicans, with Decline-to-State voters at 22.15%, according to the latest figures.

In what’s expected to be a low-turnout, lackluster election cycle, the race showcases one of the great business vs. union battles of the 2014 cycle. Some polls show the race tied.

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What Out of Control Spending Are You Talking About, Gov. Brown?

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)

What on earth are you talking about, Governor Brown?

In your ad for Jose Solorio, who is running for a state senate seat crucial to hopes of a Democratic supermajority, you say that Solorio “was one of my closest allies in stopping the out-of-control spending” (italics mine).

What out-of-control spending is that?

The claim is bizarre. California is distinguished by all the special controls – initiatives, formulas, constitutional provisions – on spending and budgets. We have by any measure too many controls on spending. And as a matter of numbers, we’re still in a period of austerity. Indeed, Gov. Brown has increased spending from that of his predecessor (the biggest recent declines in spending came in Gov. Schwarzenegger’s last two years in office, when the recession hit) – but he remains cheap, which he sees as a virtue (even though it’s a vice).

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Dear Gov. Brown . . . Letter from an Old Lawyer

David S. White
Principal of the Law Firm of David S. White & Associates, West Los Angeles, specializing in litigation, arbitration and mediation of real-estate-related disputes and litigation since 1977;

“I submit to you, in the most diverse state in the Union, that a penny on the dollar is insufficient to provide justice.” California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Dear Governor Brown,

Forgive me for feeling like I know you, when I really don’t.  You see, I have been practicing law in Los Angeles ever since 1977, when I received my law degree (J.D.) at UC Davis (Martin Luther King Hall School of Law).  That diploma has been hanging on my office wall in a, now nicely aged, wood frame, bearing your signature, back from when you were Governor the first go ‘round, in the 1970’s.  It is the one on the bottom, top left of four: “Edmund G. Brown, Jr.,” signing as both Governor and Top Dog at the UC Regents, to boot. Your very nicely inscribed signature has looked down on my whole law career from my office wall(s), which is why I feel I know you.

I signed up for Medicare a couple of weeks back, the week I paid my taxes on extension – death and taxes, not a cheery week – and you are still Governor, but we are both much older now.  I am now officially old enough to “tell truth to power,” so kindly forgive my candor, one of the rare benefits of reaching one’s Golden Years. 

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Jerry Brown Poised For Victory After Ho-Hum Election Campaign

Richard Rubin
Writes about political issues and is President of a public affairs management firm

Here’s the big news on the run-up to the November election now only days away. There will be no big news!

The marquee race—the one for governor — has been a one-person contest from start to finish and, barring unforeseen events the outcome is predictable.

The GOP candidate, Neel Kashkari, has been so badly out-matched that he apparently thinks the best gambit to keep Jerry Brown voters away from the polls is by challenging the excitement value of the two state Propositions for which the governor has been vigorously campaigning. These are Prop 1, the $7.5 billion water bond infrastructure issue, and Prop 2, which would create a rainy day reserve fund.

Brown has seen no need to re-introduce himself to an electorate that is mostly happy with his performance. Instead he has put his energies into promoting both Propositions which are acting as surrogates for what has been a near-invisible candidate.

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Need A Sure Sign Democrats Are In Trouble? Bill Clinton Is In California

Tom Del Beccaro
Former Chairman of the California Republican Party

The signs of a wave election abound for Republicans. Recent polling even shows that Millennials and women voters favor Republicans in 2014. Obama’s disappearance from the campaign trail is another sign. So too is Bill Clinton’s appearance in California just one week before the election.

Ideally, far ahead of an election, a political party shores up its political base. Months before, a party seeks votes among the undeclared or the independent – and as the election cycle closes, it seeks to expand the playing field and win elections in places the other party thought secure.

In 2014, that formula obviously resembles the Republican Party more than the Democratic Party. For many months, polling has shown that Republican voters were far more enthusiastic about voting in the 2014 midterms than Democrats. That was a sure sign the Republican Party base was more secure than the Democrat base.

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Campaign 2014: Weekly Update, What’s Hot

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

Entering the last week of Campaign 2014, I am posting my last weekly piece updating readers on the week’s latest campaign news. This is an abbreviated version of the Hot Sheet, which is regularly emailed to subscribers of the California Target Book.

Clinton to campaign in key House races: Some of the hottest House races in the nation are here in California and former President Bill Clinton is in California today to headline a rally for Rep. Ami Bera (CD7) and John Garamendi (CD3) at UC Davis and for Reps. Julia Brownley  (CD26) and Raul Ruiz (CD36) and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (CD31 Open Seat) at Oxnard College.

CD21 (R-Valadao) Polls Shows Valadao Leads by 5 points: This is a highly competitive district in the southwestern portion of the San Joaquin Valley. A poll taken for a local Fresno TV station by SurveyUSA from Oct. 15 through Oct. 20, show GOP Rep. David Valadao leading her Democratic opponent Amanda Renteria 47% to 42%, with 11% undecided. Compared to a SurveyUSA tracking poll released six weeks ago, Renteria has surged among women. Back then, she trailed Valadao among women by 14 points. Today, she leads among women by 12, and 26-point turn-around. Valadao had lead by 25 points among men, now leads by 22. Latino voters, who are the largest ethnic group in the district with 54 percent of registered voters, back Renteria 51% to 35%.

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Politics Present and Past

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

On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to listen to someone running for statewide office in California today and a short time later spend time with someone who helped many candidates run for office decades ago, including one who won the highest office in the land. Ashley Swearengin is running for controller; Stu Spencer was the campaign manager who helped put Ronald Reagan in the White House.

Ashley Swearengin, mayor of Fresno and Republican candidate for state controller, told a Town Hall of Los Angeles meeting that her run for office was to challenge the status quo. She praised recent budgets in Sacramento to right the ship but said the current fiscal fix will not be sustainable.

The budget’s long-term problems, she said, are because of the state’s indebtedness and unfunded liabilities. As controller, Swearengin promised to create a comprehensive list of those debts and liabilities and make them transparent for all to see.

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The California Conundrum

Carson Bruno
Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution

The original unabridged version of this analysis can be found on the Hoover Institution’s online journal, Defining Ideas. To view the survey, please see Hoover’s California blog, Eureka.

Jerry Brown is going to win on November 4. Based on the Hoover Institution’s recently released October 2014 Golden State Poll, Brown has a 17 point advantage over his Republican challenger, Businessman Neel Kashkari, among self-reported registered voters. But Brown can’t credit a so-called “California comeback” for his pending victory. Indeed, any sort of true economic comeback remains elusive.

As of September 2014, California’s unemployment rate is 1.4 points above the national rate and has the distinction of being the fourth worse rate in the nation. Even more troubling, California’s average four-year real GDP growth of 1.8% is about half the rate the state experienced coming out of the dot-com-bust recession. This has led to California’s job market underperforming by about 1 million jobs and the state still burdened with roughly 311,000 more people unemployed than at the start of recession. California requires more aggressive growth rates than was previously acceptable to boost its labor market adequately. Any one of these statistics alone should be troubling for an incumbent Governor heading into Election Day.

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CA Business Climate Improves in One Ranking; Business Taxes Rank Near the Top in Another Listing

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

California business climate improved 15 places from 47th to 32nd place according to a ranking produced by CNBC business channel. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) circulated the ranking which shows California is still 50th in the cost of doing business and 48th in business friendliness but leads the nation in Technology & Innovation and is tied for first in access to capital. The state’s economy ranked ninth among the states.

The California profile from CNBC is appears below.

Meanwhile, the Tax Foundation came out with it’s annual ranking of state tax climates and California ranks 48th. Only New York and New Jersey rank behind California.

California is 50th with the highest individual income tax, 34th in corporate tax and 42nd in sales tax. What probably keeps California from dropping to last place on the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate Index is Proposition 13’s check on property taxes. California’s property taxes are ranked 14th among the states.

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