Will Gov. Campaign for Measure that Sealed Cap-n-Trade Deal?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

A major concession Governor Jerry Brown made to secure Republican votes for his cap-and-trade extension was to allow a constitutional amendment to move forward that gives Republicans a chance to influence spending of cap-and-trade money one time in 2024. But that doesn’t mean Brown will campaign to pass the amendment.

Republicans insisted that the provision changing the voting rules on the cap-and-trade money be put in the constitution to avoid any shenanigans from the majority Democrats. The move doesn’t necessarily clear the path of mischief from the Democrats. There is a question if the two-thirds vote must apply to all the cap-and-trade spending or just a portion.

At least seven years away, the focus of what Republicans will do with the power (assuming the legislature is not even more Democratic than it is now) is on Brown’s pet project, the bullet train. The high-speed-rail already receives major funding from cap-and-trade revenue. An opportunity to turn off the funding spigot might be tempting to Republicans.

Read comments Read more

Has the California GOP Become Too Liberal? 

David Kersten
Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

With much attention given in recent months to divisions in the California Democratic Party, it was not until the passage of the Governor’s cap-and-trade legislation that significant divisions became apparent in the California GOP.

Furthermore, a total of eight California Republicans, including Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, defied the national party in supporting Governor Jerry Brown’s landmark climate change regulation.

Bay Area News Group report described it as: “An almost surreal 2017 political scene was on display Monday [July 17, 2017] in Sacramento: Republicans and Democrats, including Gov. Jerry Brown, standing on a stage together at a late-night news conference—celebrating a climate-change policy victory.”

California Democrats hold a 2/3 “supermajority” in each house, but needed Republican support in the absence of at least one Democratic lawmaker and expected “no” votes by a handful of other Democrats.

Read comments Read more

The right Rx for California’s housing problems

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Christopher Thornberg’s “Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!”, which recently appeared on these pages, is just what California’s housing markets need.  Hail to this Beacon Economics PhD!  Want more housing? as Thronberg asks:  Stop messing with markets!

Thornberg’s piece, which can be found by clicking on the following link, should be required reading for all 120 legislators at the state Capitol who have the power to make housing laws.  Lawmakers – particularly those on the left – are inclined to prescribe more government involvement to compensate for the lack of housing production for low-income people.  What they don’t realize – or refuse to – is how disruptive that is to California markets.

Here’s Thornberg’s assessment:

It is true that what does get built in this [state] tends to be for higher income households.  But this is a natural outcome of the barriers to entry that afflict the system.  When supply is artificially limited, what does get produced is going to be concentrated in the highest margin portions of the market.  If supply were less restricted and fixed costs reduced, there would be a natural movement towards lower income families.  [And], in Los Angeles the overall lack of supply keeps middle income families in housing that would otherwise be available for lower income families.

Read comments Read more

Is CA an incubator — or a bubble?

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)

California, do you want to be an incubator for great ideas—or a bubble that shuts out the world?

That’s the question Californians need to ask, as we simultaneously confront three big challenges: building a more sustainable economy and future; reckoning with our crisis-level shortages in housing and infrastructure; and protecting ourselves from a deranged Trump administration.

The bubble-or-incubator question is also the best way to understand the many hot fights being waged in the state legislature during this muggy Sacramento summer.

The recently concluded debate over legislation to extend California’s cap-and-trade system on greenhouses gases was a classic incubator-or-bubble question. Can our pollution market be an incubator that the rest of the world can adopt, as Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislation’s backers argued? Or is the Golden State pursuing a lonely and foolish one-state war on climate change that will land us in a bubble of costly climate regulations that destroy our economic competitiveness?

Read comments Read more

Will California politicians really address housing crisis or settle for tokenism?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Having checked gas taxes and cap-and-trade off their 2017 agenda, California political leaders will turn to the state’s housing crisis after a month-long midsummer vacation.

It’s high time, because California is building barely enough new housing to handle current population growth and making no dent in a years-long backlog.

Between 2003 and 2014, California built just 47 percent of what it needed, according to state housing officials, with construction dipping at one point during the Great Recession to a sixth of pre-recession levels. Although the economy has fully recovered, homebuilding has increased to just half of its pre-recession high.

Read comments Read more

Could We Have Four Parties By 2020?

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)

The only thing nastier than the Democrat-Republican partisan battles are the battles inside the parties.

Among Democrats, Sanderistas are attacking more moderate Obama Democrats. Among Republicans, Trumpian nationalists are seeking to bully traditional conservatives and moderates.

The ferocity of the fighting is striking. Each side sees the other as scary and/or corrupt. Voices suggest we can’t live without the party. There’s talk of making the party narrower and purer.

This is the sort of situation that causes parties to split.

It might sound strange to American ears –we’ve had two major political parties for much of our history. But a split of both parties – from 2 parties into 4 – wouldn’t be a surprise.

Read comments Read more

How About Naming Rights For the State Capitol Building?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

For $12 million a year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to offer naming rights to the field within Dodger Stadium on which the ball club plays. If that helps the Dodgers meet its budget obligations, perhaps the state should adopt a similar plan. Wonder how much the state could get for naming rights for parks, harbors, or buildings?

People might object to Del Notre Coast Redwoods State Park brought to you by the Pacific Lumber Company or Sonoma Coast State Park presented by Chicken of the Sea.

But rich California companies that want to be associated with classics of nature and contribute to the state budget’s bottom line might be persuaded. Google Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a mouthful but could bring in big bucks to fill some budget needs without the current go-to method of raising taxes.

Read comments Read more

Is Cap-and-Trade Really a Free Market Solution to Climate Change?

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

The mood was reportedly celebratory on the evening of July 17 after legislators approved a decade-long extension of the state’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program. But that’s not to say everyone was happy, or should be.

Assembly Bill 398 will continue the current cap-and-trade system through 2030. It places a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and allows emitters to buy allowances that permit them to release a set amount of emissions. It narrowly passed in the Assembly 55-21 with the help of seven Republican votes, and in the Senate by a single vote 28-12, needing an assist from a single GOP senator.

But some Republicans are refusing, as they should, to surrender the hard line. Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel said that “the world’s elites will applaud what California did . . . but it will be hardworking Californians who will pay the price.”  Her statement might sound like the heated response of someone who just lost a tough legislative battle, but her point can’t be ignored.

Read comments Read more

Prior Legislative Efforts on Banning or Restricting Arbitration That Have Been Vetoed

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

With pending legislation this Session that attempts to limit the use of arbitration in civil litigation, including SB 33 (Dodd) and SB 238 (Monning), there are at least five instances in which prior efforts results in a veto, including the following ones from three separate governors:

2000 – SB 1570 (Dunn) – Gov. Davis vetoed

The bill would have required an arbitration or mediation agreement in a mobile home tenancy contract to be set forth in a separate document from the rental agreement and would have prohibited management from conditioning the tenancy of a homeowner on accepting or signing an arbitration or mediation agreement. Gov. Davis in his veto message said: “I believe that mediation and arbitration clauses serve a vital purpose in that alternative dispute resolution is an efficient and effective forum for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. Civil litigation is a more costly means of dispute resolution in a court system plagued by case backlogs.”

Read comments Read more

Democrats hurt by gerrymandered congressional districts, but not in California

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Belatedly – and only after they had lost control of Congress to Republicans – the national Democratic Party grasped the impact of how state legislatures redraw congressional districts after each decennial census.

A consortium of Republican and conservative interest groups had methodically set out to capture state legislatures and governorships in anticipation of redistricting after the 2010 census.

It was very successful, especially in Midwestern and Southern states, and the 2011 round of redistricting bolstered the GOP’s control of the House of Representatives it had won in 2010.

With the next round of redistricting only a few years away, Democrats are fighting back, mostly in the courts, and trying to undo some of those gerrymanders, with uncertain outcomes.

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.