Varying Poll Results on Death Penalty Leaves Unclear Picture

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

It was interesting to see opponents of the death penalty embrace the findings of a Pubic Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll soon after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on the death penalty but remain relatively silent on the much narrower results from a subsequent Quinnipiac University poll on the same subject.

When PPIC announced that likely voters backed life without parole over the death penalty by 58% to 38%, headlines trumpeted that Gov. Newsom had his finger on the pulse of California political sentiment.

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Where Fees on New Housing Go

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

If you’re a builder in California the most obvious costs you pay for a housing project’s approval are fees, development impact fees. These fees are purportedly assessed to cover the charges associated with the new housing being built. And, if you’re building anywhere near an urban area you’re paying a lot of them.

Indeed, the practice of charging fees has become the most insidious aspect of the local approval process, with excises from six to 18 percent of the home price.

To illustrate, fees in Carlsbad are about $120,000.  In Livermore, they are $128,000. A study recently completed by U.C. Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation had the City of Irvine charging just under $150,000 in fees, while Dublin eclipsed the mark.  The study found Fremont collects $157,000. The City of Sunnyvale, on top of countless other charges, has a “sense of place” fee.

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Study: Opportunity Zone-ready California could generate hundreds of millions in economic activity

Ed Coghlan
Contributing Editor & Special Correspondent, California Forward

More than three million Californians live in some 879 federally designated Opportunity Zones in disadvantaged communities throughout the state. California has more Opportunity Zones than any other state.

The federal Opportunity Zone incentive allows investors to defer federal taxation on capital gains by investing the proceeds through a qualified opportunity fund into a designated Opportunity Zone. To be eligible for the full benefit, investments must be long-term (at least 10 years) and meet a set of rules designed to ensure these investments create additional economic activity in Opportunity Zone communities.

To maximize the potential impact for Opportunity Zone residents, the state needs to pass legislation that will help communities become “Opportunity Zone Ready.”

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Law Enforcement Backs Down on Deadly Force Standard—For Now

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

The political landscape in California’s debate over how to curb police shootings shifted Tuesday as law enforcement groups agreed to drop the part of their bill that would lock in the current national standard for justifying the use of deadly force.

The move—intended to sustain negotiations on what could be a historic change in law enforcement—would link the police groups’ calls for stronger department policies and officer training to a rival bill that would encourage alternatives to lethal force by making it easier to prosecute police who kill.

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Judged by a Felon

Raul Riesgo
Public relations expert featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers.

There seems to be no end to California Democrats’ quest to upend our criminal justice system.

First it was letting prisoners out early, because the jails were overcrowded. Then it was reducing dozens of felonies to misdemeanors, reducing penalties for using guns to commit crime, and ending the bail system. Then Governor Gavin Newsom granted amnesty to 737 of California’s most vicious rapist, torturers and murderers. That was a doozy.

Now Democrat State Senator Nancy Skinner of Berkeley wants criminals convicted of serious felonies such as murder, rape, car-jacking, kidnapping, sexual offenses against a minor, hate crimes, and a host of other similarly serious crimes to be able to serve on a jury immediately upon release from jail or prison, even if they are still on parole or probation.

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Yosemite Claustrophobia

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 road to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park is closed to cars, and the shuttle bus wasn’t running. Would the Three Stooges—my sons, ages 10, 8 and 5—agree to a 2 ½ mile uphill hike to see Yosemite’s signature sequoias?

This month I made my first trip to Yosemite as a father, wondering if my city slicker boys—they like reading, coffee shops and riding the LA. Metro—could handle a visit to the Sierra wilderness

I shouldn’t have worried. Today’s Yosemite has been changed so much by record crowds, and the limits put in place to control those mobs, that it no longer feels like a place apartAs California has become the state with the highest urban population density in America, Yosemitewith its crowded main valleychoked trails, and tough traffic—fits right in.

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Bay Area’s housing desperation keeps growing

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Fears that heavy housing costs could undercut Silicon Valley and the Bay Area’s economy have grown steadily in recent years as gains in wages have been outstripped by soaring rents and home prices.

Now a poll of 1,568 registered voters in the region done on behalf of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area News Group paints one of the starkest pictures yet of public dissatisfaction.

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San Francisco Tax Fights Once Again Raise the Fairness Issue of a Two-Thirds Vote

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

Based on an interpretation of a 2017 California Supreme Court decision, San Francisco officials believe they have every right to collect and spend tax revenue resulting from ballot measures that received a majority vote rather than a two-thirds vote. The taxes were raised with specific services in mind: housing and homelessness; and child-care and early education services. Opponents say that under both Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 these “special” taxes meant for specific services require a two-thirds vote.

The court’s Upland decision, which I have written about before left the possibility that “special” taxes could pass by majority vote if they were presented to voters via the initiative process rather than by a governmental entity.

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California Lawmakers want to perpetuate the state as a U.S. National Security Risk

Ronald Stein
Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California

Somehow Californians are proud (or oblivious) to the fact that the state is already a National Security Risk to America as both California’s in-state crude oil production, and Alaskan oil imports are both in-decline to meet the States’ energy needs. Shockingly, according to the California Energy Commission, California increased crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to 57% in 2018, and costing California more than $60 million dollars a day, and that cost is increasing each year. In addition, those foreign countries have less stringent environmental regulations than California, and transport their crude oil via air polluting ships delivering that the oil to California ports.

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What will be Gavin Newsom’s formula for success

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught at the University of San Francisco, Berkeley and Golden Gate University, is a regular columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and was Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, 2017-2019.

The ideas behind the founding of the republic and the writing of our Constitution sprung from the minds of very big thinkers. None ever thought bigger.

Of course it was easier planning for a little over 2 million people in 1776 than for the approximately 325 million of us just in the U.S who take up dwindling space 243 years later.

Californians comprise nearly 40 million with Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area being the second and fifth most populous regions—or about 8% of the total nation.

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