Not Another Water Bond?

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

It feels every election Californians are voting on another water bond—and passing them. This November Proposition 3 is on the ballot, placed there through the initiative process. The state has plenty of unspent water related bonds. Shouldn’t we use the billions authorized for past water bonds yet expended before adding more billions to the state debt?

This bond would generate $8.89 billion for a number of water related projects including water quality, watershed and fisheries improvements, surface water storage and more at a total cost to taxpayers of $17.3 billion once the bonds are paid off with interest 40 years later. It’s hard to complain about the initiative’s goals but the costs should be put into context.

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The USC/Dornsife Polls Are a Mess. Here’s Why. 

Dan Newman
Dan Newman is a partner at SCN Strategies. @DanNewmanSCN

Media credibility is more important than ever. While the vast majority continue to do a terrific job, people trust reporting less and less because of disingenuous attacks on so-called “fake news.”

Similarly, the polling industry is facing a crisis of consumer skepticism. It’s more difficult than ever to separate quality pollsters from the glut of fly-by-night operations, and meticulous professionals are struggling to achieve representative samples in an era of disappearing landlines.

The most significant blow to pollsters was largely unfair and unlucky, based on a variety of misunderstandings about the 2016 presidential polls. (Most national polls were very accurate, yet some state polls weren’t – and the small discrepancies tipped the balance to Trump, creating an oversimplified conclusion that “all polling is broken.”)

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Smart Initiative Reform Took Place in Sacramento. So Where Was the Media?

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)

Where was the media?

The Citizens Initiative Review – the best proven way we have to evaluate ballot initiatives around the world – held a California pilot in Sacramento at the end of last month. And the state political media wasn’t there.

What gives? Media folks like to point out the flaws in the initiative process, but then miss an opportunity to see a method that has worked in Massachusetts, Oregon, and other Western states. 

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Can Dianne Feinstein Win an Historic 6th Term?

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

I was among the 500 people crammed into a hall in San Francisco to hear what two candidates had to say who are hoping to be sworn in as California’s U.S. Senator in January.

The incumbent, Dianne Feinstein faced off against Kevin de Leon, her challenger.

The current title holder, hoping for a 6th historic term, is ahead 10 points in the latest polls—slightly less than in July.

This has given some boost to her confident challenger who is president pro tem emeritus of the state Senate and was the first Latino to serve in that position in over a century.

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134 Cases, $36 Million: Inside Sexual Misconduct At America’s Biggest County Government

Mary Plummer and Aaron Mendelson
Mary Plummer is a Senior Politics Reporter for KPCC. Aaron Mendelson works on KPCC's data journalism and interactive projects.

The grim, graphic details are public, but sit silently in case files across Los Angeles County. Some lay out heartbreaking accounts of sexual misconduct by county employees, from verbal abuse to physical assault, including rape.

Few of the allegations have been written about before in news stories.

In response to a KPCC/LAist records request, county officials searched employment, general liability, medical malpractice and law enforcement legal filings to identify cases tied to sexual misconduct allegations. They identified 134 cases that ended with settlements or judgments.

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The Damage Dianne Feinstein Has Done To The National Democratic Party

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

“Lock her up,” shout the mobs at Trump rallies. Only it is no longer Hillary Clinton they want to lock up, now it is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, with whom they are furious over the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation.  But after November, it may be Democrats who are mad at Feinstein, because she may well have destroyed any chance of the Democrats winning control of the US Senate for a very long time.

How so?  Because the bitter partisan fight of Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court has energized the Trump-loving Republican base, and that is a majority of voters in a half dozen red states with endangered Democratic Senators up this fall.

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KDL Might Be Too Old to Take Down DiFi

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)

In the extended conversation that passed for a debate in the U.S. Senate race, Dianne Feinstein essentially won by not losing.

In fact, watching and listening to the debate – which was a challenge given quality of the video and audio of the web stream — actually raised questions about Kevin de Leon’s age, not the age of Feinstein, the oldest member of the U.S. Senate.

KDL might be too old to take down DiFi.

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Repeal the Gas Tax Rally in Pasadena

Ann-Marie Villicana
Co-Founder LA Trump, Former Pasadena City Council Member and Realtor

Several hundred people attended a rally and Yes on 6, Repeal the Gas Tax drive in East Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon. The vote of “Yes on 6” will repeal the gas tax which was earmarked for the repair of our roads, but is not actually all going to our roads.   With a huge bright Yellow trailer with “Yes on 6” in royal blue lettering as the backdrop and attention getter, people drove through the parking lot at Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ and received free “Yes on 6” lawn Signs, bumper stickers, door hangars and election pins as they drove through.

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Cities Need to Make Way for Our 5G Future

Tracy Hernandez
BizFed Founding CEO

When the history of the 21st century is written, the greater Los Angeles region will be a central topic. We boast the US’s largest port complex and a world-famous entertainment industry. Last year alone, the 100 biggest tech companies in Los Angeles and Orange County – which include powerhouses Google, Space X, and Netflix –  reported having more than 48,000 employees. Outside of the top 100 largest companies, Los Angeles is also home to hundreds of tech start-ups who have flocked to our flourishing innovation hub now known as Silicon Beach.

Our reliance on smartphones and other “connected” technology is growing, and we must do our part to support all forms of high-speed internet (small cell, fiber, satellite, etc.) to meet today’s needs and the demand of tomorrow. There are currently more than 262 million smartphone users in the US, in addition to over 180 million other connected devices (fitness trackers, smart home devices, etc.). Mobile data traffic has increased 238% in the past two years alone and is expected to continue to increase at an aggressive pace. According to National Emergency National Association (NENA), 80% of all 911 calls are made from a smartphone.

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How to Kill Apartment Construction

Charles Crumpley
Editor and Publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

We are in the umpteenth year of a housing shortage. So let’s ask: Why are so few housing units being built?

Seriously. Think about neighborhoods you know throughout the Valley area. Now think of where housing units are being built or were recently opened in those neighborhoods. Chances are, you’re still counting on one hand.

Let’s see. There’s some good homebuilding activity in Porter Ranch, and a half dozen mixed-use buildings are going up in Warner Center. Of course, there’s that massive community planned for Newhall Ranch up north close to Valencia, but I’m not sure that counts. It’s been delayed for more than 20 years, hasn’t been built at all and now faces fresh challenges. Beyond that, there are one-off projects here and there, such as a plan to build a couple dozen units in a mixed-use complex in Panorama City that was reported on last week.

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