Appeal of Teacher Tenure Decision May be a Good Thing – But Not for the Reason Critics Think

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

No Profile in Courage Award for Governor Jerry Brown and state School Superintendent Tom Torlakson who refused to stand up to their allies in the teacher’s unions and asked for an appeal of a Superior Court decision on the perverse effects of teacher tenure in California schools.

Yet, the appeal in the Vergara case may prove to be a good thing for California education in the long term if, and I expect when, a higher court upholds the ruling.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu affirmed his tentative ruling that found compelling evidence that California school children were denied their constitutional rights under the state’s tenure system. The system particularly hurt poor and minority students, the judge declared, because “grossly ineffective teachers” most often work in their schools.

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Elections Coming: California Voter and Party Profiles

Mark Baldassare is President of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Dean Bonner is Associate Survey Director at PPIC. Jui Shrestha is a Research Associate at PPIC.

(Editor’s Note: With an eye on the upcoming election, the Public Policy Institute of California takes a detailed look at the California voters — their demographic characteristics, party affiliations, political ideologies, and views on key issues. Over the next four days Fox and Hounds Daily will publish this breakdown of the California voters starting with today’s entry, California Voter and Party Profiles.)

Voter registration is up since the last gubernatorial primary; major party registration is down.
California’s 17.7 million voters constitute 73.3% of eligible adults, up slightly from 72.4% in 2010, the last gubernatorial primary year. The share of Democrats is 43.4%, down from 44.5% in 2010. The share of Republicans has also declined from 30.8% in 2010 to 28.4% in 2014. The share of voters who say they are independent (also known as “decline to state” or “no party preference”) is 21.2%, up from 20.2% in 2010. Our surveys indicate that among those we consider most likely to vote, 44% are Democrats, 32% are Republicans, and 19% are independents.

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Step One, Start Being Honest

Duf Sundheim
Political Consultant

Many years ago when I was teaching Sunday School I asked the kids why it was important to tell the truth. I remember this young boy immediately raised his hand and waived it so vigorously I was afraid his arm would pop out its socket.

“Yes,” I asked, “Why is it important to tell the truth?”

“Because some day it is going to make a difference. And if you have lied before, they are not going to believe you when it matters most.”

Someday it is going to matter that our state leaders are not being honest with us. And the sooner we require them to do so, the better it will be for all Californians.

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California’s Plastic Bag Ban Will Cost Hundreds Of Good Manufacturing Jobs

Gino DiCaro
Vice President of Communications for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association

The California Manufacturers & Technology Association clarified that California’s proposed plastic bag ban and paper bag tax contained in SB 270 will cost the state good paying manufacturing jobs.

There are close to 60 plastic-bag and 100 paper-bag manufacturing establishments in California, according to the Labor Market Information Department. These companies employ 5,000 workers and provide upward mobility and livelihoods for many hard working middle class families.

SB 270 threatens at least hundreds, if not thousands of these jobs at the same time the state is spending taxpayer dollars to save other jobs. California needs to send consistent signals that we are open for all manufacturing business. Banning and taxing consumer products does not create the reliability that employers need to make long term manufacturing decisions.

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L.A. Hanging on as a Top Global City

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

For more than a century, Southern Californians have dreamed of their region becoming host to a great global city. At the turn of the 20th century Henry Huntington, who built much of the area’s first mass-transit system, proclaimed that “Los Angeles is destined to become the most important city in the world.”

Of course, builders of other cities – St. Louis, New Orleans, Chicago and even Cincinnati, Ohio – have made similar predictions. But L.A.’s claim, unlike the others, had a significant resonance. Not only was the region growing rapidly throughout the previous century, and now stands as North America’s second-largest population center, but it dominated a host of fields, notably entertainment and aerospace, and was highly influential in energy, fashion and manufacturing.

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Happy Labor Day

Lan Nguyen
Managing Editor of Fox & Hounds

Fox & Hounds will resume posting Tuesday, September 2nd.

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Intervenor Fees — The Hidden Secret of ConsumerWatchdog’s Prop 45

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has awarded $2.3 million in state “intervenor” fees in 2013 to ConsumerWatchdog, the Santa Monica-based group that is sponsoring Proposition 45, a measure on the November ballot to give Jones sweeping new powers to regulate health insurance.

But wait. That information — posted on the Department of Insurance’s website a few weeks ago — no longer is available for the public nor media to see. Jones has removed from the California Department of Insurance website after a Public Records Act request was sent to his office requesting detailed information on the awards.

It’s easy to see why he would. It’s an embarrassment that underscores the cozy relationship between Jones and the bomb-throwing advocacy group.

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Tesla Incentives Debate: Hit the Brakes or Step on the Accelerator?

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

Tesla Motors’ desire to build a “gigafactory” that would employee 6500 people has set off a competition among a handful of states, including California, with state officials considering incentives to benefit the electric car producer and convince Tesla to choose their state.

This week two Open Letters were produced that took different positions on addressing the competition and the debate on incentives.

The California Budget Project joined forces with similar progressive-leaning groups in other states considered by Tesla for the factory to suggest, rather than competition, there should be cooperation among the states while discouraging the use of big money incentives to lure the company.

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The Forced Union Sales Pitch Bill

Amanda Fulkerson
Spokeswoman for the Assembly Republican Caucus

Language was amended into SB 878 Wednesday night. That’s nothing new. What’s interesting about SB 878 is that the new amendments amount to one of the worst examples of closed door, last minute favor giveaways to political allies that I’ve seen in my decade-long career under the dome.

The Governor’s office took an budget committee trailer bill and is using it to push a new law requiring In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers to attend an “in-person onsite orientation” given by members of the “recognized union in the each county” for “up to 30 minutes.”

So, new IHSS workers will be required to listen to a union sales pitch. Not shocking. 

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Uber, Lyft Compromise on Ridesharing Regulations

John Hrabe
Writer and Communications Strategist

Uber and Lyft, two of the country’s leading ride-sharing companies, reached a compromise with state lawmakers on Wednesday over new regulations of the industry that is changing how people get around town.

Assembly Bill 2293, which had been strongly opposed by the ridesharing companies, requires drivers to carry minimum levels of insurance and be covered, at times, by their parent company’s $1 million commercial-grade insurance policy. That $1 million insurance coverage level means ridesharing companies will be required — by law — to carry more insurance than is required of many taxis throughout California.

The amended bill passed the state Senate on a 30-4 vote and now heads to the Assembly for final approval.

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