Privacy Initiative Won’t Stem Internet Abuses

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

It’s not surprising that proponents of the so-called “California Consumer Privacy Act” would want to draw attention to the latest controversies around internet privacy.

Not surprising – but dishonest.

The initiative has nothing to do with the situation in the headlines. The ballot measure would not have prevented it and doesn’t even contemplate the scenario. The simple fact is that the data was never sold, so the connection to the proposed initiative is simply specious.

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Beware Mischief in Governor’s Race

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

The newest poll results in the governor’s race sets up a possibility of campaign shenanigans ripped from the pages of California political history.

The poll from the UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies gives Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom a healthy lead at 30% over two Republicans almost dead even. Businessman John Cox recorded 18% in the poll and Assemblyman Travis Allen was at 16%. Much attention to the poll results will fall on the standing of former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who dropped down to 9%.

These numbers can easily change with Villaraigosa’s campaign enjoying the benefit of a million dollar-plus advertising campaign from a supportive charter school group, along with Villaraigosa’s own campaign spending.

Meanwhile, the Republicans don’t seem to have big money to reach voters through major television buys.

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Another Small Business Says ‘Adios’ to California – Mine

Joseph Vranich
Principal of Spectrum Location Solutions helps companies plan and select ideal sites for new facilities across the U.S. and internationally.

If I’m known for anything in California, it’s been for my studies about companies leaving the state because of its punishing tax and regulatory policies. Sadly, new political antics will likely cause my future reports to reflect further deterioration in the state’s business climate.

I say that because a new California Tax Foundation analysis found that lawmakers this year have introduced 33 measures that, if enacted, would hit individuals and businesses with tax and fee increases of about $269 billion annually.

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SB 827 Is Dead! Long Live SB 827!

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)

I’m not sure I would have voted for SB 827 if I were in the legislature. But I loved that the bill was proposed and out there.

A number of legislators said the same thing. Which points to the best argument for advancing the bill:

The fear it created in local governments.

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With Air-Quality Standards, is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

Susan Shelley
Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, "How Trump Won."

Have we reached the point where air pollution regulations are harming people more than air pollution itself?

That’s the question at the heart of the dispute between the Trump administration and California about the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution program known as NAAQS, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

President Trump recently issued an executive memorandum directing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to take steps that will make compliance with the regulations less burdensome.

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Opposition to “Tax Fairness” Measure is All About Pensions

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

A campaign committee was formed to oppose an initiative that would stiffen the requirements for voter approved tax increases under the pretense that the opposition is about preserving local government services. The opposition really stems from local government’s growing pension liabilities.

The “Committee to Protect Our Communities” announced itself as a campaign organization to protect essential services such as libraries, parks, garbage and sewer, police, fire and roads. They don’t like the “Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act” sponsored by the California Business Roundtable. The initiative strengthens the use of the two-thirds vote requirement to pass taxes, including requiring a two-thirds vote where a simple majority vote was needed to pass general purpose taxes.

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Gavin’s Lieutenant Governor Non-Attendance Is a Non-Story

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)

I appreciate the work that went into an LA Times story looking at Gavin Newsom’s attendance, or lack thereof, on the handful of boards and commissions upon which the lieutenant governor serves.

But it’s a non-story.

The lieutenant governor’s job should be eliminated (as Newsom has previously existed). The duties are minimal and non-essential. The real job of a California governor is to keep breathing in case the governor can’t. Newsom has so far handled this with aplomb.

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Sacramento Leads the 5G Way

Kish Rajan
Chief evangelist at CALinnovates, a nonpartisan coalition focused on advancing a more modern economy by leveraging technology, and former director of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Later this year, the country’s first 5G-capable city will come online. 5G will enable residents to download a full movie in under 10 seconds, enable gamers to play multiplayer video games from their smartphones with zero lag, and connect millions of home appliances – 5G will even connect our pets.

There is little doubt that 5G will change what we think of as being truly “connected,” but who will get it first? If you guessed the usual suspects – Silicon Valley, San Francisco – you would be wrong.

Verizon has named Sacramento the first of 3 to 5 cities where it plans to launch 5G service later this year. And while Sacramento doesn’t leap to mind as an innovative metropolis, the city has positioned itself to be amongst the first to roll out a future-defining 5G network.

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Protect Harassment Victims, Employers From Defamation Suits

Nancy Lindholm and Jennifer Barrera
Nancy Lindholm is president and CEO of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. Jennifer Barrera is senior vice president for policy for the California Chamber of Commerce.

In 2016, 554 Californians filed sexual harassment complaints with the state civil rights agency, and many other employees have complained directly to employers without involving a state agency.

But in none of these cases was an employer free to warn another employer that a prospective employee was found to be a sexual harasser, lest they be subject to a costly lawsuit for defamation.

Worse, even the victim may be subject to allegations of defamation or emotional distress for merely making those charges — first, harassment at work, then harassment in the legal system.

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The Changed Political Map; and the 2018 Election  

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

The battle for Congress this year will test whether Republicans can hold onto the old heartland of the Democratic Party that elected Donald Trump president, or whether Democrats will win by sweeping onetime bastions of Reagan Republicanism like Orange County. In 2016, Trump won the presidency by carrying parts of the country that once gave the New Deal it strongest support, and in California that would be Kern County, the home of the likely next Speaker of the House.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who will probably be Speaker before the summer is over, represents a Bakersfield district that gave Trump 58 percent, his best showing in California’s congressional districts (contrasting to Trump’s 32 percent state wide).  In 2016, Trump carried Kern and neighboring Kings and Tulare Counties, the foothill counties and most of the interior north state counties, that is rural California, while losing virtually everywhere else.

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