Cancel California’s Own Travel Ban

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)

Much of California has rallied against President Trump’s travel ban and with good reason. It’s grounded in anti-Muslim bigotry, limits travel that is vital to our state’s economy culture, and, stupidly, seeks to fight terrorism by keeping out its victims.

Which is why California should cancel its own, very different travel ban.

This year, a new state law went into effect banning state-funded or state-sponsored travel to states that have recently enacted discriminatory laws on basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Four states are currently banned: North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kansas.

The desire to express outrage against such laws is understandable. But already the law is having negative effects. The LA Times reported that it’s blocked students from attending conferences and public university athletes from competing in those states.

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Checking in on Our Growing Gig Economy in California, 2017

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

CA Number of Self Employed WorkersSince 2009 at Fox & Hounds, we have periodically discussed the structural shifts in California’s employment, primarily the movement away from the employer-employee relation with some expectation of stability, to alternative and more contingent work arrangements. This movement has included the rise of independent contracting and freelance work, as well as the rise of employment that is through staffing companies or project based, or part time. The “gig economy” is the name often attached to this movement.

The Labor Market Information Division (LMID) of EDD does not maintain data on all of the elements of our state’s gig economy. But it does maintain statewide data on several of these elements that are worth checking in on in early 2017: self-employment, staffing services, and part-time employment.

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No On LA’s Measure H, The “Homeless” Scam

Ralph E. Shaffer
Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona

When labor and capital unite in support of an issue, beware. It was that alliance that mired us in a multi-billion dollar “Bullet Train.” Now they’ve united behind Measure H, which will take an estimated $3.65 billion in sales tax revenue in the next ten years in a grandiose plan “to prevent and combat homelessness.” And therein lies the rub.

For years, conservatives have argued against expenditures for social programs with the charge that you can’t solve problems by throwing money at them. But that’s exactly what they intend to do about homelessness. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations have endorsed Measure H. Is there something in it for them? Yes, there is.

Tucked away in the details of Measure H, which very few voters bothered to read because of its length and legal language, is this line: “Nothing herein precludes the County from using revenue generated by the retail transactions and use tax for contracting with for-profit contractors and private businesses in compliance with applicable law.”

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The Disaster of Believing in 100% Renewable Energy 

Todd Royal
Todd Royal is an independent public policy consultant focusing on the geopolitical implications of energy based in Los Angeles, California.

Senate Bill 584 (SB584) the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, introduced by State Senator Kevin De Leon would reformulate the calculations for how much energy California would receive from renewables while eliminating fossil fuels. Senator De Leon wants to amend Section 399.11 of the Public Utilities Code relating to energy that currently states by December 31, 2030, California would have retail sales of renewable energy at 50%. Under the Senator’s bill, California would have 100% all energy only from renewables. Currently, the U.S. receives around 10-13% from renewables, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and sees that figure only reaching 21-26% by 2050.

With California it’s more severe than in other parts of the country for how much renewable energy is required for consumers and business, because the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program already states:

The Public Utilities Commission to establish a renewables portfolio standard requiring all retail sellers, as defined, so that the total kilowatt hours of those products sold to their retail end-use customers achieves benchmarks of 25%, 33%, 45%, and 50%.”

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Protest Tactics are the Real Outrage

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

When does a protest go so far over the line that reasonable people should start protesting the protest?

Possibly now. Wells Fargo has been targeted for destruction by people who are angry that the bank made some of the loans to finance the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan to express “deep concern,” citing the threat of climate change, “negative environmental consequences,” and the “human and tribal rights of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.” Three times in the letter he hinted at divesting some of the $165 billion in pension fund assets he controls for city employees.

The city council of Seattle has already voted to yank its $3 billion in annual cash flow away from Wells Fargo, and the city of Los Angeles is under pressure from a group called Revolution LA to cut all ties with the bank. Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Davis have already agreed to pull their money out. Similar actions are in the works in Alameda, in East Orange, N.J., and in Iowa City, Iowa.

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GO-Biz Hosting Webinars for Businesses Interested in Applying for More than $68 Million in Tax Credits

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note: The following release was issued by Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)

The next California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) application period starts Monday, March 6, 2017, with more than $68 million in available tax credits. Businesses interested in applying can register to view a live webinar explaining the application process.

This program is open to any business planning to create new full-time jobs in the state, regardless of size or location. Since 2014, GO-Biz has awarded over $400 Million to 574 companies that are projected to create over 60,000 jobs and make $13.5 billion in investments.

The deadline to submit applications is Monday, March 27, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.(Pacific Time) and the online application website will automatically close once this deadline has passed. The online application can be accessed starting March 6, 2017 at

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Five Initiative Ballot Plan is a Failed Strategy, I Should Know

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

Representative Devin Nunes told the California Republican Party convention over the weekend that the party should seek relevance by sponsoring five ballot measures laying out the party’s priorities—and if the measures fail keep trying every election. Speaking from experience, sponsoring multiple ballot measures is not a wise strategy.

I was co-chair of four ballot measures on the 2005 special election ballot that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger supported and all four went down to defeat. I am not the only one who had a negative experience trying to manage multiple ballot measures. Then state Attorney General John Van de Kamp, when he was running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990, sponsored three ballot measures. All lost.

Doing even one ballot measure is hard—and in a state the size of California with so many voters to contact and influence—it is expensive. Congressman Nunes told reporters that he thought that $10-$12 million would cover the effort. That amount might be okay for one campaign—maybe–but not five. And, if you keep running multiple campaigns that fail donors will soon disappear.

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Measure H would Help Prevent and End Homelessness throughout LA County

Jessica Lall
President and CEO of the Central City Association of Los Angeles

For many years, Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) has been home to Skid Row, one of the largest concentrations of homeless individuals in the nation. Skid Row shows us first-hand that homelessness is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted solution.

Los Angeles County leaders have proposed a comprehensive solution with Measure H, which is on the March 7 ballot. It would end homelessness for 45,000 individuals and families in five years and prevent it for another 30,000 over the same time period.

The Central City Association (CCA) strongly supports Measure H because it will provide the resources we need to bring proven solutions like permanent supportive housing, mental health services, jail-in-reach programs and specialized outreach to scale.

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Expanding opportunity for all Californians

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

An abridged version of this article first ran in the Sacramento Bee.

For good or ill, the new administration in the nation’s capital has upended the national policy debate, requiring the consideration of California’s politicos, and diverting their attention from our own pressing needs.

From a distance it seems the California economy couldn’t do any better. Our gross domestic product is in the top six among nations. We lead states in economic output per capita and statewide employment growth is the envy of the nation. We’re creating wealth faster than any time since the Incan conquest.

But behind those marquee numbers lurks a complicated mix of prosperous and desperate. Even among huge wealth and employment gains, millions of families cannot reach the California dream.

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The True Legacy of Gov. Jerry Brown

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

The cracks in the 50-year-old Oroville Dam, and the massive spillage and massive evacuations that followed, shed light on the true legacy of Jerry Brown. The governor, most recently in Newsweek, has cast himself as both the Subcomandante Zero of the anti-Trump resistance and savior of the planet. But when Brown finally departs Sacramento next year, he will be leaving behind a state that is in danger of falling apart both physically and socially.

Jerry Brown’s California suffers the nation’s highest housing prices, largest percentage of people in or near poverty of any state and an exodus of middle-income, middle-aged people. Job growth is increasingly concentrated in low-wage sectors. By contrast, Brown’s father, Pat, notes his biographer, Ethan Rarick, helped make the 20th century “The California Century,” with our state providing “the template of American life.” There was then an “American Dream” across the nation, but here we called it the “California Dream.” His son is driving a stake through the heart of that very California Dream.

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