Boycott the Oscars? Heck, Boycott Everything!

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

The focus of the political world will be on California Sunday when several political speeches are bound to take over the Oscars. According to one account, the Oscars broadcast, which lost viewers last year, could rebound over the expectation of hearing these political speeches. Or there could be a boycott of the broadcast in anticipation of speeches blasting President Donald Trump.

That would be in line with the current political strategy that seems to be capturing activists of all political stripes in this divided country: Boycott Everything!

When Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank praised Trump’s business agenda, social media exploded with a hashtag to boycott the company.

With Elon Musk agreeing to serve on Trump’s business advisory committee, customers reportedly canceled auto orders.

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Stu Spencer—The Way We Were; The Way We Should Be

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

Recently, a bevy of political “pros” gathered in Palm Desert to celebrate the 90th birthday of Stu Spencer, the pioneering political consultant who guided Ronald Reagan into the Governorship of California in the 1960s and then into the Presidency in 1980.  The event was a reminder of how things have changed in the political game—and not for the better.

Spencer is very much an old-school pol.  He is irreverent, profane and sensible.  That doesn’t mean that he lives in the past.  Spencer has long been one of the loudest voices calling for the GOP to reach out to Latino voters or risk electoral irrelevance—witness California.

The party-goers were mostly Republicans—headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Governor Pete Wilson—plus a smattering of Democrats and journalists.  One wag described the revelers as “the gang who could shoot straight.”

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The Labyrinth of Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Navigating self-interest, ideals, and public opinion in the debate about illegal immigration Activists portray illegal immigration solely as a human story of the desperately poor from south of the border fleeing misery to start new, productive lives in the U.S. — despite exploitation and America’s nativist immigration laws.

But the truth is always more complex — and can reveal self-interested as well as idealistic parties.

Employers have long sought to undercut the wages of the American underclass by preference for cheaper imported labor. The upper-middle classes have developed aristocratic ideas of hiring inexpensive “help” to relieve them of domestic chores.

The Mexican government keeps taxes low on its elite in part by exporting, rather than helping, its own poor. It causes little worry that some $25 billion in remittances sent from Mexican citizens working in America puts hardship on those expatriates, who are often subsidized by generous U.S. social services. 

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Is The “I” Word To Be Taken Seriously?

Richard Rubin
Chair, California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Some decry the fact that presidential campaigns take too long. The most recent one with all its ugliness could not have ended soon enough.

Maybe four year stints for those elected are also too long. We might need a probationary period to see how things work out.

The Constitution’s authors—all very wise men—did not foresee a situation where a chosen leader might not be up to the task. Presidents being no more perfect than most other living beings are sure to stumble, alienate, disappoint, make bad decisions and in a few instances commit egregious wrongdoings and even crimes.

As aspirants for the office they are accountable to none and given enormous leeway for conduct and comments that may later be deemed unacceptable. When they take power that all changes.

In the early days of this Administration, the extraordinary behavior on display from this President demands a searching re-evaluation as to whether he is fit for the office. 

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How Iran and North Korea Could Wreck California’s Energy Dependent Economy 

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

It’s difficult to ascertain what non-OPEC, and even some OPEC members will do about future supply cuts and how this will affect the California economy. According to energy trader Martin Tiller, “90% compliance is a good sign for OPEC, but Venezuela, UAE and Iraq aren’t following commitments.” Contrary signals are also coming from Nigeria and particularly Libya. New specters of doubt have also been raised whether Nigeria will be able to deliver vast amounts of new oil to the market? This is all good news for OPEC though prices are still struggling to reach the $60-70 range because of oversupply problems. The market is having a tough time finding equilibrium, and U.S. shale producers are ramping up production causing prices to stay in the mid 50s. These are all interesting aspects of energy markets, but there are other factors for California to consider moving forward with the state’s energy and economic portfolios.

What California policymakers should begin concerning themselves with more than President Trump’s energy policies, shale producers and OPEC compliance are the two dynamics that could make oil jump significantly in the future – the geopolitical rumblings coming from Iran and North Korea.

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From Baby Boom to Latino Boom in LA County

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

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) annual economic forecast conference spent a good deal of time focused on the Latino community and its effect on the county’s economy. Latino growth is affecting the county outlook in such a way that Univision Senior Vice President Chiqui Cartagena compared the impact to the influence of an earlier huge demographic change: From Baby Boom to Latino Boom.

The impact could soon register at the polls as well if Latinos increase their vote percentages. Nationally, 1.1 million Latinos enter the electorate each year, 80% of whom are simply Latino citizens turning 18.

USC professor Manuel Pastor said all trend lines show that Latinos will make up a great part of the labor force and consumers of the future. Today in LA, the median age of Latinos is 29 compared to the median age of whites, 45, Asians and Pacific Islanders 41, and African-Americans 38.

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Ending the Corrupting Influence of Special Interest Money

John Cox
John Cox is a San Diego area businessman and author of the Neighborhood Legislature initiative. Cox is a likely Republican candidate for Governor in 2018.

In a recent survey, voters ranked “Removing the corrupting influence of special interest money in California politics” as more important than climate change, pension reform, immigration, or jobs and the economy. While jobs, the economy, climate change, and immigration were considered important by California voters, each of those issues paled in comparison to voter concern over the impact of special interest money.

And surprisingly, even with the public so sharply divided on so many issues, more than 90% of Democrats, Independents and Republicans ranked the corrupting influence of special interest money to be the most important issue facing California. In other words, the public distrust of the status quo was both statistically deeper and ideologically broader than what the Trump and Sanders campaigns represented. And that is worthy of taking note.    

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To Get Things Done in California, Listen More Than You Talk

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)

What do we do now, Nelson Rising?

I pose that question not just because this is a confusing and complicated era for California. And not just because no living Californian is better than Nelson Rising— a developer, lawyer, campaign manager and civic leader from Los Angeles—at navigating our state’s complexities to create communities that endure.

“What do we do now?” is the question that concludes Rising’s one-and-only brush with Hollywood. After Rising ran the successful 1970 U.S. Senate campaign of John Tunney, he was a producer on the 1972 film The Candidate, in which Robert Redford plays an idealistic U.S. Senate candidate corrupted by the political process. When Redford wins an upset victory, he is so empty that in the final scene, he asks his campaign manager, “What do we do now?” The manager has no answer.

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State leaders recognize the opportunity of California manufacturing

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

We are pleased that State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon recently bragged in a tweet that led with the fact California has the most manufacturing jobs in the nation.

We should be proud that manufacturing plays such a crucial role in the California and US economies. As advocates for manufacturing, we regularly remind elected officials that not only do manufacturers represent more than 1.2 million jobs in that sector, but they also support many more jobs in other sectors of the economy, with a multiplier of 2.5 jobs for every one manufacturing job.

The debates leading up to last November’s national election included urgent calls for bringing back high-wage, middle-class manufacturing jobs to the U.S. The average California manufacturing wage, not including healthcare and other benefits, is $83k per year.  California will compete with other states to attract its fair share of these highly valued jobs and the new investments that generate them as new industries develop and some jobs ‘reshore’ from overseas.

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