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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Prioritizing Infrastructure Means Considering All State Spending

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

Notable in the reaction to Governor Jerry Brown’s Friday press conference outlining money for dam and water infrastructure, while declaring the need for California to tackle all its infrastructure backlog, was the response from one of the leaders of the fight for improved infrastructure. California Business Roundtable president Rob Lapsley issued a release echoing the governor’s call on structural improvements and cost, but focused on “the real issue at hand” — state spending.

Everyone agrees that California infrastructure needs repair and the money to make those repairs happen. The debate is over how to fund repairs and build projects.

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Not at the CAGOP Convention but Still a Republican

Luis Alvarado
President of Familas Unidas de California

I was not able to attend this weekend’s California Republican convention for the first time in 8 years but still had the opportunity to express my thoughts about the coming convention and the state of the California Republican Party when I was interviewed on KCRW’s radio show, “Press Play with Madeleine Brand.” The two most burning topics facing California Republicans today: how do we deal with the Trump effect and who Republicans are running for Governor next year?

Madeleine asked what should the CRP be focused on at the convention?  And it just came out of my mouth without thought…“Do no harm and be brave,” I said.  It is no secret that I was in opposition to the Trump candidacy from day one.  But on Election Day I stopped campaigning and became a skeptical supporter of our 45th president.  I hoped that his campaign rhetoric would subside and be replaced with intelligent, uniting governance to truly make America great. 

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Single-Payer Health Insurance Bad for Small Business

John Kabateck
President of Kabateck Strategies, and former CA Executive Director of NFIB

The not surprising reaction of some in the California legislature to the debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is to propose a state-run single-payer healthcare model. I say not surprising because there have been attempts in the past to secure a single-payer plan in California, and the negative reaction in deep blue California to the Trump Administration gives supporters of the single-payer system belief that the time is right to implement single-payer.

The single-payer plan was not a good idea for small business when it was brought up in the past and it is not a good idea today. Ironically, the single-payer proposal suffers from the same shortcoming that the current debate over replacing the Affordable Care Act does—how to pay for it?

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CAGOP Embrace Worst Down to Their Socks

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)

The ugly spectacle of an openly racist and possibly traitorous president is now being embraced by the California Republican Party.

“I don’t know about you, but Donald Trump’s just rockin’ my socks,” the GOP Chairman Jim Brulte said during the state Republican convention last Friday.

Et tu, Brulte?

It’s hard not to read that comment with despair. California needs two parties that are committed to competing visions of the future that include us all. But California Republicans, after years of trying to get past their history of bigotry and anti-immigrant prejudice, are now going the other way by signing up with a national party that’s embracing the nativism, xenophobia, dictator love and racism of President Trump.

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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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