AB 5 Isn’t About Protecting Workers. It’s About Enhancing Politicians’ Power

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)

Imagine you’re a California politician, and you need to raise money—for your own campaigns, or to run issue or ballot measures campaigns on subjects that matter most to you. What would be the easiest way to make fundraising easier?

Here’s one answer: come up with legislation that covers virtually every piece of the state economy. But make sure the legislation is complicated, and imposes different rules for different businesses and sectors. Set up a standard that is tough on companies and workers—but allow room for exemptions that you as a legislator can give out to businesses and workers that buy your protection, via campaign contributions.

In other words, you’d create legislation exactly like AB 5.

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Trump to Blame for California Housing Crisis?

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

It was a headline sure to be a winner in California:  “Trump’s Tariffs Make California Housing Crisis Worse.”  Partisans – quick to agree – cheered another bomb thrown the President’s way.  Hell, he’s has been blamed for everything else. Why not the state’s housing supply and affordability debacle?

The underlying story asserted that Trump’s get-tough trade initiative with China was making appliances being bought for installation in new California homes more expensive.  The article, appearing in a trade periodical, reported that home prices in the Central Valley have increased by as much as 10% thanks to tariff-driven rising costs of appliances and other new-home features.  And, rightly observed by Dan Dunmoyer, CEO of the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), even a small price hike affects thousands of would-be homebuyers. 

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LA County Board of Supervisors needs to ensure “Civil Justice” for crime victims

Michele Hanisee
President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently passed a motionto study the feasibility of creating a “Civil Defense Justice Unit” in the Public Defenders Office to represent “justice involved” individuals in various civil proceedings. (“Justice involved” is the newest politically correct term for “criminal defendant”:. This unit would assist criminal defendants with various civil proceedings, including obtaining public benefits, family court issues, immigration issues, employment law issues and other civil issues.

Notably, the Board of Supervisors did not see fit to assist with the civil needs of those who have become involuntarily involved in the criminal justice system–crime victims. There is no catch-all service for legal representation in civil proceedings by the District Attorney’s Office, such as that the Board of Supervisors now contemplates creating for criminal defendants.

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Labor had a banner year in California — now will workers unionize?

Judy Lin & Ben Christopher
Reporters for CALmatters.

Last summer, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled public sector unions couldn’t compel fees from nonunion workers, the talk was that organized labor had been hit hard, was facing a mass exodus, and was playing defense even in pro-labor California.

Talk about a comeback.

This week, as state lawmakers wrap up for the year, labor is celebrating a banner year in Sacramento: New restrictions on California charter schools at the behest of the teachers unions. A bill to allow unionization for child care workers. And on Wednesday, the signing of AB 5, a nationally watched measure converting 1 million California freelancers into employees while granting them a suite of protections along with the right to join unions. The bill takes effect Jan. 1.

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Garcetti Says Business is Booming in LA; But Beware of New Business Taxes

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

In his annual address to the San Fernando Valley’s United Chamber of Commerce event, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proudly proclaimed Los Angeles a city of the future that promotes the business community. While he had a list of positives about the city’s economic vitality, including tax reductions for business, he didn’t mention that he also supports some tax increases on business properties, which could have a negative effect on the city’s economic standing. 

Garcetti thumped his chest over Schroders Global Cities 30 Index ranking Los Angeles as the number one strongest economic city in the world. The Schroders index, according to its website, “is compiled on a range of factors, including the projected growth of the economy, university rankings, disposable incomes over the next decade and demographic measures.”

The mayor also noted the city’s top ranking among all American cities in attracting tourists, shipping cargo, and being the center of infrastructure building. 

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Does California Governor Gavin Newsom care at all about crime victims or their families or our police officers that keep us safe?

Dennis Zine
Former Los Angeles City Councilman and Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant.

Recent political moves by Governor Newsom clearly demonstrates that he does not give a Damn about victims of crime or the law enforcement officers that enforce the laws to keep people safe in the once Golden State of California.  The following examples of recent moves by the Governor illustrates what is important to him and his administration that frequently squanders our tax dollars. 

I will begin with the bill authored by California State Senator Bob Hertzberg from the San Fernando Valley that passed the Assembly and Senate and presented to the Governor.  The Governor signed into law the Hertzberg bill that removes the 147 year- old California law established to provide some protection to our police officers facing dangerous situations . 

The 1872 California Posse Comitatus Act obligates an able – bodied person over 18-years of age to assist a Peace Officer in distress.  People can now just walk away from a situation where an officer is in need of assistance and asks for help and those that ignore the request face no penalty or consequences.  

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President Trump’s Visit

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught at the University of San Francisco, Berkeley and Golden Gate University, is a regular columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and was Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, 2017-2019.

When Air Force One deposited Donald Trump at Moffat Field in Mountain View the other day he was landing in enemy territory. And there were no peace offerings to be had. 

In fact for fear of inciting demonstrations, his stealth visits to well-heeled supporters in four cities has been kept under tight wraps.

There were reasons to take such precautions: Trump has sworn holy war against California, which he has singled out for special abuse as he accelerates his campaign for re-election. 

There would be no cheering crowds for the nation’s leader who came to the Bay Area mainly to collect large troves of cash of which $3 million was raised at a posh luncheon thrown at the lavish Portola Valley estate of Sun Microsystems co-founder and tech tycoon Scott McNealy.  

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The Real Conflict Is Not Racial or Sexual, It’s Between The Ascendant Rich Elites and The Rest Of Us

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

Despite the media’s obsession on gender, race and sexual orientation, the real and determining divide in America and other advanced countries lies in the growing conflict between the ascendant upper class and the vast, and increasingly embattled, middle and working classes. We’ve seen this fight before. The current conflict fundamentally reprises the end of the French feudal era, where the Third Estate, made up of the commoners, challenged the hegemony of the First Estate and Second, made up of the church and aristocracy.

These dynamics are unsettling our politics to the core. Both the gentry left, funded largely by Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and the libertarian right, have been slow to recognize that they are, in de Tocqueville’s term, “sitting on a volcano ready to explode.” The middle class everywhere in the world, notes a recent OECD report , is under assault, and shrinking in most places while prospects for upward mobility for the working class also declines.

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A Bill to Advantage Labor over Business in Using Direct Democracy

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

The latest effort by the legislature to reduce law-making competition from the initiative process now on Governor Newsom’s desk favors the majority party’s labor allies over the business community. 

AB 1451 authored by Assemblyman Evan Low requires that at least ten percent of petition signatures come from unpaid signature gatherers. The measure would also ban the practice of paying petition circulators for each signature they gather. 

The bill’s author states its reason for being is to protect the integrity of the initiative process.

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Why Lara Should Resign

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 Ricardo Lara scandal is a good thing.

First, Lara’s acceptance of donations from people in the insurance industry exposes the problem of making insurance commissioners elected officials. That means they must raise money, and the people who give money to insurance commissioner candidates are people who want things from insurance commissioners. 

Second, it points to the unintended consequences of Prop 103, which make the insurance commissioner an elected official. Consumer Watchdog, the group behind that three-decade-old initiative, has been railing at Lara’s corruption, even though that group made it possible.

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