Court Action Puts Focus on FPPC Recall Funding Decision

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

The Fair Political Practices Commission decision on Thursday about whether elected officials can exceed limits to help in a recall campaign became more urgent for Sen. Josh Newman when a Court of Appeal froze the new law that would have delayed the recall.

The lawsuit brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenged recent changes in the recall rules. Justice Vance W. Raye ordered the law be put aside until a full hearing can resolve the issue.

Newman was targeted by anti-tax advocates because of his vote on the gas tax increase and Republicans quickly jumped aboard the effort seeing an opportunity to reduce the Democratic Senate majority to below the two-thirds mark that allows all kinds of mischief in the eyes of Republicans.

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Single Payer Requires A Vote of the People

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)

Of all the many incredible claims made in support of SB 562 – the so-called “single payer” health care bill that doesn’t actually establish a single-payer system – is this one:

Single-payer can be established without a vote of the people.

If only that were true.

But this is California, where doing almost anything butts up against previous ballot initiatives, the state constitution, or some combination of both.

Single-payer hits both. It would inevitably bump up against Proposition 98, the school funding formula put into the state constitution by voters in 1988 (and modified two years later by voters). Prop 98, by governing roughly half the budget, ends up governing the whole thing.

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It’s Time to Deal with Recidivism

Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys

California needs a comprehensive approach to lowering incarceration rates – a plan that will not only lower incarceration levels, but preserve the historically low crime rates we currently enjoy. Sacramento’s current approach to this problem is mass early-release for felons – potentially at the expensive of public safety. A more ambitious and effective strategy – that simultaneously reduces incarceration and crime rates – would be to invest in comprehensive programs that reduce recidivism. This will require government spending on meaningful work programs for those released from state prison.

Since 1980, incarceration rates skyrocketed from 80 inmates for every 100,000 Californians to a peak of 701 per 100,000 in 2006. A combination of factors forced California to confront this problem, most notable of which was a 2009 federal court order mandating the state to abate prison overcrowding. State leaders had two options: Build more prisons or release prisoners.

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The Alt-Right’s Young Men of Means

Reed Galen
Republican political consultant

Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia still reverberate around the country. The white, nationalist, Nazi-inspired marchers invaded the idyllic college town and brought the fury of racial hatred and poisonous ideology with them. Watching myriad news reports it’s clear these were young men of some means. Many wore white polo shirts and khaki pants with an assortment of gloves, helmets and other quasi-tough guy accoutrements to round out their look. Some came as far as the west coast to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and turned Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park into a bloody, deadly melee in the process. These were not disassociated folks from the hollow. These young men fighting were fighting abhorrent ideology from the pedestal of the middle class.

How is it that these guys, who presumably did not miss a meal as children, came to be the face of virulent racism in America?

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Scramble of State Politics Leaves Business in the Middle

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

As state politics is scrambled from the left and the right, it is appropriate to wonder where the big business community comes down when donating to candidates in the next statewide election.

There is a revolt in both parties. Republican activists want the Assembly leader, Chad Mayes, to give up his leadership post—indeed some want him to resign from office—because he rounded up votes to help pass the cap-and-trade bill. He secured enough Republican votes to allow some Democrats in competitive districts to vote against the cap-and-trade bill and thus allow those Democrats to avoid having to explain the increase costs of gasoline and goods and services that are expected to accompany the extended cap-and-trade regulations.

But major business organizations favored cap-and-trade, echoing Mayes’ reasoning that if the cap-and-trade bill were not passed a more onerous command and control mandate would come down on business from the Air Resources Board to reduce greenhouse gases.

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Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Until 1910, the dominant political force in California was the Southern Pacific Railroad. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SP “manipulated much of California’s political life, buying city supervisors, mayors, judges, the state legislature and even members of the California delegation to the U.S. Congress.” Eventually California enacted a railroad commission and other reforms to reign in SP’s power.

A century later, state and local government employee associations are the new Southern Pacific. Confirming William Jennings Bryan’s proclamation that “the man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer,” the wage-earning members of government employee associations (eg, police, firefighters, prison guards, teachers, et al.) collect more money from state and local governments and school districts in California than anyone else, pocketing over $100 billion per year in salaries and benefits. Their share of government budgets can exceed 80 percent.

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Aerojet And Toyota: A Look At Two Exits From Golden State

Jeremy Bagott
Former Journalist. He writes about land-use and finance issues from Los Angeles.

Sacramento’s longtime golden goose Aerojet Rocketdyne was a feted fowl. But in April, the bird became the payload as the rocket-maker’s executives, after taking a gander at the state’s business environment, fitted the bird with one of its RS-25 engines and began the countdown to jettison her jobs out of state.

The tale of a similar exodus is in order as Aerojet nears its 2018 launch window. Torrance, in L.A.’s South Bay, knows the drill too well. Toyota announced in 2014 it would shutter its 110-acre North American headquarters there.

With two helipads, a data center, country-club amenities and a back-up power generation station, the Toyota campus employed 3,000. Its 2 million square feet of office and industrial space in 18 buildings will go dark as weeds sprout through tiny cracks in its 8,000 parking spaces.

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Fake News: California voting rolls are riddled with ineligible voters

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Travis Allen, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County and self-anointed candidate for governor, dropped this Twitter bomb the other day: “11 counties in California have more total registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. How is this possible?”

As a matter of fact, it isn’t possible. Allen’s tweet just parrots a subtle falsehood that California’s voter rolls are packed with countless names of people who either don’t exist or are ineligible to vote.

Such assertions in California and other states are the fallacious basis for President Donald Trump’s crusade, via a presidential commission, to root out what he claims is massive voter fraud, but that no one, save himself and his sycophants, believes exists.

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Panel: Two-party system in trouble

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

In a Zocalo Public Square session in Los Angeles that was supposed to examine the strength and weaknesses of the Republican Party it was the two party system that got an examination. And the diagnosis was not hopeful.

Republican consultant Mike Madrid of Grassroots Lab said a transformation was coming to America’s political system and it would not be a transition to either the left or right but top down. He said a populism strain has cleaved both major political parties and it is tending to rip the parties apart.

Look no farther than the political leaders in Sacramento for agitation within the parties.

Republican minority leader Chad Mayes, who gathered votes for Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade extension bill, is facing an intraparty fight to remove him from his leadership post—some even suggesting that he resign his seat.

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Has The Economy Peaked? Confidence Of L.A. Consumers Continues Downward Spiral

Billie Greer
Public Policy Advisor, She served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior staff.

(Editor’s Note: Billie Greer has been reporting quarterly on the Consumer Sentiment Index. This is her third update for Fox and Hounds.) 

The confidence of Los Angeles County consumers continues its downward spiral which is bad news, given that consumption accounts for, on average, 70 % of all U.S. economic activity.

According to the Consumer Sentiment Index released last week by the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College, consumer confidence declined by 7% in the second quarter of 2017, following a modest 2% decline in first quarter 2017 and a steep drop of 12% in fourth quarter 2016.

“We have now seen three straight quarters of decline in Los Angeles’ consumer sentiment, despite a strong local economy and low unemployment,” noted Marc Weidenmier, economics professor at Chapman University and the former director of the Lowe Institute.

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