CA & USA: Tied in Knots Over Race

Gary Delsohn
Former Sacramento Bee Reporter now working for the Chancellor at UC Davis

America’s latest racial conflict is playing out on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, but everyone knows this could happen anywhere at any time.

Few California cities are immune from such potential explosions. One over-zealous cop, a George Zimmerman-like vigilante or any number of criminal acts with a racial element and our streets could be enflamed while the world watches in sorrow and disgust.

America is still tied in knots over the issue of race and class and at time like this, it can feel as if we always will be.

Why does it seem as if we only talk deeply about these questions immediately after something tragic like the Michael Brown shooting? Is this the only time these issues command our serious attention?

Read comments Read more

Aaron Rodgers for Governor

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)

You’ve been punked, California.

There have been a number of false reports to the effect that California voters will watch Gov. Brown debate Neel Kashkari at 7 pm the night of Thursday, Sept. 4. How can people possibly believe this?

That date and time are all the evidence you need to know that this is a hoax. No serious political debate or significant event would be scheduled for that evening, since it would conflict with the first National Football League game of the season. You’d get a bigger audience for a debate on a Saturday night (which was the night of the one debate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did during his reelection campaign) than on that Thursday.

Read comments Read more

The Energy and Creativity of the Internet Job Placement Sites

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

This summer, Congress enacted the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which governs the $3 billion or so spent each year by the federal government on job training. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, announced that the Act would bring U.S. job training in the 21st century.

I started in the public workforce system in 1979 with a community job training agency and have seen the system improve over the years. Today’s system is more focused on linking training to jobs, in involving employers, in making data on job placement rates more transparent. The new legislation helps nudge along these improvements.

However, WIOA will not significantly change the system or outcomes. Like its predecessors, the Job Training Partnership Act (1982) and the Workforce Investment Act (1998), WIOA involves modest adjustments to job training approaches (despite hundreds of meetings, conferences, and discussions). The same forms of recruitment, assessment, training and placement will continue, usually by the same training and placement agencies.

Read comments Read more

What’s the Deal with Cities and Counties Hiring Contingency Fee Lawyers?

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

I get that cities and counties in this economy are struggling, but it seems like lately they are willing to sue just about anyone. Is this a new scheme? Taxation through litigation? Who benefits from the public sector suing the private sector?

Santa Clara County seems to be leading the charge. Back in 2000, Santa Clara County and a whole host of other counties and cities sued the paint industry. In January of this year, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg issued his final statement of decision, holding five paint manufacturers liable for $1.15 billion to replace and maintain lead paint in millions of homes in California. This decision will likely be appealed, but the fact that these cities and counties used public nuisance laws as their claims is a step too far.

Then in May 2014, Santa Clara and Orange Counties filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies claiming the companies violated California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws, thereby creating  a public nuisance. They say the drug manufacturers knew that opioids were ineffective, addictive and unsafe for long term use but persuaded doctors to prescribe them in order to expand the market and boost their profits.

Read comments Read more

Tracking America’s ‘Hidden Millennials’

Fox&Hounds Contributor

When it comes to attracting the hip and cool, Southern California, long a cultural trendsetter, appears to be falling behind – at least in the view of the national media. Articles about where millennials are, or should be, going rarely mention anywhere in this region as a top choice.

Rather than hang out at the beach or enjoy poolside ambience, the conventional wisdom is that the millennial generation – those born after 1983 – would rather go anywhere else. Southern California is not on a list of the top 12 regions (although San Diego gets a mention) for millennials, published in the Huffington Post. Other “best” lists and similar compilations invariably highlight New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., and Boston, but rarely SoCal.

Read comments Read more

An Unhealthy Dependence on the Rich

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Upper-income taxpayers are paying the highest share ever of the California personal income tax.

This is good news in good times, but underscores the need for Proposition 2, the rainy day reserve measure placed on the November ballot by the Legislature at the Governor’s request.

Data recently released by the Franchise Tax Board – with the first year of Proposition 30 tax increases in the books – shows taxpayers with more than $200,000 in tax liabilities paid a record 70 percent of all personal income taxes. This exceeds the previous high of 66 percent in 2007.

kaye-tax share

Read comments Read more

Keep Hint of Prosecutorial Action Out of Legitimate Political Debates

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

In the war of words over an attempt to stall the extension of AB 32’s cap-and-trade to transportation fuels, liberal groups sent a public letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris asking her to keep an eye out for collusion by oil companies in price fixing. This premature advisory (the law doesn’t take effect until January) is part of the political debate, yet it is designed to quash political debate.

Unfortunately, there has been a move in this country to use the courts and criminal prosecution to undermine political opponents. That can be seen most recently in the truly strange indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for vetoing the budget of the Public Integrity Unit in Travis County around Austin. The Wall Street Journal’s Monday editorial pointed to prosecutorial actions in both Texas and Wisconsin as political lowball. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said the Perry prosecution “is another example of the criminalization of party differences. This idea of an indictment is an extremely dangerous trend in America.”

Read comments Read more

Paper Bag Fee Impacts Everyone

Kyle Smith
General Manager, Paper Bag Business at International Paper

International Paper Operates 27 Facilities in California With More Than 2,500 Employees

For decades, grocery stores offered safe, sustainable paper bags to customers without taxes or fees. Now, due to the debate surrounding the ban on plastic bags, many consumers across the state are being charged 10 cents per paper bag. As the State Legislature now debates a statewide proposal to ban single use plastic bags they should evaluate all the potential impacts of creating a new tax when asking for paper bags.

Paper bags are made from a renewable resource, are 100 percent compostable, fully recyclable and completely reusable. Most paper bags manufactured in the United States are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSC®), third-party forestry standards. Each paper bag has an average of 40 percent recycled content and can easily be recycled to create other paper products. In fact the recycling recovery rate for paper products is over 65 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In comparison, plastic bags are only recovered at a 10 percent rate. Paper bags’ higher recovery rate is due to the voluntary efforts and investments of the paper industry to recover their own products. We believe consumers should not be taxed for an item that is manufactured in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Read comments Read more

On the Goal Line

Gary Toebben
President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

As we enter the start of football season, I always look forward to watching a team march down the field with pinpoint passes and well executed running plays to score the winning touchdown with seconds left on the clock. This scenario acts as an effective metaphor for AB 1839 – The Film and Television Tax Credit program which will grow middle class jobs in California.

It’s been a long march down the field this legislative session with Assemblymembers Bocanegra & Gatto quarterbacking our efforts. The Chamber and other organizations have been blocking with precision to move the ball forward.  We effectively outlined the economic benefits and job protection the program will generate. We also clearly detailed the very real negative impacts if California does not take action and allows production jobs to leave for New York, Louisiana, Georgia and other locales. This game plan gained one yard and one vote at a time. 

Read comments Read more

Stop Bullying Charter School

Rabbi Mark Blazer is the founder of Albert Einstein Academy. Dr. Jeffrey Shapiro is the CEO of the Albert Einstein Academy. Both are residents of Stevenson Ranch and are parents of recent graduates and current students of AEALAS.

Imagine if your student was being bullied at school. As parents, we would take the necessary steps to prevent this unacceptable behavior and alert school administrators. Often times, it’s simply name-calling or teasing. However, what may be perceived as an unintended act can quickly turn into an unfortunate situation when a schoolyard bully uses his or her own strength or influence to intimidate another student.

Fortunately, every school district in California has established set policies prohibiting student bullying from occurring on campus. Strategies for bullying prevention and intervention have been developed within school communities to protect students from physical and emotional harm.

But can “bullying” solely be defined as student-on-student activity? Consider if this same type of intimidation and aggressive behavior was orchestrated by a gang of school district superintendents against a high-performing charter school.

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.