Spreading the California Gospel—Enlightenment or Plague?

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

California has long been considered a bellwether state. What happens here often trends across the country. Is the same true with the Golden State’s turn to progressive politics?

Some hope the state’s positions on social, cultural and political issues are a vanguard to change attitudes and ultimately change policies across the country. That is part of the thinking for those who supported moving up California’s presidential primary to March to influence the agendas of Democratic candidates running for president with California sensibilities.

However, others think Californians going forth to spread a California progressive gospel around the country are carrying a plague.

Read comments Read more

Divestment: A Dangerous Move for San Francisco

Carlos Solorzano
Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco

If Californian billionaire Tom Steyer has his way, the San Francisco Employee Retirement System will soon dump its fossil fuel investments – $470 million in total – in a move known as divestment. Such a move would make the SFERS the first major pension fund in the nation to take this drastic action. Steyer pleaded his case for just that in an August 8th piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unfortunately for working people in the state, divestment holds zero promise for attacking the issues that most Californians care about: making a liveable wage, obtaining quality healthcare, and saving for retirement. Neither does divestment do any good for the environment. The reality is that divestment by the SFERS won’t do anything to reduce the use of fossil fuels. As the late Joseph Dear, CalPERS’ former chief investment officer, once said, divestment is simply “a noble way to lose money.”

Read comments Read more

Ring true or be silent

Andy Caldwell
COLAB Executive Director, guest editorialist, and radio talk show host

For whom the bells toll? Nobody. That is because UCSB, which has an annual budget of $760 million, can’t find $5,000 to maintain its Carillon studio, i.e., the 61 bells in Storke Tower that can be played like a piano.

Despite the fact that the campus spends $73 million per year on maintenance, UCSB claims it can’t afford to maintain the bells. So what to do? The university turned to crowd-sourcing. In other words, our UC system, with a $30 billion budget, is now officially a charity case.

Perhaps, the bells should go silent. This has to do with the quotes and dedications inscribed on the bells, which speaks volumes about how far the university has fallen. For instance, the largest bell carries the university seal and motto “Let there be light.” The truth is, the UC system now generates more heat than light, as it concerns freedom of thought, speech and assembly.

Read comments Read more

Where America’s Highest Earners Live

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

The mainstream media commonly assumes that affluent Americans like to cluster in the dense cores of cities. This impression has been heightened by some eye-catching recent announcements by big companies of plans to move their headquarters from the ‘burbs to big cities, like General Electric to Boston and McDonald’s to Chicago.

Yet a thorough examination of Census data shows something quite different. In our 53 largest metro areas, barely 3% of full-time employed high earners (over $75,000 a year) live downtown, according to Wendell Cox’s City Sector Model, while another 11.4% live in inner ring neighborhoods around the core. In contrast, about as many (14.1%) live in exurbs while suburbs, both older and new ones, are home to 71.5% of such high earners.

Read comments Read more

Chatter at the Chamber: Political Insights at CalChamber’s Public Affairs Conference

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

Do Republicans have a chance in California? Seems a pointless question given California’s dramatic political turn to those left, all constitutional offices in the hands of the Democrats and a two-thirds supermajority of Democratic legislators.

Still, at the California Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Conference panel looking ahead to the 2018 elections, possibilities for the Republicans found some hope, if slim.

A poll done for the Chamber by PSB Research found under the generic question: Would you support a Democrat or a Republican for governor? the result was astoundingly close: 41% Democrat, 38% Republican.

What could account for such a result?

Read comments Read more

Now That Drug Cost Increases Must Be Explained in California . . .

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

Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill requiring pharmaceutical companies in California to issue notifications at least 60 days in advance of a price increase that would be at least 16 percent over a two-year period and explain the reasons behind the increase. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, supporters of the legislation say it will discourage significant price increases.

I don’t know if the legislation will achieve its objective but if it does, perhaps the same approach should be employed to reduce the significant increases in retirement costs crushing California schools and other public services.Those costs are rising as fast or faster than pharmaceutical prices. For example, retirement costs in the San Francisco Unified School District grew more than 100 percent over five years, taking millions from classrooms and teacher salaries.

And similar growth at the state level is crowding out funding for courts, parks, the University of California, California State University and Social Services.

The cause wasand remainsself serving behavior by pension fund board members and elected officials abetted by a lack of transparency that hides the true size of liabilities (explained here) and the true costs of meeting those liabilities (explained here). Worse, the consequences of those costs are forced on to the most vulnerable members of our society (explained here).

It would be good for kids and other citizens if advance notification and truthful explanation could help save schools and other public services from rapidly rising pension and other retirement costs. Notification and truthful transparency would also be valuable for government employees at risk to default by certain governments, as explained here.

Read comments Read more

CA GOP Has Fared Poorly in ‘Jungle Primary’ Era

Jon Fleischman
Publisher of the FlashReport

Over the past few weeks, leading into the California Republican Party’s convention in Orange County this weekend, there have been mailings supporting the argument that the “top two” or “jungle primary” system created by Proposition 14 in 2010 is a good idea.

It is not a good idea – at least not for conservatives. In fact, as the California Republican Party itself predicted when it strongly opposed the passage of Prop. 14, it has been a disaster.

Prop. 14 changed the way elections for partisan office are held in California. Prior to its passage, each qualified political party held a primary in June, and the winner of that primary would advance to a general election ballot featuring all of the nominees of each party, as well as independent candidates.

Read comments Read more

Hotels Proudly Support Career Pathways

Katherine Lugar, President/CEO American Hotel & Lodging Association; Lynn Mohrfeld, President/CEO, California Hotel & Lodging Association; Kevin Carroll, Executive Director, Hotel Council of San Francisco

The hotel industry is growing both nationally and in California, and with it, the need for qualified employees at all levels. This need provides an opportunity to invest in the next generation’s workforce through proactive partnerships with organizations dedicated to job training and placement, along with solid commitments on the part of employers.

That’s why the hotel industry is proud to support the Bay Area Young Men of Color Employment Partnership (BAYEP) Career Pathway Summit. Taking place at the Oakland Marriott City Center this week, this unique event will help match over 1,000 job-seekers with more than 20 top employers who will be hiring on the spot, as well as providing on-site career resources and interactive workshops to assist young people looking for a job. The Career Pathway Summit is sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the industry’s Foundation (AHLEF), California Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Hotel Council of San Francisco – because we recognize that building pathways for America’s young men of color is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the essence of our industry.

Read comments Read more

Unmistakable Signs That California Lawmakers Have (Yet Again) Gone Too Far

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

A Mercury News headline earlier this year declared that “Amid ‘Resistance,’ activists try to push California Democratic Party to the left.” But looking back now that the bill signing period is complete, it’s clear that Sacramento Democrats don’t need to be pushed left. They’re headed that way just fine on their own.

“From all appearances,” long-time California political observer Dan Walters wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, the 2017 Legislature that was completed in September was one of the most “progressive” in state history.

While Democrats didn’t get every one of their progressive ideas – which are more accurately described as “regressive” – legislated into law, enough were passed and signed, to indicate that the Sacramento majority won’t be satisfied until California state government dictates all aspects of our lives.

Read comments Read more

Governor Brown’s “Get Out of Jail Free” Approach

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

As Governor Brown enters his final years in office, legislation he has proposed, signed and vetoed in the past year make it crystal clear he wants convicted criminals to serve as little time as possible. Three changes in the criminal justice system illustrate his beliefs.

First is Prop 57 which the Governor wrote and campaigned for via extensive expenditure of time and money, yet does nothing to address recidivism.  As we blogged about extensively, this proposition drastically shortened sentences to be served by convicted criminals.  The goal of shortening sentences was accomplished by allowing the Parole Board to disregard sentence enhancements which had been imposed to reflect the severity of both violent and non-violent crime that criminals had committed.

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.