Newsom Better When Salty

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)

Whatever your politics, Gavin Newsom has a distinguished record as a mayor and policy thinker. But in person, he has often seemed boyish and slick, and too eager to please.

That may be changing. I recently watched video of the gubernatorial frontrunner conducting an extensive question-and-answer session at a Public Policy Institute of California event. And while all the familiar wonkishness was there, the ingratiating demeanor was gone. Instead he was putting things bluntly and offering a take-or-leave-it series of provocations.

Newsom tastes a lot better salty.

The lieutenant governor covered so much ground that I can’t recall it here, but he went from community college graduation rates to pre-natal care (“If you don’t have a prenatal plan, you shouldn’t run for governor”) to the connections between health care costs and tuition costs to the toilet-to-tap water recycling in Orange County.

Read comments Read more

2018 Brings New Protections for Job Applicants with Criminal History

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1008 (McCarty – Sacramento) on October 14, 2017 as Chapter 789 to address employment discrimination based upon criminal conviction history. Employers in California need to be aware of this bill’s numerous provisions that take effect on January 1, 2018.

This new law adds Section 12952 to the Government Code to provide that it is “an unlawful employment practice” for an employer with 5 or more employees to:

  • Include on any employment application any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history, prior to the employer making a conditional offer of employment to the job applicant;
  • Inquire into or consider the conviction history of the job applicant until after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment;
  • Consider, distribute or disseminate information about any specified results while conducting a conviction history background check; and
  • Interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of any right under this new code section.
Read comments Read more

It’s Not Only Good Intentions that Pave the Way to You Know Where 

Ronald Turovsky
Partner with the law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips in its Los Angeles office. He attended UC Berkeley for his undergraduate degree and law school.

Hell appears to be filling up quickly these days.  And not just with members of the political class, although if you follow the news, political types apparently will make up a good portion of travelers there.  But given the mixed crowd that could end up in the same place, there will be some awkward moments.

Ivanka Trump said “there’s a special place in hell” for people who prey on children.  By that she referred to Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, expressing her belief that he fell into that category.  White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short reportedly agrees with the premise, though not necessarily the conclusion, when he said there’s a “special place in hell” for people who commit sexual crimes against children, but noted that Judge Moore had not yet been “proved guilty.”  Since those who decide between heaven and hell presumably are not limited to the outcome of a jury verdict, and instead know for a fact whether he did it or not, Judge Moore may well be there either way, based on the premise.

Read comments Read more

California also gives hefty tax breaks to business

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

There’s much political complaining in California these days over congressional plans to overhaul the nation’s tax system in a way that would cost many Californians, particularly those in high tax brackets, more money.

The federal plans are still being finalized – if they can be – and are aimed at raising enough money to pay for corporate tax cuts that Republican sponsors say are needed to improve the economy by stimulating investment.

The most controversial proposals would eliminate, or at least reduce, personal income tax deductions for state and local taxes, thereby increasing tax payments to Washington.

The proposal would hit taxpayers in high-tax states such a California the hardest and the opposition brands it as unfair to tap individual taxpayers so that corporate taxes can be reduced.

Read comments Read more

Steyer’s Impeachment Campaign More Like a Recall 

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

Tom Steyer’s “Need to Impeach” campaign targeting President Trump is more like a recall effort familiar to Californians than an impeachment effort. The constitution clearly states “high crimes and misdemeanors” generate impeachment. Recall from office is mostly triggered over policy issues.

Steyer’s campaign is also about policy. That was made clear with his new ad issued by his “Need to Impeach” campaign attacking the Republican tax plan tied to a message on impeachment.

Look no further than the high profile recall of former Gov. Gray Davis. Davis was not accused of high crimes. Davis was recalled over policy issues. The Davis recall made the ballot after millions of Californians signed petitions. Steyer is leading a petition signature campaign to gain attention for his cause. 

Read comments Read more

How the iPhone put the spotlight on sexual harassment

Susan Shelley
Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, "How Trump Won."

Someday, when the history of the smart phone is written, historians should give the devices credit for finally ending one of western civilization’s oldest traditions, the sexual harassment and assault of young women by powerful men.

Here’s how it happened. In 2006, Bill Cosby settled a lawsuit alleging that he sexually assaulted a woman. A dozen other women had come forward as part of that case, but the settlement buttoned up the details, and press coverage was skillfully managed by Cosby’s entourage.

Then in 2014, stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress was performing in Philadelphia. He told the crowd he was tired of Cosby’s “smug” lectures on morality, when the legendary sitcom star was himself a rapist.

Read comments Read more

2 skyscrapers & the California imagination

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)

This is a tale of two new skyscrapers—and of two cities that have more in common than they care to admit.

The Wilshire Grand Center towers 73 stories and 1,100 feet over downtown Los Angeles, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. A project of the conglomerate that owns Korean Air Lines, it opened this summer.

The Salesforce Tower, which takes its name from the cloud computing giant that will occupy it, rises 61 stories and 1,070 feet over the South of Market district in San Francisco. When it opens in early 2018, it will be the second-tallest building west of the Mississippi.

Each building has literally changed its city’s skyline. Considered together, however, they make a more earth-bound and less flattering point about the state of the California imagination.

Read comments Read more

Lawmakers to Californians: Do as we say, not as we do

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

With a declaration that “public servants best serve the citizenry when they can be candid and honest without reservation in conducting the people’s business,” lawmakers passed the California Whistleblower Protection Act in 1999.

The idea was to protect workers who report misconduct, so that they can blow the whistle on bad actors without losing their jobs. The bill at that time covered workers at state agencies and California’s two public university systems. Lawmakers expanded it in 2010 to cover employees of the state’s courts.

But one group of California government workers has never had whistleblower protection under the law: those who work for the lawmakers themselves. It’s an example of how the Legislature sometimes imposes laws on other people that it doesn’t adhere to itself.

Read comments Read more

GOP Tax Plan May Make Business a Target for Tax Raisers in CA

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

If the tax plan passes congress, California business better have a shield because they will be the target of tax increase activists.

The House vote on the GOP tax bill was step one. There is a ways to go before the tax cut plan becomes law and on the Republican side there is still last minute jockeying for changes to the final plan that would end up on the president’s desk. Even the state and local tax deductions issue might be altered allowing the deductions to stand if some GOP-oriented economists have their way.

But if a tax cut plan mirrors to some degree what congress passed yesterday, expect a change in strategy on tax issues here in California.

Read comments Read more

Congress Is Making a Case for a National Referendum

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)

A major tax bill is now going forward in Congress, but it is not really being studied or debated, as you might expect if the United States were the democracy it claims to be.

There are no hearings on the bill. No testimony from experts. Just a lot of drafting and maneuvering behind the scenes.

This isn’t unusual. The Republican attempts to change Obamacare work the same way. So do other major legislative initiatives.

This doesn’t work. Democracy and representation require deliberation in public. IF Congress isn’t going to provide it, then there isn’t much point in having a Congress.

It also means that the people have to step in and provide that deliberation.

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.