Unconventional Wisdom after Cleveland

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

*   While the Republicans have been doing their best to paint the darkest possible picture of Hillary Clinton, the back-to-back party conventions give the Democrats an edge, as they can have the last word—if anybody is still listening. Counterpunching can be an extremely effective political tactic.

*   The red-meat prosecutors Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie lit up the hall with their denunciation of Hillary Clinton; but how will their tough rhetoric play with those who aren’t already Hillary haters? Or has the Trump campaign purposely adopted the Bush 2004 strategy of revving up the party’s conservative base to bump up GOP turn-out; that year 11 states placed anti-same-sex marriage on their ballots and 9 of them went for Bush—including Ohio (Of course, the demographic make-up of the electorate has changed significantly since 2004.)

*   For all the talk of Benghazi and those e-mails, the Trump campaign hasn’t paid much attention to those high paid Wall Street speeches, on which Hillary Clinton may be most vulnerable to attack. Their impact, as examples of a real economic disconnect, could resonate more directly with the broader electorate. Using valuable time and resources to re-litigate Bill Clinton’s sex life won’t move many uncommitted voters either.

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Wrapping up the RNC–Trump is on His Way

Ann-Marie Villicana
Co-Founder LA Trump, Former Pasadena City Council Member and Realtor

Donald J. Trump delivered such a stunning, direct and visionary speech as he accepted his nomination for President of the  USA that reached out to every single American.  His common sense approach, his words, his family, his work ethic, his direct talk are taking us back to our roots as a country.  Bringing us back on track, fighting for our freedoms,  fighting for our rights, freeing us from the government and bureaucracy that has overburdened every facet of our lives.  He will honor our police, our military, our families, our need for jobs, our constitution and fight  to make us proud to all be Americans without any apology.

The 2016 is absolutely perfect-  historical, grassroots with peoples voices, some just loud and most clear and engaging. We have a real discourse going on in our country — 240 years after our Declaration of Independence.

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CNBC: CA Last in Business Friendliness

Tracy Hernandez
Founding CEO of the Los Angeles County Business Federation

Measuring a state’s business competitiveness is challenging. It’s not always clear-cut. In this light, CNBC’s business analysis shows some interesting findings.

Overall, CA ranked 32 out of 50. In some categories such as technology and access to capital, California ranked high (number two overall in both); however, California ranked last in overall business friendliness.

In addition, California was found to be one of the costliest states in which to conduct business, ranking 49th overall.  A full recap of how California performed in the data can be seen in the chart.  

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Ballot of the Bulge: Why a new law isn’t shrinking the ballot much – yet

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Protracted policy questions. Big-money battles. Contradictory proposals that are difficult to discern. It’s shaping up to be an all-too-typical fall election—once again confronting  California voters with an unwieldy ballot.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. After polls confirmed that California voters were frustrated by ballot overload, lawmakers two years ago made changes aimed at pre-empting at least some initiatives from landing on the ballot, and improving those that do. One change gave the Legislature extra time to hold hearings and try to compromise with interest groups pitching complex issues.

“We’re taking an important step to modernize and strengthen direct democracy,” Gov. Jerry Brown said as he signed the changes into law in 2014.

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Business Bets on Democrats to GOP Chagrin

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

From the business perspective is the top two primary working out as hoped? Looking at the lineup of 28 same party run-offs, mostly Democratic contests in this heavily Democratic state, business can advocate for and help fund the more business-friendly Democrat in each race.

Yet, in many cases the winning Democrat will stay true to the overall Democratic Party line. In most cases, but not all. A highlighted example, the debate recently over cutting gasoline consumption saw some Democrats ignore the pleas of their party’s governor and legislative leaders to the satisfaction of the oil industry and other businesses.

Are occasional victories enough for business? Or do business groups believe that in the current California political climate, getting occasional victories from some business friendly Democrats is the best they can hope for.

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Obamacare Premium Increases Raise Red Flag for California’s Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability

David Kersten
Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

The announcement yesterday by Covered California that the statewide premium increase for Obamacare will be 13.2%, up from approximately four percent in each of the last two years, signals that the “honeymoon” period is over for government run health care in California and elsewhere.

The State of California and its taxpayers needs to brace itself for another major threat to its long-term fiscal sustainability because things could get ugly pretty quickly depending on many variables that determine California’s extraordinary level of government run health care spending.

The precise impact of the fiscal hit posed by the premium increases is difficult to pinpoint at this early stage, but there is no question that the state’s exposure to significant increases in Obamacare-driven health care expenditures will increase dramatically over the next few years.

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Does Blink-182 Know Something California Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

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)

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182?

This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political triumphalism of our elected officials and the decidedly more anxious state of affairs depicted in the broader culture.

Our state’s political and media elites are selling the idea of a “California comeback.” They say, in speeches, op-eds, and books, that the Golden State, not so long ago dismissed as dysfunctional, is the closest thing America has to a workingman’s paradise. Looking at the state through the lens of its government, they even suggest we are a global model of balanced budgets, bipartisan cooperation, and progressive policies in climate change and gun control.

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Adventures In Corporate Giveaways: The Curious Case Of Anaheim, CA

John Mirisch
Mayor, City of Beverly Hills

Inspired by the Dalai Lama, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait created the “City of Kindness” initiative. The goal is as simple as the initiative’s title: people should be kind to each other, because, as Mayor Tait asks: “Who wouldn’t want to live in a city of kindness?”

While for the past 5 ½ years Mayor Tait has been trying to instill kindness as a core value of his city, others on his Council seem to be installing a completely different set of values. Now I don’t know for certain if kindness and greed are completely mutually exclusive, but I would tend to think so.

The Anaheim City Council was faced with a decision about whether to give hundreds of millions of tax money to well-heeled developers. Call me Nostradamus, as I predicted the outcome a couple of weeks ago: the corporate giveaway passed, with Mayor Tait and Councilmember James Vanderbilt opposing corporate greed, all to no avail against a Council majority which has itself gotten generous campaign support from the putative beneficiaries of this bounty.

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Unraveling California’s New “Fiscal Paradox”: Record Revenues Reaped, While Record Number of Tax Increases Proposed

David Kersten
Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

California taxpayers are getting taken to the cleaners, but most of them are completely in the dark about how and why.

I will pose a quick question:  Does it seem strange that California has recorded record revenue increases, yet we also see a record number of tax increases and bond issuances on the ballot?

In other words, the state’s tax system is collecting massive amounts of revenues, record amounts, yet politicians are still asking for a record number of new tax increases.  For taxpayer advocates, it just doesn’t seem fair and seems very strange at first glance as to how this can even occur.

The truth of the matter is that California’s system of public finance is a complete train wreck and is set up such that no amount of tax revenues collected will ever be enough to satisfy “spending needs.”   The so-called baseline expenditure increases are on autopilot and deficit projections are generated despite record revenue increases, a trend projected in the Governor’s May Revise. 

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As I Wrote in 1991—Don’t Tax Newspapers

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

Reading Jim Miller’s Sacramento Bee report that newspapers may soon see the end of a sales tax imposed on them during the early 1990s recession brought back memories. As head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association at the time, I regularly opposed tax increases—but a tax increase on newspapers was tempting. Why? A reality check for the newspapers. As I wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece published January 14, 1991, “my reaction says, raise taxes on newspapers and let them see what we mean about tax increases hurting.”

Newspapers, particularly editorials, were hard on the tax revolt. Editorial pages frequently campaigned for new taxes. The temptation to support the tax would allow me to point to a tax we supported.

But I came out against the tax on newspapers arguing that newspapers were invaluable resources and suggesting, like other businesses, they should not be taxed during a recession.

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