A Californian in the White House?

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

At the Politico/AARP event in Los Angeles last week, some time was spent on speculating if a Californian might be successful capturing the White House in 2020. While a handful of Californians are considering a run, getting the most attention from the political experts were Kamala Harris and, yes, Jerry Brown.

California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte acknowledged that Harris was the candidate he worried about. “She is intelligent, she is articulate and she is very personable,” Brulte said. He also said, strategically she was not making the mistake of over-exposing herself on television cable shows while building a campaign infrastructure.

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A New Roadblock for the Economy and the Environment

Stuart Waldman
President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association

California is one of the most environmentally progressive states in the country. Too often, though, our elected officials have tried to achieve environmental progress through policies that come at the expense of California businesses, especially those that create manufacturing jobs. As any business leader in Southern California can tell you, we spend a lot of time opposing draconian over-regulation, which harms the families and small businesses who are already struggling to get by.

There are good programs designed to help reduce air pollution and improve public health that the business community can support. Yet, our leaders in Sacramento have found a new roadblock that could stall direct economic benefits to California consumers, by inserting unnecessary and vaguely-worded labor requirements into a successful rebate program that provides significant environmental dividends.

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The Great Schools Squeeze

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)

Don’t squeeze your kids too hard as you send them off to another school year, because the state of California is already squeezing your kids hard enough to hurt their future.

Call it The Great California School Squeeze. The state is stuck in a nasty school funding paradox: Even though our school districts never have had higher funding levels than they do right now, many districts face financial peril.

Why? Because The Squeeze is a torture machine with three ratchets.

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Legislative Leaders Want to Milk More Campaign Money

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Jesse Unruh, the legendary speaker of the state Assembly during the 1960s, was fond of pithy quips, and one of his more enduring is that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.”

Before Unruh became the Assembly’s leader in 1961, the financing of legislative campaigns was largely controlled by Capitol lobbyists, who adhered to the “select and elect” philosophy of the lobbying trade’s most famous – or infamous – practitioner, Artie Samish.

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Will Election “Deciders” be Young or Old?

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

Who will decide the November mid-term elections? If you believe AARP and the program conducted in Los Angeles by AARP and Politico yesterday, the deciders will be seniors. If you believe Tom Steyer and the millions he is spending to increase voter registration and get out the vote it will be millennials.

Generation Change, dedicated to help millennial Democrats run for office, is staging a rally Saturday in Stockton headed by its millennial mayor, Michael Tubbs, and a handful of statewide Democratic candidates who represent the emerging left wing of the party. Perhaps, the millennials will come out in greater numbers than attended the AARP/Politico event (which was also live streamed), but history indicates that it is more likely that older voters will be the deciders because they vote in greater numbers.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Property Tax Fairness

Steve White
Steve White is President of the California Association of REALTORS®.

Make no mistake, if Prop 13 were on the ballot today it would pass by a wide margin.

With that in mind, it was surprising to read Joel Fox’s article suggesting that the decision to file a second ballot initiative to advance property tax fairness would undermine Proposition 5, the Property Tax Fairness Initiative. The reality is that REALTORS® are California’s leading advocates for homeownership and are committed to addressing California’s housing supply crisis. Proposition 5 is part of the housing crisis solution. 

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The Global Climate Action Summit Makes a Big Fat Political Target

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)

For the record, California – and the United States – need more global gatherings where we compare knowledge and experience on solving difficult problems.

But the highly touted Global Climate Action Summit, convened by Gov. Jerry Brown, may be the wrong event at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

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Don’t Be Poor Down There, Be Poor Up Here!

Joe Armendariz
Executive Director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, the Santa Barbara Technology and Industry Association…and a former two term member of the Carpinteria City Council.

There was an article in the Santa Barbara Newspress that exposed Santa Barbara County, a place where our political leaders do whatever it takes to retain the title of “Capital of Social Justice.” Apparently via a progressive, lead by example, no green regulation, effective or not, duplicative or not, can ever go too far agenda, as being the apartheidic economy that it really is. In other words, the article I shared talked about Santa Barbara County now earning the dubious distinction of being the county in California with the third highest percentage of families living in poverty. Spoiler alert: the overwhelming majority of these families are Latino. Indeed, Latino’s comprise 44% of the county’s population but comprise a majority (54%) of the families living in poverty. Social justice indeed! How about a little economic justice?

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SB 311 Shows What’s Wrong With Transition to Marijuana Legalization

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)

Marijuana legalization isn’t working for a simple reason: the new legal system doesn’t come with enforcement.

That’s the paradox of legalization—it requires a new drug war of sorts.

When you’re transitioning from a black market to a legal market, you need to do two things. You need to develop a clear, coherent, easily regulated and taxed system for the legal market. And you have to crack down on those businesses that remain in the black market.

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High Court Ruling Raises Questions on Passage of Local Special Taxes 

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

How many voters does it take to pass a local special tax?

Since Proposition 13 in 1978, voters have had the final say on local tax increases. A subsequent initiative passed in 1996, Proposition 218, further required most local tax measures to gain approval by two-thirds of voters, whether proposed by a local government agency or by citizen initiative. (The exception to this is “general” city or county taxes that do not earmark where proceeds must be used, which can be approved by a simple majority of local voters.)

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