Brown Should Follow Cuomo’s Lead on State of the State Speech

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)

Finally, a big-state governor has figured out how to do a state of the state presentation properly.

Unfortunately, that governor is not California’s governor.

A few years ago, I advised Gov. Brown to ditch the traditional State of the State speech, since it has lost all punch, and instead go around the state, listening to citizens in different regions. Such sessions would give a true state of the state.

Brown didn’t take my advice. Instead he took a shot at me at the beginning of his speech that year, accusing me (falsely, I must add) of being a “declinist” with “nothing to say in the face of California’s comeback.”

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Concerns Over Trump and the Chance to Prove his Detractors Wrong

Richard Rubin
Chair, California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Presidential Inaugurals are supposed to be celebrations of a new start, fresh beginnings—-sometimes even historic moments.

That was the case in 2008 when the nation chose its first black President.

Another historic moment is upon us when the 45th president, Donald T. Trump, will be sworn in amidst controversy over his election that outweighs the event itself.

No time in memory have at least 50 members of Congress decided to boycott this ritual ceremony which typically symbolizes the peaceful passing of the torch regardless of which party takes control.

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A View from the Inauguration: Kellyanne Conway Speaks to Women Leaders

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

“Dreams come true! Women can do anything!” That was Kellyanne Conway’s message yesterday morning in front of a group of 250 women leaders, the day before her 50th birthday … and the much discussed inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Kellyanne said she is having a huge birthday party and there is a small swearing in on the side! Her message was supportive, encouraging, gave insight and reminded you that she is a woman with all the same thoughts and issues that that we have.

Kellyanne told us how important the grassroots voters were and that that is gratifying to have a victory for the future that is shared by all.

She stressed to the group that the Trump family is making unbelievable sacrifices, that the Trumps are doing this for all Americans.

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Presidential Inaugurations Are More Than a Hail to the (New) Chief

Richard M. Skinner teaches political science at Johns Hopkins and George Washington Universities.

On Jan. 20, tens of millions of people will watch the pomp and spectacle of a uniquely American tradition. The hushed politicos in the pews of prayer service, the gleaming marching band brass on parade, the holy men and women delivering solemn invocations, the tuxes and gowns dancing their way through evening balls. And, of course, the next president of the United States of America, right hand up, left hand on the Bible, being sworn in for the highest office of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Yet all of the day’s formalities fail to cover up certain strains that often accompany this public ceremony. For alongside the pageantry, our inaugurations also expose some of the biggest tensions that define the American presidency—and show how our democracy has survived to repeat the ritual for the nation’s 45th commander-in-chief.

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Environmentalism Provides Moral Cover for New Taxes to Fund Pensions

Ed Ring
Ed Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

There are two intertwined themes that define unionized government in California. First, funding government retiree pensions will soak up every new source of tax revenue they will ever collect. Second, cloaking new taxes and fees – and new agencies – in the virtuous raiment of environmentalism will deflect criticism and demonize critics. Here’s why:

Now that Democrats have a super-majority in California’s state legislature, expect to see plentiful new taxes to pile onto the $5.0 billion in new state and local taxes that were approved by voters on November 8th. After all, California’s projected 2017-18 state budget still has a $1.6 billion deficit. And that’s nothing. Here is a look what sort of deficit challenges California’s state and local governments are actually facing:

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Californians Opposed to Trump’s Immigration Ideas? Poll Results May Surprise You

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

California’s political leaders, the generals of the so-called Trump resistance, may be surprised that they don’t have as many troops behind them as they imagined according to the new Golden State Poll released by the Hoover Institution. In issues dealing with immigration—sanctuary cities, deportations, and denying immigration from certain countries—the poll showed split support rather than overwhelming support for the positions the political leaders identified as “California values.”

According to Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution fellow who oversees the poll, the survey results indicate that while coastal blue California gets the headlines, there is really more than one California. Whalen noted that Donald Trump garnered one-third of the California vote and Hillary Clinton captured three-fifths of the state’s popular vote, but support for Trump’s immigration ideas actually broke even between support and opposition and in some cases were a few points ahead.

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Dealing with the Unexpected: CA Democratic Leaders Respond to Trumps’ Win

Kit Rachlis
Senior Editor, The California Sunday Magazine

On election day, as the nation narrowly elected Donald Trump, California voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton — and for Democrats, in general — setting up a battle between the state and the new administration that will likely persist for the next four years. How the state’s leading figures began preparing for that battle — in some cases, minutes after the election was called — is the subject of contributing writer Andy Kroll’s riveting and insightful cover story in the new California Sunday Magazine.

After the networks had called it, Kevin de León walked out onto the balcony of his suite at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for some fresh air. Darkness had settled over the city. De León was a mess — gutted, angry, confused. Back inside the suite, staffers sat hunched over their laptops monitoring election returns from around the state. As the president pro tempore of the California State Senate, de León, a Democrat, had reason to feel good about many of the results — it was possible his party would claim a supermajority in the Senate when all the votes were counted. But as someone who began his political career in the early 1990s organizing against the passage of Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant referendum, he felt a sickening sense of history repeating itself as he watched Donald Trump claim victory.

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Now California Will Get Trumped

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

When he becomes president on Friday, Donald Trump will take the reins of the most powerful government the world has ever known: 7,000 nuclear weapons; a world-spanning conventional military; a $4 trillion federal budget, that’s $4,000,000,000,000.00; a couple dozen spy and armed domestic enforcement agencies: CIA, FBI, NSA, federal marshals, etc.; vast new powers, of dubious constitutionality, thanks to outgoing President Obama’s countless “executive orders”; a bully pulpit that now includes tweets; a huge following among the toiling masses.

So who’s going to challenge him in California and become a counter-president, nationally or even just here? Jerry Brown? Nancy Pelosi? Dianne Feinstein? The Calexit folks?


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Donald Trump Is Living In My Closet

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)

I have a confession to make: Donald Trump is imprisoned in my closet.

He’s been in there for months, and I haven’t dared to let him out, for fear that his presence might be discovered. What’s worse, now that he’s president I’ve come to realize that my treatment of Trump does not conform with the Geneva Convention. He’s spent all this time in a tiny, dark space, without proper ventilation. I haven’t even bothered to provide him with food or water.

I’m not a kidnapper or a hostage-taker or a torturer, I swear. My only defense is puzzlement: I don’t know what to do with him. Like most people in California, I badly want to get rid of Donald Trump, but I can’t figure out how.

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Legislature curbs free speech for ‘worthy’ aims—then come the lawsuits

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Back before the internet made it so easy to find a celebrity’s age, a 29-year-old actress landed the role of a 17-year-old girl—and helped propel “Beverly Hills 90210” into a hit TV show in the 1990s.

That was the story actress Gabrielle Carteris told state lawmakers last year as she lobbied for a bill to strip actors’ ages from commercial websites used in casting. Now the president of the Screen Actors Guild, Carteris said she would never have been able to land the career-making role today because of websites like that publish actors’ ages. In response, lawmakers—sweeping aside First Amendment concerns that the government doesn’t have the right to keep anyone from publishing information such as a birth date—approved Assembly Bill 1687, and the governor signed it into law.

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