Remember When Brown Was For Local Control?

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)

When I used to write that Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t have much of a plan or an idea behind his second go-round as governor, the protests came back hard. No, no, he’s for local control.

The case for Brown as champion of the locals went like this. He did realignment in criminal justice to give the locals control. His new funding formula for schools included provisions for community plans that would give communities more control. And he was for changes in energy that would empower citizens and communities.

Now, not so much. Brown has doubled down on command-and-control targets from Sacramento on energy efficiency and the environment. Those school community plans? They’re a farce, forcing parents to answer prescribed questions; they can’t honestly be called plans. His much-touted rainy day fund measure limited school districts’ ability to manage their own finances. And realignment – it’s meant more responsibility for locals, but Brown never gave locals the money – or the freedom to raise it.

Read comments Read more

All that Analysis of the Glazer Victory

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

According to the Democratic Party analysis of Steve Glazer’s victory in Senate District 7, Glazer ran a “cynical” campaign appealing to Republicans and, “We know that low turnout elections favor Republicans. When Democratic voters show up and vote, Democrats win.”

I suppose one way to interpret that analysis is that those who only pay attention part time to politics or are not engaged in public affairs and don’t bother to vote in important off-year elections vote for Democrats when they do vote. Some might argue that is a formula for our government’s dysfunction, but that would be cynical and the Democratic analysis already used that term in describing Steve Glazer’s campaign. Both approaches couldn’t be cynical, could they?

Read comments Read more

LA Finally Wises Up On ADA Compliance

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

In April, the City of Los Angeles reached a deal to repair the city’s broken and crumbling sidewalks, at a cost of more than $1 billion over 30 years. Just how bad are the city’s sidewalks? One city estimate found that 40 percent of the city’s sidewalks needed to be fixed.

A plan to fix the sidewalks of Los Angeles was way overdue. Why? Because the poor state of the city’s sidewalks invited lawsuit after lawsuit against the city, at a cost of roughly $5 million per year. That’s $5 million every year that wasn’t going to fix sidewalks, or to fund any other vital city services, such as police or fire protection. Much of that money went into the pockets of personal injury lawyers, instead of funding services that taxpayers need.

Read comments Read more

California Environmental Quality Act, Greenhouse Gas Regulation and Climate Change

David Friedman and Jennifer Hernandez are attorneys in the California environmental and land use practice group of Holland & Knight LLC, an international law firm.

(Editor’s Note: This is the introduction to a new report, California’s Social Priorties, from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy. The report is authored by David Friedman and Jennifer Hernandez. Read the full report (pdf).)

California has adopted the most significant climate change policies in the United States, including landmark legislation (AB 32)2 to lower state green- house gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Proposed new laws, and recent judicial decisions concerning the analysis of GHG impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), may soon increase the state’s legally mandat- ed GHG reduction target to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.3 The purpose of California’s GHG policies is to reduce the concentration of human-generated GHGs in the atmosphere. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other scient.c organizations have predicted that higher GHG atmospheric concentra- tions generated by human activity could cause catastrophic climate changes.

Read comments Read more

How Will Business React to L.A. Minimum Wage Boost?

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

The Los Angeles City Council tentatively voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The business community opposed the move. How business will react is unclear but there was much discussion during the debate over the issue about lost jobs and eyeing more friendly business locations.

The wage increase is to be phased in over time so the immediate impact may not be felt. Businesses ought to keep score when the effects hit so officials will be cognizant of the consequences. By no means cheerleading for negative effects here, but if the wage increase doesn’t cause economic disruptions and it appears business’s challenge to the dramatic increase in the minimum wage is just an exercise in rhetoric, the business communities credibility will suffer.

Read comments Read more

A California Columnist in Arab Spring’s Court

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)

Living in an exceptional place is hard work. Especially when your place needs big changes.

Californians know this well. We feel such an obligation to live up to our reputation as “The Great Exception” among U.S. states, as the writer Carey McWilliams famously called us, that we routinely embrace novel schemes that other American places run from, like a $70 billion high-speed rail project.

People in Tunisia, where I spent last week, know the pressures of exceptionalism too. The North African country of 11 million is where the Arab Spring began four years ago with the toppling of a four-decade-old dictatorship, and it’s the only Arab Spring country that has made the transition to democracy. It’s also blessed with an economy that is open to the outside world, an army that doesn’t aspire to rule the country, a strong civil society, and a tradition of women’s equality.

Read comments Read more

21st Century California Careers

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California is undergoing profound change.  Most strikingly, people are leaving the Golden State, which was once the preferred destination of migrants worldwide.  California’s domestic migration has been net negative for over 20 years.  That is, for 20 years, more people have been leaving California for other states than have been arriving from other states.  The state’s population is only growing because of a relatively high birthrate, mostly among immigrants.

Domestic migration is not a one-way street.  It may be net negative, but lots of people are coming to the state.  It’s just that more are leaving. Generally speaking, low and middle-income people are leaving.  Those coming tend to be wealthier and older than those leaving.  They are people who can afford California’s higher costs and limited opportunity.  These migratory trends are increasing income-inequality in America’s most unequal state.

Read comments Read more

Lorena Gonzalez Leads Party Into Workers’ Comp Fight

John Hrabe
Writer and Communications Strategist

Lorena Gonzalez doesn’t shy away from a fight.

After less than two years in the state Assembly, the former San Diego labor organizer has established herself as the state’s leading advocate for workers.

Last year, Gonzalez successfully authored legislation to force companies – large and small – to provide paid sick leave to nearly all of their employees. This year, she’s urging Democrats to wade into a politically-sensitive fight over the state’s workers’ compensation system.

Read comments Read more

How Steve Glazer Won

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

Mindful of the millions they spend electing Democrats, the public employee unions expect legislators to act like the old Soviet-era nomenklatura, compliant toadies who do what they are told.  So when one gets out of line it’s big deal.  Democratic special election candidate Steve Glazer dared do so, and labor spent $3.5 million trying to keep him out of the State Senate.  Last night Glazer won with 55 percent of the vote, and labor lost.

So how did he do it?  Glazer had crossed labor by helping elect Democrats not on their approved list.  He was blackballed as a political consultant, and then when he tried to run himself for the Assembly in 2014, labor unloaded on him and in the process managed to blow a winnable Assembly seat.  And then much to the surprise of the unions, he jumped into the special election for an open Senate seat in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this spring.

Read comments Read more

Californians See the Housing Affordability Crisis as a Threat to the California Dream

Carson Bruno
Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution

This is an abridged version of an article that appeared in the May/June 2015 Issue 1502 of the Hoover Institution’s Eureka – a bi-monthly publication on relevant California policy topics. To read the full Issue 1502, visit Eureka. To read more about the Golden State Poll, click here.

California’s housing prices are the 2nd highest in the country (second only to Hawaii); according to Zillow, Californian home values and rental prices are roughly 2½ times and 1½ times, respectively, the national averages. Homeownership is a signifier of upward economic mobility, but many Californians cannot afford these daunting prices threatening the California Dream.

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.