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Amid Disunity Talk GOP Re-Building

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

Given the headline generating internal arguments with top of the ticket candidates and party officials about party unity, it’s probably good that the real work of re-establishing the GOP as a political force is to try and build from the ground up. The key phrase emphasized by organizers of the state Republican convention in Los Angeles this weekend was the changing face of the GOP. There clearly has been some progress in the face-changing direction as diverse candidates were introduced to the delegates.

Skeptics say the Republican effort at diversity is a sideshow; that refusing to budge on many social issues and actually recruit members of groups that typically identify with Democrats will not change the voting dynamics in the state.

One group often mentioned as a target that has avoided the GOP is young people.

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Why Are They Distancing Themselves From Your Party, Mr. Brulte?

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 clueless are the top officials of the California Republican Party?

Even more clueless than you might have imagined.

In a must-read story full of unintentionaly hilariousness, the Sacramento Bee reported on emails between California GOP chief Jim Brulte and other key players in the party.

In the email, they whine about the two strongest statewide candidates their weak party is fielding this fall – Ashley Swearengin, the Fresno mayor running for controller, and Pete Peterson, who is running for California Secretary of State.

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Placing Fuels Under the Cap Puts Low-Income Households Under the Bus

Justin Adams
President and Chief Economist of Encina Advisors, LLC

John Husing, the Inland Empire economist, asserts that California’s policies are short-sighted when it comes to many important subject areas like energy policy. Specifically, he argues that the state’s leadership from wealthy coastal counties tends to design policies that make sense for these same counties, but that ultimately create unintended, negative consequences for poorer inland counties.

Husing may be on to something. However, I think his conclusion applies not only to California’s geography, but to its socio-economics as well.

Case in point: incorporating transportation fuels into the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program (“placing fuels under the cap”).

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In Debate, Torlakson Misrepresents Teacher-Discipline Bill

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson debated challenger Marshall Tuck on Wednesday night and once again found himself on the defensive over the teacher tenure laws targeted in the Vergara decision. Cabinet Report details how Tuck went after …

… Torlakson’s support of teacher tenure laws that were invalidated by a superior court judge earlier this summer, and a more recent decision by the superintendent to seek an appeal of the ruling.

“I helped pass a law this year to make it easier to fire ineffective or abusive teachers, but I also believe that experienced teachers deserve a fair hearing when their job is on the line,” said Torlakson in his opening statement.

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Business Should Imitate CTA Advocacy Effort

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

The California business community should take a page from the game plan of the state’s most powerful public employee union to build an argument for a healthy business climate. The California Teachers Association recently released a series of radio and television commercials promoting the profession. The ads do not advocate for a ballot measure or a candidate, but they build the foundation of goodwill for when the union does get involved in the political arena, which it does often.

The business community should take the same approach. However, as Tony Quinn recently wrote in a Fox and Hounds Daily commentary, “business has proven entirely tactical in their approach to politics: there is little long term strategic thinking.”

Challenge a specific business or industry in the political arena and they will respond fiercely. But suggest a long-term campaign of espousing the virtues of a better business climate and no one raises a hand. Such an education campaign would pay off at election time.

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Prop. 47’s Benefits Are Clear

Wayne Hughes Jr.
Former Executive of Public Storage and Founder of American Commercial Equities, which includes properties in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. In 2011, he founded Serving California, a nonprofit that facilitates healing for military families, crime victims, and inmates looking to rebuild their lives. He has contributed to the Prop 47 campaign.

Well, they’re at it again – the fear-mongers that malign smart, common sense ideas because they’re afraid of changing the status quo.

But when it comes to our bloated, ineffective prison system, the status quo needs dramatic changing. That’s why I and other conservative Republicans (like Newt Gingrich) have joined law enforcement, crime victims and others to support Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, this November.

It’s time we drop all the politics and fear-mongering and actually look at what works to protect public safety. Because it is that very same fear-mongering that got us into this mess.

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Kashkari Represents Another Failure of the Top Two

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)

Neel Kashkari should be the embodiment of what backers of the Top Two (it-is-not-a-primary, don’t call it a primary) promised us.

He is moderate. He is willing to depart from the doctrine of his own party. He presents himself as less partisan. He talks all about working together.

Trouble is, the top two makes it next to impossible for him to get noticed, much less compete.

Because the top two primary doesn’t actually support any of the things – moderation, compromise, anti-partisanship – that it’s supposed to.

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Senator Boxer, Trial Lawyers and Prop. 46

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

No this is not a lead in from Ed McMahon for Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent.

The more than 50,000 grassroots supporters of California CALA have been saying for years that the lawsuit system needs reform because it mainly supports the interests of lawyers rather than ordinary people.

How? By perpetuating a cycle through which personal injury lawyers financially benefit from bad laws that encourage lawsuit abuse, which are written by lawmakers whose campaigns are funded by…you guessed it…personal injury lawyers.

Case in point: Barbara Boxer is one of the few elected officials in California actively advocating for Prop 46. Why is that? This is a state law – not a federal one.

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Let’s Protect The Good Jobs We Have

Ted Gaines and Jack Stewart
Ted Gaines, California State Senator (1st District) and Jack Stewart, President of the California Manufacturers Association

The level of schizophrenia within the State Capitol appears to be hitting a new high when it comes to the topic of job growth in the state.

Lawmakers know that manufacturing jobs provide high wages and a ladder to the middle class, and this legislative session they delivered much-needed bills to attract new investment and jobs to California through tax breaks and other incentives.

But at the same time, lawmakers passed bills that will kill the good jobs we already have by hurting factories with deep roots in California.

Senate Bill 270 (Padilla) is a perfect example of the job-killing impulse that’s far too common in the Capitol.  This misguided measure to ban plastic bags and impose a minimum 10-cent tax on paper bags will punish the poor and shut down a small-but-important California industry.  No other state in the nation has sought a statewide plastic ban coupled with a paper bag tax, and we should not be the first.

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Republican Voters Supported the Top-Two Primary Ballot Measure

Sam Blakeslee
Former California State Senator, Ph.D., and the Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Under California’s recently adopted top-two primary system the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the primary advance to the general election, creating the new phenomenon of general election races between members of the same party. This year, 25 of the 158 legislative and congressional seats will entail intra-party contests. Today, four years after the passage of prop 14, analysts and partisans still debate whether or not Republicans supported the measure at the ballot in 2010. The following analysis attempts to answer that question.

Lauded by those who prefer competitive general elections, the top-two primary has made campaigns significantly more complex, and some might say more interesting. The reform has also generated frustration due to intra-party races that cause campaign dollars to be spent in so-called “safe” rather than “swing” seats. Of this year’s 25 same-party races, 7 are between Republicans and 18 between Democrats. The result is that Democrats are involved in more intra-party battles than Republicans.

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