Putting Conscience Over Party Politics

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught at the University of San Francisco, Berkeley and Golden Gate University, is a regular columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and was Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, 2017-2019.

California Republicans do a much better job of displaying unity around their candidates than their counterparts. 

 It is at least one reason why, even in this bluest of states, a few have broken thorough to claim the governorship and a couple of them  rode the Golden State wave right into the presidency.

Ronald Reagan was a benefactor able to squelch stiff opposition to his candidacy from those on the far right. Richard Nixon prevailed eight years after his initial defeat by John F. Kennedy trouncing the liberal forces that propelled George McGovern, a controversial nominee, to a landslide defeat.

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A Cross and History

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

Given the United States Supreme Court decision allowing the state of Maryland to keep a cross dedicated to the memory of World War I soldiers on public grounds, should the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors revisit the decision to remove a cross from the county seal? I ask this question in the context of the wider debate of modern sensibilities and the need to understand history. 

Recall in 2004, Los Angeles County Supervisors, reacting to a lawsuit from the ACLU, decided to pull the small cross from the county seal. The cross shared a box on the seal with an artistic arc representing the Hollywood Bowl and two stars that stood for the county’s relationship to the movie and television industries.

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Workers are changing. California Legislature must face that reality

Allan Zaremberg
President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce

Labor protections are meant to address certain situations where there is an imbalance in control between the employer and employee. But when the workers themselves control their working conditions, are these labor protections still necessary? 

The heart of the debate over independent contracting in the gig economy is how can we improve protections for gig workers, without losing the control and flexibility they value.

Today, you can’t have it both ways. Having job security means the employer will schedule your hours. Without that control, you couldn’t get coffee in the morning if one day all the baristas choose to sleep in.S

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LA Business Poll Says Raise Commercial Property Taxes, Lose Businesses

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

Last week I reported that the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) poll showed that business respondents found homelessness such a severe problem that it was one reason businesses were choosing to leave the state. But far be it for me to ignore another issue that could chase even more businesses away from California: the split roll property tax increase aimed at businesses on the November 2020 ballot. 

The poll found that 40% of the respondents would consider leaving California if the split roll passed. 

Raising commercial property to full market value for tax purposes, as the split roll prescribes, will bring in up to $11 billion according to official estimates. Such a large tax increase would cause businesses to respond in different ways. 

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Opportunities for Women to Thrive in the Smart Machine Age

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter
Dean of Students and Alumni Affairs at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and Director of the Pepperdine Center for Women in Leadership which she founded to empower and advance women in the workplace.

Previously it was thought that automation would disproportionately impact men as they hold the majority of manufacturing jobs likely to be replaced by machines. However, a recent study from McKinsey Global Institute entitled The future of women at work found the proliferation of artificial intelligence will likely replace many jobs predominately held by women.

These findings echo data from Women, Automation, and the Future of Work, an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) report, which found that while women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, they account for 58% of workers employed in fields facing the highest risk for automation.

As we enter the smart machine age it is critical that policy makers and the business community take deliberate steps to increase opportunities and provide resources to prepare, empower and support women (and men) as they seek to adapt their skillset, change job functions or pursue new career opportunities. Leaders across the state must push for more gender-aware policies in the workplace and ensure there is increased financial investment – from both the public and private sectors – to prepare women for the future of work.

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As United States Divide, the Green New Deal Could Be Democrats’ Undoing in 2020

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

If next year’s election is a referendum on Donald Trump, you can hand power to the Democrats now. But fortunately for the president, and the Republican Party, politics remains more about interests than personalities.

More than by cultural memes touching on race, gender, and even taste, the United States are divided by where we live and how we make our living. America, after all, is a vast country and its remarkable economic diversity is what makes it so dynamic and capable against all competitors.

In much of the country, the economy still relies on tangible things—agricultural production, energy, manufacturing and logistics. But in the Northeast and on the West Coast, the economic drivers are intangible—technology, business services, tourism, financial services and real estate.

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California’s budget process has devolved into a bad joke

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Let’s face it. California’s budget process has devolved into a bad joke. The record amount of spending coupled with massive expenditures for wasteful, pork-barrel projects is bad enough. But the more insidious problem is the lack of budget transparency. This is not the way it is supposed to be.

As usual, Sacramento politicians are patting themselves on the back for passing an “on time” budget. True, the main budget bill was passed on June 13, two days before the constitutional deadline. But citizens would be mistaken to believe that the passage of the budget bill completes the budget process.

Ever since 2010, it has become common to enact politically motivated legislation as so-called budget “trailer bills” as a means to avoid meaningful analysis and public hearings.

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Two California Images

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

Is California a shining star of social togetherness, booming economy, and an envy to the world or a place that’s too expensive to live or do business while suffering with ugly problems of homelessness, disease, filth and poverty? Both pictures contain truth and the public relations feud over the state’s image is in high gear. Just ask Governor Newsom.

In a weekend article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wildermuth, Newsom showed pique over how the state is portrayed.  He complained about the state’s image as drawn by both national media and business leaders. Newsom argued that the cost of doing business in California underpins the opportunity for all to capture the California dream.

He attacked a recent television interview with him, which began with a question about feces in the streets of San Francisco.

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Charter Schools Don’t Fiscally Distress Regular Public Schools

Lance Izumi
Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute

In their continuing war against charter schools, teacher unions have persistently argued that charter schools, which are mostly non-union, have a large negative financial impact on the regular public school system.  New research, however, contradicts this claim.

In Sacramento, the California Teachers Association is pushing a package of anti-charter-school bills, including AB 1505, recently passed by the State Assembly, which would allow school districts to deny an application for a charter school if it would supposedly produce a negative financial impact on the district’s regular public schools.

CTA president Eric Heins claims that charter schools, which are publicly-funded schools that are autonomous from school districts and have greater flexibility to innovate, are “a drain on many of our public schools.”

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Make CA Lawmakers Our Housing Guinea Pigs

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)

Most Californians agree that housing is the state’s biggest crisis. But state leaders can’t reach a consensus on how best to address it. And few of us want to be the first to try a new housing policy; we fear new approaches will disrupt our lives.   

What California needs then is a housing laboratory, an experimental set- up for new housing concepts that won’t disturb the rest of us. But labs need lab rats. Since no one else will volunteer, I modestly suggest a small but influential subset of Californians as our guinea pigs: leading members of the Newsom administration, the 120 members of the state legislature, and their top staff members.

Who better to represent us in trying out our housing future than our representatives?

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