Could We Have Four Parties By 2020?

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)

The only thing nastier than the Democrat-Republican partisan battles are the battles inside the parties.

Among Democrats, Sanderistas are attacking more moderate Obama Democrats. Among Republicans, Trumpian nationalists are seeking to bully traditional conservatives and moderates.

The ferocity of the fighting is striking. Each side sees the other as scary and/or corrupt. Voices suggest we can’t live without the party. There’s talk of making the party narrower and purer.

This is the sort of situation that causes parties to split.

It might sound strange to American ears –we’ve had two major political parties for much of our history. But a split of both parties – from 2 parties into 4 – wouldn’t be a surprise.

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How About Naming Rights For the State Capitol Building?

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

For $12 million a year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to offer naming rights to the field within Dodger Stadium on which the ball club plays. If that helps the Dodgers meet its budget obligations, perhaps the state should adopt a similar plan. Wonder how much the state could get for naming rights for parks, harbors, or buildings?

People might object to Del Notre Coast Redwoods State Park brought to you by the Pacific Lumber Company or Sonoma Coast State Park presented by Chicken of the Sea.

But rich California companies that want to be associated with classics of nature and contribute to the state budget’s bottom line might be persuaded. Google Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a mouthful but could bring in big bucks to fill some budget needs without the current go-to method of raising taxes.

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Is Cap-and-Trade Really a Free Market Solution to Climate Change?

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

The mood was reportedly celebratory on the evening of July 17 after legislators approved a decade-long extension of the state’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program. But that’s not to say everyone was happy, or should be.

Assembly Bill 398 will continue the current cap-and-trade system through 2030. It places a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and allows emitters to buy allowances that permit them to release a set amount of emissions. It narrowly passed in the Assembly 55-21 with the help of seven Republican votes, and in the Senate by a single vote 28-12, needing an assist from a single GOP senator.

But some Republicans are refusing, as they should, to surrender the hard line. Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel said that “the world’s elites will applaud what California did . . . but it will be hardworking Californians who will pay the price.”  Her statement might sound like the heated response of someone who just lost a tough legislative battle, but her point can’t be ignored.

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Prior Legislative Efforts on Banning or Restricting Arbitration That Have Been Vetoed

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

With pending legislation this Session that attempts to limit the use of arbitration in civil litigation, including SB 33 (Dodd) and SB 238 (Monning), there are at least five instances in which prior efforts results in a veto, including the following ones from three separate governors:

2000 – SB 1570 (Dunn) – Gov. Davis vetoed

The bill would have required an arbitration or mediation agreement in a mobile home tenancy contract to be set forth in a separate document from the rental agreement and would have prohibited management from conditioning the tenancy of a homeowner on accepting or signing an arbitration or mediation agreement. Gov. Davis in his veto message said: “I believe that mediation and arbitration clauses serve a vital purpose in that alternative dispute resolution is an efficient and effective forum for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. Civil litigation is a more costly means of dispute resolution in a court system plagued by case backlogs.”

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Democrats hurt by gerrymandered congressional districts, but not in California

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Belatedly – and only after they had lost control of Congress to Republicans – the national Democratic Party grasped the impact of how state legislatures redraw congressional districts after each decennial census.

A consortium of Republican and conservative interest groups had methodically set out to capture state legislatures and governorships in anticipation of redistricting after the 2010 census.

It was very successful, especially in Midwestern and Southern states, and the 2011 round of redistricting bolstered the GOP’s control of the House of Representatives it had won in 2010.

With the next round of redistricting only a few years away, Democrats are fighting back, mostly in the courts, and trying to undo some of those gerrymanders, with uncertain outcomes.

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Somewhere in a Galaxy Not So Far Away…President Jerry Brown

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

Washington, DC—President Jerry Brown today signed landmark Health Security legislation—capping years of gridlock with a compromise package that drew support and opposition from both sides of the aisle in Congress.

At the signings, President Brown was flanked by Congressional leaders from both parties and representatives from AARP, the U.S. chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. 

The new health law would preserve basic elements of the Affordable Care Act, while adding a number of features designed to correct ACA deficiencies and to contain health care costs and insurance rates.  These include a re-insurance pool to mitigate insurers’ exposure to catastrophic health costs, authorization for Medicare to negotiate drug rates with pharmaceutical companies, tort reform for medical malpractices and relief for small businesses.

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Does The Death Of The Health Care Bill Present An Opening For Bipartisanship?

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

With the collapse of the GOP health bill, Republicans could use the moment to revive interest in genuine bi-partisan law-making or they can double down on a losing strategy to gut the entire Affordable Healthcare Act and start all over.

Democrats, led by California’s redoubtable former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, can either sit back and watch the messy proceedings content with the mayhem it is causing in Republican ranks or take advantage of the moment to seek accommodation with a weakened president in some areas where they can find agreement.

There may be options short of summary dismissal of everything the beleaguered president proposes which will benefit all parties in the face of voters who have signaled they are adamantly opposed to scrapping the AHA in its entirety and throttling any expansion of Medicaid.

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Legislators continue to drive up the cost of fuels

Ronald Stein
Founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine

The concept of reducing our emissions is correct, but show me some progress!

Cap and Trade has been a revenue generator for the State since 2006. It has raised over $7 billion for the State, but after 10 years since AB 32 was signed into law in 2006, according to the California Energy Commission, has yet to lower our 1% contribution to the world’s GHG’s. It has however been very effective in hitting citizens’ pocketbooks to fund a multitude of governmental pet projects.

We could shut down the entire state that represents only 0.5 percent of the world’s population, close all the airports, get rid of the 35 million vehicles, turn off all the generators, and shoot all the cows, and it would have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the global climate.

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Talking Cap-n-Trade Keeps Us Busy

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

The Cap-and-Trade debate got a lot of attention around the state but many people were not sure what the fuss was all about. That led to many invitations to explain—on Bret Baier’s Special Report on Fox News, McIntrye in the Morning on KABC Radio, KSRO in Sonoma County, and even a college summer class in Santa Monica.

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Those 2/3 Votes Are Pricey

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)

It was awfully hard for Gov. Jerry Brown to push through that legislation to renew cap and trade. Expensive too.

But don’t feel sorry for the governor. It was his own damn legislation facing obstacles that are his own damn fault.

Brown needed to get two-thirds because cap-and-trade raises revenues, and that requires a two-third vote in California because of Propositions 13 and 26. Brown was governor when Prop 13 passed, and in his second go-round in state office, he’s declined to fix the supermajority-mad governing system, even watching as Prop 26 and other supermajorities were added. He’s preferred to focus on climate change, water and sustainability.

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