Homeless Issue Tops in CA, Political Price for Inaction?

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

Two recently issued polls reveal that homelessness is the top issue in California. Disagreement abounds on how to confront the problem but the truth is if the homeless crisis is not ameliorated there will be a political price to pay and wise politicians should understand that.

The Public Policy Institute of California statewide poll revealed that homelessness was considered the number one issue in the state among both likely voters and all adults. A Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Business Council Institute poll on homelessness in Los Angeles County showed people are frustrated and want something done about the situation.

Mark Baldassare, PPIC president stated in a release accompanying the PPIC poll, “Homelessness and housing costs are now being mentioned as much as the economy and immigration when asking about the most important problems facing the people of California today.”

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“F– the POA” Is a Slogan With Power

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)

After Chesa Boudin’s surprise victory in the San Francisco district attorney’s race, a prominent supporter of Boudin, Supervisor Sandra Brewer, shouted “F— the POA!” at an election party.

The chant was directed at San Francisco’s Police Officers Association, the powerful police union, which spent big money against Boudin.  The chant occasioned criticism—about being a sore winner post-election, and about supposedly being anti-police. The POA itself demanded an apology.

Fortunately, there hasn’t been one. I think that the chant, despite the bad word, hit the mark—and that we will hear it again, across California.

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Threatening to Jump onto a Freeway; LA Homelessness; Business on the Move

Dennis Zine
Former Los Angeles City Councilman and Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant.

Whatever the reason, there was a man who recently threatened to jump from a bridge along the Hollywood Freeway causing  both north and south bound lanes to be shut down for 11 hours!  

It all began around 11:00 pm on a recent Monday evening and concluded the following Tuesday morning around 10:00 am.  For nearly 11 hours everyone traveling on the 101 both north and south was directed off the freeway onto local streets which soon became huge parking lots.  People were late to work, court, school, doctor’s appointments and a host of other destinations. All because one individual wanted to play games with the lives of thousands of motorists trying to carry on with their daily activities.  During this time, the LAPD, CHP, Cal Trans and LAFD Personnel directed traffic and baby sat the individual while attempting to talk him down. The man final surrendered when he was offered some food. Case closed and traffic along the freeway resumed to the normal gridlock after many hours of frustration for both the motorists and public safety officials.  If you were one of the drivers caught in this mess, you will remember this nightmare for years to come.     

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Jerry Brown’s quixotic quest to save the world: Susan Shelley

Susan Shelley
Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, "How Trump Won."

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown was in Washington a couple of weeks ago to testify to the House Oversight Committee that Republicans are “flat Earth” science deniers who don’t understand the “life-and-death” stakes of California’s effort to require automakers to increase the average mileage of the vehicles they sell from 37 miles per gallon in 2020 to about 50 miles per gallon in 2025.

“The blood is on your soul here,” he testified.

Brown blamed California’s worsening wildfires on climate change without mentioning that in 2016, he personally vetoed a bill that would have required the state to identify areas at high risk for wildfires, and would have required state utility regulators and forestry officials to develop enhanced plans to prevent fires caused by power lines and other utility equipment.

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PPIC Poll Tests Appeal of Tax Money for Schools

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

What can we learn from the Public Policy Institute of California’s poll on tax issues probably facing voters next year? For supporters of more money for schools, there is disappointment at this time in that two of the three measures tested have not generated majority support among likely voters.

Schools are supposed to be the slam dunk appeal to the hearts of voters when it comes to approving more tax money. It’s an old strategy that frequently succeeds. However, at the moment, the school people seem to have work to do convincing voters that more money from their pockets for the children is a good idea.

When asked about the pre-school thru college health and public safety bond that will appear on the ballot in March as Proposition 13, likely voters support it 48% to 36%. Clearly, the bond is in position to reach the 50% passing mark, but given that most bonds on the statewide ballot pass, it seems strange the poll didn’t find stronger support for the bond.

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PG&E Hearing Wrap-Up

Dan Morain
Senior Editor, CALmatters

(Editor’s Note: The following report compiled by CalMatters’ Senior editor Dan Morain covered yesterday’s hearing on PG&E power blackouts held by the California senate.)

“We don’t want Californians to think they’re living in Puerto Rico because they are not.”— Ana Matosantos testified at a Senate hearing Monday. She’s Gov. Gavin Newsom’s energy czar and also serves on a board overseeing the financial restructuring of Puerto Rico, including the island’s electric grid.

  • PG&E Chief Executive Officer William Johnson told the senators: “Repeatedly turning off power for millions of people in one of the most advanced economies in the world, even in the interest of safety, is not a sustainable solution to the wildfire threats we face.”
  • PG&E warned that 800,000 people could lose their power Wednesday and Thursday as wind-driven fire weather is expected to return.
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Californians In The Spotlight

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.

America’s most popular fun game –Whack a Mole—continues with still more candidates lining up to take a swing at whichever opponents survive enroute to the illusive Democratic nomination which only one person will be able to claim.

Poised to enter the race is Michael Bloomberg the former New York City Mayor and perhaps the wealthiest man to ever run for the office after Nelson Rockefeller, GOP Pres. Gerald Ford’s Vice President, who sought his party’s nomination three times in the 1960s without success.

Former Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, has also thrown his hat in the ring. How many more contestants are needed before the voters are satisfied they have enough choices?

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California High Speed Rail Leadership and Project direction being challenged.

Morris Brown
Founder of DERAIL, a grassroots effort against the California high-speed rail Project

The Assembly Transportation Committee High Speed Rail oversight hearing of Tuesday (11-12-2019) exposed a regional funding war. 

The project’s leadership, Brian Kelly (CEO) and Board Chair Lenny Mendonca, are pushing the present “spend all existing funds in the Central Valley (CV) agenda”.  Governor Newsom, who “flip/flops” with his position on HSR depending on the season of the year, right now does endorse Kelly’s leadership and the present plans.

However, HSR Board Director Danny Curtin and others and are also now supported by some Democrat Legislators, support an effort to divert some funding (around $5 billion) away from the present plans to spend all funding in the Central Valley. They would rather divert these funds to other projects and regions in Northern and Southern California. 

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California’s Boondoggle Archipelago

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

Across California, there is a growing string of islands, exquisite gems in the urban ocean. Dredged from the pockets of taxpayers, constructed by elite artisans, these pristine islands have been created at stupefying expense. But their beauty is seductive. Spend more!

Each time an island is completed, or even proposed, glowing reports are logged across the land. So fortunate are those who shall live on these islands! So wonderful are those who shall build these islands, and care for their inhabitants! What a magnificent, marvelous thing we have done!

Or have we? From deep within the ocean a seismic wave is building, triggered by reality and propelled by common sense. Because these islands, more properly referred to as homeless shelters, supportive housing, and “low income housing,” are far too small, and far too precious, to ever, ever accommodate every castaway that needs a roof over their heads. They will never offer the required land mass to solve the problem. Instead, history shall know them as California’s Boondoggle Archipelago.

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Is the State Order on Buying Electric Vehicles ‘Handwriting on the Wall’ for the Rest of Us?

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

Step one in the campaign to rid California of internal combustion engine automobiles is to have the state set the example. Step one was taken last week when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state to purchase only electric vehicles with exceptions for public safety. How soon before the next steps occur to prohibit internal combustion engines by private owners? 

The idea has rattled around for some time. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols has spoken about a ban on internal combustion engines. A bill co-authored by three Democratic assembly members was introduced in the last session of the legislature to prohibit registration of non-zero emission cars by 2040. 

While those efforts did not bear fruit, with the governor’s pronouncement, you could say we are on the road to the ban.

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