Courage: The Most Overused Word In Politics

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


Does it take political courage for a California Democrat to attack Donald Trump? Obviously not, just as it didn’t take political courage for a red-state Republican to attack Barack Obama. To qualify as courageous, a political act must threaten the actor’s political future.Neither of the foregoing examples qualifies. Qualifying examples include Abraham Lincoln, who took on […]

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Jerry Brown Steps Up For Citizens

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


California Governor Jerry Brown has filed a legal brief with the state’s Supreme Court arguing that pensions for government employees should work no differently than pensions for non-government employees. Students, citizens, taxpayers and future government employees would be better off if the court agrees. At issue is a special treatment claimed by California government employee […]

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Dark Money Didn’t Cause this CA Problem

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


Little about political contributions in California is hidden. Information is easily accessible at Cal-Access, a website run by California’s Secretary of State. For example, look here to see contributions to a special interest and then here for unfortunate consequences from political activity by that interest. There’s nothing dark about that money. Still, uninformed or lazy commentators all too often blame the state’s […]

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Ugly Political Hypocrisy in California 

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


The recent release of Ken Burns’s Vietnam documentary transported me back to the politics of my youth and the ugly hypocrisy of Lyndon Johnson, whose story contains a critical lesson for California today. It’s no secret that Johnson lied about events in the Gulf of Tonkin and about progress in the Vietnam War as he […]

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California Gubernatorial Debate Left Big Stone Unturned

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


The San Francisco Chronicle hosted a debate among the four announced Democrats for governor. Based upon the paper’s post-debate editorial, they left a big stone unturned. A health care provider (the California Nurses Association) has sponsored a bill (SB 562) in the California Legislature to establish what it refers to as a “single-payer” system. But as […]

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While LA Sleeps

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


California’s wine country fires delivered a vivid demonstration of the critical importance of governments being able to assemble armies of public safety workers when needed. Citizens expect their governments to provide public safety — but they also expect parks, animal shelters, transportation, road, sidewalk and tree maintenance, housing for the homeless, libraries and much more. What citizens don’t […]

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Now That Drug Cost Increases Must Be Explained in California . . .

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill requiring pharmaceutical companies in California to issue notifications at least 60 days in advance of a price increase that would be at least 16 percent over a two-year period and explain the reasons behind the increase. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, supporters of the legislation say it […]

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A Tale Of Two Headlines

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


Rolling Stone just ran a hagiographic interview with California governor Jerry Brown accompanied by this headline: Jerry Brown’s California Dream: is this the blueprint for a more progressive America? But the very same week CALMatters ran a column with a very different headline: Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis. How could Rolling Stone conduct a lengthy interview […]

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CA Should Raise Teacher Pay By Reducing Unfunded Retirement Liabilities

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


Fast-rising spending on pensions and other retirement costs is crushing teacher staffing and pay in California. As an example, retirement spending at San Francisco Unified School District grew 3x faster than district revenues over the last five years, absorbing $35 million that could have gone to current teachers. Worse, that happened despite record stock market gains and school revenues. Absent reform, […]

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Pension and Other Retirement Costs Are Crowding Out SF School Teachers

David Crane

Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California


School starts today in San Francisco but according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle not all classrooms may have teachers because of “a rash of departures over the summer.” Perhaps the departed teachers observed this depressing mismatch in spending priorities over the past five years: Sources: First Interim Reports, San Francisco Unified School District, FY2012 […]

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