Can California government hold the political center?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

In an increasingly polarized and chaotic political world, this week U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) demonstrated her political knowledge, wisdom and leadership skills by making a series of comments that encourage the Democrat Party and its elected Congressional delegation to “hold the political center.” Pelosi made a series of very interesting and insightful remarks […]

Read more

Can the State of California Survive “Inclusive Capitalism”?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The art of politics is often about successfully hiding the truth to promote a particular cause, ideology, or political agenda. Mark Twain famously said if we had truth, we would not need politics. That is why the Newsom Administration’s new talk of “inclusive capitalism” caught my attention because of what its true pursuit would actually […]

Read more

What Should the Role of State Government be in the California Economy?    

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Perhaps the most important underlying question with regard to both political science as well as economics is what should the role of government be in the economy? At the same time, this central question is rarely given the objective attention, study, and public debate it deserves, particularly in California. The best analysis and conclusions I […]

Read more

Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair Hearing?” PART II

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The accidental result of the new UC Berkeley academic studies and testimony presented at the March 12 joint legislative hearing appeared to clearly implicate CEQA as a major driver of the state’s skyrocketing housing development costs. The first panel was intended to give an overview of CEQA and its streamlining provisions.  It was composed of […]

Read more

Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair” Hearing?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The evidence suggesting the dire need to reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) appears to have reached a critical mass in recent months, but there appears to be at least a few holdouts in the California State Senate, state-funded academic community, and political stakeholders who benefit from the status quo. The key argument for […]

Read more

How Much Should We Pay Our Public Sector Workers?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Public employee compensation issues are never far from the headlines in California, but both 2019 and 2020 appear likely to continue the recent trend of increasingly contentious negotiations and the accompanying highly charged public debate. At the local level, in recent months we have already seen teacher strike authorization votes in the major urban school […]

Read more

Is California Becoming Unaffordable?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The unaffordability of trying to just make a living in the State of California has increasingly become an unpleasant fact of life for all but the richest Californians. But the key drivers of this unaffordability appears to have eluded most public officials and public policy analysts, particularly those on the left. Yet to the seasoned […]

Read more

How Much Do Government Policies Really Cost?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

It is often overlooked that the actual price tag of government policies extends far beyond their actual annual cost in terms of an annual government outlay or appropriation in the terms of public budgeting language. Many government regulations, such as the state’s “cap and trade” program or other regulatory decrees, either technically have a negligible […]

Read more

Does the “Progressive” Policy Agenda in California have any Limits?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

There has been much debate recently in the national media regarding an ongoing battle between “socialism” and “capitalism” and what each would mean for the future of this country. Meanwhile, here in California state Republican lawmakers, such as this past weekend at their convention, have been increasingly sounding the alarm that California has become and […]

Read more

Is the California GOP Dead?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

In the wake of 2018 election, there was a surge of articles pronouncing the California Republican Party dead, or near dead, as a political force in California politics. But nearly all of these articles, or the vast majority, were written by individuals who were either Democrats, members of the mainstream media, or GOP officials who […]

Read more