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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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, […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

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

Until 1910, the dominant political force in California was the Southern Pacific Railroad. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SP “manipulated much of California’s political life, buying city supervisors, mayors, judges, the state legislature and even members of the California delegation to the U.S. Congress.” Eventually California enacted a railroad commission and other reforms to […]

Read more

CA Continues To Abandon UC and CSU

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

The State of California’s 2017–18 Enacted Budget confirms an ominous trend as state spending on retirement costs continues displacing state spending on the University of California and California State University. Seven years ago the state provided $5.5 billion for UC and CSU and $6 billion for retirement costs. The new budget provides $7 billion for UC and […]

Read more