For Whom the California Budget Tolls

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

Journalists and elected officials occasionally make the mistake of viewing budget problems in terms of size rather than where the budget item falls. For example, the costs of unfunded pensions and retiree healthcare in the current fiscal year (FYE16–17) add up to 6% of the state’s General Fund, a much smaller share than retirement spending […]

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CA’s Next Budget Will Not Tell The Truth

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

On January 10 Governor Jerry Brown will present his proposed budget for the 2018–19 fiscal year. That budget will not reflect financial reality. That’s because state and local governments operate under accounting rules that enable untruthful financial reporting. For example, Brown’s last proposed budget in January 2017 ignored expenses of $16 billion, as explained here, here, here and here. Those […]

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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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