An unused pen is pretty mighty, too

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

It has been said that the "Pen is mightier than the sword." But, apparently an unused pen is pretty powerful, too. In a study just released by the Milken Institute’s California Center on the 2007 Hollywood Writers’ Strike, it is claimed that the strike will cost California’s economy a staggering $2.1 billion and 37,700 jobs by the end of this year.

The authors of the study, Kevin Klowden, Anusuya Chatterjee and Ross DeVol, say that the writer’s strike was one of the factors that tipped California into a recession.

According to the study, the strike rippled through the economy to the following effect:

  • Wages and salaries are projected to decline by $2.3 billion
  • Retail sales are expected to show a decline of $830 million
  • Total personal income (which includes wages, salaries, self-employment, rents, dividend, interest and other income) is expected to drop by $3.0 billion

Click Here to read the study in its entirety.

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Villaraigosa takes proactve approach to bringing Football back to LA

Chandra Sharma
Political Communications, Redistricting and New Media Strategist

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent this letter yesterday to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino:

Dear Mayor Menino:

Tonight is truly an historic night. It is hard to believe that it has
been twenty one – long – years since the last time the Lakers beat the
Celtics in the NBA Finals. Tonight we renew this great American
tradition.

The only thing harder to believe is that it’s been more than two
decades since the great Boston Celtics have tasted the sweet victory of
an NBA Championship. The year was 1986. Hair was big. Shorts were
short. And Michael Dukakis was preparing his historic run for
president.

I truly expected our great rivalry of the 1980s to carry into the 1990s
– particularly as the Lakers and Celtics continued to assemble a
pantheon of NBA legends: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Fisher,
Phil Jackson, Pervis Ellison, Bryant Stith, Vitaly Potapenko and Rick
Pitino.

So to commemorate this historic event, I say we scrap the tired
tradition of wagering regional trinkets or cuisine – and go big.
Let’s really put it on the line: jobs, tradition, pride.

So here’s my proposal:

If the Celtics win, we’ll send you the best professional football
team L.A. has to offer: the Arena League’s Los Angeles Avengers.

If the Lakers win, we get the Patriots.

I know what you might be thinking: "Villaraigosa must be nuts!
Bostonians would make out like bandits in that deal! With an indoor
arena team, the fans would not have to risk frostbite to see a
mid-September game. And with the smaller field, our coaches wouldn’t
even need cameras to steal opponents’ signals."

I’m sure my constituents might not be happy with this deal, but I am so
confident in the Lakers’ victory that I am willing to put it all on
the line.

Oh, and to sweeten the pot, in the event of a Lakers victory you can
keep the Patriots’ coach. We have a pretty good guy down the street
who might be interested in the job – and who probably still has the
gear.

I look forward to your response and a great finals series. My only
regret is that I will not be able to visit the Garden for a game. I was
hoping to experience first-hand the legendary Bostonian hospitality and
sportsmanship.

Good luck and Go Lakers!

Sounds like a pretty fair deal to me. Maybe this will be incentive enough for Ed Roski to get started on his $800m LA stadium plan a bit early.

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Governor Schwarzenegger in the Cabinet? We Asked John McCain.

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

Will John McCain have a spot in his cabinet for Arnold Schwarzenegger if he wins the presidency? Fox and Hounds Daily had a chance to ask John McCain a few questions and we started with that one. Here are our questions and Senator McCain’s responses.

1) Will you consider offering Governor Schwarzenegger a position in your cabinet or a prominent role in a McCain Administration?

I’m focused on winning in November, and am focused on the issues that voters are talking about in this election.  This election is about who is best to keep our nation safe and get our economy back on track.  I am, however, grateful for Governor Schwarzenegger’s support and his leadership on so many issues. When it comes time to appoint people to my cabinet, I’ll choose people of world-class experience and expertise in the field. Anyone who would serve on my cabinet must have the highest standards of public trust, honesty, fairness, and judgment to important positions in his government.

 

2) How will small business benefit under a McCain Administration?

Small business owners are the lifeblood of our economy. I will improve the ability of our businesses, both large and small, to compete by reducing our corporate tax rate, providing investment incentives, controlling rising health care costs and ensuring our ability to sell to the 95 percent of the world’s customers who are outside our borders. Small businesses are frequently taxed under the individual income tax. I will keep taxes low. I will also keep the capital gains tax rate down and provide portable health insurance.

 

3) Given California’s voter registration, recent polls, and recent record voting for Democratic presidential candidates why do you believe you can win California in November?

Fundamentally, this campaign is about who Americans trust to keep their families safe and to keep our economy growing.  That transcends party affiliation and voter registration stats. It’s a question of judgment.  While it will be a tough fight and I take nothing for granted, I’m confident that California voters will give me their support.

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Drowning 30 feet From Shore

Patrick Dorinson
Host of The Cowboy Libertarian Radio Talk Show in Sacramento

There is an old story that used to be told that defined the differences between the two major political parties, Republican and Democrat. It goes something like this.

There is a person drowning in a lake 30 feet from shore. A Democrat walks by and throws him 60 feet of rope, drops his end to go do another good deed and wishes him luck. A Republican then walks by, throws 25 feet of rope, tells him to swim 5 feet to grab it because it is good for his character and then considers further assistance.

But America has a growing bunch of voters who ascribe to a different theory. They will throw you 30 feet of rope and they will pull to help you out of your predicament, but you had better be helping yourself by kicking like hell on your end. Americans are willing to help, but they refuse to haul dead weight. These voters have abandoned both parties because playing for partisan advantage has trumped solving the country’s problems.

These voters that expressed themselves so decisively in the November 2006 mid-term election will be heavily courted by both parties over the next six months. They won’t be swayed by lofty promises, or more government programs or wedge issues like gay marriage. They have heard it all before and quite frankly are fed up. They want action.

Nowhere is this "independent voter" phenomenon more prevalent than in the American West.  It remains to be seen how this will play out in 2008 and beyond, but early signs are that it will only grow. In fact, we could be seeing the early stages of a national political realignment that shifts political power from East to West.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater, a native son of the West, wrested control of the Republican Party from the Eastern based Rockefeller wing of the party. His heir, Ronald Reagan, a Westerner in every sense of the word, was a pragmatist who carried on Goldwater’s work. He preached "big tent" Republicanism which allowed him to put together a broad political coalition that carried him to four landslide electoral victories both as Governor and as President.

But when Reagan left the political scene, there was no strong leader to pick up his mantle and hold the coalition together. Republicans used to dominate the West, including California, but it seems they have abandoned their Western bastion and built their redoubt in the South. From 1948 to 1988, Republicans won California in every presidential election except the 1964 LBJ landslide. Since then, they have lost it in four consecutive elections. And if you look at the results of the 2006 election, their hold on other Western states appears to be slipping away.

That is not to say that the voters think Democrats and big government are the answer. Quite the contrary, Westerners believe in "responsive government" and are traditionally suspicious of big government. They are fiscally conservative and socially libertarian not liberal. They believe in low taxes and limited government, which can be translated into "keep your hands off my wallet and your snoopy nose out of my personal life". If Democrats think their positions on taxes and social issues are acceptable to this bloc of voters, they totally misread the results of 2006. And if Republicans think it was all about Iraq and earmarks, they too are deluding themselves.

Clearly, the West is central to the Democrat’s strategy.  It is why they held an early caucus in Nevada and their convention in Denver.  And although the outcome is far from certain and is likely to play out over an extended period of time, there is no question that the West and western values will play a central role in electing our leaders for years to come.

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Lakers in the Finals — a Good Omen for John McCain?

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

Game 1 of the NBA finals between the Celtics and Lakers starts tonight. Los Angeles Daily News Sports columnist Tom Hoffarth notes that every time the L.A. Lakers have made the NBA Finals over the past 40 years during a presidential election year, the Republican candidate has won the presidency. And, that has occurred seven times! The paragraph on the presidential elections is about half way down the column.

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Instant Runoff Voting Revisited

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Since my post last week about instant runoff voting being worth considering, primarily due to the cost savings for election officials, I have received several comments, including one from L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith who is widely recognized as a reliable business vote.

In a recent blast e-mail to various folks in L.A., he says:

Instant runoff voting unfairly hampers candidates that fight for Los Angeles’ business community.  As someone who has run for office, I can attest that I would have to incorporate practically all of the expenses of my runoff into a single instant runoff election. 

Under this scenario, only unlimited independent expenditure campaigns will possess the means to afford the high costs of campaigning in Los Angeles.  This provides powerful special interests who regularly oppose Los Angeles’ business community a significant advantage over independent-minded candidates.

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Property Owners Beware – Proposition 98 Goes Down in Defeat Along with Any Real Chance of Reform

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

It’s a sad state of affairs when millions of taxpayer dollars can be spent on a political campaign to fool voters into supporting faux property rights protections.

But that’s precisely what happened last night with the passage of Proposition 99 – which will do nothing to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse. Proponents of this measure, namely wealthy developers and government fat cats, have succeeded, for the moment, in protecting the status quo and their bottom line.

Sadly, supporters of Prop 98, which would have protected ALL property (homes, small businesses, farms and places of worship) simply couldn’t compete with the miillions of dollars funneled from local governments into an obscure campaign committee to pay for slick ads of deception. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars at work! It’s no surprise, but does provide some solace that the Fair Political Practices Commission smells enough of a rat about this public funding issue to have begun a full-scale investigation.

Unfortunately, in the interim, property owners will continue to suffer as the vultures of government and development anxiously circle their property, salivating at the golden opportunity to go in for the kill.

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Primary Election Night – Some Winners and Some Losers

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

There was an election in California last night, and twenty-two percent of California’s voters bothered to turn out.  There may be a few absentee and provisional ballots out there yet to be counted and the turnout percentage may inch up a bit, but not by much.

Regardless of turnout, elections have consequences and there were some big winners and losers last night.

One of the big winners was state Senator Jeff Denham, who easily beat back the recall election with 76 percent of the district voters voting NO on the recall.

Another winner was state Senator Tom McClintock, who carpetbagged from Ventura County to run in the 4th Congressional District located northeast of Sacramento.  McClintock handily defeated former Congressman Doug Ose, 54 percent to 39 percent.  In San Diego County Duncan Hunter, the son of the retiring incumbent congressman of the same name, trounced his three Primary opponents by receiving 73 percent of the vote.

Also, former state Senator Jim Nielson will return to the Assembly, the top vote-getter in a four-candidate race with 45 percent of the vote.

But state Senator Carole Migden did not fare so well.  She faced Democratic Primary opposition from two candidates — the top vote-getter, with 43 percent of the vote, being San Francisco Assembly Member Mark Leno. Former Assembly Member Joe Nation came in second with 29 percent of the vote, with Migden trailing with 28 percent.

Another well-known political figure bit the dust, with Mervyn Dymally being soundly defeated in his bid to be elected to the state Senate, losing to former Assembly Member Rod Wright, 44 percent to 35 percent.  The outcome of this race was also a big win for the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Real Estate Association and other business interests who spent over $1 million in independent expenditure committees (IE’s) in support of Wright.

In a heated state senate race to fill a Los Angeles/Ventura County seat being vacated by termed out Senator Sheila Kuehl, former Assembly Member Fran Pavley easily defeated her Democratic opponent, Assembly Member Lloyd Levine, 66 percent to 34 percent. This was also a big win for EdVoice, an education advocacy group that is in part funded by developer Eli Broad, Gap founder Donald Fisher and Carrie Walton Penner of the Wal-Mart founding family. An independent expenditure committee (IE) formed by EdVoice spent $133,500 in support of Pavley.

But EdVoice did not fare so well in the 8th Assembly District, located west of Sacramento.  They spent over $370,000 in an IE in support of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who narrowly lost to Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada 52 percent to 48 percent.  An IE funded mostly by the California Teachers Association spent over $360,000 in support of Yamada.

Gina Papan, daughter of the late Assembly Member Lou Papan, made her second attempt at being elected to the Assembly.  Though heavily supported by IE’s funded by health care providers ($400,000), early returns have her trailing San Mateo County Supervisor Gerald Hill, a former Republican, by a margin of 312 votes.

Steve Knight, son of the late state Senator Pete Knight, easily won his race for the Assembly, capturing 53 percent of the vote in a 3-candidate race.

Becky Maze, wife of the incumbent assembly member who is termed out this year, did not do as well, coming in a distant third in a race won by Tulare County Supervisor Connie Conway.
The 78th and 80th assembly districts are expected to be top targets in the fall general election campaign.

In AD78, Democrat attorney Martin Block is holding a slim 397-vote lead over Democrat Maxine Sherard, who unsuccessfully ran for this seat in 2006. The Sherard campaign appears to have been the beneficiary of a $200,000 independent expenditure effort funded by a tort reform group called Californians for Balance and Fairness in Civil Justice. This same IE also spent over $40,000 in opposition to Block. On the Republican side is Chula Vista Councilmember John McCann, who was unopposed in the Primary.

In AD80, with very strong support from an IE funded by labor ($300,000 plus), Coachella Valley school board member Manuel Perez out-polled his three Democratic opponents with 35.5 percent of the vote.  In November he will face Republican Gary Jeandron, the former Police Chief of Palm Springs who ran unopposed in the Primary.

One of the night’s biggest surprises was on the Republican side in the 15th Assembly District being vacated by GOP Assembly Member Guy Houston due to term limits.

Though vastly outspent by his three Republican opponents, the top vote-getter was San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, putting him in the position of being the first African American Republican elected to the state legislature in modern times.  But first he will have to get past Democrat Joan Buchanan in what is expected to be a highly competitive race come November.

For vote results in all the legislative races last night, go to the Secretary of State’s web page at http://vote.sos.ca.gov.

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Flogging Prop 13

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Peter Schrag today praises Joel Fox with faint damnation. Schrag claims that the F&H editor was "partially right" in complaining "vociferously about people who he thought blamed too many of California’s problems on Proposition 13."

He further concedes that Howard Jarvis cannot be held responsible for earthquakes and wildfires. But that seems to be the extent of his absolution. Schrag identifies nearly every major post-1978 public policy affront as the progeny of Prop 13. Not just tax limitations but the adoption of term limits, anti-crime initiatives, and the stem cell boondoggle. It’s as if – if not for Proposition 13 – the California public (not to mention interest groups) would never have discovered this obscure constitutional power to legislate by popular initiative.

I suppose that makes Howard Jarvis – not a "fuming curmudgeon," in Schrag’s words – but the Hiram Johnson of his day. (On the other hand, it turns out Governor Johnson was quite the curmudgeon, as well.)

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Water Here, There, Nowhere!

Rex Hime
President and CEO of the California Business Properties Association

In case you haven’t been paying attention, California has just experienced one of the driest winters since we started keeping records – long before any of us were born. The environmental community and Al Gore have told us Global Warming is just around the corner and that means reduced snow pack in the Sierras – the largest part of our state water system storage.

Oh yes, we can’t forget that the endangered species act is doing what it is supposed to do and protecting the delta smelt resulting in a judge ruling that there has to be as much as a 35% reduction in the water pumped from the delta south to where the people are. 80% of the people are in southern California where only 20% of the rain falls and 20% of the folks are up north where 80% of the rain falls – and the only person in Sacramento paying attention to all of this is Governor Schwarzenegger.

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