Governor’s Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Marty Keller
CEO, Small Business Revolution

As the Governor’s Small Business Advocate, I have been hearing firsthand about the challenges facing California’s small business owners in this troubled economy. The state’s budget system is also facing a tough financial crisis, but Governor Schwarzenegger is pushing for economic stimulus to aid businesses large and small across the state. He’s also very concerned with hearing from the business community about what issues they’d like to see the state tackle to help in this climate.

That’s why the Governor is welcoming small business leaders to the first-ever Governor’s Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Los Angeles next week on November 18 & 19.

Patterned after the White House Conferences on Small Business held in Washington occasionally since 1981, the Governor’s Conference will bring together leaders from all the sectors of the California economy by region, business sector, ethnicity, and generation. The diversity of the state’s small businesses will provide the breadth of vision for better and more inventive ways that the state can work with small businesses to pave the way to greater prosperity.

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Prop. 8, Mao, Lenin & Newsom

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Folks on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate should consider the words of Gavin Newsome and John Lennon.

For Prop. 8 supporters: "It’s gonna happen…Whether you like it or not."

For Prop. 8 opponents: "If you go around carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow."

More and more Americans, and therefore more and more states, are going to recognize the marriages between adults of the same gender. Whether you like it or not, same-sex marriages are now legal in Connecticut, and surely more states are going to legalize it either through the courts or through ballot initiatives.

Here in Los Angeles, I have been watching the Prop. 8 protests with interest. Passionate rallies have been held in front of the Mormon Church, L.A.’s Cathedral, and even our city’s worst Mexican restaurant (but great margaritas) because its manager contributed $100 to Prop. 8.

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The FBI and Me

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

I am a recent graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy in Los Angeles. The Citizen’s Academy was set up to in 2000 as part of the FBI’s Community Outreach Program.

Firing a 1930s era Tommy Gun at the FBI firing range with a an FBI instructor looking onFiring a 1930s era Tommy Gun at the FBI firing range with an FBI instructor looking on

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Bribe ‘Em, Governor

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Gov. Schwarzenegger often has expressed a distaste for political horsetrading, the kind of threats and favors that are political currency. Want an appointment for a friend in exchange for a vote? Arnold wasn’t your guy. He often has described such deals as corrupt, the sort of behavior he was sent to Sacramento to stop.

The governor’s attitude is admirable. But given the state’s difficulties and the unwillingness of legislators to take action, it’s time for the his attitude to change. The state’s fiscal future demands pragmatic action, even dishonorable pragmatic action. We can’t afford a rerun of the same old movie: the budget deficit grows, the governor offers a compromise plan, the legislature doesn’t act and the problem gets pushed into the future. That’s not good enough anymore. Schwarzenegger has done his best, sought compromise, threatened initiatives, cozied up to lawmakers, begged, pleaded, etc. He’s tried just about everything, and nothing has worked. So it’s time for some good old-fashioned corrupt deal-making.

That’s right. Bribe ’em, governor. Offer them judgeships. Promise to cast them in the next Terminator movie. Put their friends and relatives on the payroll. Whatever it takes.

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The Long Count

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

Mention the Long Count and those with a sense of sporting history will immediately think of the Gene Tunney — Jack Dempsey heavyweight title fight in 1927. Say the Long Count to those with a sense of California politics and they might think of Tom McClintock.

State Senator McClintock is waiting out a Long Count of votes in the Fourth Congressional District. As of this writing he currently leads his Democratic opponent, Charlie Brown, by 928 votes out of 320,334 counted. McClintock’s race for Congress is one of three candidate races in California that have yet to be resolved over a week after the election.

What is odd about this is that McClintock is not only a veteran legislator—he’s a veteran of the Long Count. This is the third time he has had to wait out election results in a nip-and-tuck election. In both the state Controller’s race of 1994 and 2002 McClintock had to wait until after Election Day to see if he won the job. He lost both times, first to Kathleen Connell by 2.3%, then to Steve Westly by less thee-tenths of one percent, a mere 16,811 votes out of over six-and-a-half million cast.

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It’s just the Old Shell Game

David S. White
Principal of the Law Firm of David S. White & Associates, West Los Angeles, specializing in litigation, arbitration and mediation of real-estate-related disputes and litigation since 1977; www.dswlawyers.com

This just in on the afternoon NYT feed: “Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. announced a major shift in the thrust of the $700 billion financial-rescue program on Wednesday.”

Remember back in September – I know, it seems like a long time ago – when we were breathlessly told that, if Congress didn’t pony up the $700 billion immediately (sometimes reported as $750 billion; sometimes $700 billion – a billion here, a billion there . . . pretty soon you’re talking about real money) – all hell would break loose, the world as we know it would end . . . and lots of bad stuff would happen?

Well, here it is November and I think the old shell game is being played. I first watched a friend get his clock cleaned – financially that is – on the streets of Berkeley in 1971 by an old man who looked like he couldn’t walk across the street. The old man had a board with a green felt cloth stapled to it and three shells and one pea. My friend swaggered up and took the old man’s bet because my friend was young and foolish and thought like the young that nothing could hurt him and he knew everything.

Youth is truly wasted on the young. Well, that old man kept taking $20 bills from my friend and that pea kept showing up under different shells and you would swear that it was magic.

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Prop 8 and Justices’ Retention Election

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

I will not offer an opinion on whether the California Supreme Court will or will not invalidate Proposition 8. Others are having that debate throughout California, including on the pages of Fox and Hounds Daily.

However, I will venture a guess that the legal verdict could lead to political consequences for some of the justices who make that decision.

Two of California’s Supreme Court justices come up for retention elections at the 2010 general election. One of the two is Chief Justice Ronald George who wrote the majority opinion in the narrow 4 to 3 decision recognizing the right for homosexuals to marry. The other justice on the 2010 ballot is Ming Chin who dissented from the George opinion.

The California electorate votes to retain or reject a Supreme Court justice every twelve years. The justices do not “run” against an opponent. The voters choose Yes or No on whether to keep a justice on the job.

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Hitting the Healthcare Gas Pedal

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

A coalition of unlikely bedfellows, including my own association, is making good on its promise to step on the healthcare gas pedal shortly after America selected a new president.

In a Veterans Day full-page ad in USA Today, the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s largest small business association, AARP, Business Roundtable, and Service Employees International Union sent a joint letter to President-elect Barack Obama calling on him to make healthcare reform one of his top priorities in the first 100 days of his administration.

“If you will commit to taking action on this critical issue early in your administration, we will commit to engaging our members by hosting a health care reform summit, working with you to develop a proposal as part of your agenda for the first 100 days and educating our members about the challenges and trade-offs reform entails,” the letter said.

NFIB, AARP, SEIU and the Business Roundtable launched the Divided We Fail campaign to help build consensus and work toward bipartisan solutions to affordable, high-quality healthcare among the small business, big business, labor and consumer communities that each represents.

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And Now, Back to this Trainwreck of An Economy

David S. White
Principal of the Law Firm of David S. White & Associates, West Los Angeles, specializing in litigation, arbitration and mediation of real-estate-related disputes and litigation since 1977; www.dswlawyers.com

Whether you celebrated or commiserated last week over the presidential and other election results, it is now another week, we still have this economic mess, and it is not going away soon. This is not your Father’s recession; this one is our very own, unique meltdown. Unemployment, even with all the creative statistical revisions that gurus of these things use, hit 6.5% nationally in figures announced last week, California’s number is significantly worse, and that figure should continue to creep up.

Retail sales news are just devastating and that’s not going to get better quickly with the year-end holidays almost upon us. In fact, many retailers’ whole years are based on what they do in the last quarter; this one is not going to be pretty and the usual January bankruptcies for those who made it through the holidays are going to feature some prominent retailers, if they can get that far.

Once again, we need to take a moment to appreciate that the tail we are trying to grab onto is attached to one hell of an enormous tiger of a problem. Those ‘financial weapons of mass destruction,’ as Warren Buffett so colorfully warned us about our economy’s love affair with all things derivative, were the direct result of either bold ignorance or forgetfulness (in the name of greed) of the gambler’s first rule of survival at the gaming tables: don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose. And now we hear that AIG needs more billions – their first bailout just won’t do!

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Getting the GOP Groove Back – The Messengers

Judy Lloyd
President of Altamont Strategies

Like so many others who suffered bruising losses this past Tuesday, I had that moment that CNN Commentator Donna Brazile described in her “letter to losers” of being tired, angry and sad. I lost my own primary for state assembly in the 15th district in June and promptly jumped in to help the winner Abram Wilson retain our only Republican seat in the Bay Area legislature. I did everything I could to help the presidential ticket and my friend congressional candidate Dean Andal in the 11th district.

I raised an astounding $22,500 for the Victory campaigns and even more for Andal and Wilson during the general election. Why? I just didn’t see how we could risk having a GOP “shut out” for business-friendly candidates – thus paving the way for more regulation and mandates and less flexibility.

Then Election Day and the Obama tsunami hit.

The reality of no Bay Area representation in the state legislature and the U.S. Congress was as biting a cold as I’ve felt since I left Clarkson University (where it is 45 degrees below zero in the winter).

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