The Delicious Transparency of the Hamburgers

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)

California could use a concert hall like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

The signature structure of 21st century Germany sits atop an old pier above a dramatic bend in the Elbe River. Its creative design features performance space for the philharmonic, a dramatically curved escalator, and a dozen different public spaces for people to gather and enjoy spectacular city views.

But what California needs more than this stunning new piece of architecture is the scandal that built it. Originally planned in 2007 as a 186 million Euro project, financed with 77 million Euros from taxpayers, the Elbphilharmonie was so dogged by delays and overspending that its final price tag approached 1 billion Euros, with taxpayers paying 789 million.

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Democrats Helping a Public Pension Foe

Laura Perez
Laura Perez is a member of SEIU 721 - Over 95,000 workers comprise the membership of SEIU Local 721 – making it the largest public sector union in Southern California.

California Democratic lawmakers, Bob Hertzberg (Van Nuys) and Rob Bonta (Oakland), are pushing plans to eliminate California’s bail system and replace it with an algorithm-based program created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The very same group that spent $50 million on political candidates, a ballot initiative, think tanks, and research focused on ending government employee pension programs and moving them to a 401(k) style plan.

John Arnold became intrigued in public employees pensions after reading the anti-union book Plunder: How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation, by conservative writer Steven Greenhut. The Arnold Foundation created a pension litigation tracker page that highlights states that have allowed for the reduction and/or elimination of cost-of-living adjustments despite constitutional challenges.

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Final Bill Tally

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor: 859

Bills Vetoed by the Governor: 118

Bills Allowed to Become Law without the Governor’s Signature: 0

Total Bills Acted Upon: 977

Signing Percentage: 88%

Veto Percentage: 12%


Of the 859 bills that the Governor signed this year, 567 were Assembly Bills and 292 were Senate Bills.

Of the 567 ABs signed into law, 85% were authored by Democrats and 15% were authored by Republicans.

Of the 292 SBs signed into law, 86% were authored by Democrats and 14% were authored by Republicans.

Note that Committee bills signed into law were not allocated toward either political party.

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Bills Facing the Business Community When the Legislature Reconvenes

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Even though the 2017 Legislative Session recently concluded, the California business community needs to be aware of “2-year bills” that will be considered when the Legislature reconvenes on January 3, 2018. There are nearly 1,000 of these two-year bills that are technically alive, at least until the constitutional deadline of January 31, 2017 to clear their house of origin. Only a small number of those measures are expected to move forward.

With another 2,500 bills likely to be introduced by the late February 2018 deadline for bill introductions for the 2018 Session, California businesses will once again have to engage at the State Capitol to support or oppose legislation that may promote or hurt the state’s business climate. Considering those remaining 2-year bills, the following is a summary of some of the problematic bills that the business community may face when the Legislature reconvenes.

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CA GOP Should Ban Bannon

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)

If you’ve been staying in the California Republican Party and waiting for the party to re-align itself with the state, your wait is over.

It’s time to leave.

Look for an exodus after the CRP’s invitation to Steve Bannon to speak at next weekend’s party convention in Anaheim.

Bannon was last seen being booted from a Trump administration after he advised the president to defend white supremacists in Charlottesville. Since then, he returned to Breitbart, where he proudly leads the “alt-right,” the 21st century term of art for white supremacists. Bannon, in the name of a deeply perverted nationalism, advocates for policies that go against everything Republicans are supposed to believe—he’s for protectionism, restrictions on immigration (both legal and unauthorized), and for treating people according to their race, not who they are as people.

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The Cost of NIMBY

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Neighborhood opposition to new housing projects is likely viewed by the general public as a natural right of existing property owners to organize objections to a change to their living environment. After all, why shouldn’t longtime residents have a say in what goes on or might go on in their neighborhoods?   Why can’t they say who should stay and who should go?

Well, for starters, unless they have a covenant running with the real estate they own, there likely isn’t something in the associated contract which gives existing property owners that determinative power. In other words, they don’t have an inherent right to block new development.

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Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

America’s most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.

Based on the housing affordability categories used in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2016 (Table 1), housing inequality by ethnicity is the worst among the metropolitan areas rated “severely unaffordable.” In these 11 major metropolitan area markets, the most highly regulated, median multiples (median house price divided by median household income) exceed 5.0. For African-Americans, the median priced house is 10.2 times median incomes. This is 3.7 more years of additional income than the overall average in these severely unaffordable markets, where median house prices are 6.5 times median household incomes. It is only marginally better for Hispanics, with the median price house at 8.9 times median household incomes, 2.4 years more than the average in these markets (Figure 1).

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California’s ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ Economy at Forefront of Innovation Forum with Mexico

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note: This press release was received from GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development)

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in partnership with ProMexico, Mexico’s Trade and Commerce agency, will join The Mexican Entrepreneur Association and the Mexican Association of PE & VC Funds on a three day conference, October 18-20, promoting innovation exchange, trade, and investments between California and Mexico. The forum will focus on four main technologies: the Internet of Things, cloud computing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

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Challenge to Feinstein Tests Where Californians Stands

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

With the announcement that State Senate president pro-tem Kevin de León will run against Dianne Feinstein (and billionaire Tom Steyer may join the fray), it will prove a good test on where California voters stand on how elected officials should function.

Many progressives are loud and angry and ready to jettison Feinstein from her seat, but the average California voter may have a different idea when measuring her record and style of governing against the politics that de León and Steyer espouse.

Both de León and Steyer built much of their political resume on anti-Trump rhetoric. That will certainly score points with many Democrats in a state that prides itself as being head of the “resistance.” Both de León and Steyer have criticized Feinstein for not being tougher on Trump and his appointees, and urging patience that Trump might turn into a “good president.” Steyer is calling for Trump’s impeachment.

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An Unacknowledged Love Affair – the Left and DiFi

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)

Some loves are so deep and passionate that the lovers can’t admit their true feelings, even to themselves.

This describes the love between California progressives and Dianne Feinstein.

Yes, I know, progressives and Dianne Feinstein seem to be in constant quarrel. Progressives blast her as a sellout; she tells them they’re unrealistic and impatient and don’t get anything done.

But they say these things only because they love each other so much.

From any perspective broader than the skinny-jeans narrow world of California politics, California progressives and Feinstein have much in common. Like agreement on a political party and almost every social and economic issue. You have to look at very specific pieces of legislation to find any real divide, and those differences were more often about tactics (Feinstein is compromising and conciliatory, while progressives want to fight), than ideology.

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