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Chasing Freedom: The Human Element of Immigration

Tina Aldatz
Tina Aldatz, a native Californian from a Mexican-American immigrant family, is an entrepreneur, Founder of Foot Petals, and CEO of Savvy Traveler.

The current immigration crisis in the United States has left many Americans with unanswered questions regarding the impact illegal immigration has on our national economy and how our leaders plan to adequately address this growing problem. Widespread confusion has led to cultural unrest that has proliferated throughout our schools, businesses and communities.

I was born an American. However, I would not be here today if not for my immigrant grandparents. My paternal grandmother, Josefina Diaz, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in the 1920s. She trekked nearly a thousand miles to come to the United States in search of a better life for herself and our family. My mother’s family also immigrated from Ireland and Demark in search of opportunity.

After my parents split, my siblings and I moved into a battered women’s shelter before moving into alternate government housing where we would spend the remainder of our childhood. Government handouts and welfare programs became a way of life until I took charge of my own life and sought emancipation at just fifteen years old. My faith and my country taught me that if I was willing to work hard I could accomplish anything I sought out to achieve.

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Oregon Citizens Sniff Out the Top Two Primary

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)

Could the Citizens Initiative Review saved California from the horrors of the top two primary?

Hard to know, but the thought occurred as I read what Oregon’s CIR process – during which a representative jury of regular voters spends a week talking with people about a ballot initiative and then makes it finding – produced on Measure 90, an Oregon initiative to establish a Top Two primary in the state.

The jury members, after making findings on what an initiative will do, also declare whether they are for or against it, and then draft arguments for and against it. It’s a good process, bringing actual humans into the deliberative process. In the case of Measure 90, the vote was 14 against the top two, and just 5 for it.

Those who opposed it listed their arguments, under the CIR. Among them: Measure 90 “limits the voice of minority voters, minor parties, and grassroots campaigns.”

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Southern California Becoming Less Family-Friendly

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

The British Talmudic scholar Abraham Cohen noted that, throughout history, children were thought of as “a precious loan from God to be guarded with loving and fateful care.” Yet, increasingly and, particularly, here in Southern California, we are rejecting this loan, and abandoning our role as parents.

This, of course, is a process seen around the high-income world, and even in some developing countries. But, here in America, some regions are moving in this post-familial direction faster than others, and, sadly, Southern California, for the most part, is leading the trend.

Historically, Southern California, as a lure first for domestic migrants and, later, for foreign immigrants, has been an incubator of families. As recently as 2000, the proportion of population ages 5-14 in Los Angeles and Orange counties stood at 16 percent, the sixth-highest level among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas. Thirteen years later, that proportion had dropped to 12.8 percent, ranking 33rd. The area experienced a 20 percent drop in its share of youngsters, the largest decline among U.S. metro areas.

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Small Biz Rightly Honored by Highway Designation

Dan Logue
California State Assemblyman representing the 3rd Assembly District

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 118, which names a stretch of Highway 99 in Sutter County the “California Small Business Owners’ Highway,” has officially been chaptered; making it the first highway sign in California history to recognize the significance of the small business community.

The small business community is too important to not get this type of recognition. The entire Legislature clearly agrees that our state could never thrive without the hard working people that have the courage to run their own business.

ACR 118 recognizes the significant contributions made to California by Small Businesses, including the fact that they account for 99 percent of the state’s employers and 52 percent of the state’s workforce. In the past, the legislature has approved resolutions declaring June as California Small Business Month; ACR 118 provides small business with a more tangible form of recognition.

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California’s ‘Score’ for Business Deteriorates

Joseph Vranich
The Irvine-based Principal of Spectrum Location Solutions helps companies plan and select ideal sites for new facilities across the U.S. and internationally.

Down again.

That’s what we can say about California’s “business attractiveness” as its lost is tenth place ranking in a survey of site consultants, published yesterday by Area Development Online. Here is what Editor Dale Buss had to say about the state losing the ranking it had in last year’s survey:

“The state’s reputation with site consultants keeps taking hits — witness Toyota’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to move its corporate headquarters and 4,000 jobs to suburban Dallas from southern California. And so this year, California placed in the top states in only three of the 18 sub-categories, notably ranking third for access to capital and project funding, no doubt a legacy of the continued success of Silicon Valley.”

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Governing the State’s Response to Climate Change

Loren Kaye and Pedro Nava
Loren Kaye is Vice Chairman of the Little Hoover Commission and Chaired the Subcommittee on Climate Change Adaptation. Pedro Nava is Chairman of the Commission and a Former State Assemblyman.

Southern California stands at the front lines of climate change adaptation. Los Angeles County alone is home to 10 million people in 88 cities — and has the state’s largest number of residents who will be exposed to the detrimental impacts of global warming.

Nowhere in California is a population so vulnerable: fronting a rising ocean, supplied by distant sources of water and power and annually fighting scourges of fires and floods.

But until recently, the state and many of our cities and counties have focused primarily on reducing earth-warming carbon emissions, not on what it will take to protect us from the effects of climate change.

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Bill Will Help California Patients with Chronic Conditions Better Manage Treatment

Todd Gillenwater and Jon Roth
Todd Gillenwater is President and CEO of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI) which helps advance public policies that foster medical innovation and promote scientific discovery. Jon Roth is the CEO of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA,) the largest state pharmacy association in the country which helps promote the health of the public through the practice of pharmacy.

Most patients with chronic health conditions rely on prescription medications as the primary method for treating their disease.  In fact, eight out of ten of all health conditions are now treated with prescription medications.  An alarming number of patients, however, do not take their medications as prescribed, leading to deteriorating health and expensive hospital stays and urgent care visits, which costs the health care system nearly $300 billion dollars every year.

Successful efforts to improve “medication adherence” – taking your medication as prescribed – include increased interaction between patients and healthcare providers and ensuring patient-centered delivery of those medications.  A bill that recently passed the state Legislature with broad bipartisan support, Assembly Bill 2418, by Assemblymembers Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), aims to improve medication adherence by promoting some of these same patient-centric strategies.

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Governor Brown – The Bailout King

Ed Ring
Executive Director, California Public Policy Center

“What a salesman,” he said, mockingly. “I guess that’s what you learned … selling that stock that went south.” – California Governor Brown, to challenger Kashkari, during televised debate Sept. 4th, 2014 (ref. SF Gate)

If anyone wants to know what the theme of Governor Brown’s attacks on GOP candidate Neel Kashkari is going to be over the coming weeks preceding the November 4th, election, his remarks in their debate last week would probably provide accurate clues. At least a half-dozen times, Governor Brown smeared Kashkari with accusations of being beholden to his banker friends on Wall Street. You know, those guys who shorted the investments of millions of small investors and turned America into a debtors prison? The sharks at Goldman Sachs? The banker bullies who took taxpayer funded bailouts and then collected billions in personal bonus checks? It will play well.

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Bill Would Push Unionizing Franchise Workers

Joseph Perkins
Political Columnist

The franchise market in California, a keystone of small business in the state, soon could change radically.

The California Legislature last Thursday sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would effectively supersede the contractual agreements between California-based franchises and such national franchisors as Subway, Supercuts, 7-Eleven, Jiffy Lube, RE/MAX, H&R Block, Holiday Inn and The UPS Store.

The measure, Senate Bill 610, was carried by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. It barely advanced beyond on the Assembly floor early last week before winning passage on the state Senate floor, when putative moderate Democrats backed the so-called California Franchise Relations Act after initially withholding their support.

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Last Week’s Gubernatorial Debate Should Have Been the Last

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)

Did we just watch the last California gubernatorial debate–ever?

Trick question. It appears very few of us bothered to watch last week’s debate between Governor Jerry Brown and challenger Neel Kashkari. If this proves to be the last such debate–a real possibility since there was almost no debate this year–most Californians wouldn’t notice the event’s demise.

We shouldn’t be proud of this state of affairs. Yes, it is perfectly fine for Californians not to follow state politics closely; the world is full of more important things, and there hasn’t been a close governor’s race in 24 years. But a gubernatorial debate ought to offer a moment that is an exception to our inattention. A well-designed public conversation between the candidates could offer our sprawling and splintered state a chance to think about itself as a whole. We’re missing a rare opportunity for California citizens to consider what is most important in our shared civic life, and in preparing for our future.

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