Prop 10 Argues That the Disease Is the Cure

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’s local governments already have too many incentives not to create new housing, and too many tools to block it. The result is a massive housing shortage and rising housing prices and rents.

And a new statewide ballot initiative to make it easier for local governments to control rents.

The logic of Prop 10 amounts to this: the disease – local tools to discourage housing –will somehow cure the disease of costly housing.

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Environmental Mugging

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

A dispute has arisen in San Diego over whether or not developers should be able to offset their contribution to alleged greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.  The contestants include, of course, developers, the County of San Diego and a sampling of California’s most aggressive environmentalists.  And, to settle the argument the latter interests have chosen to sue.

Typical.  Even before all else had failed, or even been tried, environmentalists – led by the extremely litigious Sierra Club – went to court.  No mediation.  No negotiations.  No discussion.  The groups are suing because it’s what they do.  In fact, they’ve been victorious in a number of court clashes with the County in recent years over County obligations to limit greenhouse gases. 

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Strange Initiative Strategy Indicates Prop 5 Could Be in Trouble

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

In an unusual move in the world of California’s direct democracy, the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) filed a new initiative for the 2020 ballot to achieve a goal similar to the initiative they already qualified for 2018. One conclusion: polling must be weak on Proposition 5, the measure on the November 2018 ballot.

Proposition 5 would allow seniors 55 and over to move to another home anywhere in the state and receive a property tax break to encourage the move, thus freeing larger homes for young families. The idea is to remove any property tax shock from seniors who would like to move but are concerned about giving up their Proposition 13 property tax protection—something the realtors label as a “moving penalty.” The realtors argue freeing up more homes will help with the state’s housing crisis.

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Home Stretch: Employer Mandates and Environmental Overreach Dominate End of Session

John Kabateck
State Director, National Federation of Small Independent/California

Although many in Sacramento cite selective statistics to claim California’s business climate is great—such as our current 5th largest GDP in the world—small business owners understand the reality that California’s ever-increasing cost of doing business is strangling small businesses from expanding and forcing many others to leave the state. In a survey released just last month by Wallet Hub, California ranked 47th for “Business Costs” in the nation.

This is why NFIB is focusing on a handful of bills in these final weeks of the legislative session which would have a direct impact on the cost of doing business in California in the areas of employer mandates, increased litigation, and additional environmental overreach.

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Local Governments Continue Spending Tax Dollars on Political Campaigns

David Kline
Vice President of Communications and Research, California Taxpayers Association

When Los Angeles County supervisors voted last month to place a parcel tax on the November ballot, they also approved adding $2 million to a contract for “public outreach and education,” bringing the county’s total outreach spending to $11.2 million. Savvy observers already knew that “outreach and education” is code for thinly disguised campaign materials designed to convince voters to support the tax, but the Board of Supervisors drove the point home by showing an “educational” video that heaped praise on the tax and ended with the statement: “Now let’s do this, before the opportunity dries up.”

Nowhere in the video was there a discussion of how the parcel tax (2.5 cents per square foot of improvements that can’t be permeated by rainwater) would increase the cost of living in Los Angeles, or how taking $300 million per year out of the hands of residents would negatively impact the economy.

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Is The Republican Story About Repealing the Gas Tax Hike too Good to be True?

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

California Republicans say that drivers can have smoother roads, more reliable public transit—and lower taxes.

In November, voters will get the chance to repeal a recent increase in the state gas tax and assorted vehicle fees. That tax hike—an extra 12 cents per gallon of gasoline, 20 cents per gallon of diesel, and two new vehicle registration fees—was signed into state law last year, part of a Democratic-led transportation package that directs an extra $5 billion per year toward the state’s dilapidated roads and highways. Making voters pay more at the pump is a tough political sell, but Democrats and other defenders of the law argue that our infrastructure is long overdue for an upgrade. The gas tax hasn’t been increased in over 20 years while the cost of highway construction has tripled. And, they say, you can’t get something for nothing.

Not so, say supporters of the repeal, Proposition 6. Chief among them is John Cox, the Republican running to be California’s next governor.

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They’re Not Like Us—But They Should Be

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

That special DMV office in the capitol accessible to elected officials, capitol staffers and insiders reminds me of a Prohibition era speakeasy. Go up to the unmarked door with a peephole and utter a password– “Jerry sent me,” seems appropriate—and you get to avoid long lines at the DMV.

Much news has been generated over the long wait times at DMV offices. Despite heated questions from legislators on DMV delays, the Joint Audit Committee turned down a request to have the DMV audited and discover why the long delays forcing California drivers to suffer when doing business at the DMV.

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How 2 California Women Turned L.A. Pain Into National Influence

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)

How can Californians rise from horrific local circumstances to national influence?

Two recent books offer one answer: It may help to have grown up amid the racism and institutional failures of Los Angeles in the 1990s.

The two books are both popular and compelling memoirs from African American women and Southern Californians now in their 30s. But the authors are very different people. One is the Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a deeply serious activist whose memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist, quotes Nelson Mandela and Emma Goldman. The other is the TV and movie star Tiffany Haddish, a profane comedian whose memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, offers an excruciating exegesis of discovering a sex tape of her boyfriend and his mistress—and that the video time stamp is her birthday.

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The Gas Tax Hurts Working Families – Repeal It

Jesse Rojas
Jesse Rojas is a farm worker rights activist, spokesperson for Pick Justice, and founder of California Farm Workers & Families PAC. Rojas also launched Mi America En La Radio, the first conservative Spanish-language radio show in the Central Valley. As CEO of The Redd Group, LLC, his organization offers labor relations, human resources consulting, public relations and political consulting.

I’m a farm worker rights activist, and founder and board member for Pick Justice and California Farm Workers & Families – which means I work on behalf of the thousands of agricultural workers that harvest the food which comes to your table every night. My family and I are fortunate to play such a vital role in our state economy and to the communities we serve. It’s not an easy lifestyle and we sacrifice like most working families to provide our kids with a better future.

That’s why I don’t understand when Sacramento politicians passed SB 1, the punitive gas and car tax during the last legislative session. It jacked up the gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel tax – frequently used on farms – an even higher 20 cents a gallon and the vehicle license fee by as much as $175 a year. In fact, my truck’s DMV annual registration fee almost doubled this year. The total looted in by the state would be $5.2 billion a year.

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The Trump Distraction

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

Everyone knows Donald Trump trolls California and that trolling is not a presidential responsibility outlined in Article II of the US Constitution. But many California state officials troll Trump and likewise are not fulfilling any legislative responsibilities under Article IV of the California Constitution.

Just consider K-12 education, which is a legislative responsibility and the single largest expenditure of state funds. This year California will spend nearly $100 billion on K-12. Less than 10 percent will come from the federal government. The governor and state legislature, not Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, write California’s Education Code. Any way you look at it, California’s elected officials run California’s public schools.

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