Jerry Brown And Barack Obama Going In Opposite Directions

Richard Rubin
Writes about political issues and is President of a public affairs management firm

The mid- term report card is out for Governor Jerry Brown and it shows him getting higher marks than fellow Democrat, President Obama, whose troubled tenure is winding down.

A generation apart, Brown is receiving very favorable grades while Obama’s popularity is steadily eroding.

The reasons for the disparity are many and complex. But the starting point is economics.

The nation has rebounded after the near financial collapse of 2008 with positive news on the unemployment front, accelerated hiring in some quarters, upticks in consumer spending, and a revival of business investment.

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They’re Writing about the Governor’s Race — of 2018!

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

The election to choose California’s governor is still about four months away yet two columns appeared in Los Angeles papers Monday discussing the governor’s race in 2018 – Jim Newton in the Los Angeles Times wrote about three potential Democratic candidates who might be the next governor; John Phillips in the Los Angeles Register discussed possible candidates from both major political parties.

I understand – most journalists don’t think the race for governor will be close this year and there is theoretically great drama with an open gubernatorial seat and a slew of potential viable candidates over the horizon.

But let’s not pass up this year’s race too quickly.

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Six Takeaways from the June Primary

Mark Baldassare
President of the Public Policy Institute of California

For those of us involved in polling and election analysis at PPIC, the just-released California Secretary of State’s (SOS) Statement of the Vote offers a treasure trove of data about how our democracy is working. The latest SOS report also deserves close scrutiny because the top-two primary, which had its debut in June 2012, operated in statewide contests—such as the governor’s race—for the first time this year. My colleagues Eric McGhee and Daniel Krimm have provided an excellent analysis of the outcomes of legislative district races. Here, I’m going to focus on six election trends—regarding statewide offices, state propositions, and voter participation—that surfaced in my read of the final numbers.

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Turning Japanese: How Japan’s Breakdown in Employment Is Resembling Ours

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Over the past four years, we have written frequently about major shifts in the structure of employment in California: the breakdown in full time employment and rise of alternative forms of contingent, project-based and part time employment. Precarious Japan, a new book from Duke University Press, examines how a surprisingly similar shift is impacting the Japanese economy.

The book, by Duke University Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Ms. Anne Allison, focuses on “Precarity”. The term refers to precarious employment, and Professor Allison sets out the following narrative.

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The California Economy: A Strength vs Weakness Breakdown (Part. 2)

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

The problem with analyzing California’s economy — or with assessing its vigor — is that there is not one California economy. Instead, we have a group of regions that will see completely different economic outcomes. Then, those outcomes will be averaged, and that average of regional outcomes is California’s economy. It is possible, even likely, that no region will see the average outcome, just as we rarely see average rainfall in California.

California’s Silicon Valley region continues to be a source of innovation, economic vigor, and wealth creation. But the Silicon Valley, named because silicon is the primary component of computer chips, no longer produces any chips. The demands for venture capital are also changing, with the demand for cash falling because new products often take the form of apps instead of something that is manufactured. This type of investing doesn’t need the infrastructure that the Silicon Valley provides. Increasingly, other communities such as Boston, Northern Virginia, and Houston are becoming centers of technological innovation.

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All State Businesses Deserve Tax Help

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Hooray for Hollywood! Oh, yes, and hooray for batteries for electric cars. And another hooray for some jet plane manufacturers. It seems the state Legislature has found a number of causes to create state tax credits to encourage business and jobs in the Golden State.

All well and good, but what about businesses that don’t qualify for tax credits? You would think legislators would recognize that with the rash of requests for tax help they are dealing with this year that something is wrong with the business climate.

What’s wrong is high taxes and a briar-patch of regulations that California businesses have to deal with. The state is continually ranked near the bottom of surveys on good places to do business.

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No Room at the Inn: California’s Latino Legislative Caucus Closes Door on Republicans

Jack Guerrero
CPA, is an elected City Council Member and past Mayor in Cudahy, CA, and a state delegate to the California Republican Party.

The influential California Latino Legislative Caucus has a generic moniker and an ostensibly-benign mission statement which promotes “legislation and policies that have a direct impact on Latinos from all walks of life,” and “diversity in state government…by advancing qualified candidates from all walks of California.”

Well, in carefully choreographed subterfuge, this public face of the Latino political establishment conveniently left out: “… except if you are Republican, in which case, we want nothing to do with you!” Now, a series of newspaper articles reveal a persistent pattern of discrimination against Latino Republicans perpetrated by the taxpayer-funded organization based at the State Capitol. Clearly, the group’s actions are more articulate than the mission statement.

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How Soccer Explains Elections

Devin Lavelle
Associate Consultant, Andrew Chang& Company LLC

While many records are broken every year, there are two worth drawing attention to during the first half of 2014: the levels of participation in elections and soccer.

With 25.2% turnout, California appears headed to a record low for a statewide primary. Explanations vary, ranging from voter contentment to structural shortcomings to California’s turnout is actually fairly high.

Most of these ideas are not terribly compelling, since most Californians think we are headed in the wrong direction; recent structural changes have made the primaries more compelling for independent and minority party candidates; and a record low is still that, regardless of context.

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The California Economy: When Vigor and Frailty Collide (Part. 1)

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California is a place of extremes. It has beaches, mountains, valleys and deserts. It has glaciers and, just a few miles away, hot, dry deserts. Some years it doesn’t rain. Some years it rains all winter. Those extremes are part of what makes California the attractive place that it is, and, west of the high mountains, California is mostly an extremely comfortable place to live.

Today, we have some new extremes. Some of our coastal communities are as wealthy as any in the world. At the other extreme, we have some of America’s poorest communities. San Bernardino, for example, has America’s second-highest poverty rate for cities with population over 200,000.

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7 Ways James Fallows is Wrong About the CA Bullet Train

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Writing on The Atlantic’s website, the much-respected journalist/intellectual James Fallows — a Redlands native who knows California better than nearly all other national pundits — has come out as a big fan of the state’s bullet-train project. He promises to return frequently to the project in coming months and explain all the ways that it is wonderful.

In his first installment, his focus is on how much better life is in places with fast, convenient trains and how big infrastructure projects can tranform regions for the better. Then he cites studies which talk about this specific project’s benefits in helping local economies and reducing pollution.

The problem is that Fallows is describing California’s high-speed rail project in a vacuum. When someone just hears the concept, of course they are likely to think it sounds cool.

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