I Am Not Running for Senate

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)

I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

I have all the respect in the world for the federal government, and its wars, its failure to pass rational immigration policy, and its gross violations of my privacy. But my life and work are in California, not Washington (though I do have a rental and enjoy attending conferences there).

I am more interested in serving the state government than being in the Senate. I think it would be more fun to be frustrated as a governor than it would be to be frustrated as one of 100 U.S. Senators.

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Not Enough Info for Voters to Move LA City Election

Jack Humphreville
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler

The Herb Wesson led LA City Council voted to place Charter Amendment 1 on the ballot.  If approved by the voters on March 3, City elections, which are currently held in May of odd numbered years, would be consolidated with State and Federal elections that are held in November of even numbered years, beginning in November of 2020.

The proponents of this measure believe that consolidated elections will result in great voter participation, a major concern since less than 25% of the electorate voted in the Mayor’s race. 

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CA Manufacturing Rises — A Little

John Seiler
John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchDog.com.

California’s hard-hit manufacturing sector is coming back, although not as much as the rest of the country. The Great Recession sliced off 18.5 percent of state manufacturing jobs.

After that, from 2011 to 2014, “manufacturing employment has hovered around 12.5 million,” reported the Sacramento Bee.

“There certainly are pockets of success,” Gino DiCarlo told CalWatchdog.com; he’s vice president of communications at the California Manufacturers & Technology Association.

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And the (Political) Oscar Goes to…

Joel Fox and Joe Mathews
Joel Fox is Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee. Joe Mathews is Connecting California Columnist and Editor at Zócalo Public Square, and Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University.

Oscar Sunday is just around the corner and while the celebrities are preening for their 30-seconds on screen, we thought at F&H we should put out Oscars for California political performances so far this year.

Best Actor: Neel Kashkari, on the streets of Fresno (albeit a performance that the locals didn’t vote for)

Best Subtle Performance: Jerry Brown at his budget press conference assuring reporters Prop 30 taxes are temporary … or are they? See Joel’s column here and Dan Walters here both picking up the same thing, maybe there is some flexibility in the word “temporary.”

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Senate Race Is No Done Deal

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

The “conventional wisdom” has California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris all but sworn in as Senator Barbara Boxer’s successor.  Not so fast.

Harris is off to a good start. By stepping out first and unhesitantly, the Attorney General has garnered a lot of endorsements and media coverage.   She has attained “front runner” status in the eyes of many, but the field hasn’t even formed and there is a long way to go before the real campaign begins.

With Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome training his sights on the Governor’s office, Harris certainly can claim to be the preeminent Bay Area candidate circling the Boxer seat. Early polls—for what they’re worth so far out—show Harris strong among women voters and her multi-ethnic heritage–part African-American, part Indian-American– should bolster her standing with those voters. 

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LAO Report Could Spur School Facilities Reform

John Seiler
John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchDog.com.

A new report by California Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor puts school facilities funding at the head of the class.

Among other points, “The 2015-16 Budget: Rethinking How the State Funds School Facilities” pushes the idea that facilities funding should more closely follow each student. Doing so would change the system from its current dependence on local variations largely based on community wealth and support for more school funding.

The report is claiming that reforms need “to get schools out from under Sacramento-related oversight and redundancy,” Bill Lucia told CalWatchdog.com; he’s the president and CEO of EdVoice, a nonprofit reform group, and served as executive director of the State Board of Education.

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The Texas Economy & Contrast to CA

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

In the last decade, Texas emerged as America’s new land of opportunity — if you will, America’s America. Since the start of the recession, the Lone Star State has been responsible for the majority of employment growth in the country. Between November  2007 and November 2014, the United States gained  a net 2.1 million jobs, with 1.2 million alone in Texas.

Yet with the recent steep drop in oil prices, the Texas economy faces extreme headwinds that could even spark something of a downturn. A repeat of the 1980s oil bust isn’t likely, says Comerica Bank economist Robert Dye, but he expects much slower growth, particularly for formerly red-hot Houston, an easing of home prices and, likely, a slowdown of in-migration.

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Don’t Measure Energy Policy By “Green Jobs” Created

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Do energy mandates kill jobs or create jobs? Does government subsidy of energy projects create jobs?

According to Severin Borenstein, E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, and former director of the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley Haas School, the pursuit of “green jobs” misses the point. Environmental and energy regulations should rise and fall on their own merits, not because of some tenuous claim that jobs will be created.

But don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself

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Political Notes: Senate Race; Chargers Football; Party Registration

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

With the Field Poll on the U.S. Senate race showing Condoleezza Rice as a leader along with Kamala Harris, many political observers stated that if Rice ran – and she says she won’t – her opponents would try to wrap the unpopular (in California) George W. Bush around her. Undoubtedly true. But more important, I would think, is how Rice would answer questions about dealing with ISIS – and perhaps even more to the point, how Harris or other candidates with less experience in foreign affairs handle such questions. It seems to me answers to those questions will have more of a bearing on the voter’s mind when it comes to selecting the next senator from California.

It feels like the one-two finish of Rice and Harris in the poll by wide margins is largely due to name ID. Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll wrote in an email, “In early polls like this, two variables have the biggest impact on voters.  Name ID and party.”

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Has California’s Greatest Filmmaker Lost His Focus?

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)

Has Hollywood’s foremost interpreter of California lost his touch?

That may seem a strange question to ask now that said interpreter—the writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson—is up for a screenwriting Oscar at this Sunday’s Academy Awards. But Anderson’s work often poses strange questions.

Anderson matters because, at age 44, he’s already the greatest California filmmaker ever. That’s a claim based not just on the ambition of his films (famous for their fascinatingly flawed characters and long, tension-filled scenes), or the awards and critical acclaim he’s won, or the fact that two of his movies—Boogie Nights (a portrait of the porn business starring Mark Wahlberg) and There Will Be Blood (a portrait of the oil business starring Daniel Day-Lewis)—are already considered classics.

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