Bullet Train’s Latest Plan Sends Your Money Far Afield

Susan Shelley
Susan Shelley is an author, former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly.

California, meet the future.

In Zaraza, Venezuela, a factory that was supposed to be building the country’s first bullet train stands hollowed out and abandoned. Cattle roam the site and chew on the grass that grows through the rubble.

A decade ago, the government said the high-speed rail line would extend 290 miles, carry 5 million passengers per year and bring economic revitalization to agricultural areas far from the coast.

Instead it’s one of “many unfinished politically motivated projects dotting Venezuela,” in the words of Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman, who reported recently on the dismal fate of the railway.

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Prop 50 Matters Not

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)

Are you immortal? If so, you might take some time to read and consider Prop 50.

But if there’s a good chance you might die some day, don’t waste another precious second on this earth thinking about Prop 50, which appears on the June ballot here in California.

Seriously, leave that part of the ballot blank. Or vote for it. Or against it. It doesn’t matter.

You can stop reading now.

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Irreverent and Unsolicited Advice to Transit Advocates – Part 5

Norm King
Strategic planning & transportation consultant, former City Manager of three California cities, and former Executive Director, San Bernardino Transportation Commission

(Editor’s Note: This week Fox and Hounds is running a five part series by Norm King dealing with transportation issues based on his years of experience as a city manager and transportation consultant)

Drivers Must Pay More with “Smart” Pricing

Support policies which require drivers to pay more of the costs they inflict such as charging for parking, constructing priced lanes, imposing fees based on vehicle miles traveled, levying a per ton carbon fee, basing insurance on miles traveled.

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Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the Women Vote

Richard Rubin
He writes about political issues and is President of a Public Affairs Management Firm. He also teaches courses on the Presidential & Congressional Elections at the University of San Francisco and is Vice Chair of the California Commonwealth Club.

Hillary Clinton should follow the advice of Fox TV host Megyn Kelly in how to deal with Donald Trump when Clinton faces Trump in the General Election.

Kelly wisely chose not to respond to Trump’s crude references to her bodily functions after an early Presidential Debate.

In a recent TIME interview, Kelly said, “If I came out there and started fighting Trump, he would have just turned around and said, she can’t be fair, right? At times, I think it drove him nuts that I wasn’t responding. But that was clearly the right course to pursue.”

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LA Needs Jobs, Not Tax Hikes, to Fight Poverty, Homelessness

Susan Shelley
Susan Shelley is an author, former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly.

In 2007, about a year before the economy crashed, the Gallup Poll found that 28 percent of Americans had at some point worried about becoming homeless.

It’s worse today. A new UCLA study found 31 percent of county residents worried about becoming homeless. Even among people earning between $90,000 and $120,000, 1 in 4 were afraid they would one day live on the street.

The fear is a symptom of a stagnant economy. If people felt confident that they would always be able to find a job, some kind of job to pay the bills, everybody would be sleeping better at night. Instead, there is widespread anxiety that unemployment could be imminent, devastating, and at an ever-younger age, permanent.

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Cartoonist

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Raising Wages

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

The Department of Labor’s new overtime rules come at a jarring time for California businesses which have seen recent changes in California laws to increase both the minimum wage and mandated leave. Small business employers can’t catch a breath before a new mandate comes down affecting their employees and ultimately their bottom line.

The Department of Labor’s new rule allows workers earning $47,476 annually time-an-a-half for every hour they work beyond 40 hours. The previous annual salary threshold for requiring time-an-a-half pay was $23,660.

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Irreverent and Unsolicited Advice to Transit Advocates – Part 4

Norm King
Strategic planning & transportation consultant, former City Manager of three California cities, and former Executive Director, San Bernardino Transportation Commission

(Editor’s Note: This week Fox and Hounds is running a five part series by Norm King dealing with transportation issues based on his years of experience as a city manager and transportation consultant)

Sustainability & Mobility Plan Strategies Are Unsustainable

Give up trying to increase densities as a realistic way to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce congestion. Participate in the discussion to reform the unsustainable AB375, “Sustainability Communities Strategy” mandates.

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Small Business Day: Buttressing Optimism with Support

Betty Jo Toccoli
President of the California Small Business Association

There’s a lot of current media attention on the extent of the recovery from the Great Recession. And indeed, numerous surveys are showing that employers are feeling more optimistic in 2016 than in recent years.

That’s good news – and bad news. It’s wonderful that business owners are more confident about the future, and we’re hopeful that their optimism is translated into business success. But it’s also concerning, because our elected officials may get the mistaken impression that optimism reflects a rosy business environment.

On May 25, California legislators can learn first about those issues when 90 small business owners are honored on California Small Business Day. Our policymakers should use that opportunity to move small business issues to the top of the legislative agenda.

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Why California Keeps Failing to Grade Its Schools

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)

It’s a California educational reality worthy of Kafka. Our state’s leaders keep asking parents and communities to take bigger roles in making local schools better—even as those same leaders keep us in the dark about how our public schools are doing.

In the 2013-14 school year, the state suspended the Academic Performance Index, or API, the chief tool Californians had for seeing how their kids’ schools stacked up among schools across the state. API wasn’t a perfect measure, but it offered a clear and consistent language for judging schools that could be understood by anyone in your neighborhood—from parents to real estate agents. And, for the many communities and schools that hung API banners boasting of school improvement in the rankings, the index provided a point of pride.

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