Is a Blacklist Back?

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

Is a blacklist back in fashion in the town that made term “blacklist” famous? One gets that feeling when the Los Angeles City Council voted this week to draft a law that will ask contractors to disclose if they have been hired to work on the wall between the U.S. and Mexico. What could be the reason for the disclosure except to cut off business to a company because of political motives?

Politics were behind the famous Hollywood blacklist of seven decades ago.

While the bill reportedly won’t ban contractors from working with the city if the contractor works on the wall, the disclosure plays a de facto role in creating a ban. The bill’s author, Councilman Gil Cedillo, said he plans to vote against any firm seeking a city contract that discloses work on the wall.

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For California: A New Political Party Seeks to Upend the Status Quo in the Golden State

Donald Gomez
Acting Press Secretary for the California National Party

Love it or hate it, identity politics is playing a greater role in what motivates voters. Thanks to increased access to information in our modern times, like-minded individuals can easily communicate and come together to work towards mutual goals. To prioritize these newly defined goals, people should reconsider, reorient and refocus their long-standing affiliations. Given this shift toward embracing ideologies that better represent the personal goals and convictions of the individual, it is not surprising that many Americans are breaking free of the traditional two-party mold they have long been relegated to.

While the Republican Party splinters into conservative, “alt right,” and libertarian factions, the Democrats continue to divide themselves between “blue dog” moderates and progressives, voters with common sense are realizing that the bottom has dropped out of the middle, and are perplexed about which direction to go. Many are seeking a new home where decades of misguided choices, shady backdoor deals, and shameful legacies haven’t yet muddled the waters of policy.

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The Great Migration Myth

Dave Marin
Director of Research and Policy, California Freedom Coalition

Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: thanks to sky-high housing costs, over-taxation, and/or failed liberal policies, Californians, especially the middle class, are fleeing the state.

There’s one huge flaw: Californians aren’t actually leaving the state at anything like a significant rate. According the U.S. Census, between 2014 and 2015, California had thesecond lowest out-migration rate after Texas: slightly less than 21 out of every 1,000 California residents left. In the three years before that, California even edged out Texas. Welcome to the Hotel California.

California and Texas are both pretty big states; maybe Californians aren’t so much being forced out of the state as moving to cheaper places within it? Anecdotally, as a San Franciscan who has seen a number of my friends move to the East Bay, this feels true to me, but the data doesn’t support it.

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To Fix ‘Unfair’ Bail System, Will California Copy Kentucky?

Contributing Writer at—a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics

“It’s rare that a California lawmaker seeking a policy model would turn to Kentucky. But with the Legislature on summer recess, that’s precisely what Sen. Bob Hertzberg is doing.

The mission: travel to the Bluegrass state to investigate how Kentucky gets its defendants awaiting trial to show up for court dates and keep them from committing crimes—all without locking them up. Civil rights advocates point to Kentucky as a shining example of reform, and Hertzberg, a Democrat who represents the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys, is convinced California ought to take notice.

He contends California’s use of bail has spun out of control—costing five times the national average, and leaving thousands of poor people behind bars awaiting trial while the rich go free.

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Brown’s blunder down under

Andy Caldwell
COLAB Executive Director, guest editorialist, and radio talk show host

The biggest news story last week appeared in the classifieds. The legal notice declared a summons for all interested persons to appear in court in Sacramento as a defendant in a lawsuit. The lawsuit names the California Department of Water Resources vs. All Persons Interested in the matter of the Authorization of California Water Fix Revenue Bonds. That would be you.

Translation? Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to finance his Twin Tunnels project by way of a lawsuit. Each tunnel would be 150 feet below ground, 40 feet in diameter and 30 miles in length. The tunnel project would be as big a project as the English Channel tunnel and as big a boondoggle as Boston’s Big Dig.

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California’s Attempt At “Massive Resistance”

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

California’s decision to become a “Sanctuary State” and defy the federal government on immigration, likely to become law later this month, places California in the company of state’s rights extremists that once tried to stop public school integration by much the same means.

In 1956, in response to the Supreme Court’s 1954 school integration decision, the state of Virginia devised a theory that it had the right to defy a federal law it did not like and could retain its racially segregated public schools.  This became known as Massive Resistance, state sponsored resistance to federal law. California now seems set to go down the same path with its Sanctuary State bill that tries to prevent federal immigration law enforcement.

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California already may be paying for Trump’s hypothetical tax cuts

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Tax reform may not be much more than a glimmer in the eye of Republicans in Washington D.C., but their promise of lower rates and closed loopholes appears to be already jostling state and local finances.

Exhibit One comes in the form of a disappointing haul for California tax collectors this summer. In June, the most recent month for which figures were available, the state took in $361 million less than lawmakers planned for in the state budget.

While there are plenty of reasons for revenues to miss their projected mark—an unexpected economic cold snap, perhaps, or a forecasting model miss—the fiscal sleuths at the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggest that something else could be afoot. They wrote in a recent report that “high-income taxpayers may be deferring income and/or tax payments to late 2017 or even 2018 in anticipation of a federal tax cut.”

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Reconciling the three Democratic parties

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

With President Donald Trump’s Dr. Demento impersonation undermining his own party, the road should be open for Democrats to sweep the next election cycle. And, for the first time since their horrific defeat of 2016, not only nationally but also in the states, the Democrats are slowly waking up to the reality that they need to go beyond the ritual Trump-bashing.

No one will compare the recently released “A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages” slogan to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, or even Newt Gingrich’s “Contract for America.” One Bernie Sanders supporter called it “anodyne, focus-grouped, consultant-generated pablum.” Yet, at least it attempted to identify the party with something other than Trump hatred, which is all most Americans think the Democrats are all about.

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CalPERS’ divestment goals in crosshairs as coal stocks soar

Steven Greenhut
Senior Fellow and Western Region Director for the R Street Institute, and he writes for American Spectator, Reason and the Orange County Register.

newly released report from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System confirms that, fulfilling the Legislature’s directive to divest from coal-related investments, the pension fund has now largely exited from coal stocks. But as news reports this week suggest, this “socially responsible” investment policy has come at a price, as coal stocks soar under the Trump administration’s fossil-fuel-oriented energy policy.

The Public Divestiture of Thermal Coal Companies Act of 2015required CalPERS to “identify, engage and potentially divest from companies meeting the definition of ‘thermal coal companies.’” The pension fund was directed to do so “consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities,” providing some wiggle room for the fund, whose primary duty is to maximize investment returns to make good on its public-employee pension obligations.

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Surfing to the Governor’s Chair on an Initiative

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

To use an analogy that surfer (and assemblyman) Travis Allen might appreciate, can the ballot measure he champions to repeal the gas tax be the surfboard he needs to carve over the choppy waves of a governor’s race and get him safely to shore.

The Huntington Beach Republican is putting his hopes on the gas tax repeal initiative to get the support and recognition he needs to compete with better known, better funded opponents. The highest-profile names in the race, as of now, are all Democrats in a state where Democratic voter registration surpasses Republican registration by nearly two-to-one.

Allen hopes the initiative will get him the attention he needs from voters who have expressed disdain for the new tax. The UC Berkeley IGS poll found 58% oppose the tax passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in April; 39% strongly oppose—and the tax has not even been collected yet.

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