I Know I Can Keep That November Ballot Straight

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’m a conscientious California voter, and I take seriously my responsibility to vote on all the ballot initiatives and other measures that people far richer and more powerful than me say are really important.

The first step in fulfilling my civic duty is to know what the measures are, to study them. Everyone tells me that. And I really want to do that.

But I’m having trouble keeping them all straight. Can you help me?

There’s something on the ballot about the banning of plastic bags, and something about prescription drugs. Or is it that I can no longer keep my prescription drugs in plastic bags? Or maybe I’m required to keep the drugs in something stronger, like a condom? Or maybe I only have to do that when I’m on certain film sets in the San Fernando Valley. Where I would never be.

Read comments Read more

California’s Plastic Bag Ban On Track for Passage in November

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

One of the marquee measures in the November election will be the last measure on the ballot: the referendum on Senate Bill 270, the law signed by Governor Jerry Brown to ban single-use plastic bags. Supporters of the ban will be seeking a “Yes” vote.

To date, plastic bag manufacturers have spent $5.96 million toward repealing the ban. According to the California Secretary of State, 99 percent of the contributions are from out-of-state to the inappropriately named “American Progressive Bag Alliance.”

The largest donor is Hilex Poly (also known as Novolex), a South Carolina-based company, which is owned by Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. It has contributed $2.78 million, in addition to continuing to hire Sacramento lobbyists. Interestingly, the company also announced last week that it has begun the manufacturing of recyclable paper bags and has purchased several paper bag companies in addition to a hiring spree – despite the company wrongly stating the ban will cost jobs.

Read comments Read more

Protecting CA Students From Pension Costs

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

“The secret to stellar grades and thriving students is teachers,” writes The Economist in a recent editorial. One study cited by the magazine found that “in a single year’s teaching the top 10% of teachers impart three times as much learning to their pupils as the worst 10% do” and another “estimates that if African-American children were taught by the top 25% of teachers, the gap between blacks and whites would close within eight years.” The magazine argues that a rigorous form of pedagogy can “make ordinary teachers great” and that “the biggest gains will come from preparing new teachers better and upgrading the ones already in classrooms.”

But California is radically boosting pension spending instead. Legislation bailing out California’s teacher pension fund requires a doubling of spending on pensions to more than $10 billion per year, leaving that much less for preparing, hiring, paying and upgrading active teachers. $10 billion is nearly three times more than the state spends on California State University or the University of California.

Read comments Read more

Public Nuisance Lawsuits Spiraling Out of Control

Kim Stone
President of the Civil Justice Association of California

This past year, public nuisance lawsuits have spiraled out of control in California. Cities like San Diego, Berkeley and Los Angeles have been convinced to sue U.S. companies for enormous sums. Trial lawyers, looking to win big, scour the state and the nation for potential plaintiffs and then recruit municipalities to partner with them to file suits against businesses.

Pandora was let out of the box in 2002 when Santa Clara County and Orange County, using private plaintiff’s lawyers to bring the charge, sued lead paint manufacturers under a public nuisance theory — even though the paint manufacturers didn’t know about problems with lead paint at the time they sold it. After that, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office used public nuisance theory to sue drug manufacturers for the costs of unemployment, emergency room visits and other social services.

Read comments Read more

Judging (and Recalling) Judges

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

The question of recalling Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky over his sentencing decision for Stanford student Brock Turner in the notorious campus rape case has policy and political implications that goes to judicial independence and could even play a minor role in a coming statewide ballot initiative campaign.

Petitions calling for Persky’s removal from the bench have gathered over a million signatures. Recall efforts have been endorsed by some of the state’s top politicians including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who co-authored a law to prevent campus rape.

Read comments Read more

Closing The Prop. 47 Loophole That’s Boosting Organized Crime

Assemblyman Tom Lackey
California State Assembly, 36th District

When California voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, they did it with good intentions. By changing non-violent crimes like theft, forgery, and drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors, voters hoped to focus corrections resources on hardened criminals, while funding crime prevention programs and rehabilitating low-level offenders.

Unfortunately, the reality of Prop. 47 hasn’t lined up with the lofty expectations. Career criminals have found loopholes in the law that allow them to avoid facing any serious consequences for their behavior. For example, organized crime groups have exploited the reduced punishments for property crimes, causing that type of offense to spike dramatically.

Read comments Read more

Linking Student Aspirations to Workforce Needs

Loren Kaye and Rebecca Sterling
Loren Kaye is President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education. Rebecca Sterling is Program Manager of the Linked Learning Alliance.

Simon Tran is on the fast track.

A junior at the Kearny High School of Digital Media and Design in San Diego, Simon makes the most of learning in a school with a digital media arts industry theme. While mastering the use of cutting-edge digital design equipment, he’s building his leadership skills by collaborating with peers, working under the guidance of mentors, gaining experience working with clients, and earning college credits by taking community college classes through Kearny’s “Fast Track” program.

“Our projects are linked to the school’s learning outcomes,” Simon explains, “so we are always working on critical thinking, innovation, and civic engagement. Our clients won’t settle for good enough work; they want great finished products that they can really use.”

Read comments Read more

A Turnaround for Voter Turnout?

Eric McGhee
Research Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

McGhee_CA Flat RegistrationThe recent primary offered signs of improvement for California’s abysmally low voter turnout. Recent elections have seen some of the worst turnout in the state’s history. The 2014 election cycle was particularly dismal, but 2012 also set a new low for a presidential primary election. Moreover, California has beenlagging behind other states in both registration and turnout.

However, there has been a large surge in new registrants over the last few months, and the California Secretary of State currently estimates that almost 9 million Californians participated in the 2016 presidential primary election, compared to only 4.5 million in 2014 and 5.3 million in 2012.

Read comments Read more

GO- Biz and ProMéxico to Host California-Mexico Business Trade and Investment Summit in Fresno

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note: The following is a release from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Go-Biz)

Fresno, Calif. – The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and ProMéxico, together with partnering organizations, are hosting a summit to discuss California-Mexico cross border relations as part of Governor Brown’s 2014 Trade and Investment Agreement with the Mexican Government.  The third in a series of events previously hosted in San Diego and Los Angeles will highlight the Central Valley’s distinct assets which offer trade and investment opportunities for businesses in both California and Mexico.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Falls Event Center
4105 W Figarden Drive | Fresno, CA 93722

Business owners and international trade stakeholders are encouraged to attend this free event!

For more information and to register, visit www.camxsummit.eventbrite.com

Participating organizations:
Mexican Consulate, Fresno
California State Transportation Agency
California Department of Food and Agriculture
California Center for International Trade Development, Fresno
California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation
U.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
USDA (invited)
Port of Oakland
Port of Stockton (invited)
Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Fresno Economic Development Corporation
Van F Logisitcs (invited)
American Pistachio (invited)
Wonderful Citrus (invited)

Read comments Read more

The Budget Has Not Been Passed

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)

The California media keeps getting it wrong. The state legislature hasn’t passed a budget. And the governor hasn’t made it law.

It’s not because they don’t want to do those things. It’s because they can’t. Not in California.

Yes, the legislature approved a document called a budget, and Gov. Brown signed it. But that is not the state budget. That is sort of a holding document that decides all the very easy things that can be decided under the California budget system.

All the budget optimism has blinded us to the unchanging reality in California:

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.