Why Gasoline is Going Higher in California

Todd Royal
Todd Royal is an independent public policy consultant focusing on the geopolitical implications of energy based in Los Angeles, California.

It has become raison d’etre to blame President Trump for everything wrong with California; including higher gasoline prices plaguing our state and contributing to a slowing statewide GDP. But in today’s world that is connected via air, land, sea and increasingly cyberspace; globalization and policies knit countries and states together like never before. Many times rendering geography and borders on maps obsolete – consequently, events in one region or country – affect continents, countries and states. California’s decision to never allow pipelines into the state, drill for oil and natural gas off our coasts and certainly not explore the billions in untapped fossil fuel reserves trapped in the Monterrey Shale is rippling across our state in the form of higher gas prices.

The Monterrey Shale – though considered technically hard to recover – is 64% larger than all other shale plays in the lower 48 US states. To believe the Monterrey Shale can’t be unlocked is economically unwise when you consider that in September Kuwaiti oil exports to the US dropped to zero for the first time since the first Persian Gulf War over rising US production. Furthermore, “U.S. net imports of foreign oil have dropped to a 45-year low.”

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The End of The Warren Court

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court culminates a 50-year struggle by conservatives to gain control of the court and end 80 years of liberal judicial activism. This confirmation also brings to an end the Warren Court, named for former California governor Earl Warren, that stretched from his appointment in 1953 until his retirement 1969, but lived on through various successors until now.

Things move very slowly in the Supreme Court. Consider this, one of the “liberal” seats, that of current Justice Elena Kagan, has had just four occupants over the past 102 years: Louis Brandeis, appointed by President Wilson in 1916, William O. Douglas appointed by President Roosevelt in 1939, John Paul Stevens appointed by President Ford in 1975, and Kagan appointed by President Obama in 2010.

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Californians May Know More About Russian Intelligence Than Their Own Schools’ Performance

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)

“Getting down to Facts II: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools” is the most important report on California schools in years, probably since the original Getting Down to Facts” a decade ago. It’s produced as a part of a project that draws in a variety of top researchers and is coordinated by Stanford and disseminated by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).

Some of the report’s broad conclusions have been covered in the media—especially the report’s finding that, despite improvements in California education, our kids start out behind kids in other states educationally and never catch up.

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California 2018 Initiative Editorial Scorecard #4

Joe Rodota and Matt Klink
Joe Rodota is CEO of Forward Observer and Matt Klink is President of Klink Campaigns.

Below find the fourth issue of the 2018 California Initiative Editorial Scorecard.

Forward Observer and Klink Campaigns developed the 2018 California Initiative Editorial Scorecard to keep track of editorials for and against the 11 statewide initiatives on this November’s ballot. We will update the scorecard weekly with ballot measure endorsements (pro and con) from the top 20 California newspapers by circulation. The fourth edition of the California Initiative Editorial Scorecard is based on 158 editorials thus far.

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The Kavanuagh Appointment: What Will it Mean?

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

The U.S. Supreme Court has a new justice—a very conservative one who it is anticipated will tip the balance of power in ways that will profoundly affect every American citizen one way or another for years to come.

Some will rejoice. Others will lament what happened.

But however each of us feels, that is not the principal lesson to be drawn from this bitterly contested nomination. In our system there will always be winners and losers. It is how that is determined which matters most.

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New, Long Term Ballot Initiative Strategy

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

The proponents of two propositions on the November ballot— yet to be voted on —have already filed follow up initiatives for the 2020 election. Authors of Proposition 5 to extend property tax benefits to seniors, the disabled, and to open the housing market and Proposition 6, the gas tax repeal, have authored new measures to cover the costs of achieving their intended goals. Thus opens a new initiative strategy that is driven by costly fiscal reviews of current ballot measures.

Proposition 5 is intended to expand a current law now limited to a number of counties to allow seniors 55 years old and older to move to a new house and take their current property tax assessment with them or have a reduced rate when moving to a more expensive home than current law allows. The official fiscal report from the Legislative Analyst and Department of Finance says Prop 5 would cost $150 million in the near term increasing to $1 billion per year. Reducing revenue for schools and local governments is a difficult sell.

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Tectonic Shifts in Orange County

Mark Baldassare
President of the Public Policy Institute of California

Orange County has evolved from a Republican stronghold to a credible target of opportunity for the Democrats seeking to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election.

Until the most recent presidential election, Republican candidates had won in every top-of-the-ticket statewide race in Orange County for 20 years. In fact, the last time that a Democratic presidential candidate carried Orange County was in 1936. But in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton defeated Republican Donald Trump by 51 to 42 percent, a margin of 102,813 votes. Moreover, Clinton received more votes than Trump in each of the four Orange County House seats now held by Republicans.

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The New Magna Charta

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)

In Rome last week, I helped write a new Magna Charta.

I led this effort during a Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, a free, public event I help run. The idea is that all the worry about declining democracy is really about democracy at the national level. But democracy, fundamentally, is not a national process; it’s always been a local process, since its invention in Athens 2,500 years ago. And local governments have been leading in spreading democracy–at the local level is where you’ve seen the huge expansion in direct democracy and participatory democracy, in the use of initiative, referendum, and processes like participatory budgeting.

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Online Education Doesn’t Make Your Kids Weirdos

Janell Smiley
Janell Smiley is a resident of Santa Rosa, a member of California Parents for Public Virtual Education, and author of “…As Long As You Don’t Turn Them Into Weirdos.”

Public school did not work for my kids. After a great start in kindergarten, both of our children began to hate being at school, and having to go to school every day was turning them into disgruntled, angry, sad children who were beginning to show signs that their love of learning was being squashed. That was the most concerning part – they disliked the classroom environment and being forced to work at a pace that left them bored and disinterested was causing them to become disconnected from education.

It took me a long time to come to the decision, being filled with doubt and fear, but I finally removed my two children from the traditional classroom setting at the beginning of their third, and fifth-grade year. At first we used the “home study” program done through the public school system. It worked for us, but was just okay – not great, but the same old boring stuff. We used it for the rest of that school year, then found an online program. A public virtual charter school, done at home.

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What if They Gave a Debate and No One Listened? Here’s a Suggested Fix

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

By the time you read this, the only scheduled debate between California’s gubernatorial candidates may be over. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. taking place at Bay Area radio station KQED and broadcast by a few other radio stations.

Don’t worry, you are hardly the only California voter who won’t hear the conversation between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox. The event is actually billed as a conversation rather than a debate. That’s okay. The most famous debates in American history—the Lincoln-Douglas meetings—could fairly be labeled a conversation. Each candidate gave speeches. The first speaker went for an hour, the second for an hour-and-a-half and then the first speaker returned for 30 minutes.

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