Taxpayers Second Victims in Harassment Cases

Joel Fox

Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily


In light of the sexual harassment charges that have encircled the legislature, last month Assemblyman Kevin McCarty said he would introduce a bill that would require convicted sexual harassers to pay out of their own pocket instead of taxpayers compensating victims. McCarty’s bill should go further to protect taxpayers.

Taxpayers are also victims when sexual harassment by government officials leads to settlements out of the public purse. But it is not only the payouts to the victims that cost taxpayers money. Investigations by outside law firms looking into potential harassment are also done on the taxpayers’ dime.

With the accusations made by lobbyist Pamela Lopez against Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the assembly would be hiring an outside law firm to investigate the allegations. When sexual harassment charges were made against Sen. Tony Mendoza, senate president Kevin de León declared that the senate would hire an outside law firm to look at the charges against Mendoza.

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Backlash ripples through California politics after women denounce sexual harassment

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


With sexual harassment and assault allegations ricocheting through the state Capitol, two female lobbyists say they soon faced the consequences of speaking out—a state senator who suddenly wanted to avoid meeting with them.

A client of theirs relayed that the senator wanted women excluded from a meeting at a nearby watering hole. The reason: The senator and some of his colleagues had decided that, with accusations of bad behavior mounting against their fellow legislators, it would be safer to simply stop having drinks with lobbyists who happen to be female.

“Cutting off an entire gender from that access is clearly harmful,” said lobbyist Jodi Hicks, whose client alerted her of the senator’s intent. “If we are saying we need to change the culture, this is the opposite of that.”

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Eric Garcetti for president? Really?

Joel Kotkin

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


Someone may be putting something in the Los Angeles water supply. In the past months, two unlikely L.A.-based presidential contenders — Mayor Eric Garcetti and Disney Chief Robert Iger — have been floated in the media, including in the New York Times.

But before we start worrying about how an L.A.-based president might affect traffic (after all this is the big issue in Southern California), we might want to confront political reality. In both cases, the case for our local heroes’ candidacies is weak at best, and delusional at worst.

The Disney fantasies

The Iger case is, if anything easier to dismiss. Iger can sell himself, like Trump, as a business success story, and with probably far-fewer questionable business transactions. Yet Iger, trying to run as a progressive in an increasingly left-wing Democratic Party, will face numerous challenges that dwarfs those faced by Trump.

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Civic Education and the University of California

Janet Napolitano

University of California President


Public service lies at the heart of the University of California’s mission. We uphold this mission through the education of Californians and the creation of new knowledge, at our medical centers and through our agriculture and natural resources operations. And we uphold it with a steadfast commitment to shepherding the next generation of informed and engaged citizens.

A university campus offers students the opportunity to stretch their horizons and open their minds, in and out of the classroom. College is often the first time many students interact with people from different backgrounds, and confront ideas and viewpoints that conflict with what they believe. Students learn from each other, learn how to disagree, learn how to fight for what they believe, and even learn how to change their minds when the marketplace of ideas presents better options. These are invaluable tools that help UC students build the foundation for a lifetime of engaged citizenship in our democracy.

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The Kate Steinle tragedy changed history

Susan Shelley

Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, “How Trump Won.”


The Kate Steinle case was always about more than just the Kate Steinle case.

The 32-year-old was shot in the back while walking with her father along San Francisco’s Pier 14. She collapsed and died in her father’s arms. It was July 1, 2015.

The bullet came from a gun stolen four days earlier from a federal ranger’s official vehicle, where it had been left unsecured and loaded. But the story wasn’t about carelessness.

The gun was fired by a man who was living on the street, but the story wasn’t about homelessness. And it wasn’t about gun violence.

The story was about illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, because of what had happened two weeks earlier.

Donald J. Trump announced on June 16, 2015, that he was running for president.

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The Gubernatorial Candidates Are Missing Three Big Agendas

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)


What are you going to do if it all goes off the rails?

Politicians are advised not to advise hypotheticals, but the candidates for governor need to be pressed to explain how they would address some likely negative turns in California in the years ahead.

The candidates are rolling out policy agendas, with Gavin Newsom very much ahead, as he has been in the polls. But none of the candidates have much of an agenda when it comes to the three big questions.

  1. What’s your recession agenda?

The slow but steady economic expansion since the Great Recession has gone on for almost a decade. That’s a longtime, and the country is overdue for another recession.

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California continues its legacy of leading the nation with hostile, predatory legal climate

Shawn Lewis

NFIB/CA State Communications Director


Today the American Tort Reform Foundation issued its 2017-2018 Judicial Hellholes report, ranking civil courts in California among the nation’s most unfair. It is no secret the State of California leads the nation with its hostile legal climate which rewards predatory litigation on the backs of struggling small businesses across the state. Our state being ranked the #2 judicial hellhole in the nation is certainly no commendation to be proud of.

Since its inception in 2002, the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF)’s Judicial Hellholes report has identified and documented the worst abuses within the civil justice system, focusing primarily on those jurisdictions where courts have been radically unfair and out of balance. The content of this report builds off the American Tort Reform Association’s (ATRA) real-time monitoring of Judicial Hellhole activity year-round and reflects feedback gathered from countless firsthand sources. For Californians, unfortunately this year’s report hits very close to home. California earned the number-two spot as the worst in the country with its expansions of civil liability as well of the honor of being the West Coast’s perennial Judicial Hellhole.

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No Trigger in GOP Tax Plan—Like CA Once Had

Joel Fox

Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily


The U.S. Senate passed a tax bill Saturday morning but not before shunting aside the idea of setting a “trigger” to raise taxes if economic growth did not provide enough revenues to avert a growing budget deficit. The idea of a “trigger” to deal with an unsolved deficit was once adopted by the California legislature, which approved the “trigger” concept to pass a budget in the early 1980s.

In December 1982, Legislative Analyst Bill Hamm told newly sworn in legislators that the budget would fall $1 billion short. Retiring governor Jerry Brown called a special session for the legislature to deal with the problem. The package that was cobbled together was a $1.6 billion combination of tax increases and spending reductions. However, the measure failed to pass.

Then a new governor was sworn into office in January. George Deukmejian was not keen on including tax increases in the budget fix.

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How far can Democrats go to help unions?

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


Undeniably, California’s dominant Democratic Party is joined at the hip with labor unions, even though scarcely a sixth of the state’s workers belong to unions.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Democratic politicians push laws and regulations to help unions expand their memberships.

They are motivated, they say, by their belief that workers’ lives are improved by union representation. It’s also true, however, that unions are the largest single source of their campaign funds and other support.

Whatever the motives, there’s a steady flow of union-backed laws from Sacramento, such as efforts to expand the state’s “prevailing wage” law, originally limited to public works projects, to private construction, or making home care workers public employees so they could be unionized.

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Tax Reform and the 2018 CA Elections

Joel Fox

Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily


The tax reform plan that is on the road to passing Congress sets up an interesting dynamic for the 2018 elections in California. Democrats will argue that those Republican congress members who voted for the tax plan and ended deductions raised taxes on many Californians. On the other hand most state Democrats will be protecting the need for gas tax increase against a repeal effort if one qualifies for the ballot. Reverse the script for Republicans.

GOP members of Congress support the gas tax repeal hoping the repeal effort will drive voters to the polls and be sympathetic to Republicans in Congress. But some of those congressional Republicans will have a nuanced argument on the federal tax plan. They will argue that the overall tax reform will boost the economy to the benefit of their constituents who may be paying higher taxes.

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