Condo revival?

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

For many, condominiums (condos) are the answer to many questions that accompany California’s housing woes.

First, condos present densities that are higher and more satisfying to those obsessed with planning and smart growth.  Local elected officials, purportedly, like condos.  But, many builders worry that if it was true affection these elected officials had for this housing type they’d figure out how to hold development costs down.  More on those costs later.

Secondly, condos provide homeownership, which is preferred over renting.  That is, what’s most associated with the American Dream is property ownership.  Condos, while not exactly like single-family living, provide that equity opportunity we as a nation are so smitten with.

Read comments Read more

More Must Be Done by Drug Companies to Put Patients First 

Morgan Statt
Morgan Statt is a health and safety investigator who spends her time researching and writing on a variety of topics. With a dedication to consumer education, she focuses on personal safety, drugs, and trending news commentary.

In October of last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 17 into law, a bill that mandates drug manufacturers to now publicly provide justification for any big drug price hikes. It was both a rebellion against Big Pharma practices and an effort to inject transparency into the controversial industry.

The legislative decision comes as a response to the massive price hikes of life-saving drugs over the past few years. It’s hard to forget Turing Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Martin Shkreli deciding in 2015 to raise the price of Daraprim by a shocking 4,000 percent, an ill-fated move that catapulted him into the national spotlight.

With California leading the way, more states are taking drug price transparency bills into consideration. But, they certainly won’t be met without some pushback from Big Pharma. In fact, the industry hired 45 lobbyists to try and defeat the Golden State’s legislation. 

Read comments Read more

Survey: Biz Execs Down on CA

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

A survey of business executives in highly sought after industries such as clean tech and research & development conclude that California has a number of problems that prevent businesses from locating or expanding in the state. The Pacific Research Institute survey discovered that housing and real estate costs, a poor quality education system, and taxes and regulations are stumbling blocks for the business execs.

The survey was based on 200 interviews with business executives in R&D, IT, manufacturing, clean tech, and energy – industries identified by California’s public officials as highly-coveted industries, according to the survey release. Many of the executives were considering or had considered opening operations in California, while some had closed California facilities in the last five years.

Read comments Read more

Cities Worry About Climate Change in Court, not so Much When Talking to Investors

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Multiple cities and counties along the California Coast are suing big oil companies over their role in climate change. Because global warming is raising sea levels, the local governments contend that they will face staggering costs from flooding and/or from measures they will have to take to prevent flooding. To anyone worried about climate change, these fears may seem reasonable, but there is one big fly in the ointment:  when some of these same local governments issued municipal bonds, they did not disclose the rising sea level risk to investors – at least not in the same terms used in their complaints.

Saying one thing to a trial court and another thing to bond investors is a potential violation of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, which states in part:

It shall be unlawful for any person in the offer or sale of any securities … to obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact…

Read comments Read more

Tell the Truth SF Unified

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

In June San Francisco’s school board wants voters to approve a new “parcel tax” of $298 per parcel of real property. They claim the money — $50 million per year — is needed to provide teachers with living wages. That’s a worthy objective but it’s not the real reason behind the proposed tax. The real reason is buried deep in SFUSD financial reports from 2012 and 2017:

Read comments Read more

They fought for a Country they were forced to leave

Ricardo Franco
Candidate for California Congressional District 22.

Imagine sitting at the San Ysidro, Mexico Border crossing peering over the horizon.  One side is Mexico.  One side is California.  There is a constant stream of cars and people on foot easily crossing back and forth, except for a growing brotherhood of deported U.S. Veterans. .  The words ‘deported’ and ‘veteran’ seem to negate each other.  Who would deport a veteran?  The United States Government has been doing so since the Vietnam War.  Currently, President Trump’s new regulations make it more difficult by extending the waiting period for military green-card holders.

This group is mostly Mexican nationals who served in the U.S. military as a pathway to citizenship.  The membership is widespread and includes Canadians and South Africans.  Regardless of their heritage, they all took the same oath and served wearing the American flag on their right shoulder as they took up arms to protect our freedoms.

Read comments Read more

Jerry Brown—the Man Who Wasn’t There

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

When California Democrats held their convention in San Diego, there was a conspicuous absentee—Governor Jerry Brown.  Not only wasn’t he physically present, he was barely mentioned from the speaker’s podium.  The party’s activists and aspiring politicians were clearly ready to move on.

Despite going into the home stretch of a highly successful run as Governor, Jerry wasn’t celebrated, nor did the candidates for Governor make a big point of building on his legacy.  Fiscal sanity hardly makes liberal hearts flutter and the “skinflint in chief” has frustrated proponents of more spending on education, healthcare and other Democratic priorities.  The Bullet Train and Delta Tunnels just don’t create much enthusiasm—let alone political demand among the Party faithful.

Read comments Read more

Which city—San Francisco or Los Angeles—do you love to hate more?

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)

This is shaping up to be California’s question for 2018. Each of the top two contenders for governor is a former mayor of one those cities, and each embodies certain grievances about his hometown. And backers of both candidates are playing on those resentments.

Gavin Newsom, like San Francisco, is derided as too wealthy, too white, too progressive, too cerebral, too cold, and so focused on a culturally liberal agenda that you might call him out of touch. Antonio Villaraigosa, like Los Angeles, is undermined as too street, too Latino, too instinctual, too warm, and so unfocused on his economically liberal agenda that you might say he lacks a center.

The interesting news in this contest of city loathing is that there is a contest at all.

Read comments Read more

A Post-Janus Agenda for California’s Public Sector Unions

Ed Ring
Ed Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

“If you do not prevail in this case, the unions will have less political influence; yes or no?” Kennedy asked. “Yes, they will have less political influence,” Frederick answered.
–  an excerpt from the Janus vs. AFSCME trial, quoted in the Washington Post, February 26, 2018

Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Janus vs. AFSCME case. Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois, is challenging the right of unions to charge “fair share” fees, because he disagrees with the political agenda, which he claims his fees help pay for.

What if government unions were accountable to their members? What if the politics of these unions mirrored the politics of the members? Would Mark Janus still want out?

Read comments Read more

Sunlight Peeks into Palo Alto

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

On February 26 the Palo Alto City Council voted 9–0 in favor of a proposal to uncloak negotiations with the city’s public employees. The next step is to meet and confer with public employee unions, which is required under current state law. (You read that right. As explained here, under current state law the taxpayers of Palo Alto are not permitted to observe negotiations about their largest expenditures without the consent of the recipients of those expenditures.) Stay tuned.

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.