State Legislature Continues Its Unwavering Commitment To Undermining Public Safety

Michele Hanisee
President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys

The most dangerous number in Sacramento these days? 1182.

That’s the designation of the latest assault on public safety. Assembly Bill 1182, introduced earlier this month by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, would reduce the amount of time even dangerous offenders must spend on parole after being released from prison.

If passed, it will march in lockstep alongside Proposition 47,  Proposition 57, SB 1391 and AB 109 in the parade of criminal-coddling legislation that the governor and state Legislature have foisted on an unwitting public in recent years.

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‘Job Killer’ Bills May be More Difficult to Kill

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

For two decades, the California Chamber of Commerce’s annual descriptions of certain legislative bills as “job killers” have framed the Capitol’s sharpest economic conflicts.

The chamber, working in concert with other business and employer groups, has been remarkably successful in modifying or killing the two or three dozen measures that find their way onto the list each year.

Even though most of the bills are carried by the Legislature’s dominant Democrats and are sponsored by some of the party’s most influential allies, such as labor unions and personal injury lawyers, the chamber has rung up about a 90 percent kill ratio.

Only rarely do the targeted bills die in formal legislative votes. Most simply disappear when their sponsors and legislative leaders realize that they don’t have the votes.

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Affordable Housing Not the Key to End Homeless Crisis

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

Politicians tell us if we can just build enough affordable housing, California’s difficult homeless situation would end. To that end they have encouraged voters to support tax increases while searching for legislative remedies to ease the crisis. Yet, a simple formula of affordable housing will not address the problem by itself.

On Sunday’s version of KNBC Los Angeles News Conference show hosted by Conan Nolan, KNBC’s I-Team Investigative Reporter Joel Grover revealed some of the truths he learned over many months reporting a series titled, “Streets of Shame.” His conclusion: political leaders are not being honest about Southern California’s homeless problem.

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The Top Two Produces a Presidential Candidate

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)

Congressman Eric Swalwell is running for president, and a country and even his own home state are asking: Who is this guy? And why on earth is he running?

The answer lies in California’s perverse top two election system.

Swalwell is a creature of top two, which makes him the first presidential candidate from the land of top two.

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Too Few Homes, Too Many Homeless: Part Two, How to Fix It

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

We’re well into spring in subtropical California. Up and down the coast, from Venice Beach to San Francisco, tens of thousands of homeless people live in makeshift abodes, strewn along the streets and alleys, the beaches and boardwalks, beside parking garages, freeway onramps, and under bridges. Their numbers increasing every year, they now live openly in the hearts of magnificent downtowns, permanently encamped on the lawns of city halls and civic centers. In some areas entire urban parks are filled with their tents. A perfect storm of court decisions and legislation have tied the hands of law enforcement, and well organized activists join forces with well financed nonprofits and their partners, politically connected developers, to prevent any practical solutions.

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Factions Take Shape as California Advances Nationally Watched Police Shooting Bill

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Even as a landmark California bill meant to prevent police shootings passed its first committee Tuesday, the fault lines among Democrats began to emerge, suggesting the measure will likely change as it moves through the Legislature. How much, though, was not yet clear.

After emotional, standing-room-only testimony from Californians whose loved ones have been killed by police, and a sheriff’s deputy who survived being shot by a gunman who killed her colleague, the Assembly Public Safety committee passed Assembly Bill 392 on a party-line vote. But three of the panel’s six Democrats said they were dissatisfied with the bill in its current form. They asked civil rights groups that support the bill and law enforcement groups that oppose it to keep working toward common ground.

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Coming: A Clash of “Fair Share” Tax Increase Proposals Aimed at Business

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

The campaign to make the rich and corporations pay their so-called “fair share” in taxes marches on in California. One can hardly turn around without running into a politician or a spending interest advocate who demands that high-end taxpayers or corporations pay their “fair share” of taxes. In fact, there are so many different variants of the “fair share” tax campaigns that a couple are about to crash into each other.

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California’s Attorney General enforces travel ban to South Carolina – yet turns a blind eye to governor’s trip to El Salvador

Raul Riesgo
Public relations expert featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced April 2 that he was extending California’s ban on taxpayer-funded trips to the State of South Carolina, saying it allows private faith-based groups to withhold adoption services over moral objections, effectively permitting discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Well and good, but why is the AG going silent about Governor Newsom’s junket to El Salvador, a country which actively discriminates against LGBTQ people? The country also deals harshly with women, not just banning abortion but vigorously prosecuting it regardless of the female’s age, whether she’s a victim of rape or incest, or to save her life.

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The Direct Democracy Book You Should Be Reading

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)

Switzerland is where direct democracy got started, and California may be the global capital of direct democracy. But the foremost global scholar of direct democracy is a Uruguayan political scientist based in Chile.

David Altman is not a name that many in California’s ballot measure industry know, but that should change. And his new book, Citizenship and Contemporary Direct Democracy, should be read by all of the people that Joel Fox calls “initiative warriors.”

Altman’s book is academic, but it’s also very clear. And it’s short while being comprehensive—laying out what we know about direct democracy, and what we don’t know.

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Too Few Homes, Too Many Homeless: Part One, How it Happened

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

Apart from the fine weather unique to California, there is little stopping the homeless crisis that grips that state from infecting the rest of America. California’s other even bigger problem, unaffordable housing, is also coming to America. All the elements are in place.

The problem of increasing homelessness boils down to three fundamental policy failures. Massive immigration, overpriced housing, and an inability of state and local governments to properly deal with homeless people.

Volumes could be written about each of these problems, because each of them are symptomatic of deeper challenges. Immigration is fundamentally transforming our culture. Overpriced housing is just one element of the economic asset bubble that offers an illusory, unsustainable substitute for genuine economic growth. And our inability to deal with the homeless is just one example of a stultified society, mired in legal disputes, bureaucratic inertia, and corruption.

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