Brown’s Vetoes. Would Newsom Do the Same?

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

Here’s a measuring stick to gauge a new governor: Would Gavin Newsom or John Cox veto the measures that Jerry Brown is vetoing in his last year on the job?

Let’s consider just a few examples and focus on Gavin Newsom since the recent PPIC poll has him with a solid 11-point lead over Cox.

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The Kavanaugh Hearings: A High Stakes Battle

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

If there is such a thing as a Super Bowl in politics, it occurred real time before a nation-wide audience riveted to their screens as the high drama taking place in Washington unfolded.

As is so often the case, Californians are playing a starring role.

In a shocking turnabout to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s tumultuous confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, at the initial urging of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s ranking member, it was unanimously agreed that a full Senate vote be delayed for one week to allow the FBI to conduct a more thorough investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct. However the motion to advance the nomination to the floor passed on a straight-line party vote. 11-10 with Flake joining the majority.

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Take the ACE Train

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)

As the ACE Train pulls into the Santa Clara station, the conductor pops out—and begins apologizing for his train.

“I’m sorry, but this is not the Amtrak!” he bellows, loud enough to be heard by all boarding passengers on the long platform

“And this is not Caltrain! If you want the Caltrain to San Francisco, do not board this train!” he yells.

This warning is useful: The ACE Train uses some of the same tracks but doesn’t go the same places as Amtrak and Caltrain. It’s also fitting: The ACE Train is important to California because of what it is not.

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California Schools Face Bleak Financial Future

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A team of researchers managed by Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) recently released a massive study of California schools’ successes and shortcomings.

It concluded that for California’s elementary and secondary schools to reach academic performance goals, the state should expand education into early childhood, prior to kindergarten, and raise overall school spending by 32 percent.

The report said that “while public schools in California spent about $69.7 billion on school operations in 2016-17, an additional $22.1 billion—32 percent above actual spending—would have been necessary for all students to have had the opportunity to meet the goals set by the state Board of Education.”

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Justice v. Retribution: AB 3120 Could Bankrupt Schools, Non-profits

Senator John Moorlach
California State Senate, 37th District

Assembly Bill 3120 is aimed at the wrong target. I’m for justice, not retribution.

The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, would increase childhood assault victims’ ability to sue both perpetrators and employers for claims that already have passed the statute of limitations. Yes, crimes committed against children are egregious, and deserve to be addressed swiftly without hesitation or disregard. I share the sentiment of the author. Something must be done. 

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Voices Opposing Proposition 10 Getting Loud

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

A chorus of opponents of Proposition 10, the statewide rent-control initiative on this year’s November ballot, is growing louder and eminently more boisterous.  It isn’t your traditional business groups, either.

As you might guess, the Cal Chamber, REALTORS®, builders and apartment owners were early joiners to the long list of opposing groups and, thus far, they’ve supplied the lion’s share of campaign funding.  But, recently organizations representing labor, affordable housing, ethnic and civil rights groups and a long list of state and local elected officials have joined on. 

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San Francisco can get even smarter with 5G

Roslyn Layton is a Visiting Researcher at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, Denmark. James Wall of San Francisco is former the Controller & Treasurer AirTouch Communications.

San Francisco has always been known as “The City”. But, soon it could be known as something else—a Smart City. A policy environment that’s welcoming to the infrastructure that supports next-generation wireless – known as 5G – will make this happen.

Smart Cities are connected communities that offer residents and businesses cutting-edge technologies and are expected to profoundly improve urban living in the coming years. Autonomous vehicles will ease traffic congestion and keep travelers safe. The Internet of Things will make our homes better places to live, our workplaces more productive, healthcare more available and effective, and the local economy more vibrant.

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Democracy Doesn’t Make Us Better People—But It Should

John R. Wallach
Professor of political science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and a founder and the first Director of the Hunter Human Rights Program.

Of all the political words that trip off our tongues yet bedevil understanding, one of the most important is “democracy.”

Strictly translated, it signifies authoritative power (kratos) by the citizenry or people (demos)—particularly the lower and middle classes—in the public affairs of a political order. Of course, this does not describe our reality.

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Devil in the Details on Hot Ballot Measures Poll Finds

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

As is often heard around the capitol, the devil is in the details when it comes to laws that are written to carry out what appear to be acceptable concepts. That seems to be the case with two controversial ballot propositions according to the latest Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll.

When asked simple, plain language questions by the pollsters on the gas tax repeal (Proposition 6) and the rent control measure (Proposition 10), a majority of likely voters liked the ideas. But when the titles of both measures and a description of what they would do was read to the poll respondents, they turned thumbs down on both items.

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California Lawmakers About to Make History

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

California faces many important issues raised in the columns on this website every day—-and good that they are.

​In fact regardless of our ideological bent it is critical that we engage in vigorous discussion.

​However with the press and some of our most important institutions such as the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Department under relentless attack from the Oval Office, the future of reasonable discourse – indeed the rule of law itself—is in some peril.   

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