Electric Scooters Data Collection a Prelude to Taxes?

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

As electric scooters become more prevalent around the state they face government regulation including the ability to collect data on the scooter’s use. While the data collection is controversial enough because it could reveal user’s personal habits, the problems related to scooter use and convenient data collection also could set up a scooter tax.

While some communities ban the scooters others are trying to work out accommodations for their use. In some cases, such as Los Angeles, officials argue that information on every trip the scooters make is necessary to monitor scooter use and safety issues.. 

Fair warning. One way government officials can insist they need the information is for purposes of taxation.

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Three Reasons Why Gavin Should Go to El Salvador

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)

LA Times columnist George Skelton recently criticized Gov. Newsom for planning a trip to El Salvador April 7. Skelton said Newsom should stay in California and focus on California problems.

That was a cheap shot, and many in Sacramento piled on. But Newsom is doing the right thing in going. Because, in this peculiar moment, the problems of California are connected to migration issues in the Americas—and President Trump’s ignorant and bigoted delusions about them.

Here are three reasons why the governor is right to spend a few days in Central America.

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LAUSD Tax: Is It Really All About the Kids?

Stuart Waldman
President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association

I’m a father of two beautiful, energetic, smart kids, the oldest of whom is about to start kindergarten. As many of my fellow parents will know, this has felt like an overwhelming decision for my wife and me. I know – it’s “just” kindergarten. But choosing the right school means choosing where my son will thrive and form the bedrock of his education, career, and life. I want to do the best by him that I possibly can.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean my neighborhood elementary school. I’m fortunate enough to have options, but many of my neighbors don’t have a choice but to send their children to the local LAUSD school. Compared to elementary schools across California, it’s rated as one of the lowest – 1 out of 10 on the Great Schools scale. It’s been stuck there for the last 15 years, when it first opened.

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California Legislative Action Needed to Rein in Pharmacy Middlemen

Liz Helms
CEO of the California Chronic Care

The high costs of prescription drugs have rightly prompted concern from Californians and lawmakers looking for ways to bring down costs. Recently, both California and the federal government have taken positive steps to address this concern by increasing transparency. Still, more action is needed to reduce costs to consumers at the prescription counter.

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UCLA Rowers in South Carolina? Or Another Exemption for Sports Under CA Laws?

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

Does UCLA’s women’s rowing team have to pull out of the Clemson Invitational in South Carolina April 19 and 20? California Attorney General Xavier Becerra banned travel to South Carolina; the 10th state California has prohibited state-funded travel to because of perceived discrimination against the LGBTQ communities in those states. Or is another exemption from state law being offered to a sports team, as seems to be a habit with the state powers-that-be?

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What Should the Role of State Government be in the California Economy?    

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Perhaps the most important underlying question with regard to both political science as well as economics is what should the role of government be in the economy?

At the same time, this central question is rarely given the objective attention, study, and public debate it deserves, particularly in California.

The best analysis and conclusions I have found on this subject can be found in the works of Nobel-prize winning economists Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek, who have widely been characterized as two of the most influential economists of the last 100 years.

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Bugs in the K-12 System

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

Dear Legislators and GFC Supporters,

Imagine if one of Apple’s products had a software bug. Do you think Apple’s management would act immediately to fix it? Of course it would. Now ask the same question about California’s K-12 school system, which operates under rules established by the state legislature and governor. Would they act immediately to fix a bug in that system? They should — but they don’t. Nowhere is that failure more apparent presently than in the school district in the state’s capital city, Sacramento.

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Killing the California Dream

Randal OToole
Director of the Independence Institute’s Transportation Policy Center

Californians need to give up on their dream of a “ranch-house lifestyle” and an “ample backyard” and the state should become “more like New York City,” writes LA Times columnist George Skelton (reprinted in the Mercury-News and East Bay Times in case you run into the LA Times paywall). After reading his article, the Antiplanner has just one question: Why?

Skelton argues that California’s population has grown in the last 70 years and is still growing. But he doesn’t seem to realize that the vast majority of the state is still rural. The 2010 census found that urban areas covering just 5.3 percent of the state is urban and houses 95 percent of the state’s population.

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Gavin Gets His Close-Up

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

Our new Governor spent his eight years as Jerry Brown’s Lieutenant Governor with not a whole lot to do.   Gavin Newsom s making up for lost time in his first hundred days in office.

Right from his Inauguration, Newsom burst out of the gate with new priorities and an aggressive style that is putting his own stamp on the Golden State and the California governorship.  Unlike Brown, his stealth-like predecessor, Governor Newsom  appears to be everywhere—in Sacramento, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, the Bay area,  Washington and, next up, El Salvador. It appears that he hasn’t met a photo-op he didn’t like.

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Workers Endangered if State Mandates Takeover of Utilities

Patrick Lavin
Business Manager and Financial Secretary at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

There seems to be a misguided effort by some in the state to break up investor-owned utilities and formulate public-sector and public-funded agencies to take their place in response to the statewide impacts of wildfires. As an elected official of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) for the last 19 years, a journeyman lineman by trade for 45 years, an IBEW member for over 50 years, and who has worked for four utilities — both municipal and investor owned —  I’m familiar with the issues at hand.

In my professional opinion, a state-mandated takeover of investor-owned utilities would be a huge mistake. Our IBEW members’ livelihoods and that of their families, along with their retirements, would be at stake in such a takeover.

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