2018 Gov Race Highlights Political Panel

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Republicans will have a serious, competitive candidate for governor in 2018, Republican consultant Kevin Spillane told a conference sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) last week. Spillane was a member of a panel that discussed California’s Changing Electorate.

Spillane’s certainty that Republicans will field a top candidate was summed up in one name – and that was not the name of any prospective candidate. The consultant said that wealthy Republican donor Charles Munger will make an effort to see that a strong Republican candidate is in the field.

Munger’s name has been floated in political circles from time to time as a possible candidate for high office but Munger has dismissed the notion.

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What’s the Fastest Way from Berkeley to Bakersfield?

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)

Just flip to the second disc of the album.

California’s disparate regions are nearly impossible to connect. But over the past two years, two music bands—with overlapping members—have pulled off the trick, issuing three albums that examine today’s state, thoughtfully and lovingly, from its coast to its inland deserts, from north to south. It is precisely by exploring the state’s divides so thoroughly that those two bands—Cracker and Camper van Beethoven—have shown what really connects California.

Those connections are more about the wrong turns and struggles of regular Californians than about the handful of Hollywood triumphs or sun-splashed Silicon Valley successes.

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California Attracts 2.4% Of U.S. Reshored Jobs

Gino DiCaro
Vice President of Communications for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association

The Reshoring Initiative, an organization committed to helping manufacturers recognize the profit potential of domestic sourcing and production, has published its updated reshoring numbers that illustrate the U.S. manufacturing advantages driving the manufacturing renaissance. A growing number of companies across the country are bringing thousands of manufacturing jobs home from offshore.

California should do all it can to attract these new jobs.  But according to the Initiative’s numbers, California attracted only 34 reshores over the last three years, totaling 884 jobs and a mere 2.4 percent of the overall 36,325 reshored jobs. Further, California was not the destination for any of the top 10 reshoring examples noted below.

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Say Goodbye To Driver-Driven Automobiles

Richard Rubin
He writes about political issues and is President of a Public Affairs Management Firm. He also teaches courses on the Presidential & Congressional Elections at the University of San Francisco and is Vice Chair of the California Commonwealth Club.

Our love affair with the automobile is nothing new—but with the anticipated coming of the driverless car we are moving into uncharted territory.

There are 22, 650,000 plus California drivers by current count—which means over 2/3rds (38.8 million) of us are behind the wheel at any given time.

While cars can be menacing in the hands of reckless, inattentive, over-exuberant, or plain crazy drivers, there is little evidence we are drifting away from buying more of them every year in favor of other modes of transportation.

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Special Tax Sessions

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

In announcing the budget deal with the legislature, Governor Jerry Brown announced two special sessions to deal with transportation and Medi-Cal funding. Call them the Special Tax Sessions.

In the press release announcing the sessions, the Governor stated that the sessions were to “find more adequate funding for our roads and health care programs.”

The governor asked for “permanent and sustainable funding to maintain and repair the state’s transportation and critical infrastructure.” He also wants “permanent and sustainable funding to provide at least $1.1 billion annually to stabilize the state’s General Fund costs for Medi-Cal,” some of which would be used to meet the demands of programs Democratic legislators sought funds for in the current budget such as In-Home Supportive Services.

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I Love the Smell of Consolidated Local Water Agencies in the Morning!

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)

More good news for which we can thank the drought.

Now it’s not just that we’re using less water and taking steps to reduce water usage long term. Late in the budget process, Gov. Brown is pushing to give the state new powers to consolidate local water agencies.

The details involve letting the state shut down trouble agencies, but the details aren’t what matter. Yes, that’s yet another reversal for Brown, the Great Centralizing force of California politics, who used to claim to be a decentralizer. But that reversal shouldn’t matter.

What matters is that the state is actually moving to reduce the number of local agencies and governments in California.

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Why Doesn’t Nick Kristof Just Help This Unemployed Man?

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

There is a cottage industry of writers and activists in the United States who lecture us about what we should be doing as a nation for unemployed people, but who do nothing on their own to help individual unemployed persons. This long list is headed by several New York Times columnists, particularly Nicholas Kristof.


Kristof’s column this past weekend is the latest example, and worth briefly commenting on for what it represents. In Baltimore, Kristof meets a homeless man Andrew Phillips, 28. Phillips tells him that he has been unemployed and homeless for the last eight years. Phillips takes responsibility for his condition; he tells Kristof that he has “made some bad choices”. We also learn from Phillips of his twisted youth: his mother a drug addict, his brother shot dead when he was 3, he himself shot in the head at 5, by eighth grade, dropped out of school.

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Keep Cargo Moving

John R. McLaurin
President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association

California is moving forward with a program that will fundamentally change the way cargo is transported to address climate change and reduce emissions at a cost of billions of dollars. The goal of this effort is to see all those who have a hand in moving cargo reduce their carbon output to zero or near-zero emissions.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) Sustainable Freight Strategy will impact our ports – including the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach – airports, trucks, railroads, vessels, marine terminals, warehouses, distribution facilities and delivery trucks. Issues around the Sustainable Freight Strategy and how it is implemented are significant because this roadmap will be used as the basis for future regulations and investments as California moves to phase out the use of liquid fossil fuels, and the diesel engines that burn them.

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Democrats’ Budget Betting on the Come

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Passing the $117.5 billion budget along party lines, majority Democratic legislators are betting on the come – that revenue will be there to match expanded budget demands in the future. In another kind of bet dealing with sporting events, gamblers often wager whether the number of total points in a contest will be over or under a number predicted by the gambling house pros. Put my bet down on the UNDER in a few years on what the state will collect in revenue needed to keep up with the expanded budget passed by the Democrats.

Perhaps, the budget that passed the legislature yesterday can be meet with the dollars in the treasury today, and maybe even next year. The Democrats confidently believe the revenue will continue to be there when needed, just as the majority did in 1999 when the pension system was changed because the legislature bought the notion that the state’s retirement investments would always cover the cost of increased benefits. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. 

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Another Political Battle Waged At Expense Of Working Families 

Duf Sundheim
Duf Sundheim is a federal court mediator and has established an exploratory committee for the 2016 US Senate race

This past week we have seen what will happen if we allow the professional political class to continue to run Washington: Nothing.

On Friday Congress failed to pass a key component of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bi-partisan trade bill that is important to the hard working families of California.

Almost one out of every 10 dollars of the California economy ($174 billion) comes from trade. In fact, over 40% of California’s exports go to Asia-Pacific, the area covered by the TPP.  California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency has said “International trade and investment is a major economic engine for the state of California that broadly benefits businesses, communities, consumers and state government.”

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