Why Newsom Should be Rooting for Faulconer to Run

Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt writes on California policy and politics. He formerly covered the Capitol for the Ventura County Star

After last year, you may not want to hear this, but in California another election year has already arrived.

The reason is that under the top two primary in a one-party-dominant state, ultimate outcomes in 2018 will be largely determined by the makeup of the candidate field in the primary. And for potential candidates, the time is almost at hand to decide whether to enter the field.

At the statewide level, what this means is that at all eyes should be on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Not only may he be the only potential Republican candidate with a strong chance to advance out of the top-two primary, but whether he is in or out will likely determine whether any Democrat other than Gavin Newsom has a chance to win in November 2018.

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If the question is upward mobility the answer is California colleges

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

What’s the most effective tool to improve economic mobility in California?

Higher minimum wage? No.
Mandatory employment benefits? Nope.
Higher redistributive taxes? Nada.

It’s the California State University and community colleges.

According to a landmark study for the Equality Opportunity Project, Stanford’s Raj Chetty and coauthors found that certain state and community colleges offer effective pathways to higher incomes for younger generations.

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The State Is Cutting My Kids’ Schools

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)

The email from the school superintendent dropped like an anvil in small school district (just one high school and middle school, and three elementary schools) where I live.

Under Gov. Brown’s January budget proposal, our schools would get $900,000 less from the state than they did in 2016-17 budget.

The superintendent admitted to surprise. This news came after the passage of the Prop 55 tax rates on income, it came at a time of low unemployment and economic growth. How could the schools be cut?

Because this is California, and school funding makes no sense.

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Equality of poverty spreads in California

Susan Shelley
Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, "How Trump Won."

Tucked away in Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 budget was some very disturbing news about jobs in California.

Although new jobs have been created, they don’t pay much.

The governor’s budget proposal says the tax revenue coming into the state treasury isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with spending because over the last four years, “the percentage of wage and salary growth from high-wage sectors dropped from 50 percent to 36 percent of total growth.”

California’s income tax collects revenue from higher earners but not from low earners.

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Transitioning to an Emerging Green Economy

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

California may not be alone in its efforts to deal with climate change but neither can state officials ignore the need for a smooth transition to a greener economy that would rely on traditional energy sources. That was the message gleaned from the opening sessions of the 10th annual VerdeXchange conference in Los Angeles dedicated to promoting a green economy.

David Heurtel, Quebec Province’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change, argued that California cannot be considered an outlier in the climate change debate given the state’s position as the sixth largest economy in the world. Quebec has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with California creating a linked cap-and-trade system.

State Senator Bob Hertzberg spoke of recent meetings with Chinese officials and Oregon legislators promoting strategies for preventing climate change. The Canadian Minister pointed out that when China employs its cap-and-trade program nationally, as it has proposed to do, 60% of the world’s GDP would be covered by cap-and-trade laws.

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Where Is the Fight in Eric Holder?

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)

The state legislature did the right thing in hiring an outside lawyer who knows Washington as it prepares for a multi-front battle against our unhinged new president and his administration.

But did they pick the right lawyer?

That’s the question Sacramento should be asking about former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The lawyer has a sterling reputation as a thoughtful person and administrator. But looking over his career, there’s little evidence that he’s much of a fighter.

Holder’s time as attorney general was distinguished by the fights he wouldn’t take on. In particular, he repeatedly declined to go after banks and bankers who not only caused the great recession, but also were engaged in money laundering or other fraud. Whistleblowers in the financial industry have frequently said there was little appetite in Holder’s Justice Department to pursue wrongdoers. And the fact that Wells Fargo and its executive never went to jail – for its systemic fraud borders on the criminal in itself.

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Advice for California Republicans: Audacity! Audacity! Always Audacity!

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

If Donald Trump’s victory has taught Republicans across the land anything, it’s to follow Danton’s cry to the Assembly (the French one, not the one in Sacramento): Audacity! Audacity! Always Audacity!

Shut out of any statewide office and with less than 1/3 in each house of the Legislature, what do they have to lose?

The Bush-Dole-Bush-McCain-Romney sellouts on so many issues, of blending with the Democrats’ socialism, is over. California’s version is the Pete Wilson-Arnold Schwarzenegger-Meg Whitman sellouts, which wimpified the party in this state. That’s why Republicans keep losing.

Wilson, actually, is the exception that proves the rule. After winning the governorship in 1990, he wimped out and joined Democrats in raising taxes a then-record $7 billion. More taxes came in 1993. Down and seemingly out for his re-election in 1994, he grasped the Proposition 187 limitation in immigration and beat Kathleen Brown.

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The Immigration Dilemma

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

In often needlessly harsh ways, President Donald Trump is forcing Americans to face issues that have been festering for decades, but effectively swept under the rug by the ruling party duopoly. Nowhere is this more evident than with immigration, an issue that helped to spark Trump’s quixotic, but ultimately successful, campaign.

Many Americans are clearly upset about an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and many also fear the arrival of more refugees from Islamic countries. Perhaps no issue identified by Trump has been more divisive.

Not surprisingly, Trump’s rhetoric has stirred bitter anger among the country’s polite establishment, right and left, as well as the progressive grievance industry. His call for a massive border wall has not only offended our neighbor, Mexico, but also created legitimate concern in Latino communities of massive raids. According to a 2012 study for the National Institutes for Health, the undocumented account for roughly one in five Mexicans and up to half of those from Central American countries.

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Escalating Tax Wars

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

First came the threat from the Trump administration that California sanctuary cities would no longer receive federal money if the cities defied U.S. immigration policy. Next, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown said California officials are considering ways to withhold tax revenue from the federal government. “California could very well become an organized non-payer,” he said.

In response, former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly wrote a scolding article detailing how California would come out the worse in such a battle. The idea of withholding taxes to protest policy has escalated. In the Flash Report blog, the headline over a link to Donnelly’s column read: Let’s Stop Paying CA Taxes!

Tax resistance is not new in this country. In fact, the United States became a country because of tax resistance beginning with the 1765 stamp tax. (Ironically, the U.S. government currently issues a First Class Forever stamp to commemorate, of all things, repeal of the Stamp Act.)

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Are Climate Policies Really an Economic Boon to the San Joaquin Valley?

Justin Adams, Ph.D.
President and Chief Economist of Encina Advisors

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” – Margaret Peters

State climate policies are boosting the San Joaquin Valley’s economy. At least that’s the basic message that the authors of a recent study are trying to convey.

On January 19 the Bay Area organization Next 10 released a commissioned report entitled The Economic Impacts of California’s Major Climate Programs on the San Joaquin Valley. Conducted by U.C. Berkeley’s Donald Vial Center on the Green Economy and its Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, the study attempts to quantify the economic impacts of three of California’s major climate programs and policies in the Valley: cap and trade, the renewables portfolio standard (RPS), and energy efficiency programs managed by investor-owned utilities.

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