No Room at the Inn: California’s Latino Legislative Caucus Closes Door on Republicans

Jack Guerrero
CPA, is an elected City Council Member and past Mayor in Cudahy, CA, and a state delegate to the California Republican Party.

The influential California Latino Legislative Caucus has a generic moniker and an ostensibly-benign mission statement which promotes “legislation and policies that have a direct impact on Latinos from all walks of life,” and “diversity in state government…by advancing qualified candidates from all walks of California.”

Well, in carefully choreographed subterfuge, this public face of the Latino political establishment conveniently left out: “… except if you are Republican, in which case, we want nothing to do with you!” Now, a series of newspaper articles reveal a persistent pattern of discrimination against Latino Republicans perpetrated by the taxpayer-funded organization based at the State Capitol. Clearly, the group’s actions are more articulate than the mission statement.

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How Soccer Explains Elections

Devin Lavelle
Associate Consultant, Andrew Chang& Company LLC

While many records are broken every year, there are two worth drawing attention to during the first half of 2014: the levels of participation in elections and soccer.

With 25.2% turnout, California appears headed to a record low for a statewide primary. Explanations vary, ranging from voter contentment to structural shortcomings to California’s turnout is actually fairly high.

Most of these ideas are not terribly compelling, since most Californians think we are headed in the wrong direction; recent structural changes have made the primaries more compelling for independent and minority party candidates; and a record low is still that, regardless of context.

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The California Economy: When Vigor and Frailty Collide (Part. 1)

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California is a place of extremes. It has beaches, mountains, valleys and deserts. It has glaciers and, just a few miles away, hot, dry deserts. Some years it doesn’t rain. Some years it rains all winter. Those extremes are part of what makes California the attractive place that it is, and, west of the high mountains, California is mostly an extremely comfortable place to live.

Today, we have some new extremes. Some of our coastal communities are as wealthy as any in the world. At the other extreme, we have some of America’s poorest communities. San Bernardino, for example, has America’s second-highest poverty rate for cities with population over 200,000.

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7 Ways James Fallows is Wrong About the CA Bullet Train

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Writing on The Atlantic’s website, the much-respected journalist/intellectual James Fallows — a Redlands native who knows California better than nearly all other national pundits — has come out as a big fan of the state’s bullet-train project. He promises to return frequently to the project in coming months and explain all the ways that it is wonderful.

In his first installment, his focus is on how much better life is in places with fast, convenient trains and how big infrastructure projects can tranform regions for the better. Then he cites studies which talk about this specific project’s benefits in helping local economies and reducing pollution.

The problem is that Fallows is describing California’s high-speed rail project in a vacuum. When someone just hears the concept, of course they are likely to think it sounds cool.

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Racial Voting in the Controller’s Race

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

The Controller’s race recount brings up a topic rarely discussed in California, racially polarized voting, especially racially motivated voting in Democratic primaries.  John Perez, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nod in the controller’s race, lost the Controller’s primary because not enough Latino Democrats turned out to vote for him and too few white Democrats voted for him.

A careful look at the Democratic primary for Controller shows that Perez’s 21.7 percent share of the overall vote was made up almost exclusively of Latino Democrats.  His recount strategy concentrates on the most Latino portions of California’s heaviest Latino counties, starting with his best county and the most Latino county in the state, Imperial County, where Perez received 41 percent of the vote.

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The Citizens United Debate: Dangers of Amending the First Amendment

Chuck Bell
Senior Partner at Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP

Joel Fox raises a good point about the California Legislature’s request to Congress to propose the first amendment of the venerable First Amendment in our history:  Will the proposed amendment allow the federal government and State governments to restrict corporate contributions and expenditures related to ballot measures?

The Legislative resolution referring to candidates and ballot measures is not specific about the scope of the proposed constitutional amendment, and doesn’t contain the actual language of the proposed constitutional amendment.

My reading of the version of the proposed amendment that passed the U.S. Senate judiciary committee a few weeks ago is that it would give Congress and the States extremely broad authority to regulate campaign finance and doesn’t limit that grant of authority only to regulation of candidate campaigns.

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California’s Low On Water? Time to Fine the Water Resources Board Not Its Citizens

Tom Del Beccaro
Former Chairman of the California Republican Party

California is in the midst of one of its many droughts.  To combat the current drought, the otherwise do-nothings of the California Water Resources Board are proposing to fine citizens they call “water hogs” $500 per day.  Instead of fining helpless consumers, California’s government should do its job for once and seriously increase water supplies.

It is well known that California is the most populated state in the Union, with more than 38 million people.  Its population was just under 20 million in 1970, when the bulk of its current water storage and delivery systems were already built.  In other words, the California governments have done very little to significantly increase water supplies in over 40 years, even though its population has doubled during that period of time.

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CA Economic Ranking Renews Debate

Staff Columnist, Orange County Register

For those who put a lot of stock in statistics, it’s a good month for California. The Golden State has returned to take its former position among the world’s largest economies. World Bank calculations show California — if it were considered a country — placing eighth in size worldwide. That’s still well below fifth place, where the state had ranked going into the early 2000s – but a significant increase from its spot two years ago at the bottom of the global top 10.

The news caps what has been over six years of roller coaster economic and budgetary uncertainty, for Californian voters and politicians alike. But for most politicians and policy experts, the state’s health is hardly a settled matter.

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Millennials Think Government Is Inefficient, Abuses Its Power, and Supports Cronyism

Fox&Hounds Contributor

But young Americans also want government to guarantee health insurance and living wages; plan to vote for Democrats in 2014 and 2016

A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 finds 66 percent of millennials believe government is inefficient and wasteful – a substantial increase since 2009, when just 42 percent of millennials said government was inefficient and wasteful.

Nearly two-thirds of millennials, 63 percent, think government regulators favor special interests, whereas just 18 percent feel regulators act in the public’s interest. Similarly, 58 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds are convinced government agencies abuse their powers, while merely 25 percent trust government agencies to usually do the right thing.

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Will Effort to Overturn Citizens United Someday Affect CA Ballot Measures?

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

The item that caught my eye in the recently passed California legislative resolution (AJR1) seeking an amendment to the U. S. constitution to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision is the clause that mentions ballot measures. The resolution is a call for a federal constitutional amendment to limit corporate campaign contributions yet there are no federal ballot measures.

Press releases from supporters of the effort to create a constitutional amendment, particularly the group that demonstrated in Sacramento when the resolution was considered, complain about money corrupting politics in the terms of corporate money, union money is never mentioned.

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