What if the Supreme Court Sides with Friedrichs?

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

I suppose its never too early in the punditry business to conjecture how an action might affect future political efforts—even if that action hasn’t occurred yet—but considering the busy ballot likely facing California voters in November, one wonders what happens if the U.S. Supreme Court decides in June to release public employees from paying mandated union agency fees in the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case?

Many experts say that a June decision will have little effect on what the California Teachers Association and other public unions decide to fund in November. Certainly, much of the political kitties will be in place by then.

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Immigration Executive Order Court Test Will Influence Latino Vote

Luis Alvarado and Hector Barajas
Luis Alvarado is a Political Analyst for CNN Español and Telemundo. Hector Barajas is Director of Strategic Communications at Revolvis Consulting, Political Analyst for Univision and Telemundo, and Communications Consultant for GROW Elect.

President Obama was clear and on the record throughout his presidency. He told the American people in over 20 speeches that as a Lawyer and as a Constitutional Professor he was not legally able to extend an Executive Order to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation proceedings.  That was right up until the November 4th 2014 election that decimated any power he had in Congress.

When the tally was counted it was evident that Republicans had swept the country, winning with a resounding victory to strengthen control of the House of Representatives and overtaking Democrats in control of the Senate. 

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2018 Will Be No Better for Reed/DeMaio Pension Measures

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

In their decision this week to abandon their 2016 ballot measures designed to slash retirement security for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public workers, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio predicted that their chances would be better in 2018.

Their thinking? It’s an off-year election, more communities will be facing increases in their pension payments, and because of the pending Supreme Court case, unions won’t be able to compete with the out-of-state funding that Texas Enron billionaire John Arnold might put in their pockets for a pension measure.

They’re wrong.

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Californians Are Still “Meh” About the Economic Recovery

Carson Bruno
Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution

This Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown is set to make his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the State Assembly and State Senate. If last year’s is any measure of what to expect, Brown will likely tout the continued economic recovery California is experiencing.

And he has good reason to do so. Since taking office in January 2011, California’s U3 unemployment rate is down 6 points, almost 1.8 million more people are employed, and real GDP per capita has grown by about 4%. But Brown should also be careful that he doesn’t over celebrate this progress. While the state has been experiencing a slow-but-steady recovery, it has been very uneven across the state. For instance, while Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley boasts an unemployment rate of 3.8%, those in the Central Valley and Inland Empire still are experiencing double-digits rates. In fact, if you were to remove the Silicon Valley-Bay Area from California, it would reduce employment growth since 2009 from 7.5% to 5.7%.

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Budget Rollercoaster and the Oil Severance Tax

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

Californians have ridden the down side of the budget rollercoaster in the recent past because of heavy reliance on upper income taxpayers taking a hit during recessionary times. The state budget could face that again considering the steep drop in the stock market of late. Is this a precursor of budget woes to come? A similar scenario is playing out in other states because of a type of tax that some California environmentalists and legislators want to implement in this state—an oil severance tax.

Discussion about placing an oil severance tax on the ballot has faded a bit because of louder chatter supporting income tax and property tax measures. That’s despite the advocacy of Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist, who has voiced support for such a severance tax measure. But before anyone jumps on that bandwagon as a way to bring big revenue to the state, take a look at the new statistics put out by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a part of the United States Department of Energy.

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The Apprentice Returns

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director and author, The Autism Job Club (2015, with R. Holden)

apprenticeshipThis week, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges will be asked to approve more than $16 million in California Apprenticeship Initiative (CAI) projects to expand apprenticeship presence and enrollment in California. The CAI is part of the broader California investment in expanding apprenticeships, the largest state investment in the nation. It is timely to ask: Why have apprenticeships not had wider use in California over the past four decades? What might be expected from the new CAI?

The apprenticeship concept is a popular one, across the political spectrum. It evokes images of a pre-industrial economy, in which workers learn on the job, while producing goods that are needed (real work). It calls forth Walt Whitman’s celebration of America singing in work: the carpenter, the mason, the boatman, the shoemaker.

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Finally Prop 1 Funds Are Being Spent but Not a Dime For Storage

Assemblyman Jim Patterson
Assembly Member Jim Patterson represents the 23rd District, which includes portions of Fresno and Tulare counties.

Last week, the first projects that will be funded by Proposition 1 were announced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In the 23rd Assembly District, River Partners was awarded more than $2 million for “Invasive Species Management” along the San Joaquin River. This project requires the removal of weeds along the river, the re-planting of new native species and the installation of sprinklers to water those new plants for three years. Spending money for sprinklers on the San Joaquin River doesn’t get us any new water.

Equally concerning is the $500,000 that will be spent in the Sierra National Forest for a “Meadows Restoration Project” by a group called Trout Unlimited.

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Legislature Plans To Close Entrance To Public, Provide Lobbyists Special Access

John Hrabe
Writer and Communications Strategist

Though it brands itself as “the people’s house,” the California State Capitol will soon become less accessible to the public, while continuing to provide lobbyists with “special access.”

Beginning February 1, the California state Legislature intends to convert its east entrance from public to “employee and lobbyist only,” according to an internal security memo from the Joint Rules Committee obtained by CalWatchdog.com.

“The East door to the Capitol will be designated an ’employee and lobbyist only (with ID)’entrance,” the January 14 memo from the Joint Rules Committee states. “Entry into the Capitol from the North and South doors will still be available, however, only the East door will provide an expedited entry.”

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Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

This space has annually honored the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. on his designated holiday and we do so again.

Originally published at Zocalo Public Square are examples of Los Angeles street art honoring Dr. King. The photographer is  Camilo José Vergaraa New York-based sociologist and photographer who photographs the same urban locations over time to document changing communities. His web site is Camilojosevergara.com.

Below are two examples of the Dr. King LA street art. For more go to Zocalo Public Square.

Zocalo MLK

Zocalo MLK2

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The Fear Factor Dominates Campaign Rhetoric

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

President Franklin Roosevelt famously said “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”. Unfortunately, fear has emerged as the predominant motivating factor in this cycle’s presidential campaign.   Whether the issue is terrorism, illegal immigration, foreign competition, gun violence, climate change or the economy, all of the candidates–for both parties’ Presidential nominations–are touting themselves as the only option for heading off national disaster.

Donald Trump is riding on fear of Muslims, Mexicans and China. Ted Cruz is stoking fear of Washington. Bernie Sanders is campaigning on fear of Wall Street and billionaires. Hilary Clinton is pushing fear of the Republican candidates—and of guns. Substantive proposals are being submerged in a sea of venom and dread. As South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley put it in her response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices.”

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