One Coming, One Going, and One that Got Away

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

The attention-grabbing tiff between California Governor Jerry Brown and Florida Governor Rick Scott over the latter’s business-snatching safari to the Golden State highlighted a week of the state’s constant struggle to stay on top of business recruitment. The scorecard was mixed with news highlights of one business coming, one leaving and, watching with regret, one that got away.

California can improve the score if it keeps business burdens in mind. More on that later.

But first, the positive.

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Memo to Justice Breyer on CA Death Penalty

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)

To: Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

From: Joe Mathews

Re: Switch to decaf, dude

Just read your dissent from a U.S. Supreme Court decision turning down a challenge to the death penalty in California. You alone among the eight justices wanted to hear the case. And after reading it, I’ve gotta give you some advice:


I know you don’t like the death penalty. I know you don’t think it’s unconstitutional. But California is not the place to make your legal stand.

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Called Last December—Trump Would Win Nomination

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

(Editor’s Note: Even before the first primary vote was cast and well ahead of other pundits, political analyst Tony Quinn wrote the following column for Fox and Hounds predicting that Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination, mapping out his success in Southern States and even the fall of Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida. We re-publish that column here).

Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. The last gasp in the long and brutal fight to stop Trump will be June’s California Republican primary, but it will fail. Trump will be the nominee because Trump is today’s Republican Party.

America has changed greatly in the past 40 years. The middle class, the Republican Party’s backbone since the Civil War, has declined from 61 percent of the population in 1971 to less than 50 percent today.   Wealth generation today is concentrated in high technology, entertainment and social media, and the billionaires who dominate these information age industries are notably hostile to Republicans.

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L.A.’s New Sales Tax Hike for Transit Doesn’t Add Up for Taxpayers

Susan Shelley
Susan Shelley is an author, former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly.

Math is a funny thing.

Take averaging, for example. Mark Twain observed that if you have one foot in a bucket of ice and one foot in a bucket of boiling water, on average you’re pretty comfortable.

Similarly, consider subtraction. Somehow, government officials have calculated that subtracting money from your wallet for taxes actually puts more money in your pocket.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study of the economic effects of Measure R, the 2008 increase in the L.A. County sales tax of one-half of one percent to fund transportation projects.

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A Strength for California Women Business Owners: Cosmetics & Personal Care Industry

Lezlee Westine
President & CEO of the Personal Care Products Council

A recently released report from American Express OPEN cites rapid growth for women-owned businesses and ranks California as home to the greatest number of them with nearly 1.5 million in the Golden State.

This surge in women-owned business is no surprise for those of us in the personal care product and cosmetics industry, which for decades has provided significant opportunities and low barriers of entry to millions of American female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

We have documented this in our 2016 Economic & Social Contributions report, for which PricewaterhouseCoopers measured the economic impact of this dynamic, innovative industry.

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CA Primary Still Important for Down Ballot Contenders

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

As they say about opera, “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

Well, in the 2016 Presidential nomination races, it isn’t going to be officially over until California votes. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to have a virtual lock on their party’s nominations, but neither is able to muster a convention-delegate majority until after the June 7 California Primary.

After being virtual bystanders in the modern presidential nominating process, California voters get to put a period on both the Democratic and Republican races. While the outcome in both presidential races seems pre-ordained at this point, a month is an eternity in politics. Moreover, Presidential politics can have significant impact in California’s down ballot contests.

As always, turnout is pivotal in contested races, particularly because of California’s top two primary system, which applies to all partisan offices except the presidency. This is where enthusiasm and interest comes in.   If either party has a large turnout advantage or disadvantage, that can make a difference in determining which two down-ballot candidates will run off in a highly contested district.

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Local Cigarette Taxes & One Referendum Averted–Many Local Tax Measures Remain

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

A referendum to reverse a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to raise taxes on cigarettes was set to launch if Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill. He didn’t. It was the only cigarette related bill he vetoed of the six that landed on his desk. Brown said he vetoed the bill because there were too many tax measures on the November ballot.

While some tax measures considered for the statewide ballot by different interests–various property tax initiatives, oil severances taxes and others–have not materialized, Brown said he wanted to eliminate the possibility of piling tax measures on local ballots. Whether he took that position because he feared more tax increase measures might sink some of the proposals he is for ignores that he has a valid point. Already scheduled for the ballot are a slew of tax measures sought by local jurisdictions.

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CA Poised to Legalize Marijuana While Putting More Prohibitions on Cigarettes

David Kersten
Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

Governor Jerry Brown just signed a package of tobacco regulatory bills sent to him by the California Legislature which is being billed as a “major victory for public health.”

Among the bills signed yesterday, was an increase in the age at which one can consume tobacco products from 18 to 21 and banning the use e-cigarette vaporizers in public places.

What is the point?  In case the Legislature has not gotten the memo, the state is poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California on the November 2016 ballot.  So we’re legalizing marijuana but cracking down on tobacco–doesn’t that strike anyone around the Capitol as being a bit odd.

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Is America Ready for an Unconventional Leader?

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.


The verdict is in and Donald Trump wins—so far. Now we await sentencing.

Indiana’s normally inconsequential primary which Trump swept easily has driven the two remaining and barely viable contenders—Ted Cruz & John Kasich—out of the race. It also dealt a lethal blow to California’s Republicans who were hoping they could be the deciding factor.

Trump was counted out numerous times –I was among those predicting his early demise once the voters caught on!

They did catch on and liked what they saw which was different than what a majority of the pundits, political experts and sage columnists were seeing.

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Los Angeles Event: California’s Exclusive Electorate

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

Only half of California adults can be expected to vote in this year’s presidential election, and they are likely to be very different from those who do not vote—in their demographic and economic backgrounds and in their political attitudes. Join us in Los Angeles on May 13 for a discussion about what this means for California and what practical steps can be taken to expand and diversify the state’s electorate.

The event begins with a one-on-one conversation between Alex Padilla, California secretary of state, and Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, and the author of California’s Exclusive Electorate: Who Votes and Why it Matters. This will be followed by a panel discussion of state and local leaders. The panelists are Dean Logan, registrar-recorder of Los Angeles County; Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside; and Karla Zombro, field director of California Calls. The moderator is Efrain Escobedo, vice president for civic engagement and public policy at the California Community Foundation.

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