Immigration Reform: A Pathway To Impeachment

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

The case for impeaching President Obama will be very strong if he does one thing: go really big on amnesty for the 11 million undocumented workers in America.  There are nothing but upsides for Obama and the Democrats if this happens, leaving his Republican foes with only the constitutional response of impeachment, which is a legitimate response to what they would sure view as an illegal action.

Obama should announce his executive order on immigration around Labor Day. He should try to cover as many of the 11 million undocumented as possible.  His executive order should including ending deportations for people who have not committed a crime; work permits for any person gainfully employed in this country; legalization for all persons working in agricultural (farmers will love that); and increased high skills visas (business will love that.)

Democrats have made it clear with the recent border crisis involving 57,000 unaccompanied children that they are not interested in border security.  But we don’t have a secure border anyway; according to the Pew research Report, about 40 percent of the illegal aliens in America today are people who came here legally but overstayed their visas.  And our immigrant population has change dramatically; most now come from Asia.  Only 14 percent are from Mexico.  The southern border is no longer the source of most illegal immigration.

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97% of Contributions to Yes on 46 are from Trial Lawyers

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Since the formation of the committee in support of Proposition 46, donations have come almost exclusively from lawyers who stand to profit from its passage. This is not surprising, considering the trial lawyers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to qualify Proposition 46 for the ballot.

The committee has raised just over $4 million, with more than 97 percent has come from attorneys and law firms. Major donors include the Consumer Attorneys Issues PAC ($1.1 million) and the law firms of Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis ($250,000), Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP ($125,000) and Casey, Gerry, Schenk, Francavilla, Blatt & Penfield. ($115,000).

If you’re not familiar with those firm names, they all specialize, at least in part, in personal injury law. That’s not exactly what I’d call a broad base of support. But it all makes sense, once you look at what Prop. 46 will do. Under Prop.46, the ceiling for pain and suffering awards in medical negligence suits, set at $250,000 by the State Legislature in 1975, would be raised to $1.1 million.

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Is It Time for A Quota on Turnout?

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)

It’s been nearly two months since the June elections, and still people across the political spectrum are talking about the record low turnout, and offering all kinds of analysis of what happened and a variety of ideas about what should be done.

But the most direct approach for guaranteeing higher turnout has yet to be suggested. That approach? A guarantee of a high turnout.

That’s not a fiction; it’s a legal fact. In some countries, there are “turnout quotas” for some elections. They can work in slightly different ways, but the gist is that for the results of an election to be considered valid, a minimum number of voters – the quota – must show up.

Turnout quotas are blunt instruments, but they do provide insurance against big decisions being made by very small number of voters – or what we call political reality in California. Not enough voters, no valid election.

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More Politicians Should Visit the Real World

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

For a week he walked the streets of Fresno, a homeless man looking for work. At night he slept on park benches, during the day he tried to ward off hunger, sometimes with the bananas a grocer sold him at five for a dollar. At the end of the week, still unemployed, Neel Kashkari, Republican candidate for governor, caught a bus for Los Angeles and home.

Trailing incumbent Governor Jerry Brown, who is seeking his fourth term, by 20 points in opinion polls, some observers dismissed Kashkari’s week on the streets as nothing more than a political stunt. They see Kashkari’s entire campaign as no more plausible than Don Quixote’s crusade against the windmills.

Call it political theater, or not, Kashkari has illuminated a very important defect in the California governing class. That is that most Sacramento politicians are physically and psychologically removed from the severe problems faced by millions of Californians. California unemployment ranks fourth highest among all 50 states. Millions more, counted as working, are barely getting by on part-time, low wage, service and retail jobs. They could be a lost paycheck or two away from joining Mr. Kashkari in using a park bench as a bed. A quarter of the state’s residents are living in poverty, and with 12 percent of the of our nation’s population, California can lay claim to one third of the welfare cases.

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Californians Deserve To Hear More From Sacramento on Cap and Trade Expansion

Catherine Reheis-Boyd
President of the Western States Petroleum Association

It is good to hear a public dialogue is occurring on the vast expansion of California’s cap-and-trade system coming January 1, 2015, when gasoline and diesel used by millions of consumers and businesses will be regulated for the first time under the state’s cap and trade program.

According to economic analysis by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), this expansion of cap and trade will increase gasoline prices by as little as 4 percent and as much as 19 percent.  With gasoline prices currently averaging around $4 a gallon, that is a price impact of 16 cents to 76 cents.

The Western States Petroleum Association has long supported California’s clean air goals and believes a well-designed market based system is the most effective way to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.  Our members’ refineries have been regulated under the state’s cap and trade program for stationary sources since 2012 and have been paying hundreds of millions dollars into that program each year.

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California Needs a Statewide School Bond

Joe Dixon
Chair of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing

The Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) announced leading a radio and television issue advocacy effort in support of Assembly Bill 2235, a measure that would allow voters to decide this November on urgently needed funding for school facilities throughout the state.

California schools are aging, desperately in need of billions of dollars in repairs, upgrades and technology to prepare students for today’s workforce. This backlog grows by the day and our schools need new funding.

It has been nearly a decade since California provided state voters with the opportunity to vote on a statewide school bond.

There are no more construction dollars. Local districts are doing their part to partner with the state, it’s time for the state to meet their end of the bargain.

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A Moment with James Brady

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

I had one brief meeting with James Brady, President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, who died yesterday. Although brief, all the aspects of his jovial, warm personality that are being reported in many of his obituaries today came out in the short encounter.

Brady’s hopes of becoming press secretary for the President of the United States initially were tied to another candidate. John Connally, the former Democratic governor of Texas, who was in the car with President John F. Kennedy that fateful day in Dallas, had since joined the Republican Party and was running for president in 1980. James Brady was his press secretary.

Traveling the country as an aide to Howard Jarvis on a speech and book tour, he and I arrived at a Chicago hotel. Coincidentally, a big political dinner was going on in the hotel’s ballroom that night with John Connally as the main speaker. The event had already started and we decided to check it out. In those less restrictive days, we had no trouble getting into the ballroom and standing against the wall toward the back of the room as the speechmaking was going on at the dais.

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Democrats Risk Blue-Collar Rebellion

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

If California is to change course and again become a place of opportunity, the impetus is likely to come not from the perennially shrinking Republican Party but from working-class and middle-class Democrats.

This group, long quiescent, has emerged most notably in opposition to the state’s anti-global warming cap-and-trade policies, which will force up energy prices. Recently, some 16 Democratic Assembly members, led by Fresno’s Henry Perea, asked the state to suspend the cap-and-trade program, which will add as much as a dollar to what already are among the highest gasoline prices in the nation.

In some senses, this budding blue-collar rebellion exposes the essential contradiction between the party’s now-dominant gentry Left and its much larger and less well-off voting base. For the people who fund the party – public employee unions, Silicon Valley and Hollywood – higher energy prices are more than worth the advantages. Public unions get to administer the program and gain in power and employment while venture capitalists and firms, like Google, get to profit on mandated “green energy” schemes.

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Election Ballot as Advisory Poll

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

Two separate California appellate court decisions last week – one directly, one indirectly – deal with the question that voting on state ballot measures can be used to simply get voters’ opinions. The court was directly dealing with the status of advisory measures in the case of Proposition 49 to upend the Citizens United case. The court decision on California’s bullet train is not so direct but ultimately may have the same result.

Proposition 49, the Amendment to Overturn Citizens United Ruling, asks voters whether Congress shall propose, and the California Legislature ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow for full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions.

The supposed goal of the measure is to take the temperature of the public on limiting spending on politics. The purpose of the measure is something different.

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Don’t You Dare Ask the Voters for Their Opinions!

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)

California faces a grave crisis that tears at the very fabric of our direct democracy: The state is about to ask California voters for their opinion.

And you just can’t do that. It’s dangerous – as everyone from Gov. Brown to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has pointed out – to survey voters via a non-binding measure like Prop 49, the advisory questioning asking Californians whether Congress should propose an amendment to the US Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

It’s hard to know what untold horrors will happen, since such nonbinding measures are so rare. And that should frighten us all.

Everyone who is anyone in California knows that the safest way to handle ballot measures is the normal way: Ask today’s voters to cast ballots only on measures that, if approved, can’t ever be changed again without another vote of the people.

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