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Class Issues, Not Race, Will Likely Seal the Next Election

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

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and along the U.S.-Mexico border may seem to suggest that race has returned as the signature issue in American politics. We can see this already in the pages of mainstream media, with increased calls for reparations for African-Americans, and expanded amnesties for the undocumented. Increasingly, any opposition to Obama’s policies is blamed on deep-seated white racism.

Yet in reality, race will not define the 2014 election, or likely those that follow. Instead the real defining issue—class—does not fit so easily into the current political calculus. In terms of racial justice, we have made real progress since the ’60s, when even successful educated minorities were discriminated against and the brightest minority students were often discouraged from attending college. Today an African-American holds the highest office in the land, and African Americans also fill the offices of U.S. attorney general and national security advisor. This makes the notion that race thwarts success increasingly outdated.

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Comparison Of iPhone 6 Innovative Features: Which Apple Smartphone Model Had The Most Improvements?

Alex Hillsberg
Writer for Financial Websites

In the summer of 2007, Mike Lazardis, co-founder of BlackBerry, got an iPhone to check what’s inside. He pried it open and was shocked on what he saw: BlackBerry wasn’t competing with a phone, he thought, it was competing against a Mac. Lazardis was recalling that moment in an interview with The Globe and Mail, hinting about the months leading to the fall of RIM.

Such is the iPhone’s disruptive story: it put the computer in our phones and made them smart. Suddenly, we could buy and play music in our phones, surf the net via wifi, run desktop-like OS, and, the best defining factor of a smartphone, download apps. We do all that without a keypad (to BlackBerry’s shock). No, Apple didn’t invent these technologies, it innovated them. Over a decade earlier, IBM had Simon, the world’s first smartphone.

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Science Panel: Environmental Impacts of Fracking in California are Relatively Limited

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Big news on the hydraulic fracturing front. An independent science panel has found that the direct environmental impact of well stimulation technologies for oil production in California “appear to be relatively limited.” That is, the primary environmental impacts from increased production will be caused by any increase in production generally – not by the well stimulation practices, i.e. “fracking.” The report was commissioned by the Bureau of Land Management to inform the federal agency’s oil and gas policies in California.

The California Council on Science and Technology released a peer-reviewed assessment conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Council’s steering committee included 12 subject matter experts from major research institutes within and outside California under the leadership of Dr. Jane C.S. Long, Principal Associate Director at Large at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The report’s key findings include:

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Can the State’s New Hollywood Tax Credit Make Us All Media Moguls?

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)

We’re making major motion pictures, baby!

And TV shows, too! That’s right, my fellow California taxpayers. You and I are now major investors in film and television productions. Our agent—or I should say our 120 agents in the state legislature—cut a five-year deal last week putting more than 1.5 billion of our hard-earned dollars into the production of on-screen entertainment.

Before we celebrate the fact that we are now all Hollywood players, we must admit to ourselves that, financially, our new investment isn’t such a good deal. We California taxpayers have broken the cardinal rule of Hollywood: Never use your own money.

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The Future for Indian Casinos in California

Richard Rubin
Writes about political issues and is President of a public affairs management firm

Casino gambling may be foundering in Atlantic City where four casinos are closing their doors this month but it is flourishing in California because of gaming on Indian land. Now voters will be asked whether to extend Indian casinos away from Reservations when they consider Proposition 48 on the November ballot.

In California, those with plenty of spare cash or just feeling lucky can chose from a practically limitless array of gambling destinations to see their dreams come true.

This is all because of a small, obscure and impoverished Indian tribe known as the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians living for decades out of a few trailers on several parcels of rough scrabble patch just outside Indio in Riverside County and was facing a dismal future when inspiration struck.

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In Fighting Drought, San Antonio Leaves L.A. in the Dust

Wayne Lusvardi
Political Commentator

Could cities such as drought-vulnerable Los Angeles come to regret that a “privatization” provision in the old $11.1 billion state water bond was removed?

Back in 2009, there was an outcry against language in the original version of a proposed state water bond that would have allowed private companies to own, operate and profit from water projects partly funded by taxpayers dollars. Critics said it opened a door to dangerous privatization.

But the bill merely contained a provision for joint ventures with nongovernment partners. Nevertheless, it eventually was stricken from the bill, and the new $7.5 billion water bond bill on the November ballot omits it as well.

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California Proves Climate Change is a Bipartisan Issue

Terry Tamminen
Served as Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency during Gov. Schwarzenegger's Administration and is the Strategic Advisor to the Founding Chair of the R20 Regions of Climate Action

On Monday, September 8th, the R20 Regions of Climate Action is honored to partner with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the California Air Resources Board to present the Global Climate Negotiations: Lessons From California symposium.

As leaders from around the world prepare to gather at UN climate conferences in New York, Lima, and Paris, California leaders are convening to review the lessons we have learned from our many years as a leader in pioneering environmental protections and addressing climate change.

Californians have always seen environmental protection for what it is: a non-partisan issue that will affect the future of our state and the world. Governors from every political background in our state have understood that at their core and we’ve benefitted from decades of leadership on this important issue.

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Two Bald Guys And Their Plastic Bags

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)

If I were writing a headline for Thursday night’s gubernatorial debate, it would be just that: Two Bald Guys and Their Plastic Bags.

Two bald guys running for governor of California — they are different in other ways – talked for less than an hour about a number of topics, each of which is so complicated that you could talk for an hour without people understanding. And the only real news: that Gov. Brown will sign a bill banning single-use plastic bags; Neel Kashkari would have vetoed it, he said.

But since this is the only debate of this campaign, and habit requires it, here are some winners and losers of the night.

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The Follow Up Question That Wasn’t Asked

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

In the fast paced debate between an often smiling Neel Kashkari and a resolute Jerry Brown, the governor emphasized his record over the last four years, which polls indicate voters believe in. But, as the governor said at least three times, the success he was touting was, in part, a product of Proposition 30, the temporary tax increase measure voters passed in 2012. He said Prop 30 was used to fund his education reform program, his prison realignment program at the county level and higher education.

Proposition 30 is due to phase out in a couple of years. The follow up question: What then?

Nobody asked.

Will the governor support making the tax permanent? Already leading statewide officials have either called for the Prop 30 taxes to continue or suggested there will be an effort to continue them.

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Latino Likely Voters in California

Mark Baldassare is President of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Dean Bonner is Associate Survey Director at PPIC. Jui Shrestha is a Research Associate at PPIC.

(Editor’s Note: With an eye on the upcoming election, the Public Policy Institute of California takes a detailed look at the California voters — their demographic characteristics, party affiliations, political ideologies, and views on key issues. Today, PPIC looks at Latino Likely Voters in California. Previously the series covered California Voter Party Profiles, California’s Likely Voters  and California’s Independent Voters.)

Latinos make up 38 percent of the state’s total population …
About 14 million Latinos reside in California, accounting for 38% of the state’s total population. According to census data, California’s Latino population grew 33% between 2000 and 2012—far outpacing overall growth (11%). Non-Hispanic whites account for 40% of California’s population, while Asians (13%) and blacks (6%) comprise much smaller shares. According to the state’s demographers, California—which became the first large “majority minority” state after the 2000 Census—now has a Latino plurality.

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