A New Era for American Energy 

Todd Royal
Todd Royal is an independent public policy consultant focusing on the geopolitical implications of energy based in Los Angeles, California.

The stark difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was crystal clear when it came to energy before and after the election. Clinton wanted to killcoal, and since Trump was elected three coal companies stocks in particular didremarkably well in the market: Arch Coal (ARCH), Peabody (BTUUQ and Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP). While clean coal is a myth, and natural gas has been taking over coal since the fracking revolution began in the mid 2000s – Trump’s love for West Virginia coal miners has given those companies – and miners across America new life.

California as an example, which has billions of barrels of oil and trillion of cubic feet of natural gas off its coastlines, will vehemently fight President Trump and his pro-American energy administration. This is just one of the many legal battles the Trump administration may face from pro-environment-movement US states, and certainly California.

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Anti-Trump Hysteria Plagues Our Schools

Larry Sand
President of the California Teachers Empowerment Network

Worse than anything Donald Trump ever said, the backlash to his election has been horrifying. While the hysteria and teddy-bear-clutching over the election of a Republican president is nothing new – remember “Bushitler?” in which some on the left equated W to Der Führer – the present-day Trumphobes are second to none.

In Los Angeles, the teachers union, stressing the “politics of fear, racism and misogyny,” supported students who skipped school on November 14th to protest the election. “As educators, as people spending every day with students and caring about each student’s future, we believe we have a sacred role in times like these….” the union said in a statement.

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A Business Strategy for the Governor’s Race

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

Now that the 2018 race for governor of California is in full swing with the release of the first Field Poll on the contest, as the race shapes up business interests will consider how to position themselves in a multi-candidate field.

Conventional wisdom dictates that if one well-known Republican runs against a field of equally known Democrats, that Republican can make the top-two run off avoiding a repeat of the recent U.S. Senate race in which two Democrats competed for the job. However, if more than one Republican with a political base runs, the smaller Republican turnout would be split to allow Democrats to take the top two spots in the primary. As of now there are at least seven Democratic politicians whose names are tied to the race: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chiang, Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, environmentalist and Democratic activist Tom Steyer, former Controller Steve Westly and former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. Two Republican names were tested in the Field Poll, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, although neither has committed to run and there is plenty of time for an outsider, especially one with deep-pockets, to join the race.

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President-Elect Trump and California Employment

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

bernick_infrastructureWhat will Donald Trump’s election mean for California employment?

Let’s start with a caveat: it is too early to tell in any detail. Trump has never held office, and we don’t yet know how his employment policies will play out. Certainly, the dire warnings in the past two weeks by the CNN and MSNBC commentators are without foundation.

What we do know is that during the campaign, President-elect Trump put forward several ideas for large scale job creation/training initiatives. Each of these ideas should be taken seriously and call forth far more discussion in the next few months.

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Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Tom Scott
CA Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

The National Federation of Independent Business is America’s leading small business advocate. We are proud to represent 350,000 small, independent business owners, and we are excited to cosponsor the 2016 Small Business Saturdaypromotion with American Express.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for the vast majority of the jobs in this country. They have provided 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. They represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers.

Most Americans don’t know an owner of a big department store, but there’s a good chance that many people know small-business owners. They’re our friends and neighbors. They’re among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools, and virtually every other form of community activity.

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Does Political ‘Reform’ Keep California Women Out of Politics?

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 sees itself as a progressive place, but it is anything but when it comes to women in elected office. Barely one quarter of the legislature—and 1/15 of the Los Angeles city council – are women.

The trend persists despite many efforts to reverse it. And often, after elections like this past one, which was a near disaster for women, the question is posed as a puzzle: Why don’t we have more women?

It’s not a puzzle. The answer is easy: Because the essence of our political system defeats the most straightforward and effective strategies for gender parity in politics.

I got this lesson delivered to me (and not for the first time) last week in the Spanish Basque Country, where I was leading a global conference on direct democracy. Some attendees and I went to the Basque parliament (Basqueland is an autonomous region of three provinces with its own governor and legislature) to meet with the leaders.

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Can Proposition 13 Survive California’s New Appetite For Taxes? 

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

(Editor’s Note: This commentary article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times November 17, 2016)

California’s reputation as an anti-tax mecca took a beating at the polls with the passage of three statewide taxes and hundreds of local taxes. Here’s betting that a battle over the Holy Grail of the tax revolt, Proposition 13, is on the horizon.

Because of changing demographics and attitudes in left-leaning California, a once-centrist state is seeing altered stances on a number of issues, from gay marriage to immigration to marijuana legalization. The tax issue is no different. Voters embraced tax limitations and spending limits over the past four decades, but they overwhelmingly supported tax increases this election. 

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Here Comes California Boom Boom

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

You’ve probably heard the saying attributed to Bismarck, “God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America.” That includes California because it’s still part of the USA – despite moves for a Calexit secession. But it is membership in the Union that long has restrained the Golden State from becoming North Korea with great weather.

On Nov. 8, Californians voted to sabotage their economy with massive new increases in taxes and regulations. Fortunately for them, their folly will be offset at the national level by the man whose election they shunned, and many even loathed: Donald Trump.

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State Has The Funds To Boost Higher Education

Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine
Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine co-chair the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. Ackerman is a former California State Senator and Assemblyman, and Levine is a former U.S. Congressman and State Assemblyman.

The State’s coffers are in good shape.  The Legislative Analyst projects an $11 billion surplus in 2017-18, including $2.8 billion in discretionary reserves that the Legislature can approve for any purposes.  At least half of that discretionary money should be reinvested in California’s system of public higher education.

On November 8, voters approved measures that will provide billions of dollars in additional revenue that will be earmarked for K-12 education, housing and healthcare.  Not only was Proposition 55 passed to extend income tax rates on higher brackets, but the voters also substantially boosted tobacco taxes and opened up a new revenue stream with legalization of recreational use of marijuana.  Local voters also passed additional sales taxes for transportation and housing projects.  This revenue influx should give the Legislature and the Governor room to ramp up the State’s meager investment in public higher education.

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Coastal California Shouldn’t Ignore CA’s ‘Flyover’ Area

Carson Bruno
Assistant Dean for Admission and Program Relations at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy

With Donald Trump’s surprising Electoral College victory – 306 to 232 as of November 16 – a lot of focus has been on the angst and anger of voters in so-called “fly over” portions of the country. Regardless of your opinions of now President-elect Trump or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Presidential election gave voice to a sizable class of voters who feel either betrayed or forgotten about by our elected leaders.

But sticking out like a sore thumb on the Electoral College map is California. As of November 16, Clinton’s strongest state victory is the Golden State. Moreover, Clinton’s California margin of victory is the best Democratic Presidential nominee performance since President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 re-election against then-Kansas Governor Alf Landon. And while she may not reach FDR’s whooping 35-point victory, with 4.1 million votes still left to be counted in California, Clinton will definitely pad her 29-point victory in the same state that launched both President Nixon and President Reagan’s political careers.

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