Water Bond Proves No Need for California Forward’s 3-Day Rule

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

It’s done. A multi-billion dollar water bond, the result of several weeks of compromising, posturing, and in the end, bipartisan cooperation the likes of which we haven’t seen in Sacramento in quite some time.

Legislators should be proud of what they’ve accomplished — and how they did it. The back-and-forth — right up until the final hours before a deadline to appear on the November ballot –made it a package that might well win the approval of voters.

This is how the legislative process works: the sausage-making, the press conferences, the shuttling between the Governor’s office and legislative offices, making concessions to get things done. Sometimes it’s not pretty. But it works.

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My Turn on C-SPAN Book TV

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

After a week of writing about water bonds, ballot manipulation and cap-and-trade/high-speed-rail, a little self expression on Friday: my 15-minute interview that aired this week on C-SPAN Book TV. It was recorded in April and covered the background of my modern day mystery novels based on historical events, with a little California politics, my class at Pepperdine and even a discussion of Fox and Hounds Daily thrown in.

The link to the interview on the C-SPAN page is here.

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What, Me Divide?

Charles Crumpley
Editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal

Divide California into six states? Now there’s a dumb idea.

I mean, it took a lot of time and effort to make California the biggest, most ungovernable, least responsive state in the nation. And they expect us to give that up?

California went from being among the best in education but now ranks 47th in the nation for fourth-grade math and reading. The state is consistently listed at or near the bottom for its business environment, and its unemployment rate has been at or near the highest in the country for the last six years. Everybody knows all this – and here’s the good part – we like it that way. We must, since nobody does anything about it.

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It Doesn’t Make Sense to Punish Elected Officials Who Live in One District and Represent Another

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)

Admit it: You’re not exactly sure where you live, are you?

Don’t be embarrassed to acknowledge that, beyond knowing your street address, you’re a little uncertain. California has so many thousands of overlapping local government jurisdictions, plus so many political district lines that divide communities, that understanding where you are at any given moment, even where you sleep each night, can be tricky. Many communities have changed and developed so rapidly that agreeing on a name, or fixed boundaries, is hard. Plenty of Californians have mailing addresses that might say one city (like Fresno) when they vote in another (neighboring Clovis). Add that to the fact that until recently most people in migration-friendly California were born and raised elsewhere, and confusion about place is to be forgiven.

The trouble is that we Californians, despite our own confusion, aren’t so forgiving about residence when it comes to two kinds of people: politicians and parents of school-age children.

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GOP “Party of Yes” as Compromise Water Bond Heads for the Ballot

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

Lots of pats-on-the-back for legislators and the governor as they reached an agreement to put a $7.5 billion water bond on November’s ballot. One thing that should be noted, when Republican votes were needed to achieve a two-thirds support necessary to pass the bond, they did not respond as painted by many, particularly in the media, as the “Party of No.”

Republicans offered an appealing alternative to the $11 billion bond already qualified for the ballot. The GOP version was $8.7 billion and contained the $3 billion Republicans desired for building dams for water storage. They didn’t get that in the end – but they did get a 35% boost to the water storage portion of the bond from $2 billion to $2.7 billion.

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Big Victory Against Excessive Privacy Litigation

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

I’ve often said that the next tsunami of litigation will be in the area of privacy. There is always talk about a privacy initiative and there are normally numerous bills in the state legislature dealing with the issue. So I was happily surprised when I read that a state appellate court ordered the dismissal of a privacy lawsuit that could have cost Sutter Health more than $4 billion dollars.

The privacy suit stemmed from a break-in on October 15,2011. During the break-in, a computer was stolen that had  the records of more than 4 million patients stored on the hard drive in a password protected but unencrypted format.

Once they found out the information was stolen, individual patients began filing lawsuits alleging a violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act. Those individual suits became coordinated and a master complaint or class action was proposed. The complaint sought $1,000 compensation for each patient, according to the statute, and the potential award could have totaled more than $4 billion.

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Checking Out of the Hotel California…Teachers Association

Larry Sand
President of the California Teachers Empowerment Network

A new document shows that CTA is resigned to the fact that membership in its union will ultimately become voluntary.

Courtesy of Mike Antonucci we get to peek behind the curtain at an internal California Teachers Association document which has been “declassified.” “Not if, but when: Living in a world without Fair Share …” is a 23-page pdf in which the largest state teachers union in the country envisions the future.

The communiqué  starts off with basic demographic data, then launches into a history of “fair share” – the union’s right to collect dues from every public school teacher in the state whether or not they join the union. In other words, “fair share” is really “forced share.”

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Water Bond Beats Towing Icebergs

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

By the end of the day we should know how California’s governor and legislators decided to deal with the state’s suffocating drought. The choices range from keeping the expensive $11 billion water bond already qualified for the ballot; substituting the $7 billion bond fashioned by the governor and Democratic legislators; adding or subtracting to that bond proposal depending if proponents want to secure Republican votes for more water storage or reduce funds for ecosystem restoration in the Delta which suspicious environmentalists think is a prelude for readying the Delta for the governor’s twin tunnel plan of water transfer from north to south; or doing nothing—removing the big bond but leaving nothing in its place.

Here’s betting something will be done. Not responding to the severe drought will give the lawmakers and the governing process a black eye. Adding a little more to the storage piece while assuring environmentalists that the tunnel debate will occur at another time and place likely would be the compromise to get a new, slimmed down bond on the ballot.

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Dunn & Done: A New School Construction Bond Preserves The American Dream For Californians

Lucy Dunn
President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council

The American Dream is unique for each one of us, but without a doubt, it includes a safe school for our children and a home of our own. Yet both these fundamental components for thriving California families and economic prosperity are once again at risk.

On September 1, California “runs out” of funds to update old schools and construct new schools. Previous school bond funds—approved by the state’s voters—have been depleted due to an enormous list of needs for safe, clean, modern facilities for our children in the nation’s most populous state.

Some California leaders have crafted a new measure to put before voters—AB 2235—a proposed $4.5 billion school bond that would reauthorize previous expired school construction laws, requiring state funds be matched with local funds—so everyone has “skin” in the game to make our schools the best they can be. This law has a good past track record of success keeping school facilities up to standard, building new schools to meet capacity and updating with new technological advances. Excellent schools contribute in significant ways to excellent education and, ultimately, well-employed children prepared to serve and compete in a global economy.

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Potholes or Pensions: A Fundamental Question

Gary Toebben
President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Two weeks ago the headlines in Los Angeles included a Department of Water & Power water line failure in West L.A. and a ruling by the Employee Relations Board to overturn the creation of a new pension tier for future city employees. The juxtaposition of these two stories points out the tug of war taking place in the City of Los Angeles today. With our limited tax dollars, do we prioritize salaries and pensions or maintenance and services?

Although some may wish to ignore this fact, the financial resources in government coffers are finite. Every dollar spent on pensions for retirees is a dollar that is not spent on streets, water and sewer line maintenance, sidewalks, parks, tree trimming, police services, fire services and the other public service that matter to each of us daily.

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