5 Questions From Gubernatorial Campaign Ad Season

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)

  1. What exactly is Gavin Newsom’s bear screaming?

If you look at the frontrunner Newsom’s campaign logo, which appears prominently in his TV ads, the California bear is not just standing there. He’s looking up with his mouth open, appearing to yell something. The campaign has not provided a transcript so my best guess is: “How the hell are you going to pay for single-payer, Gavin, without crushing me with new taxes?”

Read comments Read more

Dealing With Tell-All Memoirs: Lessons From The Reagan Playbook

Joe Rodota
CEO of Forward Observer, a public affairs firm with offices in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., a former communications manager in the Reagan White House, and the author of The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address

One of my duties as a young aide in the Reagan White House was to prepare responses whenever a former appointee penned a memoir in which the Gipper was portrayed in an unflattering light.

In April 1986, former OMB director David Stockman released The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, for which he had received a $2 million advance. With two years to go in the president’s second term, Stockman wrote that Reagan tended to ignore “palpable relevant facts” and wandered in circles; Reagan’s team of “incompetent” advisers was “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight”; and the president’s obsession with waste, fraud and abuse was a joke.

Read comments Read more

The Fatally Flawed Centerpiece of California’s Transportation Future

Ed Ring
Ed Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

California’s transportation future is bright. In every area of transportation innovation, California-based companies are leading the way. Consortiums of major global companies have offices throughout the San Francisco Bay area, pioneering self-driving cars that consolidate technologies from not just automakers, but cell phone manufacturers, chip designers, PC makers, telecoms, and software companies. In Southern California from the aerospace hub surrounding LAX to the Mojave desert, heavily funded consortiums experiment with everything from passenger drones to hyperloop technologies to hypersonic transports. It’s all happening here. It’s wondrous.

Read comments Read more

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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

In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop. Wiener had sold his measure as a solution to California’s housing crisis and a means of bringing about the dense, green, transit-oriented development that the governor and his supporters prefer. Yet it failed, in large part because few cities wish to give up their zoning power and because even affordable-housing advocates don’t believe that handing blank checks to developers will do much to lower rents or housing prices. 

Read comments Read more

Kevin McCarthy on Political Anger and Political Risk

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

If the harsh division in congress reflects attitudes across the country, as House majority leader and California congressman Kevin McCarthy asserted at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, there is a belief among many political observers that the midterm elections will mirror a political environment not friendly to McCarthy’s team. While McCarthy admitted that history is not on the side of Republicans in the midterms, he remains optimistic that when voters study the landscape under Republican rule his party will do well come November.

“I know what the odds say,” McCarthy acknowledged in an interview at the conference conducted by pollster Frank Luntz. McCarthy pointed out that since World War II only two midterm elections boosted the party that held the White House. One was in 2002 after the extraordinary events of 9/11; the other time was during Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1998 when he was able to boast of economic growth and use his “triangulation” strategy of presenting policy that fell between the left and right ideologies.

Read comments Read more

A Prominent Californian Weighs In On the Future of the Republic

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Amidst all the dreary speculation of our Republic being in imminent danger of collapse, there is still a flicker of optimism coming from some unusual quarters.

One of those places is the University of California, Berkeley—hardly a bastion of conservatism—where Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary for in the Clinton Administration, holds forth as a distinguished professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy.

Reich, a fiery liberal who makes no bones about his contempt for the current Administration’s policies or its leader is not known to be bashful.

Read comments Read more

School Spending Up; Student Performance Down. Time for a Change

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

California school boards are prevented by the state legislature and governor from offering disproportionate pay to employees willing to work in high-poverty zones, cutting pension spending, altering tenure rules or granting principals the power to fire poorly performing employees. The outcome: poor student performance and shaky finances despite a big increase in spending.

All it takes is 62 legislators and the governor to change that outcome. Every legislator knows that school districts should not be forced to grant permanent employment after just 24 months or to divert money from current to retired teachers and should be permitted to pay more to teachers who take on tougher assignments and to fire under-performers.

Read comments Read more

Voters Face Anti-Tax Measures as Cycle Continues

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

There is a cyclical quality to California’s perennial debate over taxation, one most evident in the tax-related ballot measures placed before voters.

Initiatives to raise taxes, or make them easier to raise, will appear in one election cycle, but just two years later, voters may be asked to cut taxes, or at least make increases more difficult.

In 2010, for instance, voters endorsed a business-backed proposal that turned many levies previously classified as fees, which were easy to impose, into taxes that would require higher legislative votes.

Read comments Read more

Polls Miss Key Element in Sanctuary State Debate

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

You have to wonder if poll results reflect the true attitude of California voters on the sanctuary state issue when a key component of that debate is not included in poll questions. The recently released UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll revealed support from Californians on the sanctuary issue. However, the questions asked were general and did not reference law enforcement’s objection that they cannot work with federal immigration agents when dealing with undocumented immigrants charged with crimes.

Earlier this month the Public Policy Institute poll questioned whether poll respondents approved of California making its own policies about undocumented immigrants and whether they thought the federal crackdown on the undocumented was a good thing or a bad thing. Results showed that Californians supported the state making its own laws and opposed, barely, the crackdown.

Read comments Read more

Rent Control is Not the Answer

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

State housing activists recently came to Sacramento to celebrate a special achievement of theirs.  They gathered on the steps of the Capitol to announce they had a solution to high housing costs in California:  a repeal of the law which prevents statewide rent control.  With the blessing of voters this Fall, they expressed the hope that a just-qualified initiative would deliver on that promise.

The group was particularly combative as it listed one complaint after another – ranging from chronically neglected maladies in their apartments to homelessness caused by sky-high rents – which it said the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins law would put an end to.  They proclaimed that rent control was the answer to their housing afflictions and predicted a majority of statewide voters would agree.

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.