To Business Owners: Keep a Low Profile When Leaving California

Joseph Vranich
The Irvine-based Principal of Spectrum Location Solutions helps companies plan and select ideal sites for new facilities across the U.S. and internationally.

Time and again I’ve encouraged smaller companies planning to escape California’s business-hostile environment to avoid publicly discussing their move. What follows is the story of an honest business owner expressing his legitimate concerns about operating in the state – and the unfortunate blowback that resulted.

Houman Salem, who owns a small apparel design and manufacturing business, wrote in theLos Angeles Times that higher labor costs are forcing him to leave California for Nevada. His article contained common sense, non-incendiary views:

“The biggest reason [to relocate] is the minimum wage, which will rise to $15 by 2021 in the county and by 2022 statewide. I write with some hesitancy, because I’m in no way an opponent of higher pay. When you have a company with fewer than 50 employees, you get to know them pretty well and have a genuine concern for them as individuals. But that has to be balanced with concern for keeping your clients, who can always take their business to other countries or states.”

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The Implications of the Paris Climate Deal 

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

Rational people want a clean environment. Usually it has been western, wealthy nations leading the environmental movement with California and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) leading the way. California can afford to clean up their air, water and be concerned about carbon emissions; now that their economies are mature enough since Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have been met. Not so for large parts of Africa, Asia, Russia, South America, China, and the American electorate that is more concerned about jobs and the economy.

Except the environment in California has now taken on a shibboleth-like quality of an either/or proposition. Instead, it should be seen through the lens of deliverable, scalable energy while fostering prosperity and energy security for every California County. However, under the current terms, the Paris Climate Agreement was an incredible achievement of nations coming together, but other than symbolically – it wouldn’t do much to help California’s environmental health – or economy.

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Will Taxpayers Come to the Aid of Sanctuary Cities?

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

President Donald Trump started the process of denying federal grants to cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration laws. Mayors of many large California cities, but not all, have declared they will resist the order and keep sanctuary status for undocumented immigrants. If the president is eventually successful in denying funds to sanctuary cities will local taxpayers bail out cities with additional tax revenue? That would be the ultimate test of voters’ support or rejection of sanctuary city policy.

We are a long way from that point but it is worth considering. Congress has to approve the reduced revenue to sanctuary cities. Lawsuits will be adjudicated since challenges are bound to be filed claiming the federal government cannot deny funds for local policies. Local government leaders in California also promise to establish funds for individuals to defend themselves against federal immigration deportation actions. These lawsuits and legal defense funds will add to taxpayer costs.

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Measure S Would Be a Giant Step Backwards for Los Angeles

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

The sponsors of Measure S claim that this two-year construction moratorium is altruistic, to halt greed and improve life in Los Angeles. They claim that this draconian measure will increase housing affordability and decrease traffic. The exact opposite is true.

It is not progressive to minimize housing supply and drive up rents for everyone.  It is not progressive to reduce the ability of young adults to purchase their first home.  There is no truth to claims by Measure S sponsors that reducing residential construction will lead to more affordable apartments and homes.

It is not responsible to halt construction of housing near transit and industrial and commercial business areas where jobs are located.  You only increase congestion and emissions as people are forced to live further and further from where they work.

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California’s Economy has Prospered Due to State’s Ambitious Climate Efforts

Kirsten James
Kirsten James is director of California Policy and Partnerships at Ceres, a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other global sustainability challenges.

Tackling climate change is one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.   As an organization that works with companies large and small, across many business sectors, including apparel, electric power, financial services and technology, and investors managing more than $15 trillion in assets, we can see first-hand how California’s bold climate change policies are catalyzing enormous economic opportunities and new jobs. We were dismayed to read recent op-eds from Jack Bean (“It’s Time to Hold Climate Change Policy-Makers Accountable,” 1/6/17) and Tom Scott (“Small Business Reacts to Governor Brown’s Budget Announcement,” 1/11/17) that expressed concern about the state’s climate leadership and misrepresented its economic impacts. In truth, our state’s climate policies are fostering economic prosperity and those that claim otherwise are ignoring the facts.

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Big Changes In California’s Spending

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

Jerry Brown just proposed his sixth budget since taking office in January 2011. Boosted by a bull market and tax rate increase, General Fund revenues are budgeted to be 32% higher than the fiscal year in which Brown took office. But not all spending has kept the same pace:

crane-spending-growthFY2010–11 Enacted Budget; FY2017–18 Governor’s Budget

Spending on UC, CSU, Parks and Courts grew slower than revenues and declined at DSS (Department of Social Services) while spending on pensions, OPEB (retiree health care) and DHCS (mostly Medi-Cal) increased rapidly, as explained here and here. Corrections benefited from a reduction in inmates, offset in part by compensation boosts as explained here.

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Voter Fraud: If It Can Happen In Beverly Hills …

John Mirisch
Mayor, City of Beverly Hills

In a city in which an election was won four years ago by seven votes, every vote should count. But only the votes that should count should count. And that’s a problem in Beverly Hills.

Voter fraud is real. It’s alive. It’s happening. And we have to stop it. Whether or not it happens at the federal level, we know it happens at the local level. We have seen it ourselves and our own investigations have proven it happens.

Last night at a marathon City Council meeting, the Beverly Hills City Council at my request unanimously agreed to launch an Anti-Voter Fraud Initiative. The initiative will attempt to use every tool at the Council and City’s disposal to protect the integrity of our local election, the next of which is March 7 (and in which I and the vice mayor are up for re-election). 

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Michael Barone Makes the Case for #Calexit

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)

Michael Barone is one of the greatest journalists and political scholars of our times. (Full disclosure: he’s also a family friend).

He also just made a very strong case for #Calexit.

That does not appear to be the intention of his recent Washington Examiner column. Barone was defending the Electoral College—by arguing that it prevented California from having too much power.

This election was historic in part because of California, writes Barone. “For the first time in the nation’s history the most populous state was a political outlier, voting at one extreme in the national political spectrum.”

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Why Trump Is Wrong About Illegal Alien Voting

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

President Trump has called for a federal investigation of voting fraud, specifically whether three to five million illegal aliens voted in the 2016 election, thereby costing him the popular vote majority.  While there is much smoke but little fire around this issue, the numbers themselves provide a clear and convincing answer: there is no possibility that illegal alien votes cost Mr. Trump the presidential majority.

Let’s deal first with the dogs that do not bark. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are 11.4 million illegal immigrants in this country.  Three states account for 47 percent of this total: California, 2.8 illegals; Texas 1.8 million illegals and Florida 730,000.  If massive numbers of illegals had voted, they would be found in these three states.

But Texas is the most Republican large state, with Republicans holding every statewide office; Florida also has a GOP governor and legislature.  Both states have aggressive Republican attorneys general who did not hesitate to sue the Obama Administration.  Yet in these two states, with more than 2.5 million illegal aliens, there is not a single case of massive illegal immigrant voting that has been prosecuted. 

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A Choice For Kids With No Options Left

Lance Izumi
Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies and Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute

January 22nd to 28th will mark National School Choice Week, which promotes efforts to empower parents to choose the best education option for their children.  There is probably no better example of why children need choices in education than Life Learning Academy (LLA) public charter school.

Opponents of charter schools, which are independent public schools that have greater flexibility and greater accountability than regular public schools, often claim that charters cherry pick students and exclude those who have special needs or are hard to educate.  LLA totally disproves this accusation.

I recently visited LLA, which is located in a former Naval youth center on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.  The school has room for up to 60 high school-age students who, according to the San Francisco Unified School District, “have not been successful in other school settings for a variety of reasons.”  Talk about an understatement.

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