Strange Bedfellow Politics of 2018

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

Could you imagine anyone in their right (as opposed to left) political mind making the following statement even a year ago: Dianne Feinstein and Antonio Villaraigosa will be the Republican favorites for U.S. Senate and Governor in 2018? Hard to believe, even still! We are not there yet but consider…

In dropping out of the governor’s race, Republican Doug Ose told the Sacramento Bee, “in the absence of a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, I will be wholeheartedly supporting Dianne Feinstein.”

The Wall Street Journal editorialized that Dianne Feinstein and Antonio Villaraigosa are not progressive enough for the California Democratic Party. Feinstein only had the support of 37% of the Democratic delegates at the state convention, Villaraigosa a meager 9%.

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The Interests of Newsom Diverge From the Interests of Anti-Trumpers

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)

Top two creates perverse incentives. Consider the case of Gavin Newsom and Donald Trump.

Newsom is a fierce opponent of Trump’s policies and personality. He’s criticized the president repeatedly and forcefully. And yet, the best outcome for Newsom in the June gubernatorial election would also be good for Trump.

The optimum outcome for Newsom would be for him to place first in the June contest—and for one of three Republicans running to finish second. Such an outcome would effectively end the race. Newsom would be all but certain to beat a Republican in the November top two runoff.

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CEQA’s Got to Go

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

For new housing, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is more than a barrier to construction.  It’s a menace.  If the Legislature is serious about digging California out of the housing supply and affordability mess that it’s in right now, CEQA, the state’s premier environmental law, has to go – roots and all.

CEQA has done everything it was supposed to do when it was enacted back in the early 1970s.  Lawmakers passed the law so citizens could identify legitimate environmental defects in development projects and change them.  But, over the years, various interests have hijacked CEQA for non-environmental purposes while the state and local decision-makers have looked the other way.

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A Digital First Strategy: Why Do It?

Bryan Merica
Co-Founder of Unearth, a digital-first agency and Co-Founder of Fox & Hounds

Do it to win. Do it to communicate with your target audience via the most powerful technology available. Communication is a combination of art and science: it’s all about the story. The right digital media and a well-told story will capture your audience before they click away.

Digital media is both powerful and personal. It is as close as one’s phone: often in a pocket, a purse – – or right in hand.

In the recent past, media buyers and organizations were doubtful that digital media could provide the impact that traditional media once did. But today, nearly every demographic has more exposure to digital media than traditional legacy media. And it is everywhere, all the time. Moreover, traditional media such as television now reports on what is already online – – news anchors even report the news from behind their laptops!

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Seven initiatives to watch that threaten California prosperity

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Voters may face as many seven ballot measures damaging to California’s business and political climate in November. Any one of these measures should motivate millions in opposition spending by affected industries. More than a few are likely to qualify for the ballot.

Conventional wisdom teaches that gubernatorial elections deliver older and more conservative voters to the polls, which normally drives liberal and anti-business initiative entrepreneurs to aim their measures for presidential election years, like 2016 or 2020. But this formerly reliable rule has crumbled in the face of a low qualification threshold, interest group imperatives, and impatient wealthy donors. It’s open season on the deep pockets!

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The Reality of EVs

Peter Welch
National Automobile Dealers Association, President & CEO

This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the transportation industry.

New cars and trucks are safer and more efficient than ever. Automakers are introducing new technologies every day and will be deploying scores of new models with technologically advanced drivetrains and other features in the coming years. Partnerships on highly autonomous vehicle deployment abound between technology companies and OEMs. And all of this is happening while we are seeing major advances in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

For nearly 30 years, automakers have spent billions of dollars on the development and deployment of battery electric (EV), hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. It started in 1990, when California adopted its zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, requiring 2 percent ZEVs in 1998, 5 percent in 2001, and 10 percent in 2003 and subsequent model years.

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Water Storage Runaround

Adrian Covert
Vice President of Public Policy for the Bay Area Council

A Kafkaesque scene is unfolding deep in the bureaucracy of the California Water Commission that could undermine efforts to adapt California’s water system for climate change and threaten the reliability of the water you drink.

Earlier this month, Water Commission staff recommended withholding voter-approved state funds from going to badly needed water storage projects, including new and expanded reservoirs and aquifer recharge projects. The recommendations come even though half of California has plunged back into drought, and virtually every scientist says the state will need more storage to adapt to a warming climate that’s producing more rain and less snow. The stakes are particularly high for the Bay Area, which imports half its water from the Sierra Nevada mountains, and which already has the lowest water use rates in California.

So, what’s going on here? 

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On Water Projects, Sanctuary Cities and Sen. Feinstein

Congressman Kevin McCarthy
Majority Leader, United States Congress

(Editor’s Note: The following was received from Congressman Kevin McCarthy on three California-related items)

On Funding California Water Projects

“I want to commend President Trump and Secretary Zinke for prioritizing much-needed water infrastructure projects in California. These recommended funds will advance the Shasta Reservoir Enlargement Project to the design and pre-construction phase. Additionally, these funds will be used to complete the Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir studies that have been pending for decades. These three projects alone would create 3.6 million acre-feet of new water storage in our state.  Funding has also been recommended for starting the process of fixing subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, which would restore 3,000 acre-feet/day for conveyance that directly benefits communities and farms on the eastern side of the Central Valley in Tulare and Kern counties. This action is the direct result of the WIIN Act that was signed into law in 2016 and through subsequent funding provided by Congress. The WIIN Act included the largest reforms to California water policy in 25 years and prioritizes water storage projects and water deliveries to the Central Valley and Southern California. The recommendation from the Interior Department shows that this new law is working. I look forward to working with the Appropriations Committee to ensure Interior’s recommendations are enacted into law as we finalize this year’s spending bill.”

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First Thoughts on the California Democratic Party Convention

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

  • When Democrats met last weekend in San Diego for their state convention there was a buzz that hasn’t been present at recent State GOP conclaves or many past Democratic gatherings. The intensity dividend that has worked for Democrats in special elections and state contests in Virginia, New Jersey and even Alabama, appears to be building in the Golden State. Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to California Democrats. It is opposition to the President that unifies Democratic activists, even as they are divided in their support for candidates and, to a lesser extent, on issues.
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein got through the weekend without severe damage, even though she drew less delegate support than her challenger—State Senator Kevin de León. Neither candidate reached the 60 % threshold to win their party’s endorsement. But this race, perhaps more than any other, highlights the stark divisions within the Democratic Party between its “Progressive” and “Establishment” wings.
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Unions Must Stick to Basics if Janus Decision Goes Against Them

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

The Janus v American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees case will be argued before the United States Supreme Court today and many are predicting that public employee unions will be crippled if the court decides against the union—but only if the union doesn’t do its job of representing workers the way they want to be represented.

The issue raised in the case by the plaintiff, Mark Janus, an Illinois public employee, is that mandatory fees he pays are used to advocate positions, many political, that he does not agree with. His First Amendment rights are injured under the current system, he says. Unions opposing the lawsuit say they need the fees to represent all workers in collective bargaining with the government entities with which they negotiate.

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