Post Un-Presidential Debate Wisdom

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

There’s an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

And we do. This is an election season as brutal, polarized, nasty (and vulgar) as any we’ve ever seen. The second presidential debate is a case in point.

Donald Trump, reeling from the October Surprise video, pretty much managed to change the subject. Where he was uncomfortable and on the defensive in the first debate, he was aggressive, offensive and discomfiting in this debate. At times, he seems to be talking in tongues–about ISIS, e-mails, etc. At other times, he appeared to be following the “spaghetti strategy” of political debate: No matter what the question, just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. It is doubtful that Trump picked up any new voters, but he probably re-energized his hard core base and managed to belie, at least for now, the impression of a sinking ship.

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The Trump Anchor in CA

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

Even before the Washington Post reported the videotape revealing Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women, the Republican candidate was proving to be an anchor weighing down Republicans in California. Campaign pollsters say that Republicans running for assembly and senate seats that were doing well suffered a drop in numbers after a barrage of negative hit pieces tying them to Trump—whether the local candidate supported Trump or not.

Post debate, it appears many Republican voters will hang with Trump despite Trump’s braggadocio on the videotape. According to a Politico Poll taken after the tape was made public (but before the debate), Republican voters that supported Trump were sticking by him. The debate won’t change that. In fact, his debate performance might have lessened the bleeding his campaign was experiencing among some Republicans.

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California’s Never Trumpers Are the State’s Only Viable Republicans

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)

Maybe someone like Jim Brulte, the California Republican Party chairman, could save his little remaining credibility with a resignation combined with an abject groveling public apology for accommodating himself to Trump.

But probably not.

The legions of California Republicans who went along with Trump simply shouldn’t be able to get a hearing from Californians – and they won’t. Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican who is House Majority leader and thoughtlessly became a Trump delegate to the national convention, ought to apologize and quit. Duncan Hunter, a leading Trump defender, deserves to be shunned; he’s got a safe GOP district, but is it so safe he can survive his Trump association? If he wins and sticks around, the party should make him persona non grata.

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There is Integrity in That LA Initiative

Charles Crumpley
Editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal

Is the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative really something to be feared?

I think it could be a great advancement for the city of Los Angeles. But business people seem to view the possibility that it will pass in the March 7 election with much the same kind of dread that 14th century Europeans looked upon the arrival of the bubonic plague in the nearby village.

At least, at a Sept. 22 politically oriented luncheon held by the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, denunciations of the initiative got hearty applause, such as when Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez said, “This initiative is dangerous.”

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Prop. 56 Kills

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

Taxes have consequences. One is black markets.’s “Black Market: Dispatches” just ran an episode on Ukraine’s “people who rely on the underground cigarette trade for survival during a time of war and economic struggle.” They smuggle smokes West into the wealth European Union. Here’s a preview.

Asks a journalist, “Do you see yourself as a criminal at all?”

“I am criminal? No,” responds the smuggler. “It’s maybe not legal, but…”

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California’s New Education Architecture Is Already Failing

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)

Is California abandoning its poorest students?

That question would be dismissed as absurd by our state’s education leaders, especially Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education. For years, they have been building a new educational architecture they say will do more for the poorest kids in the poorest schools.

But as the many elements of this architecture are put in place slowly—and I do mean slowly—they have begun to look like a Winchester Mystery House, so full of complicated rooms that the structure doesn’t fit together coherently. On its current path, the emerging educational architecture of California seems likely to undermine public accountability, resist meaningful parent and community engagement, and make it difficult to figure out whether disadvantage students and the schools they attend are benefiting.

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Angelenos Face $1.6 Billion Tax Bill … If All the November Ballot Measures Pass

Jack Humphreville
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler

We need to send a loud and clear message to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Herb Wesson led City Council, the County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles Community College District, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Governor Jerry Brown, and our representatives in Sacramento that we are not their ATM.

If all the taxes on the November ballot are approved by the voters, our proportionate share will be $1.6 billion.  To put this into everyday terms, this amounts to $400 for each of the City’s 4 million residents and over $1,100 for the average family.  This increase is also the equivalent of ramping up our sales tax up to 11.7% or increasing our property taxes by 31%.  

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Four California Ballot Measures Worthy Of A ‘Yes’ Vote

Jon Fleischman
Publisher of the FlashReport

Most of the oxygen in the room for this November’s election is being sucked up by the prolific and particularly vitriolic presidential showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  You may be focused on that race because of your desire to make everything great again, or just a morbid fascination with reality TV-meets-American politics.

That said, if you’re from California and you look down-ticket, you’ll quickly encounter “Ballot-Measure-Palooza” – 17 different measures waiting for you to do some ballot box governing.

My default on ballot measures is to vote “no,” unless there is a compelling reason to vote “yes.”  There are, in my opinion, four measures that are no-brainer “yes” votes – and so I wanted to run through them, and why I am voting for them.

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Approaching 80, I Learned to Speak Millennial-ese

Billie Greer
Public Policy Advisor, She served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior staff.

Ready for anything at the age of 78, I sold my home on the edge of Ventura County and moved into a downtown Los Angeles high-rise full of millennials and dogs.

A demographic poster child for DTLA I’m not, given that my neighbors are in their 30s. And 80 percent of them work downtown, making about $100,000, while I’m retired. But when it comes to gender I fit right in (57 percent of downtown residents are women, according to surveys). And my reasons for choosing to live downtown seem to be in tune with the millennials—being part of a rejuvenated, vibrant area; the luxury of using your car sparingly or not at all; the ubiquity of eclectic restaurants, bars and food trucks; a fantastic range of arts, music performances and sports venues; and the sheer diversity of the neighborhood.

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Some Changes to Expect Under a Trump Administration

Richard Rubin
He writes about political issues and is President of a Public Affairs Management Firm. He also teaches courses on the Presidential & Congressional Elections at the University of San Francisco and is Vice Chair of the California Commonwealth Club.

As the Trump team contemplates relocation to Washington it isn’t too early to look ahead to some of the changes he would institute.

While it is not possible to foresee all of them since the programs and solutions under a Trump Administration have yet to be revealed, and a few might not survive constitutional challenge, we already have some glimmers.

So here’s a peek at what’s likely to take place in the first 100 days:

Of course the first thing all new White House occupants do is to redecorate and renovate various rooms reflecting their personal tastes.  As a legendary hotel and casino builder, Trump is likely to have some strong ideas.

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