The Race for the Best Job Placement Technology

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

Hundreds of internet firms are now competing to develop the best internet job placement system for job seekers. They are offering technologies that can tailor job leads for the individual job seeker and customize resume writing and interview prep, technologies that can rank and sort workers, technologies that can push out job leads on a regular basis, several times a day.

There is an outpouring of creativity and entrepreneurship to be sure. But which of these technologies really represents advances for individual job seekers or for the broader social goal of fuller employment?

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For sustainable climate policy, California needs a balanced approach

Raul Bocanegra
Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, is a member of the California Assembly, representing the 39th District

California has been described as “the leader of the resistance,” and the “de facto climate negotiator for the United States.” These titles reflect a phenomenon happening in this state that much of the country has yearned for from Washington, D.C.: positive action for the benefit of the people.

When we had a measles outbreak in 2015, we acted to make sure school children are vaccinated. When other states put restrictions on voting rights, we worked to make voting more convenient. And in 2006, our state, in conjunction with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, established this California as a leader in greenhouse gas emissions policy when we implemented the Global Warming Solutions Act.

This landmark climate legislation set the ball in motion for what would become a global model for a cap-and-trade market aiming to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The system designed a statewide cap across industries that would slowly decline, allowing industries to work together to meet emissions goals while providing a revenue stream for important environmental initiatives.

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Jerry Brown as Bill Russell 

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

For Democratic legislators, the politics of the single payer health care plan is tricky. They have to satisfy the most activist members of their party who support the concept without putting forward a complex scheme that would break the state bank and jeopardize spending on other budget priorities. But legislators have a way to cover their bases–satisfy activists and still avert fiscal and policy mayhem–and they know it.

When it comes to the single payer law, Governor Jerry Brown serves a similar  role as legendary Boston Celtics center and defensive ace Bill Russell did on the basketball court. Celtic players could take a risk, even make foolish gambles to stop opponents, for they knew if their opponent got by them Russell was there to swat away the ball or intimidate an opposing player into making a bad shot. 

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California Democrats Should Retract Praise for Trump’s Fraudulent Infrastructure ‘Plan’

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)

Among the supposedly wise folks of Sacramento, there has been much tut-tutting about the fervent anti-Trump opposition of so many Californians.

Don’t you understand, they have said, that the president is merely transactional? Don’t you see the great opportunity to get federal money through him to repair and modernize California’s depleted infrastructure?

Even Gov. Jerry Brown got in the hopeful act, praising Trump for talking about a big $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Those hopes are now officially dashed.

Trump hasn’t advanced anything resembling a plan for infrastructure. But his administration has put forward enough to show that the $1 trillion infrastructure talk was, like almost everything else about this president, a fraud.

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Will punitive damages no longer be deductible in California?

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

The California State Senate passed Senate Bill 66, which would disallow a deduction for the payment of punitive damages. SB 66 was introduced on January 5 of this year and passed the Senate last week along party lines, garnering the bare minimum 2/3 vote of 27 senators, with all Democrats voting aye and all Republicans voting no. Each of the 40 senators voted on this bill. The super-majority vote threshold is required because the bill is a tax increase pursuant to Article XIIIA, Section 3 of the California Constitution.

SB 66 would add Section 17226 (in the personal income tax law) and Section 24343.4 (in the corporation tax law) to the California Revenue & Taxation Code. These new code sections, if enacted, would disallow under both laws a deduction for amounts paid or incurred for punitive damages. This change in California law would be effective prospectively. In both proposed new code sections, the language would provide: “For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, a deduction shall not be allowed for any amount paid or incurred for punitive damages in connection with any judgment in, or settlement of, any action.”

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What Will It Take For California Voters To Change Their Minds?

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

In Malcolm Gladwell’s famous bookThe Tipping Point his central thesis is how events collate together to form a “tipping point,” that changes individuals, companies, governments and society. Has California reached a tipping point? Seemingly it has, then why do voters keep electing the same Democrats, and allow the Republican Party to fade away into oblivion?

Moreover, apathetic voters don’t care that the Democratic Governor and Legislature say one thing, and do something completely opposite as long as the hot causes are in line with the media and Democratic Party’s narrative of gay marriage, abortion and global warming. Those three shibboleths of California public policy have overtaken the central tenets of state government:infrastructurepublic safety and education – since all three are in shambles or disarray at best.

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Small Business Day and Disgruntled Small Businesses

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

The annual Small Business Day event hits Sacramento today with elected officials recognizing small businesses from their districts. All small business people are not alike in attitude and reaction to government requirements but you can take the temperature of small business attitudes when owners of small businesses gather together. So it was when I dropped in on a group of small business owners and executives in Los Angeles County last week. From this group the word expressing their experiences running a small business in California is: Disgruntled.

The group of about 20 was made up mostly of small manufacturers and service providers. The issue that continued coming up dealt with the multitude of suffocating labor laws. No wonder. Take a look at the picture of books each containing the state’s labor laws from a different year. The thin volume on the right is from 1957. Next is the 1997 edition. Finally, the thick volume is from 2017. How do small businesses expect to cope with so many rules to follow?

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California’s Local Elected Officials Divided on Top Political & Policy Issues — Except One

Robb Korinke
Principal at GrassrootsLab and leads California Forward’s Technology-enhanced Government efforts

It’s no secret the country is more polarized than ever – and polling of local elected officials shows it’s no different among our state’s mayors and councilmembers.

As part of our 10th anniversary at, we partnered with the Prime Group, an opinion research firm with offices in Los Angeles and D.C., to conduct a first-of-its-kind opinion poll of California mayors and councilmembers this month. The poll addressed key issues ranging from Presidential approval, sanctuary cities, economic growth and others.

What did we find, aside from a couple very noteworthy issues, our city officials are as far apart as anyone. The one issue they can agree on?


“State and Local Pension issues” were by far the top priority for our respondents, and the issues crossed party lines. For Republicans and Independents, it was #1… but even Democrats placed it just behind housing as their top priority.

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In CA Festival Bubble, Bet on Garlic Over Gaga

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)

You heard it here first: The next bubble to burst in California, perhaps even before Silicon Valley and real estate, just might be the festival bubble.

The festival economy is growing so fast that it runs the risk of overheating. Even after expanding from one weekend to two in 2012, and increasing capacity this past year from 99,000 to 125,000, the Coachella Arts and Music Festival still managed to sell out in just three hours. Its cousin, Stagecoach, is the world’s biggest country music festival, welcoming up to 75,000 people each year over one weekend in Indio. Coachella and Stagecoach are even spawning spin-offs, like last fall’s Desert Trip (aka Oldchella) and the massive new Arroyo Seco Weekend, headlined by Tom Petty, debuting later this month at the Rose Bowl.

And those are just the big-ticket festivals. This summer, Californians could spend every waking moment attending festivals—hundreds of regional events and thousands of community ones celebrating our arts, our foods, our cultural heritage, or some combination of all three—and still not get to all of them.

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The Best Small and Medium-Size Cities For Jobs 2017

Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires
Joel Kotkin, Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and Michael Shires, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

Much of the U.S. media tends to see smaller cities as backwaters, inevitably left behind as the “best and brightest” head to the country’s mega-regions. The new economy, insists the Washington Post, favors large cities for start-ups and new businesses. Richard Florida has posited the emergence of a “winner take all urbanism” that tends to favor the richest cities, such as New York and San Francisco.

However this paradigm may reflect cosmopolitan attitudes and rivalries between large cities more than reality, with its complications and nuances. Smaller cities have long been disadvantaged in their ability to attract the most elite companies and Americans on the move, but that may well be changing. Following a post-financial crisis period in which many domestic migrants headed to the big cities, the latest Census data suggests that the flow is now going the other way, with the native born moving to smaller places with between 500,000 and a million people. The new trend in migration, notes the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, a confirmed big city booster, has been a “great hollowing out,” with Americans leaving places like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco for the suburbs and less costly, usually smaller cities. (Note that at least in New York’s case, foreign immigrants have been taking their places.)

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