Will the LA Mayor Get Emergency Powers to Build Homeless Housing?

Bill Boyarsky
Columnist for LA Observed and former reporter, editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times

In a proposal likely to touch off a heated debate, Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu has proposed giving Mayor Eric Garcetti emergency power to build housing for the homeless.

It would be a huge grant of authority to Garcetti, now limited by a City Charter that divides power between the 15- member city council and the mayor. There would be opposition from neighborhood activists, who fear homeless housing near single-family homes, and council members, unwilling to give up anything to the mayor.

Ryu made his proposal last week to a luncheon of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum, coordinated by public affairs consultant Emma Schafer at the Palm downtown.

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The Older the Pol, the More Californians Like Them

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)

Californians may worship youth and beauty in some things, but not when it comes to choosing political executives.

 Indeed, the older the politician, the more we are inclined to support him or her.

 We keep electing Dianne Feinstein, now the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, even though, polls suggest, we don’t particularly agree with her or like.

 We elected Jerry Brown to his second governorship when he was 72—older than the age of any new American president—and kept him in office past his 80th birthday.  

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Governor’s Housing Promises Fail to Produce

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

A Governor’s Budget summary always boasts more than it has delivered, as well as what it promises to deliver in the future.  Governor Newsom’s description of the 2020-2021 Budget – his second effort – is no exception to that truism.   

The budget document’s so-called “A” pages, summarizing next year’s fiscal blueprint, are full of wishful look-backs, numerous “investment” citations (as if simply spending billions is the solution to a problem) and still more hollow assurances of serenity for the private sector.   

Truth is, the record shows that few of the Governor’s past hoped-fors have come true.  Nor is there much expectation that throwing more of the same – legislation, public policies and money – at complex matters will do any good.  

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Rogue Agency’s 30-Year Dodge

Jeremy Bagott
A former Journalist, he writes about land-use and finance issues from Los Angeles. He is a commercial real estate appraiser and the author of "The Cosmic Cobra Breeding Farm."

Down deep in the Marianas Trench of state government, buried in California’s administrative law, is a mechanism by which private industry standards can be made enforceable. It’s a curious feature called “incorporation by reference.” It isn’t used much, but if a state agency wants to enforce, say, some organization’s copyrighted technical standards, it can do it.

But enforcing copyrighted codes can be problematic, and that’s why the law requires safeguards. It’s unclear exactly how many private standards are referenced in state law, and the practice is prone to abuse.  

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Justice ignored is justice denied

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

Now it’s Los Angeles’s turn to engage in the debate over justice reform as national attention is focused on the L. A. County district attorney’s race. Will L.A. voters keep the hard-line progressive social justice reform train rolling or stop it in its tracks?

The March 3 primary high-profile event for both Los Angeles County and arguably the state (outside of the presidential primary contest) is the district attorney race, featuring incumbent Jackie Lacey, and former San Francisco D.A. George Gascón. The other candidate in the race is public defender Rachel Rossi, who politically is closer to Gascón.

Gascón represents the national movement to replace district attorneys around the country with progressive standard bearers who promote social reforms.

But the social justice agenda could lead to less actual justice, a danger for the community at large.

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Statewide Audit of Homelessness Funding Is Necessary

Senator Brian Jones
Brian Jones is a California State Senator representing the 38th district.

In a recent press release on homelessness issued by the Governor, there needs to be a correction: 

“As a national homelessness crisis spreads across the West Coast and cities across the country, Governor Gavin Newsom is continuing his Administration’s comprehensive response to the crisis…

The homelessness crisis did not spread “across the West Coast,” and it is not a “national” crisis affecting all 50 states equally.  In fact, the homeless crisis is far greater in California than in EVERY OTHER STATE COMBINED.

The homeless situation in California is growing worse by the day, because this state’s elected leaders have not invested in programs to address its root causes.  California Democrats have been – and continue to be – far more focused on creating state-mandated drug dens, encouraging people to live on the street, and decriminalizing drug use and other crimes.

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Why Did We Want an Early Primary Again?

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)

It’s finally worked. California moved up its presidential primary, again, for 2020, and it is getting more attention from candidates and the media. 

The question is whether such attention is a good thing. 

California is in the process of living up to the old saw that when God wants to punish us, He gives us what we want. 

And more media attention, in our deranged era, is not something that most people or places really want. 

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Voters beware of our populist threat. It comes from the right and left

Mike Madrid
Partner at GrassrootsLab, and a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. In 2001, named one of America's "Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business Magazine.

We stand at the precipice of a significant tectonic shift in our political system. 

Similar to the profound disruptions the newspaper, music and transportation industries underwent some years ago, our democratic system, which is designed to be a lagging social indicator, is struggling to find a working model for a more complex age.

The speedy rise of populism in both parties marks the end of bilateral political discourse. The two-party system is no longer equipped to address the complexity of our social, economic and political institutions.

There is a very real possibility that in 2020, for the first time in our country’s history, the nominees for both major U.S. political parties will be populists. 

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Faulconer’s Common Sense Roadmap on Homelessness

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

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer offered a common sense approach to the continuing homeless crisis in California and in so doing he dares to take a stand against the political correctness that often creates obstacles to solving the problem.

Faulconer announced that he is forming a committee to develop a ballot initiative to deal with the homeless problem from many angles. He intends to give back to cities the power to encourage the homeless to accept treatment or shelter beds. He wants to undo some of the laws that he feels have permitted drug use and criminal activity, boldly saying in his State of the City speech that voters were “sold a bill of goods under the guise of criminal justice reform.”

He pointed to the successful ballot measures, Propositions 47 and 57, that amounted to what Faulconer termed a “slap on the wrist” for drug use. Excessive and out-of-control drug use is one of the driving forces behind the homelessness epidemic, Faulconer contends. “These laws are letting people slowly kill themselves right in front of our eyes.”

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Californians to Play an Over-Size Role in the Impeachment Trial

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught at the University of San Francisco, Berkeley and Golden Gate University, is a regular columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and was Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, 2017-2019.

A few Californians will be the marquee players as the impeachment trial of the 45th president (or technically the 44th if you count Grover Cleveland as having served split terms) of the United States, Donald John Trump proceeds. 

Under these circumstances the House has a long arm which in accordance with its constitutional duties extends into the U.S. Senate as the trial gets underway.

The lower house did not relinquish all control when the Articles of Impeachment for only the third time in our history were delivered to the Senate in a solemn ritual that bespoke the gravity of the occasion. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi —third in line to the presidency—who continues to play a pivotal role chose to withhold them for nearly a month on the presumption which proved correct that further damaging evidence would come out.

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