Open Letter to Gov. Newsom: We answered your call to shut down. Now it’s your turn to Oppose Prop 15

Jennifer Pesqueira
Jennifer Pesqueira is the third-generation owner of El Indio Mexican Restaurant and Catering, a family-owned business in San Diego that has been in business since 1940. She is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, California and the California Restaurant Association.

Dear Governor Newsom, 

Small businesses across California are hurting like never before. My family-owned small business, El Indio Mexican Restaurant and Catering, has never experienced a recession like this in our 80 years of serving the San Diego community. And there are millions of small businesses like nail salons, day care centers, dry cleaners, and gyms who are suffering just like us. 

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, the threat of Proposition 15 and an $11.5-billion tax increase is headed our way this November. Unless rejected by voters, Prop 15 will hit small businesses with soaring rents and higher commercial property taxes when many are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. 

We are counting on you, governor, to take a stand with small businesses and oppose Proposition 15. 

Read comments Read more

Joe Biden’s Historic Decision!

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.

Californians were introduced to the Democrat’s Vice-Presidential choice years ago and they apparently liked what they saw. 

Now the nation will have the same opportunity with former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris to run with him on the Democratic ticket. 

In their first public appearance as a campaign couple Harris with glowing smile said, “I am incredibly proud and honored and I am ready to get to work”, calling their coupling “a new coalition of conscience.”

Harris won every election she ran in beginning as San Francisco’s District Attorney and then moving up to manage the country’s largest justice department outside of the federal capital. 

As I wrote in my previous column, “Harris checks all the boxes. She is youngish (55), whip-smart, highly personable, persuasive and has the gladiatorial chops that could compliment Biden’s lower voltage persona well.”

Read comments Read more

California Legislators Propose Wealth Tax

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

On the morning of August 13, Assembly Bill 2088 was gutted-and-amended an elections bill into a wealth tax. AB 2088 is jointly authored by Assembly Members Bonta, Carrillo, Chiu, Gonzalez, Kalra, Santiago, Stone, Ting, and Wicks. Assembly coauthors include Chu and Jones-Sawyer and Senate coauthors include Skinner, Durazo and Lena Gonzalez. In the new bill is an introduction statement that the wealth tax is “for the benefit of accumulating excessive wealth in this state.”

AB 2088 would add Part 27 to Division 2 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code, beginning with Section 50301. Part 27 would be entitled “Wealth Tax” as Section 50301 specifies that this new part of the Revenue and Taxation Code would be known and cited as the Wealth Tax Act.

The bill would impose a tax of 0.4% of a state resident’s worldwide net worth in excess of $30 million, or in excess of $15 million for married taxpayers filing separately. The bill defined worldwide net worth based upon reference to federal tax law. Worldwide net worth does not include specified assets such as directly-held real property or liabilities related to directly-held real property, pursuant to Section 50303.

Read comments Read more

Kamala! Kamala! Kamala!

Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe
Bill Boyarsky is a former reporter, editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, is a retired Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

We take a close look at Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Joe Biden’s choice for the Democratic vice presidential nomination.  What does she bring to the ticket?  Will the Democratic left,  which opposed her presidential run, turn out en masse for her.  And we examine where President Donald Trump and his supporters will attack her.  Looking ahead, we discuss her successor if she wins in November, examining the many choices facing Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will appoint new senator. 

Inside Golden State Politics

Read comments Read more

Will Prop 22 Get Full Support from All AB 5 Critics?

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

Many industries and individual workers have a problem with Assembly Bill 5, California’s high-profile labor law that intends to classify many workers as employees with full benefits afforded by California law. But will these individuals and groups come to the aid of Proposition 22 on the November ballot, which takes Uber, Lyft and other app-driver based companies out from under the AB 5 restrictions? 

There are two ways for freelance writers, small businesses, publishers, newspaper delivery people and others who have objections with AB 5 could look at the Proposition 22 effort. One is to offer full-throated support for the measure hoping its success will weaken the foundation of AB 5 for further changes. The other is to ignore the battle because as much as they dislike AB 5, they were not included in the rollback. 

Read comments Read more

Sacramento Pension Spin

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

When I started focusing on California pension matters in 2005 I quickly learned that Sacramento is a company town. The company is government and in place of shareholders are government employees who spin financial and legal fictions about pensions to journalists living inside the same beltway. Journalists at that time generally bought the spin but their skepticism has improved since then. Still, old habits die hard, as illustrated yesterday when a Sacramento journalist parroted government employee spin that a recent California Supreme Court decision prohibited cuts in future pension benefits. The decision did no such thing.

The Alameda decision upheld a reform enacted in 2012 that prohibited pension spiking. It did not address reductions in future benefits and in the opinion of our legal advisors the court left itself plenty of room to do so in a future case. In our view, that future case will arise only after enactment of a pension reform reducing future benefits. State legislators will have to enact such a reform to stop the destruction of public services being caused by exploding pension costs. The sooner they act, the better for residents.

Read comments Read more

State tech failures hit home again

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

While marking time as lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom wrote a book about how technology could transform government.

“I want to make government as smart as Google,” Newsom told an interviewer after the book, “Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square and Reinvent Government,” was published in 2013.

While technology “is flattening major institutions” and transforming how Americans shop, communicate, research and keep abreast of current events, Newsom said “Government as an institution is not prepared for it” and is struggling even to keep decades-old systems functioning.

He specifically cited the state Department of Motor Vehicles as a prime example of how California, the technology capital of the world, failed to implement that technology to make government more accessible, responsive and efficient.

Read comments Read more

Biden-Harris Ticket No Surprise

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

Go back to last year, the beginning of this presidential contest. Before the primaries, before Joe Biden stumbled out of gate and then recovered in South Carolina. Before any debates, back when Biden was considered a solid front runner in the Democratic Party to take on President Donald Trump. Many pundits and observers expressed the idea that a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket seemed ideal. Now, through all the ups and downs of primary campaigns, the deal is sealed. 

Tapping Harris adds not just the senator from California to the ticket, but California itself and what the majority party here likes to call “California values.” (It would be more accurate to label the current politics in the Golden State “California values of the moment.” Just 25 years ago, California values would have been tax cuts and tough on crime.) The question is how California’s liberal policies, which Harris represents, play in the swing states that will determine the election.

Read comments Read more

How Life Narrows In The Unemployment Insurance Economy

Michael Bernick
Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris LLP, a Milken Institute Fellow and former Director of the California Employment Development Department

(Latest in a series since March on the pandemic’s employment impacts, and rebuilding America’s job base. The previous ones are here.)

We’re now living in the unemployment insurance economy in California—an economy sustained in good part by unemployment insurance payments. By last Thursday, over 9 million unemployment claims had been filed in California since the start of the pandemic, and nearly $60 billion paid out in unemployment insurance benefits. Over 228,000 new unemployment claims were filed in the recent week alone.

 Since March, life has narrowed in California, as elsewhere, economically and socially. But in the past three weeks a new narrowing has occurred in the state, a resignation to the re-imposed lockdowns. Previous efforts by business associations, labor unions and community groups to restart economic life have been largely abandoned. The unemployment insurance economy has brought an ennui, a dulling of what is possible or worth pursuing.

Read comments Read more

Ditch School, California, and Refocus Education on COVID

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)

Let’s stop pretending that California will educate its children this fall—and instead transfer our educational resources into COVID-19 control.

As the pandemic worsens, California parents, teachers, and students have been distracted by a bitter war over how to reopen education. But as a combatant—I’m father to three public-school students—I’ve learned that this war can’t be won. All three reopening strategies—the full reopening of schools, distance learning, or a hybrid of in-person and online education—will weaken the educational system and leave our children further behind.

Reopening schools while society fails to respond to COVID not only could spread the virus but also will cause many teachers and students to stay home, causing enrollment collapses and teacher shortages. Meanwhile distance learning, which is severely limited by state rules and teachers’ unions, will only see children fall further behind (because they lack technology or home set-ups to participate). or slip away from school altogether. Online lessons will deep kids’ screen addictions, and put more stress on parents who are ill-prepared to serve as in-home educators. 

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.