America’s Independence Day celebrates the birth of our nation and is a day to recognize the sacrifice of our military men and women from the days of the American Revolution to present who have protected our freedom.

It’s this freedom that allows us to pursue the American dream –  the opportunity to seek our own version of success. Our founders strove to create a free nation where men and women could be free to live up to their potential.

While meeting with entrepreneurs across the region, it’s clear that the American dream of owning a business is becoming a reality to local families. 

Entrepreneurship in America brings rich diversity to local Main Streets, from hair salons and barber shops to coffee shops, breweries and restaurants with dishes from all over the world.  

A key goal of the SBA is to ensure every entrepreneur has the resources to start and grow a business. Resources include an online toolkit to develop a business plan, access to capital and government contracting, and counseling provided by one of our local resource partners. The SBA and its resource partners can help entrepreneurs on their journey to live up to their dream.

For example, entrepreneurs like Fidel and Josefina Alanis, owners of Cunchy Fruits and immigrants from Mexico, invested over a decade of hard work in making their entrepreneurial dream come true. In 2019, Mr. and Mrs. Alanis reached out to the SBA’s resource partner, VEDC Women’s Businesses Center, and received technical assistance and help writing a new businesses plan. They ultimately received an SBA microloan in the amount of $50,000 to open their first store in Santa Clarita.

The Alanis family went from selling fruits in swap meets, to a fresh fruit truck, and now a brick-and-mortar location. Their diligence, commitment and knowledge that they weren’t alone on this journey are prime examples of what keeps our small business community growing and thriving.

Business leaders like the Alanis family are inspirational to entrepreneurs everywhere, but more than inspiration, they are vital to making the fabric of our communities strong. Small businesses aren’t just the engine of our economy, they are also the heartbeat of our communities. Their success is our success as a country.

The United States is a nation founded by entrepreneurs. Alexander Hamilton founded the Bank of New York by the age of 29. Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, a printer and a newspaperman. George Washington was a farmer, a landowner and a distiller. Thomas Jefferson was a farmer, a vintner and an architect.

A recent study by a Harvard Business School professor found that 25% of new companies are founded by immigrants. In California, that figure rises to 42%. 

America is made up of 30 million small businesses, and with the economy thriving, this is an especially good time for entrepreneurship.

With the strong economy, there has never been a better time to start or grow a business. Whether entrepreneurs need access to capital, business counseling or help breaking into international markets, the SBA has the resources to help. I encourage entrepreneurs seeking to start a business or small business owners interested in growing their business to reach to the SBA for support in their journey to reaching their American dream.

The California Redistricting Commission Will Soon Be Toast

This may be the last version of the California redistricting commission.

That may sound like a surprising prediction. After all, many commentators, including Joel Fox in this space, have argued that redistricting commissions may become more important as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in late June.

The logic of those commentators goes like this. Since the Court essentially endorsed partisan redistricting by state legislatures and said that the federal courts couldn’t stop partisan gerrymanders, one of the few ways left to stop such gerrymandering is by having voters adopt redistricting commissions like California’s.

But that is an optimistic way to look at the future.

The make-up and political of the Supreme Court point to a more pessimistic view. 

California’s redistricting commission only barely survived a 2015 legal challenge to its constitutionality in the U.S. Supreme Court. But back then, Anthony Kennedy was on the court and provided the crucial vote to preserve the redistricting commission.

Now, he has been replaced by Bret Kavanaugh, who was one of the five justices who made this recent ruling that redistricting is a political process and belongs to the state legislatures. 

Even more important, Chief Justice John Roberts authored this most recent decision; Roberts was in the minority that sought to rule California’s redistricting commission unconstitutional four years ago. Fox and others point to language in Roberts’ recent decision identifying other avenues for reform: “Both the states and Congress can take action – for example, by establishing independent redistricting commissions to draw maps.” But in this, Roberts is merely stating the 2015 precedent—a precedent with which he clearly disagrees.

Given the high court’s hostility, California’s commission, and similar commissions in other states, are likely to face new constitutional challenges. And next time the challenges will be decided by the five-justice majority that sees redistricting as belonging to state legislatures. These conservative justices, given their hostility to democracy, are unlikely to care much even when such commissions, like California’s, were approved by voters themselves via direct democracy.

The process of identifying members of a new redistricting commission has just gotten underway. Quite possibly for the last time.