In ballot box battle, Dems and GOP both claim victory. Why this fight fizzled.

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

In a press conference seemingly designed to deescalate a week-long legal standoff, declare victory and profoundly confuse the California press corps, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla said they would not be taking legal action against the California Republican Party for its makeshift ballot box program. 

But the two Democrats insisted that the GOP had changed policy in response to their warnings — a claim the Republicans denied. 

“We are not going to mother or shepherd someone through every day of activity, but what we are trying to do is make it clear what the law requires,” said Becerra, two days after he threatened the California Republican Party with criminal prosecution. 

“We are prepared to enforce those requirements of the law and we wait to see what the Republican Party does. Based on what we find the evidence to be in terms of their activities, that will determine what we do.”

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Alex Padilla’s $35 million convoluted contract invites lawsuit

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Examples of how California’s one-party rule has us sliding ever closer to third world status become more frequent with every passing week.

From a governor who issues a sweeping executive order banning gasoline powered vehicles to record levels of poverty and rampant homelessness, it is now difficult to distinguish much of California from Venezuela.

One-party rule is also associated with corruption. Under normal circumstances, when government enters into contracts for goods and services with the private sector, taxpayers are protected against waste and fraud by a stringent oversight process mandated by state law. This includes a transparent bidding process to prevent cronyism.

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San Francisco’s Not So Universal Basic Income for Artists

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

San Francisco proposes to pay artists $1,000 a month as part of the movement for a Universal Basic Income, this while the city sees many markers of decline due to the coronavirus, a hole in the city budget and multiple tax increases facing city voters on the coming ballot. 

While an unbalanced Universal Basic Income plan at a difficult time for the city, the move to pay artists is not without precedent on a national scale. 

During the heart of the Depression in the 1930s, the federal government’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) through a subdivision called the Federal Arts Project subsidized artists to create art to help the country deal with the economic devastation. 

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Reading the Props: 22 Would Make Uber and Lyft the Kings of the World.

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)

Every two years, I read the full text of all statewide ballot propositions—because at least one Californian should.

Next is Prop. 22 

In retrospect, Lex Luthor’s ambitions were modest. He only wanted Australia.

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, the firms behind Prop 22, are bent on world domination. And this initiative, titled “The Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act,” is a vehicle for the sort of global takeover that not even Alexander the Greater ever dreamed of.

Reading the measure, it’s not hard to see why it’s poised to break all records for dollars spent. The companies are writing their own extensive rules and regulations, hoping to get them enacted in California, and then reproduce this model across the world. 

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The California Business Roundtable Supports Proposition 16

Rob Lapsley
President, California Business Roundtable

The California Business Roundtable (CBRT) Board of Directors has voted to support Proposition 16, the November ballot measure that will repeal Prop 209 and remove the ban on affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences from the California Constitution. The Board of Directors voted to support Prop. 16 as part of a broader ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, both within CBRT itself, and in the broader business community.

The board chairman, Brett Bittel, said, “Proposition 16 will help allow small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses better access to capital, especially in applying for and receiving important state contracts. However, Prop. 16 must be just the beginning of a broader effort by the state. The state must also remove the significant bureaucratic barriers that make it cost-prohibitive for many businesses to engage in the state bidding process.

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Political Potholes and California Ballot Propositions: On the Rocky Road to Election Day

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

When is a ballot drop box not a ballot drop box?  We dig into the controversy over Republicans distributing their own unofficial drop boxes and examine other potholes on the rocky road to election day.  We also explain some of the propositions on the California ballot.

Listen at Inside Golden State Politics.

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A Tale of Two Supreme Court Nominations

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

In Washington, D.C., U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going through a high-profile confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, accompanied by partisan fireworks. Across the country in California, much more quietly, newly nominated California Supreme Court justice Martin Jenkins is going through the California confirmation procedure minus partisan bickering. Which confirmation process is best? 

The D.C. proceedings are televised and covered closely by the press. The national stage gives politicians an opportunity to make political points while ostensibly questioning the prospective justice on qualifications and judicial judgment. Judge Barrett has followed the well-worn path of previous Supreme Court nominees by avoiding commenting on how she would rule on contentious cases like abortion and the Affordable Care Act. 

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Sacramento Needs More Taxpayer Advocates, Not Prop. 15

Senator Ling Ling Chang
California State Senator for the 29th District.

For most of us money is a means to an end, that of living – keeping food on the table, a roof overhead, paying the utility bills, clothing and educating the kids.  If we’ve planned well and are lucky we have enough to put away for retirement and spend on some extras – electronics, meals out, travel, tickets to concerts, plays and sporting events. 

However, for many of those elected to serve in the Capitol, money is power, and that  power is consolidated by imposing more and more tax increases.  Taxpayer dollars enable spending on programs you and I may not support but that give politicians clout within the communities receiving the benefits.   We see spending on fancy new government buildings or millions of dollars to house the art collection of a comedian Cheech Marin from Cheech and Chong (yes really).  

The spending with taxpayers’ dollars, builds influence with the groups benefiting, and that influence gets the legislative majority re-elected, enabling them to increase ever more taxes so they can spend ever more taxpayer dollars on ever more pet programs, in perpetuity.  It’s an endless circle.

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I’m Voting 25 Times. And You Should Too!

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)

In his latest false attack on California, President Trump suggests he’d win California because we Californians all vote three times every election.

If only voting here were that easy.

I’m voting 25 times in the fall election. And that’s perfectly legal because I live in Los Angeles County. On just one ballot, I face 24 different contests, and can vote 25 times. A local school board race, which is at large, asks me to vote for two candidates.

I also can vote for president, state senator, state assembly, Congress, district attorney, three judges, and one member of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District board of directors, as well on 12 different statewide ballot measures, one county measure, and one local measure (a utility tax extension).

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Killing Us Slowly With Their Laws

Stuart Waldman
President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association

The California Legislature last month ended its 2020 legislative session where most of the final day of session was spent arguing about partisanship and figuring out how to conduct business virtually. I wrote a column about it, which was featured in Business Journal. You should go read it. 

We know 2020 has been a year like no other. It has presented several challenges that many of us are still trying to navigate, but it has especially been challenging for businesses and business owners. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association fought hard and we keep fighting terrible policies which continue to be proposed by lawmakers. If it sounds like I have already told you about the awful bills coming out of Sacramento, it’s because I have. 

It’s incredibly frustrating when I meet with lawmakers to discuss policies that are bad for business and I see that the business perspective and our concerns are not getting across. 

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