Don’t Declare Victory on Election Night If You’re Running Against Kamala

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)

Congratulations to the vice president-elect from California, our Senator Kamala Harris.

And a pro tip for anyone who might run against her in any future race: Be careful about declaring victory, especially on election night.

It’s now happened twice in her political career. Back in 2010, L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley declared victory on election night when he took a lead against then San Francisco District Attorney Harris. But when all the votes were counted several days later, she had won.

This election, it was President Trump spiking the ball on the 10-yard line, with his election night declaration that he’d won. It took less than four days for that to prove ludicrous, as Harris and Joe Biden won easily. 

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Surviving in a Post-Pandemic Era

Stuart Waldman
President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association

Next year is quickly approaching and I know I am not the only one looking forward to this year being over. The year 2020 has challenged us in several ways and it has required us to change the way we interact with everyone, including our families. It’s forced us to adapt at work, at home and in our communities. What do the next few months and the next year look like? The Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s Annual Business Forecast Conference recently sought to answer these questions with this year’s theme: “Surviving in a Post-Pandemic Era.”

While we could not gather in person for our biggest event of the year, the Home Edition of our conference proved to be just as insightful and exciting for everyone who joined us. We put together 10 panels on critical topics, including housing, health care, tourism and travel, as well as what the future of our workforce looks like. 

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Honoring Veterans

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

On this day to honor veterans, I’m taking a day away from writing about policy and politics that affect California, although you will find other posts on California issues on our site today.

Despite coming out of a raucous election season, we should still remember what this country stands for and honor those who serve and protect the high principles on which the nation was established.

Last December, I traveled to Europe for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge from World War II. My father, Tech 4 Harry Fox, earned a bronze star in the month-long battle, the largest the American Army participated in during World War II. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California lead the American congressional delegation.

The following pictorial from that trip is dedicated to all U.S. service members past and present we honor this Veteran’s Day.

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California Tax Revolt Still Stands Despite Efforts to Gut Proposition 13

Tom Sheehy
As Principal and founder of Sheehy Strategy Group, Tom Sheehy is recognized as one of Sacramento’s most experienced and influential lobbyists, as well as a fiscal expert.

Although California turned a darker shade of blue on November 3, 2020, one victory for taxpayers came with the defeat of Proposition 15, a complicated, mundane, but ultimately very consequential measure on the California ballot.

Had Proposition 15 passed, it would have changed the way commercial properties are taxed, creating a “split-roll” tax by changing Proposition 13’s rules for assessing commercial and industrial properties while leaving intact the rules for assessing all residential properties and agricultural land. Proposition 13 is the landmark 1978 measure that capped property tax increases and has been a defining force in California fiscal policy ever since.

Liberal groups and public employee unions have been trying to roll back Proposition 13 protections for a couple of decades – unsuccessfully. If it had passed, the split-roll tax measure would produce $10 billion to 12 billion in new annual revenues for schools and community colleges, as well as for county, local and state governments.

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In 2020, California Lawmakers Failed to Protect Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

Another legislative session has come to close here in California and, once again, lawmakers have let Californians down. Why? There is a fundamental issue that has been hurting our great state for many years that lawmakers simply refuse to address: lawsuit abuse.

You may be thinking that lawsuit abuse is an issue reserved for courtrooms and lawyers. That’s where you’d be woefully wrong. Unfortunately, lawsuit abuse affects you and me in many ways. For starters, lawsuit abuse takes away job opportunities from hardworking Californians – 197,776 jobs, to be exact. It also results in $11.6 billion in direct costs, which leads to a hidden “tort tax” of hundreds of dollars a year per person. 

While these are serious issues, today I want to talk about the horrendous impact that California’s lawsuit abuse problem has on our businesses, and the most crucial ways that our lawmakers failed business owners during this past legislative session.

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Workers and Small Businesses Will Pay the price for More Business Closures

Rob Lapsley
President, California Business Roundtable

Despite the governor and public health officials citing family gatherings as the main cause of the increase in COVID cases, it’s once again the workers and small business owners that is paying the price. We have repeatedly asked the governor and his administration for contact tracing data that would show how business openings have affected COVID rates and transmission. The National Retail Federation has even gone so far asfiling a public records request to obtain this critical information. Yet, just like our requests for relief from frivolous lawsuits, protection for businesses with teleworking capabilities and other efforts that could help mitigate the untold damage to the business community and economy, this request has gone unanswered.

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How Might the Supreme Court ACA Case Affect California?

Shannon McConville
Senior Research Associate at the Public Policy Institute of California.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on California v. Texas, another challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At issue is whether the ACA’s individual mandate—which requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty—is constitutional now that the 2017 tax bill has reduced the penalty to zero, and whether this, in turn, makes the ACA as a whole unconstitutional. A ruling that invalidates the ACA—or parts of it—could have far-reaching consequences for California.

Since California implemented coverage expansions under the ACA in 2014, its uninsured rate has been cut in half. Most of the coverage gains resulted from increased eligibility for the Medi-Cal program, which now insures more than 13 million Californians. More than 1 million Californians rely on Covered California, the state’s ACA insurance marketplace, for health insurance, and nearly 90% of these enrollees receive federal subsidies for coverage and care.

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In LA, Defunding the Police Experiment Begins

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

Last week the Los Angeles Police Department laid out plans to deal with a smaller budget forced on the LAPD in part by a $150 million cut as a result of the police reform movement. The risks of changes in policing strategies will be measured against citizens’ safety. While it’s too early to judge the consequences, the concerns for safety are real. 

LAPD Chief Michael Moore announced cuts in air support, robbery homicide and gang and narcotics divisions. Additionally, desk hours at police stations would be reduced, manned only during weekday hours. The police will stop investigating automobile accidents with minor injuries involved and will require accident reports to be filed online. Perhaps, most significantly, the LAPD sworn officer core will be reduced from 10,110 to 9,752. Having 10,000 officers was a goal for the police and many past mayoral administrations.

The obvious question is will people feel safe? 

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Lessons for Pollsters in the Election

Val Smith, PhD, Wayne Johnson, and Bereket Kelile
Val Smith PhD is Research Director for California based SJR Opinion Research with 35 years of State, National, and International survey research experience. Wayne Johnson is the founder and Senior Advisor to SJR Opinion Research and Bereket Kelile is Associate Director of Research.

When it comes to elections, just like sports, the spread does matter. Democratic strategist James Carville said the day before Election Day on MSNBC that “we’re going to know the winner of this election by 10 tomorrow night.”

The big surprise on Tuesday was that the race was much more competitive than we were led to believe. Several polls in the weeks ahead of the election put Biden’s lead in the high single-digits to low double-digits. An ABC/Washington Post poll showed Biden leading Trump in Wisconsin by 17 points only days before the election. Biden won Wisconsin by a razor-thin margin. The media polls never showed Maine Senator Susan Collins with a lead at any time in 2020. She won anyway.

 In fact, the much-anticipated repudiation of Trump and Trumpism was nowhere to be found, while the predicted blue wave was just a calm ripple.  While the blame will be heaped on pollsters, the real culprit may well be their media clients who dismissed any poll that didn’t fit their narrative.

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California and Its Contradictions

Joel Kotkin
Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

California remains deep blue, but the good news from this week’s elections is that it has not yet achieved complete ballot-box unanimity. California voters appear to have turned two or three house seats red, and statewide voters rejected some of the most extreme progressive proposals governing contract workers, affirmative action, expansion of rent control, and raising property taxes on commercial properties.

Overall, to be sure, California voters reaffirmed one-party rule, giving Joe Biden a two-to-one victory and maintaining the Democratic veto-proof majority in both legislative houses. The dominant urban centers, San Francisco and Los Angeles, went ever further into left field, approving radical measures such as increasing wealth taxes and using public funds to fight racism. They also overwhelmingly backed measures to raise commercial property taxes, expand rent control, and reimpose affirmative action, though these efforts failed miserably elsewhere in the state. San Francisco, where Biden won 85 percent of the vote, also voted for a new tax on companies where CEOs make too much compared with employees, and a measure to allow noncitizens to serve on public boards.

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