There Are Many Reasons to VOTE NO on Proposition 15

Roderick Wright
Roderick Wright, is a former member of the California State Senate and Assembly. He developed affordable housing with the Inner-City Housing Corporation. He worked in the Planning Department of the City of Los Angeles. He also worked at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Mr. Wright has been a rental property owner for over 40 years and is also a member of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners.

Proposition 15 is on this November’s ballot, and if passed,  would repeal portions of the famous 1978, Proposition 13 which altered the way property taxes are collected in California.  Before Proposition 13, there was an asymmetrical relationship between income and property taxes. Taxes could increase on your property, while your income did not, because the tax assessment on property was based on the current and ever-increasing market value of the property.  This was particularly troubling for senior citizens who may have been on fixed incomes.  

Before the passage of Proposition 13, many senior citizens lost or were forced to sell their homes because they could no longer afford to pay their property taxes.  Seniors were seeing their property taxes increase year after year without limits, while their retirement incomes remained flat.  In many cases property taxes exceeded their ability to pay and then forcing some to lose their homes.  During this period, local governments, school districts and special districts could simply increase property taxes by a simple majority vote of the elected body.  Proposition 13 also changed all of that. 

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Why the 2020 Election Will be Decided in Suburbia

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

American politics is increasingly about dueling geographies. Democrats have become the party of the nation’s cities, while the Republican Party finds its base in rural, small town and low-density exurban America, places of less extreme class divisions than the big cities, but also with less diversity and a smaller share of the population.

Yet the political fulcrum of 2020 won’t be found in these competing universes — but in suburbia.

Since 2012, suburbs and exurbs account for about 90% of all metropolitan-area growth. Home to over 80% of residents of the nation’s 53 largest metro areas, the suburbs have nearly half of all voters. Florida has long been the ultimate swing state. As one political analyst put it: “Suburbs are the new Florida.”

In recent years, both cities and rural areas have become more politically monolithic. In 2008, Barack Obama won nearly one quarter of the country’s non-metro counties. Eight years later, Hillary Clinton won barely 10%.

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Best businesses to support when trying to reduce your carbon footprint in California

Pippa Strickland
Environmental scientist, product expert, and an adventure-style traveler originally from Australia.

California has a history of being at the forefront of environmental movements, with many businesses continuing this tradition today through their sustainable practices. Whether it’s the materials selected to manufacture their products, a reduction in carbon emissions or a “green” ethos in their businesses practices, there’s a diversity of ways they are attracting consumers who are committed to making sustainable choices. So if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint in California, here are six eco-conscious businesses to consider.

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Death Throes for AB 5?

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

The exemption arrows have found their mark in the Achilles heel of AB 5, the controversial and highly contested worker classification law. On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2257 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez adding many more exemptions to the law that now total over 100. 

Ironically, it was Gonzalez who created AB 5 with the backing of the California Federation of Labor and who powered it through the legislature and into law. With AB 2257 and the added exemptions, Gonzalez is trying to fix the law and it keep it alive. However, the new exemptions may be the lead chorus of a death rattle for the law that would reach a crescendo on November 3 if Proposition 22 passes taking Uber, Lyft and other app-driven delivery services out from under AB 5. The original law was constructed with Uber and Lyft specifically in mind.

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Meditating on Prop 13 With the Tibetan Buddhists in Howard Jarvis’ House

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)

Want to stop worrying so much about the future of California? Go and say a prayer at Howard Jarvis’ house.

No historic plaques mark the five-bedroom home at 515 N. Crescent Heights Boulevard, which sits between West Hollywood and L.A.’s Miracle Mile. But this is where the famed anti-tax activist Jarvis lived, held meetings with Gov. Jerry Brown and other California players, and organized Proposition 13, 1978’s tax-limiting ballot initiative that still dominates California politics. 

Another fall fight over Prop 13 is underway. The November ballot’s Proposition 15 proposes to lift Prop 13 caps on taxing commercial properties, thus creating—depending on whom you ask—either billions of dollars for education or new burdens for businesses. So, recently, I went over to check on the historic house—and got an unexpected lesson about how California and its homes keep changing, even if its initiative politics never do.

Jarvis’ undistinguished gray house is now Nechung Dharmapala, L.A.’s  Tibetan Buddhist Center. The home has been painted a distinguished shade of orange associated with Buddhism. Above the front windows, two deer surround a wheel representing the Dharma, and a small stupa—a hemispheric structure representing the enlightened mind—rests outside the front door. 

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California Likely Voters and the Coming Election

Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Alyssa Dykman, and Rachel Lawler
Mark Baldassare is the President and Chief Executive Officer of PPIC; Dean Bonner is an Associate Survey Director and Research Fellow at PPIC; and Alyssa Dykman and Rachel Lawler are both Research Associates at PPIC.

(Editor’s Note: The following fact sheet was prepared by the Public Policy Institute of California in preparation for the coming election.  Additional PPIC research related to the November election can be found on the PPIC 2020 Election page.)

California’s Likely Voters

    • Eight in ten are registered to vote; independent registration continues to increase.
      As of July 2020, 20.9 million of California’s 25.1 million eligible adults were registered to vote. At 83% of eligible adults, this is an increase from the registration rate in July 2016 (73%), the year of the last presidential election. The share of registered voters who are Democrats (46.3%) has increased from 2016 (45.1%), while the share of Republicans (24%) has declined (27.1% in 2016). At the same time, the share of voters who say they are independent (also known as “decline to state” or “no party preference”) has been increasing and is now 24%, up from 23.3% in 2016.
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Why Are We Waiting Like This?

Charles Crumpley
Editor and Publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

We’ve all been sitting in our homes for five months now. We’re waiting for a vaccine. Many businesses are operating at a low level or not operating at all, waiting for a vaccine. Movie theaters are closed, in-person meetings aren’t being held, dine-in sections at restaurants are roped off, and air travel has been squeezed down to 1950s level. All because we’re waiting for a vaccine.

Let’s think for a minute. Shouldn’t we do more than just wait?

Surely we can be more creative. We are perfectly capable of coming up with additional ways to be safe from the coronavirus. Instead of just waiting for the magic bullet of a vaccine, why can’t we come up a suite of methods that would reduce risk to the point where we feel comfortable about resuming our normal lives, or something close to normal?  We are, after all, Americans. Creativity and innovation are what we do.

I mean, we’ve all learned to live with masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer. That’s a great start. But why stop there?

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Happy Labor Day!

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

The editors at Fox and Hounds Daily wish you a safe and joyous celebration of the Labor Day holiday.

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COVID-19 Doesn’t Slow PAGA Lawsuits

Tom Manzo
Founder of the California Business and Industrial Alliance

If crisis-weary Californians were looking for profiles in courage, they didn’t find many in the state’s “chaotic” final day of the legislative session. Most disappointing is the legislature’s inability to provide basic relief for business owners under attack from frivolous lawsuits. 

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic shut down California, trial attorneys didn’t take a break. Since March, more than 3,000 Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits have been filed–many against “front line” medical businesses, and others against operators who faced a state-mandated shutdown. (A trade group I founded, CABIA, wrote a letter to the Governor during the pandemic and called for a moratorium on PAGA; the letter drew a reply from the Cal Labor Federation.)     

SB-729, sponsored by Senator Anthony Portantino, offered a modest and common-sense adjustment to PAGA, consistent with the present work from home environment. The bill would “prohibit an employee from recovering civil penalties from an employer under the act for violations of provisions requiring the employer to provide meal and rest breaks, if the employee engaged in remote work as specified.” 

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It’s Time to Get Serious About Solar

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Not long ago a good-news story on solar was presented on these pages.  It reported how California policy-makers and energy regulators had approved some new-home developments using offsite solar systems instead of individual rooftop panels – a great savings for new and future homebuyers and an alternative to the state’s mandate of solar on individual roofs.

Naturally, this was a good idea, not only from the standpoint of ushering renewable energy into everyday living in the state but in promoting lower-cost affordable housing.  And, with those benefits came the possibility of having more, multiple solar power sites in faraway places, like commercial and school rooftops.  

Now, we know how easy it is to store unused solar power.  Simple batteries perform the task – photovoltaic panels generate the power by day and use of on-site batteries supply what’s needed at night.  If someone needs more than the battery’s capacity they simply roll over to the local utility and take it from them.

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