Gov. Newsom: Cap-and-trade is not the legislature’s ATM

Carlos Galvan, Jr.
Carlos Galvan, Jr. is the Vice President and CFO of La Amapola Inc., which employs 340 Californians at four grocery markets in Los Angeles County.

Right now, small business leaders like me are just trying to survive the twin crises of the past four months. We do understand the budget dilemma our state is now facing, but when the head of California’s Environmental Protection Agency recently said, “We are going to have to make hard decisions,” he was talking about making budget cuts, not about new proposals that would make it harder to own and operate a business in California. 

Our state legislature is pushing a proposal on the Governor that would raise energy costs for California’s small businesses and consumers, which is the last thing lawmakers should be proposing. Yet, here we are. Sacramento politicians are hiding language in the budget bill that would raise utility rates and hike gas prices as much as 10%. What’s worse: they’re justifying it by saying an environmental program that is uniformly successful should be used to spin off more revenue to fill the state’s coffers. Lawmakers are now treating the state’s successful Cap-and-Trade system like an ATM.  That’s just wrong. 

Cap-and-trade is California’s historic law designed to reduce our carbon footprint. And it’s working. We’re curbing emissions and reaching environmental goals well ahead of deadlines. Why mess with this important success?

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The Protests

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

Bill and Sherry debate the pace and reality of change demanded by protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police.  They also discuss one of the most significant developments in American politics, the emergence of a strong new generation of African American women mayors. And they look at the controversy over increasing the Los Angeles Police Department budget.

Inside Golden State Politics is here.


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The Shifting Adam Schiff and the Battle to “Defund or Defend” the Police

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

Congressman Adam Schiff announced over the weekend that he is pulling his endorsement from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey in her re-election bid. Schiff joins Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti, another early Lacey endorser, who intimated in an interview that, “it may be time” for a change in leadership in the D.A.’s office. 

The consequence of the L.A. district attorney race has been spelled out in numerous places, with Lacey challenged by George Gascón, the former San Francisco District Attorney, and darling of the progressive movement for justice reform. 

Seeing some establishment politicians attempt to jump in front of the parade of a hot issue is not necessarily a sign that this debate over policing and law enforcement is moving solidly in one direction. 

There may be more shifting back and forth in the D.A.’s race and the broader question of police reforms, police defunding and police responsibilities ahead because the police are starting to speak up and defend their profession. 

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Book Review: Jerry Brown, The Man Who Would be President, or a Monk

Bill Boyarsky
Columnist for LA Observed and former reporter, editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times

Jim Newton’s “Man of Tomorrow: The Relentless Life of Jerry Brown,” explores in unparalleled detail the rich, varied and complex spiritual forces that have shaped the former governor and made him such a challenging political leader.  

Newton is editor of Blueprint, the public policy magazine of UÇLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a faculty member there.  He was my colleague at the Los Angeles Times where he was a reporter and a top editor. And he is the author of biographies of Chief Justice Earl Warren and President Dwight Eisenhower.

There is much to be learned from his book.  Even though I know the Brown family, I got new insights from Newton about the former governor’s relationship with his parents, his friendship with Linda Rondstadt, and his long courtship and marriage to his wife Anne Gust, who was a Gap executive. Newton offers revealing details of Brown’s governorship and unsuccessful presidential campaigns and mixes in important California history. 

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Possible ballot measures from the Legislature for this November’s election

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

The Legislature by a 2/3 majority vote (and no gubernatorial action) can place measures on the statewide ballot. The Elections Code, absent an amendment, requires the Legislature to do so by this Thursday, June 25. The following constitutional amendments are currently active: 

ACA 4 (Mullin) Elections: Voting Age – amended in Senate on June 20; set for hearing in Senate Elections & CA on June 23 (Allows 17 year old to vote in primary or special elections before next general election if person will 18 by time of general election.) 

ACA 5 (Weber) Government Preferences – set for hearing in Senate Appropriations on June 23 (Repeals Proposition 209 restrictions on Affirmative Action) 

ACA 6 (McCarty) Elections: Disqualification of Electors – set for hearing in Senate Appropriations on June 23 (Restoration of voting rights for those who have finished prison term.) 

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The Vacancy Tax: A Rush to Ballot

Jack Humphreville
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler

Without any hearings, the City Council voted to ask the City Attorney to draft a ballot measure to place a vacancy tax on the November ballot.

This ballot measure will need to be approved by the City Council not later than July 1. 

However, the City Council has not held any hearings on this highly complex ballot measure which will have a major impact on the housing market.  Furthermore, the sponsors, led by Mike Bonin (photo above), are relying on a $75,000 report prepared for the Revenue Generation Commission (of which I was a member) by a political consulting firm that did not have a very good grasp of the complexities of the residential and commercial real estate markets, especially the Los Angeles market and its many submarkets.  The City Council’s lack of knowledge was also clearly evident in its 90-minute discussion of the vacancy tax.  

Rather, the rush to the ballot is fueled by the prospect of over $125 million of new revenue that will be directed to affordable housing and the homeless.  This will require two-thirds of the voters to approve this measure. 

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On historical figures and statues, where do we draw the line?

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

Christopher Columbus’ statue is leaving the state capitol. John Sutter’s statue, on whose land the Gold Rush began, has disappeared from Sacramento hospital grounds. Fort Bragg might lose its name. All this is being done in the name of not glorifying undesirable aspects of American history. The appropriate question to ask is where do we draw the line? 

Statutes are coming down and name changes are contemplated at a furious rate. Exactly who decides these changes and how are the decisions made? 

Should we review the history of all the people who were honored with a street name in early San Francisco to see if they meet present day standards and are in need of change? Some statues in jeopardy due to today’s passions have a history that is not totally up or down according to today’s thinking but that seems to matter little to those who want to reassess history.

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California’s “New York State of Mind” Approach to Housing

Jeff Montejano
CEO, Building Industry Association of Southern California

New York and California are two great states that are uniquely different today, but that may soon change.

California is preparing to implement a new set of burdensome regulations, which will dramatically change the future of housing construction in neighborhoods throughout the state by adding high-density housing and creating a greater dependence on mass transit (buses and trains) for daily commuters. If you still prefer your car, you’re going to pay more.

Best described as imposing a “New York State of Mind” approach to housing, these new regulations will levy a fee on new home construction as part of an effort to compel more compact and expensive high-density housing similar to what you would find in New York City.

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The Disparate Impact of California Climate Policies

Ronald Stein
Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California

To the detriment of those that can least afford expensive energy, California climate policies have driven up the cost of electricity and fuels to be among the highest in the country. The cost burdens of those policies may be fueling (no pun intended) the basis of a rebellion as the state’s climate policies discriminate against minority and low-income consumers.

Franklin Roosevelt brought affordable electricity to rural America and oversaw construction of massive dams that provided cheap electricity to every corner of America. It was FDR, who in 1932 proclaimed that “electricity is no longer a luxury; it is a definite necessity.”

In California, stringent and deceptive climate policies, and intermittent electricity from low power density renewables, are expensive to consumers. The report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA)  shows that both have contributed to household users paying 50% more, and industrial users paying more than 100% more than the national average for electricity.

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Are Latinos being ignored in the debate over police brutality?

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

Where have Latinos gone in the raging controversy over police misconduct? Why is the issue usually framed in terms of black and white ethnicities? Bill and Sherry tackle the subject against a backdrop of police killings of African American men.  They also examine the U.S. Supreme Court decision on employment rights of the LGBTQ community and disagree over the quality of Joe Biden’s recent big speech.
Inside Golden State Politics podcast is here.
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