Is It Too Early to Talk About the 2022 Governor’s Race?

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

With the 2020 election now ended already the 2022 California election is getting attention so I may as well jump in and take a look at the governor’s race. Conjecturing about a political campaign so far in the future and basing some of the thinking on current circumstances is not political science. But as long time Democratic political consultant, the late Joe Cerrell used to say, it would be better to call the study of politics political arts. So, let’s be creative. 

One would not think that discussing the re-election prospect of a Democratic incumbent in a solid blue state who has scored around a 50% approval rating and higher in recent polls is worth pondering. But unexpected political turns because of the coronavirus, the governor’s actions as an individual at the French Laundry restaurant, and government’s response overall has clouded the picture. 

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Waiting for Chad Mayes

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)

We completely screwed up California’s election system, and all we got was one lousy independent.

After a decade of the miserable election experiment known as the top-two, the election to the state assembly of Chad Mayes, a former Republican turned independent, is the only consolation prize.

That ought to embarrass backers of the top-two system. After all, changing our elections to a two-round contest—with all the candidates on the ballot in the first round, and a run-off between the top-two in November—was supposed to advance moderation and independent candidates.

But Mayes, in winning election as an independent to a seat he had previously won as a Republican, is the only independent to win a state election in California in the first decade of top two. Indeed, Mayes made history not just in our state. He’s the only person who is not a Democrat and not a Republican to win a state election in any top-two state.

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Today’s Education Battles: Lessons From A Campaign That Saved JROTC In The Public Schools

Michael Bernick
Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris LLP, a Milken Institute Fellow and former Director of the California Employment Development Department

(Latest in a series since March on the pandemic’s employment impacts, and rebuilding America’s job base. The previous ones are here.)

Over the past eighteen months, the San Francisco Unified School District Board has decided that famed murals by Victor Arnautoff contain racist themes and need to be removed, that the names of public schools (Washington, Lincoln, Feinstein) need to be scrutinized and probably replaced, and, last month, that admission to Lowell High, the city’s renowned academic high school be based not on grades and test scores but on a lottery.

What unites all of these measures, of course, is they have nothing to do with education or the big education issues facing the district; they have been decided without true community input and with public testimony only for show; and they have been driven by the ideology of Board members, rather than needs for change expressed by numbers of teachers, administrators, parents or students. In the case of the Lowell decision, the great majority of alumni, parents and students who have weighed in the past month have been against the decision.

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Eric Garcetti’s Rocky Road

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

The political road can suddenly turn from smooth to rocky and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has lately hit a lot of bumps. That may keep him from an opportunity to move into the new Democratic administration in Washington.

Perception is an important ingredient in measuring politicians and when those around the politician are charged with wrongdoings the talk often throws a shadow on the leader—that is happening to Garcetti with the one-two punch of accusations made against former aides in the mayor’s office. These new troubles for the mayor come on top of criticism in other areas from across the political spectrum.

This week, former deputy mayor Raymond Chan was charged with conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges and lying to the FBI in a widespread corruption investigation over development projects and bribery in the City of Los Angeles.  Garcetti’s office distanced the mayor from the charges saying the mayor was not aware of the transgressions and expressing disgust over the activity. 

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California Has an Outmigration Problem

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a senior fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Recent Census Bureau data tell a story that surprises no one who keeps up with current events in California: The state is losing residents like few others. According to economist Mark J. Perry, only four other states – New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Louisiana – had a greater net outflow in 2019.

Using Census numbers, Perry ranked the top 10 inbound and outbound states, and then looked at how each “compared on a variety of measures of business climate, individual and corporate tax burdens, state fiscal health, electricity and housing costs, economic performance, and labor market dynamism.” What he found will, again, surprise no one. The top 10 outbound states have higher taxes, poor business climates, more expensive housing and energy costs, and lower economic and job growth. And they are, with the exception of Louisiana, blue states.

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California Public Advocates Office enters a “common interest agreement” with the Sierra Club to help the CPUC ban the use of natural gas

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

The residents of California are struggling as the impacts of the global pandemic have impacted their working conditions, hours and in many instances, their household incomes and financial stability. Despite having the highest poverty rate in the country, the California Public Advocates Office (CalPA) and the Sierra Club have joined forces, to continue pushing energy policies that benefit costal elites and drive up costs for low-income families. 

California, with 0.5 percent of the world’s population (40 million vs 8 billion) professes to be the leader of everything and through its dysfunctional energy policies imports more electricity than any other state– currently at 32 percent from the Northwest and Southwest and dysfunctionally HOPES that other states will be able to generate enough power to meet the demands of the state, from the shuttering of nine (9) in-state power plants in a decade, that have been providing continuous uninterruptible electricity.

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California Must Join Europe As The World’s Leading Amazon Enforcers

Jason Boyce
Jason Boyce is a former Top 200 Amazon seller, founder of the Amazon consultancy Avenue7Media, and author of the recently published book The Amazon Jungle: The Truth About Amazon, The Seller's Survival Guide for Thriving on the World's Most Perilous E-Commerce Marketplace.

California lawmakers have staked their claim as national leaders when it comes to regulating the tech industry in recent years, often demonstrating more in common with their European peers than they do those back home in reining in the power of these tech giants. Now, with the announcement of new allegations against Amazon coming from Europe, California lawmakers once again have an opportunity to send an unmistakable message and join alongside these regulators to address the unyielding power that Amazon has amassed.  

E.U. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager launched an investigation in July 2019 into whether Amazon misuses — or worse, abuses — data from its third-party marketplace sellers. What resulted was a harrowing report that Amazon takes critical data from the 800,000 sellers on its French and Germany websites, such as sales figures, page views, and shipping information, to inform decisions about what products it should sell itself.

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Is Gavin Newsom Vulnerable?

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

November was not a good mouth for Gov. Gavin Newsom.  He was ridiculed for his $350 dinner at Napa’s French Laundry while he was shutting down restaurants for the rest of us.  His children attend private school while public schools are shut down.  His employment department is sending federal bailout checks to convicted murderers.

But the worst political news for Newsom may be hidden away in the November election results for various ballot measures his allies placed on the ballot.  Almost all lost, despite in some cases Newsom’s strong support for them. 

Take Proposition 15.  This measure would have imposed a property tax “split roll”, revising Proposition 13 to raise taxes on corporations and business entities.  This has been a dream of California labor and progressive activists for decades, and 2020 seemed the perfect year to pass it.  There would be massive voter turnout, mostly Democrats rushing to the polls to vote against President Trump.  Split roll would just ride to victory on the anti-Trump coattails. 

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The Way To Reform Initiative and Referenda Is to Let More People Into the Process

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)

Joel Fox was right in this space when he predicted that legislative Democrats may offer proposals to curb the power of the initiative and referendum process. 

He was  right to say that Democrats may use phony reforms to attack a process that saw voters go against them on property taxes, ending cash bail, and regulating the gig economy.

And he was right to suggest that’s bad news—since more recent Democratic moves on the initiative process (like raising filing fees and restricting initiatives to November ballots) have limited access to the process, thus making it even more dominated by the richest people, corporations, and unions.

But the Democrats’ advancing initiative reforms isn’t just bad news. It’s a huge opportunity—to open up the conversation about direct democracy.

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Why the California Policy Center Opposes Government Unions

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is a co-founder and senior fellow at the California Policy Center

The California Policy Center, established in 2013, exists to expose and undermine the destructive power of government unions. Most Californians still don’t understand the threat these unions represent to the integrity of our democracy, the agenda of our politicians, and the solvency of our public institutions.

Government unions, sometimes also referred to as public sector unions, have very little in common with unions that represent employees in the private sector. While there is debate over what sorts of regulations should govern private sector unions, there is general agreement that they have played a vital role in protecting the rights of workers. Government unions are completely different.

Unlike private sector unions, government unions do not have to be reasonable when they negotiate pay, benefits, and work rules. In the private sector, if a union demands too much, the company can become unprofitable and go out of business. But government unions operate in the public sector, where politicians can simply increase taxes and cut services in order to pay whatever the unions demand.

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