How long will Newsom have one-man rule?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California has been a one-party state for the last decade, with Democratic governors and supermajorities in both legislative houses doing pretty much as they pleased without paying any attention to the relative handful of Republican legislators.

However, one-party rule gave way to one-man rule eight months ago when Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus empowering himself to govern by decree and suspend any laws that stood in his way.

Democratic legislators were fully complicit, even suspending their proceedings and abandoning Sacramento for months. Eventually, however, even they chafed a bit at Newsom’s seeming endless string of emergency orders.

In effect, some of those orders essentially made new law and while Democratic lawmakers stood by, two Republican legislators, Kevin Kiley and James Gallagher, filed suit, alleging that Newsom had gone too far.

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Taxing Big Tech?

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

If the Proposition 15 commercial property tax increase remains behind and ultimately is rejected when all votes have been tabulated, pro-taxers in the legislature will look for other avenues to increase revenue. One such approach might be taxing big tech, which has weathered the pandemic storm better than most industries. Don’t be surprised if other members of the California business community do not rally to big tech’s defense. 

A number of technological companies helped fund the Yes on 15 campaign, most notably, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funded by profits from Facebook and other tech sites under the Facebook/Zuckerberg umbrella. 

Many California business leaders opposed to Proposition 15 were not happy with the tech contributions to the Yes side. Upset that big tech companies helped fund an initiative that would have, in the eyes of many in the business community, damage the state’s economy and particularly put unreasonable burdens on small businesses, they have expressed little sympathy for the tech sector if the tax raisers look their way. 

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Despite obituaries being drafted “polling” is not dead.

Adam Rosenblatt
President, Core Decision Analytics (CODA).

Many national pollsters and research organizations are bound to be thrown under the Biden Bus or hit by the Trump Train – and some for good reasons. There’s still much we don’t know, so it’s too soon for a deep dive on better and worse methodologies, though worth mentioning, predictions made in California seem to have fared better, thanks in particular to the availability of high-quality voter file data. It’s reasonable to assume that some repeated mistakes made previously – while others may have overcorrected and inadvertently created new errors when overcompensating. It’s also likely that new techniques or innovations embraced invited new biases.

Rather than veer off into academic discourses that might interest some, but will bore most, it’s more valuable to consider that polling is both a science and an art.  

Fundamentally, polling is conducted either TO SHOW or TO KNOW. 

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NY Times Says CA “Sorely Needs Revenue.” An Analysis

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

A recent article in the New York Times about election results in California included the following sentence (underline added by me): “A measure that would have raised taxes on commercial landlords to raise billions for a state that sorely needs revenue also seemed on track for defeat.” The reporters did not provide support for their assertion — which they expressed as a fact — that California “sorely needs revenue.” They should do so. Meanwhile, here are six relevant facts (sources in parentheses):

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Home State Advantage: What a Vice President Kamala Harris means for California

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Goodbye, state of resistance. Hello, state of influence. 

California’s status has shifted dramatically with the election of Joe Biden as the next president. The reasons are both political — deep blue California will have more inroads to a White House controlled by Democrats — and personal: For just the second time in American history, a Californian will serve as vice president. 

Kamala Harris — California’s junior senator and former state attorney general — made history this week when American voters chose Biden to replace Republican President Donald Trump. She’ll become the first vice president who is a woman, a woman of color and a California Democrat.

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California Legislature Rebuked by Voters

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

Measured against a number of statewide ballot propositions, the California legislature apparently has a different vision on governing the state than the people they serve. Importantly, two measures that challenged legislative actions intended to lead policy change across the nation were upended by voters.

A couple of ballot questions placed on the ballot by the legislature were turned down by the voters including the high-profile attempt to repeal the affirmative action ban in California with Proposition 16. The other measure didn’t register as much buzz, but Proposition 18 would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote under certain circumstances. Voters did not embrace the idea.

More telling was the rejection of two legislative actions that garnered a lot of attention and in the process probably altered the path of national policy change. The legislature, following the lead of the majority party’s supporters in the labor camp, passed AB 5 to set the standards for worker classification. The goal was to bring independent contractors under the state labor law umbrella and offer workers more benefits. At the same time, unions looked at an opportunity to gain new members.

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Killing the Golden Goose

Justin Adams, Ph.D.
President and Chief Economist of Encina Advisors, LLC, a Davis-based economics research and analysis firm.

“I’m a business person. I don’t need folks to start lecturing me on regulations and costs of doing business.” – Governor Gavin Newsom while addressing the Bay Area Council in 2019

The California economy is a sick patient, having been infected with Covid-19 back in March. While currently recovering from its recession, the economy is suffering from a high fever in the form of double-digit unemployment at 11 percent. It also is noticeably weaker. Yelp reports that over 39,000 California businesses on its site have closed due to the pandemic, and roughly half of these have closed permanently. The UCLA Anderson Forecast projects that a full recovery will not come before the end of 2022.

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California Voters Reject Rent Control – Again

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Some affordable housing advocates just don’t get it.  They keep trying to convince state voters that rent control is a good thing.  It’s not.  And a strong majority of Californians agree. 

It’s particularly shameful that strong backing for Proposition 21 – this year’s rent control initiative – came from those in the state legislature who have been wringing their hands lately about California’s affordable housing crisis – a crisis of inadequate supply, not runaway rents.  They should know better.  Regrettably, they don’t.

They fail to recognize that rent control is a form of taxation.  And, they fail to accept a basic tenet of economics:  the more you tax a product the less of that product you get – not a good policy to get more housing built.

They also fail to regard the many other housing-hostile impacts of government’s deliberate intrusion into private housing markets through rent control.  For example, do they know that rent control leads to substandard housing?  

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Voters help big business override California lawmakers

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Jeff Clayton remembers the day, two years ago, when California passed a law that would put his industry out of business in the state. The ban on money bail — which Democrats advanced saying it would bring more fairness in the criminal justice system — would devastate companies in the American Bail Coalition that Clayton heads.

He phoned a political consultant in Sacramento, who told him: “You guys are the plastic bag guys now,” Clayton recalled.

Translation: If you want your industry to survive in California, do what plastic companies did after the state outlawed single-use plastic bags. Put up millions of dollars to ask voters to overturn the law on the ballot. 

So bail companies spent $11 million on a campaign to overturn California’s ban on cash bail — a gamble that paid off this week when voters defeated Proposition 25

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California And The Nation: Record Turnouts, Tight Races

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

Muddle-headed from sleep deprivation, we try to make sense  of the ongoing election chaos. We also look at California races.

Inside Golden State Politics podcast.

Nancy Boyarsky is the producer and director of Inside Golden State Politics.

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