Bills Reaching Governor Gavin Newsom’s Desk

With the conclusion of the 2021 Legislative Session on September 10, Governor Gavin Newsom will be considering just over 800 bills. When a bill is passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor, there are three actions that can occur:

(1) sign the bill into law;

(2) veto the bill; or

(3) allow the bill to become law without a signature (“pocket signature”).

The options available to the Governor can be found in Section 10 of Article IV of the California Constitution.

Signature by the Governor

This year, Governor Newsom has until October 10 to act on the bills sent to his Desk. When the Governor approves a bill, he signs it, dates it and deposits it with the Secretary of State. This copy is the official record and law of the state. The Secretary of State (in consultation with the Governor’s Office) assigns the bill a number known as the “chapter number.”

The bills are numbered consecutively in the order in which they are received and the resulting sequence is presumed to be the order in which the bills were approved by the Governor. There is only one sequence of chapter numbers maintained for each year of the regular session of the Legislature. As a result, the numbers do not continue in the second year of the Session. In addition, a separate set of chapter numbers is maintained for each special session.

Veto by the Governor

When the Governor vetoes a bill, he returns it with his objections to the bill to the house of origin. The house of origin may consider the veto immediately or place it on the “unfinished business file.” The Legislature has 60 calendar days, with days in joint recess excluded, to act upon the vetoed bill. If no action has been taken during this time, then the measure is removed from the file and the veto is effective. Veto overrides are rare. The Legislature has not overridden a Governor’s veto since 1979.

Allowed to Become Law without the Governor’s Signature

California has a “pocket signature” rule. If the Governor does not act on the measure within the allotted time, then the bill becomes law without his or her signature. This rarely occurs. Governor Brown, for example, only did this with two or three bills during his second stint as governor.

Historical Look at How Many Bills Get to the Governor’s Desk

Prior to the Legislature imposing bill limits in both houses beginning in the 1990s, a typical legislative year resulted in a low of 850 bills and a high of over 2,100 bills being sent to the Governor’s Desk for final consideration. Looking back of the last twenty years and prior four Governors, we have the following statistics:

  • During Governor Wilson’s 8 years in office, between 1,050 – 1,700 bills were sent to him annually, and he vetoed between 8% – 24% of them
  • During Governor Davis’ 5 years in office, between 950 – 1,450 bills were sent to him annually, and he vetoed between 6% – 25% of them
  • During Governor Schwarzenegger’s 7 years in office, between 900 – 1,250 bills were sent to him annually, and he vetoed between 22% – 35% of them
  • During Governor Brown’s (second) 8 years in office, between 850 – 1,200 bills were sent to him annually, and he vetoed between 10% – 15% of them

Governor Newsom’s Bill Actions

The 2021 Legislative Session is the third legislative year of Governor Newsom’s time in office. The following are his statistics:

  • During Governor Newsom’s first year in office, just over 1,000 bills were sent to him, and he vetoed 16.5% of them
  • During Governor Newsom’s second year in office, when 9 weeks of Session were lost and the total number of introduced bills to be considered were reduced by 76%, just over 425 bills were sent to him, and he vetoed 13% of them
  • During Governor Newsom’s third year in office, also impacted by the pandemic, just over 800 bills have been sent to him. So far, he has signed all 159 bills sent to his Desk. He has about 300 bills already pending and close to 400 additional measures headed his way from the final week of Session.

On October 11, we will have a determination of how many bills he signs and vetoes.

Chris Micheli is a lobbyist with Aprea & Micheli, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

This article was originally published by the California Globe.

COVID in Schools: California To Clarify Independent Study Law

Students who are sidelined by the delta variant of COVID-19 might be able to take classes via independent study during quarantine, state officials confirmed.

In addition, school districts will not lose state funding over student absences in quarantine, as they would under normal circumstances, the state said Friday.

“The districts will get reimbursed,” Alex Stack, a spokesperson for Gov. Gavin Newsom, said Friday.

Stack’s comments come as state lawmakers seek to introduce amendments to clarify Assembly Bill 130, passed over the summer. The bill mandates that every school offer a semester-long or year-long online independent study option in case parents want to keep their children home for virus safety reasons. …

Click here to read the full article from the Mercury News.

The Real Reasons Newsom Has Failed All Californians

While acknowledging that the outcome of the ongoing Newsom recall voting is anybody’s guess, it is worthwhile to imagine life in California if Newsom survives the recall and goes on to win reelection next year. Because the nonpartisan and growing opposition to Newsom and what he represents is not founded in “Trumpism,” nor is it the product of “out-of-state Republicans.”

The Newsom recall effort is a reaction, shared by independents and moderate Democrats, that California’s institutions are failing. Even life-long progressives are horrified by the appalling negligence and corruption that now defines governance in California. Examples of this are everywhere.

One may begin by imagining a future of endless fire seasons, where the air is so filthy that on any given summer day more than half the state’s residents can’t venture outdoors. Does anyone think announcing an electric car mandate will solve this problem, or that hiring state agencies to thin the forests will ever get the job done? There are solutions. Bring the timber industry back to the scale it operated at in the 1990s, and let them thin the forests and maintain the fire breaks, fire roads and transmission line corridors while supplying affordable lumber to Californians. That used to work fine, and with what we’ve since learned about forest management, would solve the problem and improve forest ecosystems.

Instead the policy, to be continued, is to make it impossible for property owners to ignite controlled burns or mechanically thin the undergrowth on their land, thanks to a tyrannical, Byzantine permit process that only the very wealthy and preternaturally patient applicant could ever navigate. Then once these residents are burned out of their homes, victims of the predictable cataclysms that are the result of thirty years of fire suppression, they’re subjected to a permit process to rebuild that is equally tyrannical, ensuring that very few of them ever get to return to the land they love.

And what of these electric cars that supposedly, as they proliferate, will suppress forest fires in lieu of responsible forest management? There’s nothing wrong with providing incentives to develop EV technology. But fossil fuel is still powering over 80 percent of California’s economy. Against that hard reality, the energy policies of the Newsom administration nonetheless intend to reduce CO2 emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Californians need to confront what it’s going to take to achieve this goal.

To cut CO2 emissions this much in just 8 more years means absolutely nothing that consumes energy is going to get built. The state will mandate urban densification at all costs. Suburbs will be subject to “infill.” New homes will be located in “transit villages.” Housing will be permitted that doesn’t include space for parking. Codes will be written to mandate smaller windows so structures won’t require as much energy to heat or cool, and light switches that shut off if their motion sensors think you’ve left the room. Natural gas hookups will be forbidden in new housing as California’s natural gas infrastructure is slowly dismantled, and any sort of suburban expansion on open land will be prohibited. Does this sound inviting?

It isn’t as if any major emerging nation – from China to India to Indonesia to Pakistan to Brazil or Nigeria – is going to bother with any of this expensive, extremist impracticality. They need energy, and they’re going to generate it by any means necessary.

If California’s enlightened policymakers really intended to set an example to the world, they would pursue an all-of-the-above strategy with energy development, and do it in a manner that is as efficient and clean and cost-effective as possible. That would be genuine altruism. Don’t hold your breath. Instead, the political machine represented by Newsom is not only shutting down natural gas power plants, they’re shutting down California’s only nuclear power plant, and demolishing hydroelectric dams. Expect ongoing power outages and electric power that costs several times more than it could in a rational market. Expect mandated appliances that are so energy and water efficient that they are hard to operate, break down often, require software “updates,” are leased instead of owned, and do a poor job.

Where there’s not much affordable energy, don’t expect much more water, either. California’s water infrastructure has been neglected for the past forty years, and a system that was designed for 20 million people is strained to the breaking point to serve 40 million residents. But if you want to build desalination plants and waste water treatment plants, you’ll need energy to operate them. And if you want to build off-stream reservoirs or recharge aquifers during wet winters, in order to pump water through the aqueducts to farms and cities during the dry years, you’re going to need energy. A lot of it. You’ll need energy to build and upgrade the system, then you’ll need energy to run the pumps. And that will jeopardize achieving the 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. So it will not happen under a Newsom regime.

Instead expect water rationing at a level of draconian enforcement that will even surprise the fanatics. Californians could have more water, but not under the Newsom political machine. This isn’t just no more lawns, it’s no more trees or hedges. No more showers under a flow sufficient to wash the shampoo out of long hair. No more washing machines that effectively clean clothes without damaging them. As for farmers, kiss your land goodbye. Sell it while you still can to hedge funds that will build solar farms. Consumers? Kiss your affordable food goodbye. No more row crops, no more fruit. Expect to pay twice as much for vegetables. And as for California’s dairy industry? It depends on water guzzling alfalfa to feed the cows, so goodbye cows. No more affordable milk. No more affordable cheese.

Newsom’s California will cram down every public investment in infrastructure, whether it’s energy, water, or transportation. He’ll get cover from climate change activists whose passions are divorced from quantitative reality. He’ll also get cover from orthodox libertarians and even many anti-tax activists, who either disapprove of any government spending on infrastructure, or, somewhat more justifiably, distrust the government’s ability to complete any public works project at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable period of time. It’s not like they don’t have a point.

It used to be that public sector corruption, deplorable though it was, would at least get you something good in return. You might spend twice as much taxpayer money as might actually be necessary, but at the end of it all, there would be a tangible benefit to taxpayers. The much criticized “Big Dig” in Boston is a good example. It took years longer and cost billions more than promised, but when it was done, people could get from downtown Boston to Logan Intl. in 15 minutes, instead of an hour and a half. But we don’t even have that level of competence any more.

And then there are the homeless. If laws prohibiting vagrancy, petty theft, intoxication, and sale of hard drugs could be enforced again, the deterrent effect would mean, overnight, that half California’s homeless would suddenly find find shelter with friends and family. The rest of them could be housed in inexpensive barracks in inexpensive parts of California’s cities. The billions of dollars saved could be used to help them. But that would disrupt the profits of the Homeless Industrial Complex. So in Newsom’s California, expect to see more chaos on our streets, as countless lives are allowed to be destroyed under the pretext of “compassion” and “liberty.”

When it comes to the basic needs of Californians, water, energy, food, shelter, transportation, and safety, the Newsom machine has failed completely. A future with Newsom and his people in charge would mean soaking taxpayers for additional billions – ok, tens of billions – on “affordable housing” and “permanent supportive housing,” while the cost of housing would remain prohibitive. They’d continue to build these boondoggles at a cost, well documented, of over 500,000 per unit, along with “innovative tiny homes,” only 64 square feet in size, at a total project cost of over $200,000 per unit.

Step back a moment and think about this. Even in California, a crew of honest tradesmen could go buy a 120 square foot shed at Home Depot for around $5,000, and for another $20,000, if not much less, they could transport it, put it on a foundation, install plumbing, electric hookups, a bathroom and kitchenette, hook it up to the utility grid and someone could move in. But no. These “tiny homes,” half that size, cost ten times that much, and we’re supposed to be thrilled.

This is what out-of-control corruption looks like. This is the true face of California’s “progressive” movement. It is a movement whose public rhetoric comes from smarmy politicians like Gavin Newsom and passionate grassroots activists, but whose financial and political power rests in the hands of monopolistic corporations and entrenched government bureaucracies.

Why not deregulate housing, invest in enabling infrastructure, and allow more construction on raw land on the perimeter of existing cities and along freeway corridors? Why not reduce the excessive building fees and eliminate unnecessary, crippling delays in getting projects approved? Why not quarry aggregate, mine lithium, extract natural gas, and log and mill timber here in California? These steps would take hundreds of thousands of dollars off the price of a new home. But they would also undermine the power of the special interests that profit from scarcity.

This is life in Newsom’s California. This is the future he offers you. Anybody would be better. If you don’t like Republicans, vote for Paffrath, who is a Democrat with bold new ideas. At his political core, Gavin Newsom represents corporate corruption. A machine that spews progressive rhetoric on the topics of climate change, race, and gender while completely failing to meet the basic needs of every Californian regardless of where they come from or what they believe.

This article originally appeared on the website of the California Globe.

No More Government Unions?

Few states have been as profoundly shaped by their public-sector unions as California. Government labor groups there elect their own bosses and number among the biggest spenders on ballot campaigns to raise taxes and expand government. They have engineered some of the richest retirement benefits in the public sector—at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars in public debt.

But one California businessman thinks that he can change all that. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper has filed a petition with the California attorney general’s office for a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to outlaw public-sector unions. “Public employment costs have exploded, including taxpayer-funded pensions and lifetime health benefits not enjoyed by employees in the private sector,” the petition reads. “Worse yet, some public employee unions have used their money and power to protect bad employees engaged in unspeakable misconduct and others who have completely failed at their jobs.”

Draper faces a strenuous uphill battle. He must collect close to 1 million signatures to qualify an amendment to the state constitution for the ballot—a path likely to be made more difficult by union-friendly election officials, who will throw obstacles in his way. If he succeeds, he’ll then face an election against the most well-heeled opponents: Golden State public-sector unions spend hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle, and they’ll empty their coffers to defeat him.

Still, the politics of California are undergoing upheaval, as increasingly disgruntled voters consider recalling Governor Gavin Newsom, even as his closest allies, the public-sector unions, pour in money to help him stay in office. A recall of Newsom in the special election on September 14 would panic government union leaders and dramatically improve Draper’s odds of success.

Draper has long been critical of the direction of politics in his state. He made several attempts to put a question on the ballot to split California into several states in order to decentralize power and break the hold of special interests. That quixotic effort fell short in 2013, when he failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. But in 2018, he gathered enough names for a proposal to carve California up into three states. Though opponents derided the idea as “wacky,” they raised $10 million to ensure its defeat. Meantime, Draper committed more than $2 million of his own money to get the initiative on the ballot, only to have the state supreme court order it removed. “Apparently, the insiders are in cahoots and the establishment doesn’t want to find out how many people don’t like the way California is being governed,” Draper said then. “They are afraid to know the answer as to whether we need a fresh start here in California.”

Draper seems ready to undertake a massive effort against the state’s public-sector unions. A founding partner of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he’s made his money by investing in the likes of Skype and Tesla and has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1.5 billion. He’s passionate about what he calls the decline of California and the role of public unions in the state’s politics. “Union bosses have run our state in the shadows for about 50 years. They punish candidates who don’t do their bidding for them. There is even evidence that they manipulate the courts,” he wrote in a recent article. “Union bosses have taken California schools from the top to the bottom, they have made it so that there are fewer jobs, more homeless, and people are fleeing the state to work. They have brought California quality of life from 1st to 50th.”

Unions have plenty of allies in state government in their efforts to thwart Draper. In 2012, for instance, Chuck Reed, a reform-minded Democratic mayor of San Jose, gathered enough signatures to place a referendum on the state ballot to allow adjustments to public-sector pensions and retiree health benefits. But then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, tasked with the job of writing a description of the initiative for voters, titled it misleadingly as a proposal that “Reduces pensions for public employees” and added several descriptions that mischaracterized the act. The Modesto Bee editorialized that her representation “read like talking points taken straight from a public employee union boss’ campaign handbook.” Disheartened, supporters withdrew the initiative.

More recently, the unions’ allies in state government have stepped in to protect them from membership losses in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that government workers cannot be compelled to remain in a union. In response, state government entities have given unions the power to determine when and how members can resign their membership, and labor leaders have thrown up numerous obstacles. A recent class-action lawsuit by a University of California employee, filed with the help of the National Right to Work Foundation, charges that the school allows the University Professional and Technical Employees union to impose unreasonable conditions on employees looking to leave the group, including requirements that the union creates without informing employees when they file to resign.

Despite all these obstacles, Californians may be ready for dramatic change. Led by unions, Newsom supporters have poured $68.4 million into keeping him in office, compared with just $9.5 million being spent by opponents. Among Newsom’s biggest backers are the California Teachers Association, which has contributed $1.8 million, the state’s prison guard union ($1.75 million), and several locals of the Service Employees International union, which have collectively given $4 million. Even so, polls show nearly half of voters saying that they’ll vote for recall.

When voters are angry, all the union money in the world may not be enough. Just how angry are California voters? We’ll find out soon.

Steven Malanga is the senior editor of City Journal and the George M. Yeager Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online.

California Legislators Won’t Extend Eviction Ban

California’s eviction protections will almost certainly not be extended once they expire after Sept. 30, the state Assembly Housing chairperson said today.

The legislative session ends Friday, so that’s the last day that lawmakers could push off that deadline. But the political appetite just isn’t there to act, according to David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who spearheaded the previous efforts to stall the displacement of tenants amid the pandemic.

“I believed our eviction protections for tenants should be extended beyond September 30. The delta variant and the end of many unemployment benefits make that even more urgent,” Chiu told CalMatters. “Unfortunately, some of my colleagues feel differently, and there’s not enough consensus for that.”

The current round of eviction protections were extended on June 25, just days before they were set to expire. At that point, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said he hoped the economy would be in full swing so that another moratorium would not be necessary. Rendon’s office declined to comment on the absence of another extension.

“The Legislature has kind of set a trap for itself because it won’t be in session when that expires,” said Brian Augusta, legislative advocate for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, who has been lobbying for stronger protections throughout the pandemic. “So, that means, what we see is what we get.” …

Click here to read the full article from CalMatters.org

California Bungled $316M From Feds Earmarked for the Homeless

After collecting $316 million from the federal CARES Act to house homeless people during the Covid-19 pandemic, California simply held onto the funds instead of distributing it. The state may now lose it.

That’s according to a new report from the state auditor’s office, that found the California Department of Housing and Community Development “did not take critical steps to ensure those funds promptly benefited that population,” the Associated Press reported.

The department was supposed to distribute the money to local groups to provide homeless services but it took so long to finalize contracts that those groups didn’t have access to much of the funding during the height of the pandemic, auditors found.

There’s a big problem when Congress throws so much money at the states that they cannot even spend it.

The state audit on the misuse of homeless funds found that the department didn’t give most groups access to the first round of federal funding until December 2020, seven months after it was announced by the federal government, and only recently gave them access to the second, larger round of funding.

Now, the groups might not be able to spend the money by a September 2022 federal deadline and may lose the funding. Funding that could be used to help with issues like San Francisco’s homeless human waste problem.

That’s right. The state that, as of January 2020, had about 151,000 homeless people may have to give back $316 million because it was too incompetent to spend it.

California has hit a new low, managing to take a terrible homeless situation and making it worse by possibly wasting $316 million.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy.com

An Agenda to Fix California

As a recall election looms and embattled Governor Newsom fights for his political life, the political ads, as usual, are expensive pablum. That’s what we’ve come to expect, of course, but this election is nonetheless more than a referendum on a failing governor and failing policies. It’s a chance to think about what California could be. Instead of candidates pledging to “lower taxes on the middle class,” which obviously isn’t a bad idea, contenders for governor might discuss very specific policies they would champion.

Moreover, as voters cast their ballots and decide whether or not to keep Newsom in office, they might think about which candidates they’ll support in the future. Do they want to continue supporting political mannequins? Talking puppets that spout focus group tested cliches when you pull a string in their back? Or candidates that may be a little rough around the edges, but possess the courage, the vision, and the attention to detail that California needs now more than ever?

Here, being as brief but as specific as possible, are some ideas to solve some of California’s biggest problems. Most of them are controversial. It would be nice to find a politician with the guts to espouse all of them, without equivocation and without exception.

Problem: Unreliable and expensive energy:

Solution: Upgrade California’s natural gas powerplants to run at maximum efficiency and without being shut on and off. End the restrictions on natural gas hookups in new construction. Keep Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant open. Streamline the permit process for additional natural gas and nuclear power plants. Allow additional extraction of California’s abundant reserves of natural gas and oil. Relax if not repeal the CO2 emissions targets pursuant to AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Continue to provide incentives for renewables, but recognize that an all-of-the-above energy strategy is an unavoidable necessity for developing nations with massive populations. Show the world how to do it in the most responsible manner possible. Restore abundant, affordable energy to Californians. Click here for more.

Problem: Scarce, expensive, rationed water:

Solution: Allocate a fixed percent of the state general fund to finance new investments in water infrastructure. Like energy, pursue an all-of-the-above strategy – runoff capture and storage, potable reuse of urban wastewater, off-stream reservoirs and expansion of existing reservoirs, percolation basins for aquifer recharge and recovery, and desalination. Invest enough to make the entire urban megapolis in Southern California independent of imported water. Streamline the punitive processes that make it take multiple decades to get projects approved. With all of this, again, set an example to the world of how to do it right. Restore abundant, affordable water to Californians. For more, go hereherehere, and here.

Problem: Congested, dilapidated, inadequate roads and freeways.

Solution: Recognize that smart roads are the future of transportation, not the past. Upgrade and widen all of California’s freeways. Recognize that automotive technology is in flux and repeal the zero emissions targets that prevent development of advanced hybrids. Develop protocols to designate smart lanes where next generation vehicles can convoy at high speeds. To make these investments cost-effective, reform the California Environmental Quality Act to reduce the time and expense of approving projects, and restructure CalTrans to outsource engineering and construction work to private contractors. For more, go herehereherehere, and here.

Problem: Homes cost too much.

Solution: Increase the supply of homes by increasing density in the urban core, and building entire new cities along the 101 and I-5 freeway corridors and elsewhere. Quit pretending that California, a vast state that is only 5 percent urbanized, is running out of room for people. Leave existing suburbs alone and leave zoning decisions to local elected officials. Recognize that wood framed homes with reasonable outdoor space are what most families prefer, and that these homes are less expensive than metal and concrete multi-story structures.  It takes two weeks to get a subdivision approved in Texas, but it takes twenty years to do it in California. End the war on suburbia and eliminate the outrageous costs and delays for building permits. For more, go here, and here.

Problem: There is a crisis of law and order and homelessness.

Solution: Restore the ability of police and courts to criminally prosecute and incarcerate citizens for selling hard drugs, public intoxication, and petty theft. For those homeless that haven’t committed crimes, construct centralized shelters in less expensive parts of cities and require job training and sobriety as a condition of entrance. California has wasted tens of billions constructing shelters and “supportive housing” at a cost that averages nearly $500,000 per unit. This is incredibly corrupt and utterly futile. Use that money to build safe barracks and pay counselors and vocational instructors. Reopen the fire camps for the able bodied criminal homeless and put them back on the fire lines. Take back our streets. For more, go here, and here.

Problem: Our forests are incinerating themselves and the air is unbreathable.

Solution: Bring back California’s timber industry, which as recently as the 1990s was harvesting 6.0 billion board feet per year from California’s forests. Today, barely 1.5 billion board feet come out. Why weren’t there massive fires every year back in 2000? Because logging was keeping up with regrowth as recently as ten years earlier. But now, for over thirty years, it has been nearly impossible to log, to thin, or do controlled burns, at the same time as our fire suppression industry has become incredibly effective. The result is overgrown forests of tinder dry, overcrowded and stressed trees. Of course they burn like hell. The solution is to let timber companies reopen mills and start logging responsibly again. They will clear the powerline corridors and maintain the fire roads and fire breaks, just like they used to, in exchange for logging rights. Prevent fires. Create jobs. Generate tax revenue. Supply affordable, in-state lumber for housing. Win, win, win, win. Click here for more.

Problem: Our schools are failing low income communities.

Solution: Stand up to the teachers’ unions, by creating competition in public instruction. This can be accomplished by making it easier to open charter schools, and taking away the cap on how many charter schools can operate. It can be accomplished by creating education savings accounts for every parent of a K-12 student, allowing those parents to use that money for the school of their choice – public, charter, private, parochial, or even homeschool. Theoretically, such a program could be revenue neutral or even save the state money. At the same time, reform the public schools by requiring a longer period before teachers can earn tenure, by favoring merit over seniority in layoffs, and by making it easier to fire incompetent teachers. Other ways to rescue K-12 education in California would be limit union negotiations to pay and benefits and outlaw teacher strikes, and to empower parents to opt-out of exposing their children to sexually explicit or politicized instruction. Click here for more.

The tragic reality in California today is that an entire complex – progressive billionaires, public sector unions, powerful environmentalist lobbyists and litigators, with nearly universal support from the legacy media, social media, and academia – considers most of these solutions, if not all of them, to be extreme. They’re not. They’re moderate, common sense solutions to serious problems that are obviously not being adequately handled based on what this complex considers to be the conventional wisdom.

Imagine California’s future if these policies became reality. The solutions suggested here for energy, housing, and forestry would actually generate tax revenue, along with hundreds of thousands of good jobs. The solutions suggested for education are revenue neutral. To supplement private investment, the economic boom these solutions would impart to the state overall would generate the tax revenue necessary for public investment in water and transportation infrastructure.

Imagine a state where instead of importing energy from Venezuela, or electricity from coal burning states, or lumber from British Columbia, or lithium from West African mines owned by the Chinese Communist Party, we would be producing all of these essential resources right here. Imagine the prosperity this would create. Californians consume these resources. That is reality. And even if we streamline what are currently crippling regulations, extraction operations located here in California will respect workers and the environment far more than they are being respected anywhere else in the world.

On a foundation of new and broad based prosperity, California can then afford to leapfrog other states and nations. California can innovate with transportation tunnels under its cities. California can innovate with passenger drones occupying aerial lanes above its cities. California can fund research into fusion energy and satellite solar power stations. California can solidify its position as one of the wealthiest and most innovative places on earth, but at the same time a place where ordinary families have a chance again.

California can be a place where there is abundance instead of scarcity, pragmatism instead of ideology, and optimism instead of pessimism. These values used to define California. They can do so again. California’s future can be very bright indeed.

This is the conversation California’s candidates for governor should be having.

This article originally appeared on the website of the California Globe.

How California’s Lack Of Transparency Could Flip The U.S. Senate

Polls show that government corruption, waste and malfeasance are important issues to California voters.

But California is the only state refusing to disclose all state spending. Forty-nine states produced their line-by-line vendor payments after auditors at OpenTheBooks.com submitted open-records requests.

It’s a basic issue of accountability. The people, press, and politicians must be able to follow their tax dollars. After all, it’s their money.

In 2020, we sued California Controller Betty Yee, a Democrat, in state court after she argued that her office couldn’t “locate” any of the 50 million payments that the state admitted making last year. Our lawyers are the public-interest law firm in Washington, D.C., Cause of Action Institute. …

Click here to read the full article from Forbes.com.

Density And Our Property Rights

Several weeks ago, this column addressed Senate Bills 9 and 10, both of which deal with the controversial issue of housing policy and, more specifically, density of housing. Taxpayer advocates and neighbor associations have opposed both SB 9 and SB 10 because of the potential loss of local control and higher taxes. Both bills passed and now await action by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Senate Bill 9 permits “by right the development of two units on single-family lots” and allows “[subdivision of] a parcel that is zoned for single-family residential use” that “in conjunction with the two-unit provision” could “result in a total of four units on the lot.”

Senate Bill 10 would “authorize a local government to adopt an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site.” It would override HOA agreements and voter initiatives that prohibited or limited such development in those areas.

But proponents of these bills, including some who write for this publication, have argued that conservatives who believe in property rights should support the bills. Their contention, however, is off the mark. To understand why, the very nature of property rights must be defined. When someone “owns” property, they possess a “bundle” of ancillary rights. A bundle of rights is a term for the group of legal privileges that attaches to the owner upon purchase. The bundle includes the right of possession; the right of control; the right of exclusion; the right of enjoyment; and the right of disposition. Increases in density, when not consistent with existing law, general plans or zoning, can negatively affect most, if not all, the ancillary rights of property ownership.

To read the entire column, please click here.

California Would Benefit From Divided Government

Despite what Gov. Gavin Newsom would have you believe, the effort to remove him from office is not just a “Republican Recall.”  Polls show that many Democrats and independents are fed-up with Newsom and considering voting him out as well.

During his first two-and-a-half years as governor, Newsom has utterly failed to address our state’s big problems and, in many cases, his mismanagement has resulted in making things worse.  But that’s not all.  He has abused his power with unprecedented government overreach into our lives and businesses.  All of these factors and more have given voters from across the political spectrum reason to vote him out.

Despite California’s blue bent, there’s evidence of a growing libertarian undercurrent in our state.  One only has to look at the 2020 election to see that Californians are uneasy with too much government interference.  Last November, with record turnout, voters rejected an effort to reinstate affirmative action, sided with business over organized labor and rejected a rent control measure.

That same year, Newsom issued more executive orders than any California governor in modern history.  He used his power to impose overly intrusive restrictions on businesses and schools, while he swilled wine with lobbyists in Napa and his kids remained in-person at their private school.  He imposed the harshest restrictions in the country while arrogantly exempting himself and his family. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Bernardino Sun.