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California's Failed Response To COVID

by Jay Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorffvia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

Now that we’ve "celebrated" the first anniversary of COVID in California, it’s a good time to take stock of the state's response.


The Teacher Handshake

by Michael Trujillovia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

For many months in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was panic at California’s local grocery stores. While most businesses were closed, government buildings locked up, and schools shut down, our markets never were. Neither were our farms. Our survival depended, as it always has, on food continuing to be grown, picked, and shipped to stores where we could buy it. 


Let Small Businesses Open Up – And Stay Open

by Lorraine Salazarvia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

All of us who own and run small businesses can appreciate the difficult balancing act California governor Gavin Newsom, local elected officials, and county health directors have had in containing the spread of COVID-19 without doing too much more damage to our beleaguered economy.


Beyond California’s Pandemic Response, Questions Of Government Mismanagement

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

Almost two million Californians have signed petitions calling for the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom. The reasons for this are varied, ranging from his uneven response to the COVID-19 pandemic to staggering fraud in the state’s unemployment insurance system under his watch—and, of course, the flouting of his own public health rules when he attended a dinner with lobbyists at the French Laundry, a high-priced Napa Valley restaurant.  


Bipartisan Opportunism Is to Blame for California’s High Tax Rate

by David Cranevia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

Conventionally, Ronald Reagan is characterized as conservative.


Newsom’s Annus Horribilis

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Friday, March 12, 2021

History shows that California governor Gavin Newsom took office on the seventh day of 2019 under clear skies in Sacramento—in itself an unusual occurrence, as winter weather in California’s state capital has been known to literally rain on a new governor’s parade.


California, Droughts, And The Politics Of H2-Woe

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 11, 2021

Call it coincidence, but a week ago and in this same space I asked if California’s five major-league baseball franchises would be allowed to play their games in front of live audiences this season—a potential headache for California governor Gavin Newsom as he tours the Golden State with the message that better times lie ahead.


Only In San Francisco: $61,000 Tents And $350,000 Public Toilets

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

San Francisco has the highest per-capita budget of any major city in the country. At $15,650 per person, it is about 40 percent higher than Bill de Blasio’s over-the-top New York City budget. You would think San Franciscans would have wonderful city services coming out of their ears. Wrong.

The State

Will The Padres—All California Kids—Get A Sporting Chance?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 4, 2021

One of the challenges for a politician in trying to pull out of a skid is not to overdo the course correction.


The Capitalists Who Sell Ethnic Studies

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

After circulating two widely criticized drafts of an ethnic studies curriculum, the California Department of Education must now determine whether to accept a third widely criticized draft this month. The common denominator across all three drafts is that they are based on “critical ethnic studies,” which holds that capitalism is a form of power and oppression and is related to imperialism, White supremacy, and racism. 


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California on Your Mind is a twice weekly journal about California politics and economic policies, and how they affect California’s economy. At one time, California policies helped create the “California Dream” by fostering affordable housing, creating high quality schools, and facilitating substantial infrastructure investments. These policies helped make California the 20th century destination for thousands of businesses, and for tens of millions of Americans who moved to California from other parts of the country. Today, a very different set of state and local policies is contributing to rapidly increasing housing prices, growing homelessness, lower quality schools, and insufficient public investments.

This journal discusses California political and policy developments in real time, describes how they will affect the California economy, and analyzes how reasonable policy reforms can reduce California’s cost of living, improve California schools, increase public investment, and help restore the “California Dream”.


About the Authors

Lee Ohanian

Lee E. Ohanian is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Economics at UCLA. He is an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and previously has advised other Federal Reserve Banks, Foreign Central Banks, and the National Science Foundation. He has been an economic adviser to state and national political campaigns and has testified to the U.S. Senate and the California State Legislative Assembly on economic policy issues. His research, which recently has been discussed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media sources, focuses on economic policies and economic growth, and as been published widely in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequent columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester.


Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow since 1999, writes and comments on California and America’s political landscapes. Whalen is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee and and also writes frequently for Real Clear Politics, The Hill and the Washington Times. He is also the host of Hoover’s Area 45 podcast that explores policymaking and politics as they pertain to the Trump presidency. Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, Whalen served as chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former California governor Pete Wilson. He’s also served as a strategist for numerous California political hopefuls, including former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. A native of Washington, D.C., Whalen received a B.A. in journalism from Washington & Lee University. ​