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The State

California’s COVID “Forever War” . . . And “Forever” State Of Emergency?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Friday, February 25, 2022

To the Shakespearean adage What’s in a name?, we have a new journalistic descriptor by which to characterize COVID-stricken California: “endemic.”

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

San Francisco Voters Boot School District Progressives

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Seventy-eight percent. Seventy-four percent. Seventy-one percent. These are the vote percentages in favor of recalling all three San Francisco school board members who were eligible for removal from office in last week’s special election, the first recall election in San Francisco since 1983. 

The State

Slow-Walking High-Speed Rail: California’s One-Track Mind

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 17, 2022

California is a land not without its recurring events, be it grunions spawning on the beaches of Southern California, cliff swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, or gray whales migrating off the coast.


California State Government Workers Earn $143,000, Twice As Much As Private Sector Workers

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 15, 2022

In 2019, California state government workers earned an average of $143,000 per year, while local government employees earned nearly as much, averaging about $131,000 annually. But California’s private sector workers earned about $71,000, roughly half as much as their public sector counterparts. These figures include base pay, as well as overtime, and the value of non-wage benefits, such as employer pension/retirement contributions, health care, and paid days off.


California Homelessness: Billions Are Spent Every Year, And The Problem Just Gets Worse

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 10, 2022

California is home to about 12 percent of the country’s population but has about 30 percent of the total homeless population, and about 47 percent of the country’s unsheltered homeless. Homelessness is arguably the state’s most pressing issue and has been for decades, despite state and local government throwing billions at the problem, year after year. 

The State

The Safest Super Bowl Bet: Rams, Bengals . . . Masks Or No Masks?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 8, 2022

If you’re not doing anything this Sunday and just so happen to have a considerable amount of free time, try this California innovation that’s stood the test of time (the past 55 years, at least): Super Bowl LVI, which won’t be hard to find, as one broadcast network is devoting no less than 10-plus hours of programming to the day’s festivities.


One Supreme Court Vacancy, Plenty Of California Intrigue

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 3, 2022

Let’s begin this column by giving some long-overdue kudos to Barbara Boxer, who at this time seven years ago had just announced her plans to retire from the US Senate after the 2016 election—a decision that would impact American history (Boxer was succeeded by Kamala Harris, who’d go on to become the nation’s first female and first non-White vice president).

The State

Crimes Against Asians Rose 567% In San Francisco. Why? A Failed Criminal Justice System

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Hate crimes against Asians in San Francisco rose enormously last year, increasing from nine incidents in 2020 to 60 last year. Nearly 75 percent of Asians in the city report being scared and fearful of being attacked or bullied and are similarly fearful for their children.

The State

An LA Story In Need Of A Rewrite

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 27, 2022

For all of the hoopla devoted to California’s outbound migration, here’s a plot twist: two women, both in their early 20s, choosing to relocate to the Golden State—Los Angeles, to be precise.

Economic Policy

How Do You Lose $2.7 Billion? Form A State Agency With No Accountability.

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ever heard of the state’s Debt Limit Allocation Committee? I hadn’t until I read a state audit that found this committee squandered roughly $2.7 billion in bond funds that were intended to build housing. Yes, one of the state’s organizations responsible for allocating funding for affordable housing can’t even get the money out the door for its intended purpose. 


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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. ​