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Advice For The Governor: Fix A Bad Labor Law, Beware Of Tax Increases—And Focus On Narrowing The State’s Social Divide

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

If the first month of the first year of the century’s second decade is an indication, Californians are in for a long 2020.

The State

Kobe Bryant May End Up In California’s Hall Of Fame—A Hall That’s Sorely In Need Of Re-Examination

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 6, 2020

Not that there’s a positive to come from a tragedy that takes the lives of nine adults and adolescents, but so far the deaths of basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and their seven helicopter copassengers and pilot hasn’t prompted an overreaction on the part of California state or local government.


How An Emerging Third Party Can Help Reverse California’s Economic Decline

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

California politics has long been dominated by the Democratic party. But many voters, including some of the 35 percent who are independents, do not approve of what the Democratic party has—and has not—been doing for the state. Surveys show substantial voter disapproval of both the state legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom. Only one-third of voters approve of the legislature, and less than half of voters approve of Newsom’s job performance.


The 49ers’ Best Audible: Pulling Out of San Francisco

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 30, 2020

In the two-week lead-up to Super Bowl LIV, the San Francisco 49ers encountered a foe more complicated than the high-octane offense of the Kansas City Chiefs: a stubborn San Francisco city government that, publicly at least, showed little interest in throwing a parade should the local team prevail on Sunday (it’s been 25 years since a California-based NFL team has brought home the Lombardi Trophy).


Three Cheers For Two Lawmakers Fighting Today To Save Millions Of Entrepreneurs

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

State Assembly members Kevin Kiley and Melissa Melendez are the first California lawmakers to try to do something about California’s awful new law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5). This new law may eliminate more than one million independent contractors in the state. Representatives Kiley and Melendez will be co-sponsoring an amendment to the state’s constitution that would overturn AB 5. Kiley and Melendez are organizing a protest of AB 5 at the state capital today.


California Should Take A Collective Breath—And Consider What Collective Bargaining Has Brought

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Forget about death and taxes as life’s only certainties.


Welcome To California’s “4-H Club” Of Policy Concerns

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 16, 2020

For all the storm and fury emanating from the national’s capital, national politics at the beginning of 2020 boils down to three words, all beginning with the letter “i”: impeachment, Iran, and incumbency.


A Perverse Way To “Solve” California’s Housing Crisis: People Are Leaving The Golden State

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Almost everywhere you look, you will see somebody talking, writing, or complaining about California’s housing crisis. Choosing to live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, or Silicon Valley will cost you about $1,000,000 if you buy, and about $3,000–$5,000 or more a month if you rent. And that is if you are willing to live in something you would not want to post on Instagram.


And If Trump Wanted To Do Business With California . . .

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 9, 2020

This being my first column of the new year, let’s start things off with a high-altitude, big-picture look at the relationship between President Trump and California—namely, what, if anything, will change will change politically or policywise?


California’s Governor And His Three Christmas Ghosts

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, December 19, 2019

This being our last Thursday column before the holiday break, I thought it fitting to take a look at Sacramento through a more Dickensian lens—a 2019 version, if you will, of A Christmas Carol, the 66-page novella first published in 1843.


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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. ​