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The State

Let Freedom Ring—Though It Doesn’t Fully Flourish In California

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

California’s brightest minds obviously didn’t have a seat at the table in the early days of July 1776, when the Founding Fathers (how long before that term’s deemed politically incorrect?) were putting the final touches on that generation’s “Brexit.”

One wonders what the Founders would make of today’s Golden State, which didn’t join the union until seventy-four years and two months after those fateful moments in Philadelphia. 

Housing

The Backwards Economics Of San Francisco’s Homeless Policies

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors just approved a plan to build a homeless shelter. The problem is that the location of the shelter is on the city’s waterfront Embarcadero, which happens to be the most expensive neighborhood in San Francisco, where home sales have averaged nearly $1,200 per square foot. The ground leasing rights for the city’s Ferry Building, just down the street and on a similar size parcel, sold for $291 million earlier this year.

Politics

A Newsom Recall? Let’s First Recall How It Happened To Gray Davis

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 27, 2019

For a guy whose plate of weighty concerns (unfunded pension liabilities, an inability to get housing legislation passed, and a slowing state job engine) evokes the image of John Belushi’s top-heavy lunch tray in Animal House, California governor Gavin Newsom is feeling pretty cocky these days.

Californians Are Losing Their Supermajority Protection Over Tax Increases

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

For the last forty years, California has required that new taxes earmarked for a specific purpose be approved by a two-thirds supermajority in a general election to pass. But the state’s supreme court has thrown out this protection for new tax initiatives that are brought forward by a citizens’ group, rather than by government directly. Predictably, new and expensive tax initiatives are now being brought by citizens’ groups and are passing by simple majority when they would not pass by the previous supermajority rule.

The State

Twenty-Five Years After O.J.’s Car Chase, The Wheels Keep Turning In California

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 20, 2019

Among the dates that stand out on the California calendar: 9/11, the day that America was struck by its deadliest act of terrorism (the California connection: all four commercial airliners were originally headed to Los Angeles or San Francisco); and 4/20, the worldwide celebration of marijuana smoking (the California connection: the ritual may or may not have begun at a Northern California high school).

Housing
Housing

The Economics Of Why Homelessness Worsens As Governments Spend Even More On The Problem

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

California’s homeless population is rising rapidly despite substantially higher government spending on the problem.

Politics

Why A Tax Vote Last Week In Los Angeles Is A Preview Of 2020’s Coming Attractions

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Baseball has spring training, Broadway its tech rehearsals, and software engineers their beta tests.

Politics

2020 Democratic Candidates Visit California And Show Just How Much The Party Has Changed

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

California’s decision to move its 2020 primary from June to early March suddenly makes the state more important for choosing the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee than in past elections.

The State

Sacramento’s Attitude Toward Santa Cruz: The Opposite Of “Fear And Loathing"

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 6, 2019

For some American cities, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—New York City, for example, wanting to to be in the same sentence as Paris and London as cultured, cosmopolitan hubs for world travel and commerce.

Housing

How Long Does It Take To Build A New Community In California? 25 Years And Still Counting

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The year is 1994. Only about one in four American homes has a personal computer. The internet is virtually unknown. Blockbuster Video rentals are the go-to source for home entertainment. And a development group submits plans to California regulators for a new 22,000-home planned community about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. With luck, now that all lawsuits have been resolved, the first homes will go on sale in 2021—27 years after the application process started.

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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 Forbes.com 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. ​