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Stop The Insanity! Why It Takes More Than $200,000 And Two Years To Open The Smallest Of Businesses In San Francisco

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Monday, May 3, 2021

“Just opening your business, the amount of red tape . . . it puts the Soviet Union to shame. . . . Often times you’re hundreds and hundreds of thousands dollars in debt because of delays that were caused by the city and their processes.”


Will California Recalls Result In Changes To The Process?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tempting though it may be, this column won’t be about Caitlyn Jenner’s curious run for governor of California —the former Olympic decathlete and Kardashian patriarch turned transgender activist having formalized her candidacy late last week.


California, Say Hello To K–12 Socialist Mathematics Teaching

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

“Mathematics education in the United States was initially structured . . . to prepare privileged, young, white men for entrance into elite colleges.” “Teachers need to work consciously to counter racialized or gendered ideas about mathematics achievement.” “A ‘color-blind’ [teaching] approach allows such systemic inequities to continue.”


Pandemic Clearly Reveals California’s Democratic Party Failures

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

California’s political paradox is that voters chronically elect politicians who double down on the failed policies of their predecessors. This means that California’s major economic problems—housing affordability and homelessness, cost of living and the highest poverty rate in the country, inadequate water supply, wildfires, underperforming schools, failing infrastructure, unsustainable pensions, the list goes on—continue to deteriorate. 

The State

“Bright Light,” Big State?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

This column comes to you by way of my home away from home in the “low country” of South Carolina, where this past weekend I did something that not enough of my fellow Californians can readily claim.


California’s Happy Meal Refund

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

If you’ve given thought to your California state taxes (Sacramento having postponed this year’s filing deadline to May 17), I have good news to report: there might a refund coming your way, later this year.


Could California’s “87 Club” Solve The Immigration Impasse?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Over the course of a rather eventful March in California—more COVID vaccinations are on the way as eligibility expands, we’ve been promised; the two Los Angeles universities went further than expected in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament—here’s something you might have missed: the 87th birthday of Willie Brown, aka “the ayatollah of the Assembly” for his one-man domination of the State Assembly as that chamber’s Speaker for two decades, ending in the mid-1990s.


Newsom Isn’t Shy, And Feinsten Isn’t Retiring

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 25, 2021

Difficult though it may be to fathom for Californians unfamiliar with harsh driving conditions, common sense dictates turning with a skid—not against it—when a vehicle starts to lose its traction.


California’s Education Department Chooses Critical Race Theory Over 100,000 Objections

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The California Department of Education (CDE) voted to adopt the fourth version of an ethnic studies curriculum after four years, three previous versions, and more than 100,000 objections. The reason for so many objections? The curriculum continues to be founded on critical race theory (CRT), which is the view that our legal, economic, and social institutions are inherently racist and are exploited by some Whites to retain their dominance by oppressing and marginalizing others. 


In California, Homelessness Is Not Where The Political Heart Is

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

On this day, the deadline for handing in signed petitions that could trigger a California gubernatorial recall election later this year, let’s not dwell on the implications of a potential referendum on Gavin Newsom’s future.


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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. ​