Last week, I noted that California voters seemed to have rejected several bonds, including the Prop 13 school bond, at last Tuesday’s election. As more votes have been counted, it’s now clear that not only has California defeated this measure but also many other similar ones. CPC fellow Edward Ring breaks down the current tax revolt. Read more.
Since Californians voted in 2008 for a bond to build a bullet train in California, popularity for the project has waned significantly. Riddled with delays and bad financial stewardship, the decade-long project has proven a bust. Now, as a bombshell from the Los Angeles Times indicates, train officials were well aware of its widespread problems. According to former employees of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, those wishing to speak out about problems with the project were told to shut up and suppress bad news.
Speaking of bad news, coronavirus is causing major headaches for California’s farmers. With China shutting down much of its industry, American farmers have struggled to get their hands on essential cargo containers to ship their goods to markets. “Anything that delays shipments is a hit,” said Jim Zion of Meridian Growers, a farmer-owned exporter of pistachios, almonds and pecans based in Madera. “We’re asking customers to understand that we have no control over this.” Meanwhile, local governments are limiting the number of meetings they are holding to combat coronavirus. In Los Angeles, the city council is reducingits public meetings from three to one per week.
Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that allows the state to commandeer hotels and medical facilities to combat coronavirus. The governor has also called for the cancelation of gatherings of 250 people or more. In response, Disney announced that they would close their parks for the rest of the month.
The California DMV is facing a free speech lawsuit. Pacific Legal Foundation is challenging the legality of restrictions on the DMV’s environmental license plate program on behalf of five California residents on First Amendment grounds. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco this week alleges the DMV acts as speech police, limiting personal expression for ‘arbitrary’ and ‘laughable’ reasons.”
Last weekend, the OC Register editorialized on the recent lawsuit filed by CPC and the Center for Individual Rights against the state of California over its gag law that prevents government officials from informing public employees about their Janus right to stop paying agency fees to their union. The editorial asks, “If unions provide such a valuable service, then why are lawmakers so afraid of letting workers know their rights?”
CPC fellow Edward Ring dissects the growing “war on suburbia,” which he calls, “a misanthropic, pessimistically aggressive Malthusian screed.” Read more.
Pacific Gas & Electric said that it has reached an agreement with federal and state agencies on bankruptcy. The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “If the deals are approved in court, FEMA’s nearly $4 billion claim would be reduced to $1 billion, according to Eric Goodman, an attorney for a committee of fire victims involved in the bankruptcy case.”
Venice Beach, once a beautiful destination for families, has become more run down in recent years. With a growing homeless population, the community has struggled to maintain its clean and friendly atmosphere it was once known for. CPC fellow Edward Ring examines how this change came about and what can be done to reverse the problem. Read more.
CPC contributor Larry Sand launches his latest missive to the President of the American Federation of Teachers. Read more.
Finally, CPC President Will Swaim and CPC Board Member David Bahnsen discuss the remarkable statewide defeat of historically popular union-backed bond proposals, an LA Times investigation that reveals the state’s campaign to silence whistleblowers inside its troubled high-speed rail agency, and the University of California’s Reaganesque response to a graduate-student strike at UC Santa Cruz. Click here to listen.
Finally, are you affected by AB 5, California’s new law that harmed the ability of people to work as independent contractors or in the gig economy? If you have been hurt by AB 5, we would like to know your story. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crisis: Housing and Homelessness in California
Cato will host a day-long conference on the growing homelessness epidemic plaguing the Golden State on Friday, April 17. This conference will also mark the premiere of a series of short documentary films featuring Kelley Cutler, with the Coalition on Homelessness. To register for this event, click here.