Tuesday was a big night for California! With 92% of the precincts reporting, it appears that the Prop. 13 school bond measure is headed towards defeat. Why is this important? The measure was the largest of its kind in California history. With Sacramento’s propensity to spend more than it raises in taxes, the bond likely would have caused future tax hikes to pay for it. Statewide, voters appear to have rejected county and local bond measures at higher rates than previous years. In Orange County, where 80% of bonds have passed since 2010, only one of the nine bond measures looks like it might succeed.
One of the reasons for this big bond bust is Californians wising up to the fact that year after year they must pay out larger portions of their incomes to satisfy Sacramento. Take education, for example. As CPC fellow Edward Ring points out, we are now spending over $20,000 on average to educate each student in California. Yet, they lack proficiency in reading and math! Read more.
Last Thursday, the city of San Jose held an opening ceremony for its first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents. Mayor Liccardo noted that unlike many affordable housing units, “the cabins offer an effective, low-cost option to get more people off the streets and on their way to becoming stably housed.” For a price tag of just over $2 million, the city developed the site, built 40 tiny houses, and constructed other facilities.
Graduate students at UC-Santa Cruz have been dismissed by the university for organizing a wildcat strike. The graduate students, many of whom work as teaching assistants, refused to turn in grades until they received a $1,412 monthly raise. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “After offering graduate students new support — including a $2,500 annual housing supplement and extended funding guarantees — UCSC eventually gave the grade strikers an ultimatum: Submit course grades by Feb. 21, or be fired from spring appointments.” Still, 74 students chose to not submit grades, which led to their termination. Their contract, negotiated by United Autoworkers of America Local 2865, is negotiated through 2022 and contains a no-strike clause.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency due to the growing number of people contracting coronavirus. The virus, which is present in 12 counties, has sickened over 50 people in the state. Following the first death on Wednesday evening, the state moved to declare an emergency Thursday morning.
Also in Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate criminal administrative fees. CPC President Will Swaim, who has long called the practice immoral, noted,“The government does not have the right to shake down people for money.” Read more.
PG&E has another problem on its hands. Last month a federal judge ordered the utility company to hire more tree trimmers to reduce the risk of wildfires. But, as NBC Bay Area reports, “Attorneys for PG&E said in court filings Monday that the company is unable to provide a deadline by which it will hire a set number of new contracted workers to cut trees and branches around power lines.” If you need a reminder of how we got here, CPC contributor Chris Reed surveys the history of PG&E’s incompetence since 2011. Read more.
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.
Documentary Screening and Book Signing
The Richard Nixon Presidential Library will host Dennis Prager and Hollywood producer Mark Joseph for a screening and discussion of the documentary No Safe Spaces on Monday, March 9. Admission to this event includes the purchase of one copy of No Safe Spaces. Additional copies of the book may be purchased during registration or at the event. To register for the event, click here.
Art Laffer & Emmanuel Saez Debate the Wealth Tax at Pepperdine
Art Laffer, Presidential Medal of Freedom award recipient and inventor of the Laffer Curve, will square off against Emmanuel Saez, UC-Berkeley economist and Elizabeth Warren advisor, in a debate over the wealth tax at Pepperdine University on March 12th. The event is hosted by The Steamboat Institute as part of its Campus Liberty Tour, which brings debates on big issues to college campuses across the country. Find out more and register for free here.
Perspectives on America Today and the Importance of Culture
The National Review Institute will host a seminar in Newport Beach on March 24 and in San Francisco on March 25 on the perennial fight against socialism. Lindsey Craig, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, John O’Sullivan, Kyle Smith, and Kevin Williamson will explain why our culture matters now more than ever. For more information, and to register, click here.
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.
If you have any upcoming events in the state, please send them to me!
As always, if you’d like to join our movement to save California, we invite you to support us. Click here to donate to CPC.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA POLICY CENTERThe California Policy Center promotes prosperity for all Californians through limited government and individual liberty.