You Can’t Dim Independence Day in the Golden State

Indoor activities re-restricted: Using the metaphor of a “dimmer switch,” Gov. Newsom banned indoor restaurants and activities once again this week in response to surging Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. While the lights are off at small businesses across the state, beaches are also closed for the Fourth of July weekend in many parts of the state. Despite these setbacks, it will take more to dim the spirits of Golden State residents on a holiday weekend.  
 
Some good news for school choice this week: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of school-choice this week with its Espinoza ruling. The 5-4 decision confirms that state governments can’t discriminate among schools on how public funding is distributed. This ruling, therefore, expands the number and types of schools that can receive public funding, providing more options for parents and students looking for alternatives to the government-run schools. The decision also threatens the discriminatory Blaine Amendments, which bar public funds from religious schools, that have passed in California and other states
 
Some bad news for school choice this week: The OC Register editorializes on a new California law passed this week that punishes charter schools for attracting students by reopening while rewarding district schools that are losing students by remaining closed:

Senate Bill 98 pulled out the budget carving knife for successful charter schools. A “hold harmless” provision maintains school funding for the 2020-21 fiscal year based on average daily attendance in the 2019-20 fiscal year. As a result, schools that have grown as more students enrolled will be starved for funds, while schools that have declined in enrollment will continue to collect money for students who are no longer enrolled.

Why can’t we shop for education as we do for other goods and services? In his latest contribution, CPC contributor Larry Sand argues for market choice to extend to education. “We choose where we buy food,” he notes. “Why can’t we do the same for our kids’ education?
 
Placentia’s fire department declares its independence: In his third installment in a three-part series about how Placentia set-up an independent fire department, CPC contributor Edward Ring recounts the battles the city had with one of the most powerful public-sector unions in Southern California, Local 3631, the union representing OCFA firefighters:

From the moment the union representing OCFA firefighters realized the City of Placentia was serious about forming its own fire department, the union began to use its influence in opposition. Three city council members formed the pro-independence voting majority on June 4, 2019; each was told by a union representative that they “would never get elected to another office again as long as I’m living and breathing.”

Listen to Ed’s interview on the topic: On the latest episode of National Review’s Radio Free California, CPC President Will Swaim interviews Ed about Placentia’s innovative move. He also interviews historian Robert M. Senkewicz about Junípero Serra, founder of the California missions. Steve Greenhut talks about police reform, and Dr. Jeff Barke says K–12 schools should open.
 
Sunday’s OC Register Opinion Lead: Watch for an op-ed by Cecilia Iglesias, education director at CPC, in Sunday’s OC Register detailing her fight against police unions and what fellow reformers across the state and nation can learn from her experience. The lede: “I took on police unions before it was in fashion, and I have the battle scars to prove it.”
 
It’s not just police unions but all government unions: Dan Walters takes opposition to police unions to its logical conclusions in his CalMatters column:

Fundamentally, the political clout that police unions have wielded in California for decades is no different from what other public employee unions have done. Universally, they seek more job security and increases in pay and fringe benefits for their members, and do so by supporting politicians who will deliver the goods, regardless of how it impacts the larger public.

Democrats are also building a wall (of debt): “I would expect that California will develop another wall of debt as it tries to solve this budget gap,” says Jennifer Johnston, vice president and research analyst for Franklin Templeton Investments, referring to the state’s Covid-induced deficit. “The question is just how excessive do they get?”
 
Start by cutting the housing boondoggles: An experiment to house homeless in trailers cost San Jose $1.3 million. As CBS News reports, “Only 37 people lived in the trailers for three weeks before the city pulled the plug, blaming escalating costs.”
 
Newsom exacerbates California’s housing shortage: This week, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order to ban evictions through September 30th. “We stop evictions and all of this payment to landlords, and we’re going to see entire apartment complexes or for-rent homes go under,” said real estate lawyer Charles Stocker. “And that’s a scary situation. A few families unable to pay rent or be kicked out for paying people may now doom dozens.”
 
Notable California propositions on the ballot this November:

  • Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to lift commercial property tax
  • Proposition 16: Constitutional amendment to remove voter-passed prohibition on affirmative action in university admissions, public hiring and contracting
  • Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control.
  • Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors.

Street-smarts are sorely needed right now: Last week, I highlighted the story of an Oakland professor who was fired for asking if he could refer to his student named “Phuc” by another name. This week brings the story of Judge Cormac J. Carney, who resigned his position as the chief judge for the Central District of California, the nation’s largest federal court jurisdiction, after facing backlash for calling one of the court’s top officials “street-smart.”
 
“I have apologized to Ms. Gray, but I have concluded that a simple apology will not put this matter to rest,” wrote Carney, who was one month into a four-year term as chief. “To me, the term means a person of great common sense, initiative, and ability to work with people and get things done.” I would add to Judge Carney’s definition: savviness, savior-faire, sociability, sense of awareness, practical skills, resourcefulness, toughness, and coolness under pressure. Frankly, I can’t think of a nicer compliment during these times.

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One Response to You Can’t Dim Independence Day in the Golden State

  1. William Hicks July 5, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Listening to the activity in my own neighborhood last night, the 4th of July 2020, it was obvious that an awful lot of my neighbors ignored the fireworks limitations.

    Reply

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