Policy and Pints

How You Gonna Vote on . . . .? Listen to our "Policy and a Pint: Midterm 2018" Podcasts to Figure it out!

Election 2018 is in full swing -- and now is the time to figure out how you're going to vote!

We’ve been holding discussions with panelists who, whether they are "for, " against" or "neutral," give us the straight talk on local/statewide propositions and races, and what it means if you vote yay or nay on each.

Listen to these “Policy and a Pint” podcasts before you mark your ballot. We’ve covered:

  • Proposition 1 - Bonds for affordable housing and veterans’ housing loans

  • Proposition 2 - Using the “millionaire’s tax” to create bonds that build housing for the homeless who need mental health services

  • Proposition 3 - The water bond

  • Proposition 5 - Changing property-tax assessments for certain homeowners who want to sell

  • Proposition 6 - Repealing of the 2017 gas tax

  • Proposition 10 - Making rent control laws easier to establish in California

  • Proposition 12 - Banning sales of meat and eggs from farm animals that live in cages smaller than a specific size

  • City of Sacramento’s Measure U - increasing the city’s sales tax, and making it permanent, in order to pay for city services and invest in other big-ticket items

And then, of course, be a good voter and submit your ballot!

Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off: Trivia Night Showdown!

The November election is still a few months away, but that doesn't mean we should take a break from politics, right? Hot summer nights are perfect for facing off against people who have totally different political views from you, and showing them what's what and who's right!

Before we start up the Election 2018-focused discussions with panelists facing off against each other, we're doing a few "Faceoff Nights" this summer. We want to find out which one of California's political parties is the big winner when it comes to knowing trivial stuff about California, defining slang words, debating trite topics, and showing off top karaoke skills.

 

 

First off was our Face-off Trivia Night. Democrats, young Republicans, Greens, on-the-fence and undecided voters, and even the California National Party came to the Federalist in Midtown Sacramento and played Golden State Trivia: California geography, history, politics, pop culture and famous people.  Prizes for winning category winners came from Sacramento-proud businesses like Ruhstaller Beer, The Trade Coffee and Coworking, Yoga Seed Collective, Comedy Spot and Hornblower Cruises in Old Sacramento.

The winner: Team Tim, a group of guys with various political opinions.

The goal: Even though we may be of different political parties and views, we showed that Californians can still gather in the same room, get along, and have some fun.

Next up: Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off Game Night, August 13 at CLARA Auditorium. Field a team, come on out to play some fun party games that will test your witty humor, debate skills and knowledge of California. The winners get prizes and bragging rights for being the funniest, wittiest, savviest registered voters around!

California Isn't So Cutting-Edge When It Comes to Electing Women

"I get calls from Washington DC and back East, saying to me, 'California must be so great for women to run for office,' because we have two great strong women US senators and the first woman Speaker of the House. But when you peel back the layers, you don’t see that," Rachel Michelin of  California Women Lead said last Wednesday at our latest "Policy and a Pint" event.

" I try to caution women to think that, while we’re so progressive, so cutting-edge, there’s still a lot of work to do in order to get equality and parity in elected offices across California."

Our podcast about "Women Running for Office" is up.

Listen to great discussion from Michelin, gubernatorial candidate Amanda Renteria (pictured here with one of our event attendees) Congressional candidate Regina Bateson, and Kula Koenig of BWOPA Sacramento as they talk about the challenges of women running in California, and what needs to be done to break the still-pretty-thick glass ceiling of gender parity in state politics.

There's not a dull moment in this 80-minute-long conversation, but you can refer to the "Podcast Play-by-Play" to go to specific parts of it.

How Will You Be Voting This Year on Housing Issues?

It's obvious that "affordable" and "housing" rarely go together in California. We're known for having some of the highest rental and housing prices in the U.S.

But some Californians are taking action by:
* fighting for more funding for affordable housing construction
* authoring laws that create higher-density housing and forces cities to meet their housing goals
* demanding rent control on apartment buildings, and demanding the repeal of a law that forbids it

And come November 6, you'll be voting on some of their actions, because there's going to be at least one affordable-housing measure on the state ballot, and possibly a rent-control measure on our local one in Sacramento.

 

We found this really good and detailed article on Urbanist LA - "25 Solutions From a Builder's Perspective to Fix the Californian Housing Crisis."  A Los Angeles-based developer who says "enough is enough" suggests things like:

* Allow 100% Residential Development on Commercially-Zoned Properties. "The City of Los Angeles is the only jurisdiction in the state that I know that allows 100 percent residential developments to be placed on most of their commercially zoned lots. This is a big part of the reason they are a major state leader in housing production. Most other jurisdictions ban residential outright and some allow for residential to be placed above the ground level."

* Stop Killing Housing By Delaying Approvals. " Many jurisdictions in California take three, four, or even five years to approve straightforward housing projects as a tactic to frustrate builders into giving up. By delaying projects this long, these jurisdictions are sending a clear message to future builders: “Do not come here”. Message received."

* Create New Zones for Missing Middle Housing. "We need all kinds of housing in the state. There are numerous problems with having half of housing coming from “mega-projects” sized fifty units and over. They are the most expensive housing type to construct and they take longer to construct than smaller projects. This is why most new apartments you see are luxury units . . . We don’t have to go from one-story homes to all seven-story apartment buildings with two levels of underground parking. There is housing called “missing middle”.

* Reform, Don't Repeal The Law That Bans Rent Control. " The Costa-Hawkins Act will never be repealed. The apartment lobby is too strong. If it were to be repealed, new apartment buildings would not be built in California. Multi-family residential development is some of the most expensive construction there is. . . There is room to reform Costa-Hawkins. Maybe rent control doesn’t start for 15, 20 or 25 years. Maybe older single-family homes should be rent controlled. Maybe annual rent increases at first can be more than the rate of inflation, but not unlimited. I would like to see an academic, not an activist, propose some solutions."

The developer calls out the University of California, CalPERS, city and county governments, among others, to help bring change for the better to the homebuilding process in this state.

It's a long read, but a good one -- especially this year when you'll be voting on housing reform.

This article, along with the podcast recording of our March 19 "Policy and a Pint: Affordable Housing on the Voting Ballot," will come in handy.

 

Our 25th Event . . . and Our First Filmed for Television

We marked our first event of 2018, and our 25th-event milestone, by getting it put on film -- Capitol Weekly came with cameras to tape our Policy and a Pint discussion, "Sexual Harassment at the State Capitol," for its 99th episode of "Politics on Tap" (which airs on the California Channel on Comcast).

Watch the episode by clicking on the link above, or listen to our audio podcast of it, available both on iTunes and Soundcloud.

This is a great conversation about what is needed to make the efforts and actions of #MeToo, #TimesUp and #WeSaidEnough stick -- both at the State Capitol and in workplaces all around California.

The Gas Tax: Jerry Brown Won the Battle Over It This Year. Will Republicans Win the War Over It in Election 2018?

California's new gas tax goes into effect November. 1. That means most drivers will see the price of gas go up by 12 cents per gallon, diesel will increase 20 cents a gallon. Starting January 1, you'll be charged a new annual vehicle fee ranging from $25 to $175, depending on the value of your car. Even electric cars, which don't use gas, will will pay a $100 annual fee (starting in 2020).

The gas tax increase is expected to raise more than $50 billion to fund Caltrans' "Fix It First" project, which aims to repair roads and bridges, and improve traffic congestion, across the state. Will they spend it wisely?

Governor Jerry Brown fought hard to get the gas tax (officially known as Senate Bill 1) passed last April, saying "real money" is needed to fix California's transportation systems, which have gone unrepaired and unexpanded for decades.

But the state's Republicans are fighting back, actively working to repeal the gas tax. There are two separate efforts to put repeal-the-gas-tax measures on the November 2018 ballot. And they say that because their polling on the gas tax shows it to be extremely unpopular, there's an excellent chance SB1 will be repealed a year from now.

So even though the gas tax kicks in on November 1, the Gas Tax War is just beginning.

Listen to this "Policy and a Pint" podcast as we discuss the gas tax and what it consists of, where the money goes, why it's a good thing, why it's a bad thing and -- most importantly -- how it affects you as a California driver, and maybe your vote next November.


 

Podcast Is Up: How We're Handling Dam Repairs, Flood COntrol and Fixes to Our Water Infrastructure

After the epic winter of 2017, there's enough water to keep reservoirs and rivers -- drought-dry just a few months ago -- swollen for months to come. But that means plenty of flood watches and flood alerts. And then winter, a.k.a. rainy season, is not that far away. So how are our dams and levees holding up to handle all that?

Listen to the podcast of our May 24 "Policy and a Pint" panel talk about California's water infrastructure. Pur great group of panelists tell us about the state of our aging levees and crumbling dams (it's not just Oroville we need to focus on); how (or if) they can be repaired; how much will that all cost; and who's supposed to pay that particular water bill.

Listen to the entire 1 hr, 37 min. podcast, or scroll down to the"Podcast Timeframe" section to listen to certain topics and specific segments.

We held it in the basement of Graciano's Speakeasy, a former governor's mansion/grocery store/brothel/Prohibition speakeasy in Old Sacramento. The basement is at the level where our city used to stand before the Great Flood of 1862, the biggest in California's recorded history, made officials use a lot of packed dirt to raise the buildings a minimum of 14 feet. It's te perfect place to have a pint and talk about flood control.

 

 

The Podcast for Our "Policy and a Pint" on Pot and Prop 64 Is Up

More than 140 people came to Ruhstaller on January 11 for a standing-room-only discussion on the future of pot now that Propsition 64 has passed. Big thanks to the great panelists - Lori Ajax, Hezekiah Allen, Nate Bradley, Gabriel Garcia, Councilman Jay Schenirer and Andrea Unsworth -- and everyone who attended, especially those who stood for the entire 1 hour and 45 minutes.

You can sit down, kick back, relax and listen to our "Pot Is Legal . . Now What?" podcast on Soundcloud. Listen to the entire 1:45 hour podcast at once, or listen to segments you're most interested in -- we broke it down in the "Podcast Timeframe" section at the bottom of the page.

Policy and a Pint: Shaking Up the Election Process

Another Weekend-before-the-election special: A heartwarming, enlightening, uplifting discussion about the 2016 election -- Trump is only mentioned once, Hilary none.

Here's the Policy and a Pint podcast of our "Shaking Up the Election Process" panel at Ruhstaller's taproom a few weeks back, with Caity Maple, Paul Mitchell and James Schwab using no filters whatsoever to discuss, opine and predict the outcome of the election next week, and the next one coming up in two years.

Listen to the podcast here

A Contentious Issue: Placer County's Measure M

A Weekend-Before-The-Election podcast special: Four panelists go head-to-head on Placer County's Measure M. It's one of 16 ballot measures in California counties that ask voters to increase their sales tax to pay for transportation improvements (Sacramento has Measure B).

Placer's Measure M is certainly an interesting one -- both the Tea Party and the Sierra Club are against it. Two of their representatives came onto our "Policy and a Pint" panel last week in Roseville to debate against a Placer County supervisor and the Yes on Measure M campaign manager.

As you'll hear, it was a passionate debate over a contentious issue -- but everyone shook hands and saluted each other at the end.

Listen to the podcast here