Gavin Newsom’s Futile Bid to Trump-Proof California

Never one to miss an opportunity for posturing, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced plans to “Trump-proof” the state if the former president wins later this year. Read more

California Is the Homeland of Progressive Anti-Semitism

One 19th century Gentile described California as “the Jews’ earthly paradise”. It is paradise no longer. Reports of attacks on Jewish businesses, homes and institutions are becoming ever more commonplace, while university campuses – hardly considered to be bastions of hate – have allowed acts of flagrant anti-Semitism to go unpunished.

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California’s Broken Diversity Promise

Few states are more ostentatious in their concern for racial equality and minority uplift than California. The Golden State leads the nation in promoting racial reparations, doggedly supports affirmative-action quotas, and pays students to teach educators about implicit bias. From his first day in office, Governor Gavin Newsom has deemed addressing inequality a “moral imperative” in his fight for “a California for all.”

A new report from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy, to which we both contributed, suggests the state is falling short of these lofty ideals. We and our coauthors demonstrate how California’s Latinos, who account for nearly 40 percent of the state’s population and over half of its residents under age 18, lag significantly behind their peers in rival states like Texas and Florida in terms of incomes, homeownership, and education. California’s policy agenda, with its dual focus on welfare expansion and climate alarmism, has undermined the economic potential of the state’s Latinos—and undercut the governor’s promises.

The problems start at the aggregate level. California has the nation’s highest unemployment rate and slowest pace of job growth, along with a huge structural budget deficit. California creates middle-income jobs—critical for Latinos seeking to climb the income ladder—at among the lowest rates in the country. Over the past decade, the state has lost 1.6 million above-average-paying jobs, and 85 percent of its new positions have been in the lower-paying service sector.

Here the aspirations of both Latino entrepreneurs and workers could be crushed. The Small Business Regulation Index ranks California’s as the worst business climate for small firms, which disproportionately harms Latinos, whose businesses tend to be smaller and less capitalized. California’s recently mandated $20 minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers, for example, may help some individual Latinos, but it could both reduce total employment and threaten the livelihoods of smaller franchisees, many of whom are minorities.

Latino residents also are particularly vulnerable to California’s war on the carbon economy. Hispanics make up well over 90 percent of the state’s agricultural workers, more than 50 percent of its construction workers, and roughly 30 percent of its oil and gas workers—precisely the kinds of jobs that California’s green agenda disfavors.

For Latinos in California, the impact of that agenda shows up most clearly in the logistics industry. As Chapman University Business School professor Marshall Toplansky notes, Hispanics make up roughly 50 percent of California’s transportation workers, the highest percentage of any state. The Golden State’s green mandates, which encourage shipping companies to pursue rapid electrification, will likely send shippers to other ports. Electric trucks, with their huge batteries, can cost over $400,000 per vehicle; they cannot run long hauls without stopping for lengthy charging periods, undermining the economics of a trucking fleet.

Read the rest of this piece at City Journal.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Soledad Ursúa is Principal at Orinoco Equities and is a member of the board of directors of the Venice Neighborhood Council in the Los Angeles area. Her undergraduate degree from University of California Santa Barbara was in Global and International Studies and Spanish. She has a master’s in finance from the New School and worked in the New York venture capital industry.

Homepage photo: Omar Lopez, via Unsplash under CC 1.0 License.

Blue States Should Let ESG Die

Life is going from bad to worse for the ESG movement. This weekend, activist investor Bluebell Capital began a new battle to try and force BlackRock into overhauling its commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, marking another step back for the movement.

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Golden Land

In a way unimaginable in Europe, or even the eastern United States, the Golden State has long been, as one nineteenth century Gentile observer put it, “the Jews’ earthly paradise.” California, settled late and distant from the East Coast, had no entrenched WASP power elite, allowing Jews to achieve economic and political pre-eminence unheard of at that time.

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California Deficit Soars to $73 Billion

Incredibly, the Democratic establishment still looks to Gavin Newsom as their answer to Joe Biden. Yet frothy accounts of the California Governor’s record are about as accurate as a Google AI treatment of American history: totally fraudulent.

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Downtown San Francisco is Beyond Redemption

The recent announcement that Ian Jacobs, a scion of the famous Toronto-based Reichmann real estate clan, was coming to buy upwards of $900 million of San Francisco real estate, has offered the beleaguered California city a rare moment of hope. Some suggest that we could see a repeat of New York’s recovery from its nadir in the 1970s, during which the Reichmanns made a fortune gobbling up depressed buildings shortly before the city’s resurgence.

Yet any effort to restore San Francisco’s appeal will need more than an infusion of vulture capital. The city’s problems are essentially demographic and political, and have transformed San Francisco from an icon to a disaster zone, particularly as workers opt for remote work. The city’s office vacancy rate continues to rise, now surpassing 35%, the highest in its history.

To be sure, San Francisco has been losing its middle class for decades, replaced initially by young single people, many of whom are tied to the tech industry. But as early as 2015, the city began losing net domestic migrants as growth shifted to the further exurbs.

Since the pandemic, the city’s population has dropped and its social problems, long festering, have become a running sore. That’s likely why up to 10% of San Francisco’s residents have left the city — far more than in New York. “A lot of people have had it,” Heather Gonzalez, a longtime Democratic activist and mother of two, told me. “We have had neighbours and an elderly grandfather beat up on a bus and my kids have to watch people poop in public on Market Street. This is what we have to go through.”

Yet there is some hope, Gonzalez suggests. She points to the recent recall of ultra progressives including the District Attorney and three school board members. There’s also been a concerted effort by moderate Democrats to root the radical Left’s hold on the party as well as an effort to replace several far-Left members of the Board of Supervisors.

Amid a severe budget deficit, these efforts are critical. The city’s understaffed police department is almost certain to lose the battle for resources with the city’s dominant and fervently Leftist public employee unions. That the city now suffers the second highest violent crime rate in California illustrates just how important this battle is.

These reform efforts finally have some backing now from the tech oligarchs, who in recent years have been indifferent or even supportive of the progressive agenda. This has roiled the Left-wing activists who see any movement backed by the billionaire class as a hostile takeover.

Yet even if the city somehow regains its ballast, Reichman may be looking at the wrong places to invest. Although the office market may recover, the movement of business out of the state continues in a way far more profound than in New York back in the 1970s.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Ken Lund, via Flickr under CC 2.5 License.

Gavin Newsom Turned the California Dream into a Woke Nightmare

It takes a kind of malignant genius to destroy California, but the state’s ruling elites are well on their way to assure its decline. If the downward spiral continues, it will stand as a testament to the insane variety of progressive policies that have driven middle and working class people, as well as numerous companies, out of the state.

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California: Where Freedom Goes to Die

California was once a byword for liberty and opportunity. The so-called Golden State was home first to the Gold Rush, then to Hollywood and then to the tech revolution in Silicon Valley. Californians have long been proud of that legacy Read more

How to Shrink a Fortune

For generations, millions have come to California to make their fortunes, relying on the state’s own seemingly limitless fortune of natural resources, favorable climate, and economic opportunity. But now California’s longstanding identity as the nation’s leading innovator, wealth-builder, and aspirational locale is threatened. Read more