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Latest Columns

Read all of Susan Shelley's columns at

Barbara Ferrer vs. freedom

October 2, 2022 at 6:30 a.m.
In reality, there is no “human pact”

Phillip Washington and the case of Peace over Violence

September 28, 2022 at 9:41 a.m.
It was Agatha Christie who famously said, “Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.”

Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis made an important point about immigration policy

September 24, 2022 at 10:34 a.m.
Great comedies always have a twist at the end. Watch in November as voters across the country put politicians on the next bus out of town.

What’s going on with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Sheriff Alex Villanueva?

September 20, 2022 at 9:28 p.m.
So Phil Washington may join Mayor Garcetti in confirmation purgatory.

Proposition 1 goes too far and risks unintended consequences, vote no: Susan Shelley

September 18, 2022 at 12:29 p.m.
Proposition 1 isn’t necessary because current state law protects abortion rights, with reasonable and widely supported limits.

When will Los Angeles County align with the state of California on COVID?

September 14, 2022 at 11:48 p.m.
When Barbara Ferrer feels like it.

California’s absurd war on cars

September 10, 2022 at 10:43 p.m.
To paraphrase the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the problem with California government is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

Los Angeles’ outdated emergency COVID order

September 6, 2022 at 3:48 p.m.
It's too bad Pfizer didn't invent a vaccine to prevent abuse of power. There's a big market for it in California.

Of course the FBI is subject to political influence

September 4, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.
Quite the business model

Lawyering up at L.A. County Health over dubious mask mandates

August 31, 2022 at 7:00 a.m.
Reputation management.



How Trump Won

The key moments of the 2016 campaign, captured as they happened, in this collection of columns by Susan Shelley: "How Trump Won."

"How Trump Won": Key moments of the 2016 campaign, captured in columns by Susan Shelley




Susan Shelley

Photo of Susan Shelley, columnist for the Southern California News GroupSusan Shelley is an opinion columnist and editorial writer for the Southern California News Group, eleven daily papers including the Los Angeles Daily News, the Orange County Register, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. She’s also Vice President of Communications for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California's leading taxpayer advocacy organization. Susan is a frequent guest on Southern California radio and TV news and interview shows to talk about politics and policy. She's a regular contributor to "The Daily California" podcast with Fox News host Steve Hilton, and she's the host of the Howard Jarvis Podcast for KABC. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Shelley.

Susan’s Guide to the Propositions on your Ballot

In the City of Los Angeles

There are three measures on the City of Los Angeles ballot – two tax increases and an authorization for more low-income housing projects to be built everywhere in the city.  

Proposition SP – This is a parcel tax (an extra property tax) that will cost you $84.14 per 1,000 square feet of your home or business property, every year for 30 years. Then it would drop down to a lower rate and stay forever. The city says the money is needed to maintain the parks, but on closer inspection it turns out to be a tax to upgrade facilities that are going to be venues for the 2028 Olympics, as well as a tax to pay for the massive L.A. River overhaul, which will cost $1.6 billion at last count. You already pay taxes to maintain the parks, but the city is diverting about 40 percent of the money that’s supposed to go to the Department of Recreation and Parks by forcing the department to pay for city services like water and power, trash pick-up and personnel costs. This diversion started during the Great Recession and never ended. Vote NO on Proposition SP.
More information at
Free yard signs available here.
Video of the argument against Proposition SP can be seen here.

Initiative Ordinance ULA – This is a tax on real estate sales, 4% on properties that sell for more than $5 million and 5.5% on properties over $10 million. It will mostly affect commercial properties such as apartment buildings, supermarkets, restaurants, movie theaters, shopping malls, big-box stores and office buildings. Whenever those properties are sold, the price will be higher because of this tax. Guess who pays: it will lead to higher rents because of the higher cost of buying an apartment building, and it will lead to higher prices everywhere else. It puts Los Angeles at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring cities. And what happens to the money raised by this tax? It goes into a new bureaucracy run by unelected and unaccountable “experts” on homelessness. NONE of the money may be spent on temporary housing or emergency shelters. Just the administrative costs will run an estimated $640 million in the first ten years. Vote NO on Initiative Ordinance ULA.
More information at
Free yard signs available here.
Video of the argument against Initiative Ordinance ULA can be seen here.

Proposition LH – The state constitution requires local voter approval before certain types of low-income public housing projects may be built in a local area. The reason for this is said by some to be systemic racism and by others to be a rational response to concerns about problem-plagued public housing projects in the past, some of which ended up demolished. If this measure is approved, an additional 5,000 units of low-income public or homeless housing will be authorized in each of the city’s 15 council districts. If you think that’s a good idea, vote yes. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, vote no.

In Los Angeles County

Measure A – This is the product of a fight between the Board of Supervisors, five elected officials who each represent 2 million residents, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff, a countywide elected official. Measure A would allow the Board of Supervisors, by a 4/5 vote, to remove the sheriff from office for “cause.” The “cause” would be whatever the Board of Supervisors decided it was. Under the state constitution, the sheriff is independently elected and answers only to the voters, who have the power of recall if they’re not happy with him. Considering the latest search warrants in a criminal investigation of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, not to mention the indictment on bribery charges of former Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, it’s clear that the Board of Supervisors doesn’t exactly walk on water. Vote NO on Measure A.

Statewide ballot measures

Proposition 1 – This is the measure put on the ballot by the legislature at the urging of the governor. They say it will “enshrine” abortion rights in the state constitution. This is not necessary to protect current law in California, and it’s written so carelessly that it actually creates a constitutional right to late-term abortion for any reason, no questions asked. It does this by overriding conflicting state laws – specifically the state laws that prohibit abortion after the point of fetal viability except to protect the life or health of the mother. Proposition 1 is a constitutional amendment. That’s why it overrides conflicting state laws. What will the reaction be nationally, in Congress and in the courts, to California’s decision to legalize abortion right up to the moment of birth? If you support abortion rights, consider that an unintended consequence of Proposition 1 could be a backlash across the country against abortion rights more generally. Vote NO on Proposition 1. Here's my column on it:

Proposition 26 – This measure would legalize in-person sports wagering at tribal casinos and also authorize them to offer roulette and dice games. It gives total exclusivity to these casinos, except that it allows sports wagering at four privately owned horserace tracks. In one particularly nasty provision, the measure authorizes private lawyers to file lawsuits against cardrooms for “violations” of state gaming regulations. This sets up a continuous shakedown that will endlessly harass these legal businesses. Most of the time it costs more in attorney fees to fight these lawsuits than to settle them. That’s not how you’re supposed to win money in a gambling establishment, but it’s a sure thing for enterprising and aggressive lawyers. Vote NO on Proposition 26.

Proposition 27 – This measure would legalize online and mobile-device sports betting in California, but it would allow only a few very large companies to offer it and freeze out any competitors. Companies would have to put up $100 million in advance for a license and would have to be licensed casino operators in multiple states already. And they would have to partner with a tribe that has a license to offer gaming in California. Problems with this measure, in addition to the anti-competitiveness, include a creepy provision for snooping on everybody’s gambling habits and reporting them to the Attorney General of California for potential “problem gambling.” The proponents say some of the tax revenue from the measure will go toward homelessness services. Obviously that’s a poll-driven add-on to try to win votes. You may remember that the California Lottery was going to fund education. Vote NO on Proposition 27.

Proposition 28 – This measure directs about $1 billion per year from the state’s General Fund to arts and music education in public schools. It is not a tax increase, and it does not diminish other funding for the schools. Instead, it aims to order the legislature to spend your money in this particular way, on this particular priority. Some people don’t like “ballot box budgeting,” but on the other hand, every tax increase for the schools has been sold to us with, “If you don’t vote for this, we won’t have arts and music in the schools.” These programs are important and popular with parents, so they’re always held hostage at budget time. This measure aims to end that game by securing the funding permanently. Why not. If you leave that money with the legislature, they’d just blow it. Vote YES on Proposition 28.

Proposition 29 – Here we have, for the third time on our stage, the kidney dialysis regulation measure. It has been defeated twice before, but a particular union likes to bring it back over and over to force the companies that run (non-union) clinics to spend millions of dollars to defeat it. This measure isn’t necessary, there’s no problem with the clinics, they’re regulated and overseen by government regulators. Vote NO on Proposition 29.

Proposition 30 – This measure is something unusual, a tax increase put on the ballot by collecting voter signatures. It’s being sold as a “clean air” measure. Here’s what’s really going on: To implement the various laws and executive orders mandating a conversion to zero-emission vehicles, the California Air Resources Board adopted a rule that requires ride-share companies to have 90% of the miles they drive be zero-emission by 2030. But nobody figured out how ride-share drivers were going to be able to afford to buy electric vehicles, or where they were going to charge them while they were driving all those miles. The legislature wouldn’t pay for it, so the ride-share company Lyft paid millions of dollars to collect signatures to put this tax increase on the ballot. It would raise the top tax rate in California on high earners ($2 million and up) from the current highest-in-the-nation 13.3% to the even higher 15.05%. The money would be spent on subsidies for the purchase of electric cars and on charging infrastructure, with just enough money for wildfire fighting to make it look attractive on the ballot. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposes this measure, as do the major business groups in the state, but so does the California Teachers Association and the governor. The teachers oppose it because they don’t get any of the money from the tax increase, and probably because they had their eye on taxing those same people in some future proposal. Rather than raise taxes on people who could easily leave the state and pay income taxes of zero in Nevada or Texas, we should slow down these mandates that are not currently feasible. Vote NO on Proposition 30.

Proposition 31 – This is a referendum on a law that bans the sale of flavored tobacco products in California. It’s already illegal to sell or give these products to children, but the supporters of the law don’t think that’s enough, they want to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products to everyone, everywhere in the state. Californians have had the powers of direct democracy since 1911—the initiative (the power to write and pass laws), the recall (the power to throw the bums out), and the referendum (the power to reject a law that has already been passed and signed by the governor.) Proposition 31 is a referendum on the law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products. When voting on a referendum, you effectively stand in for the legislators and vote on the law yourself. Vote yes if you want the law. Vote no if you don’t want the law. Personally, I’m voting NO on Proposition 31. Creating a black market for products that are currently legal will fund criminals instead of bringing in tax revenue. Prohibition doesn’t have a very good track record of success. Vote NO on Proposition 31.

Election Day is November 8, but ballots will mail out to every registered voter starting October 6. Visit the Secretary of State's website at for more information, or to register to vote, or to check your voter registration. In Los Angeles County, you can find the location of a convenient vote center or drop box at Be sure to vote in this important election!

Read Susan's essay on "How the First Amendment Came to Protect Topless Dancing:  The true story of the U.S. Supreme Court's quiet takeover of virtually everything."

Includes hundreds of footnotes and a bibliography. Available as a Kindle Book on

Cover of "How the First Amendment Came to Protect Topless Dancing"