Welcome to Your World
By Ed Goldman
In 1976, after my dad passed away, I moved to Sacramento, the state’s capital—a government town that entered the world stage by opening the Golden 1 Center in 2016, a magnificent ultra-modern, eco-friendly indoor arena in which the Sacramento Kings are widely celebrated for winning a few NBA games each season.
I love California.
This column won’t spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the activities of the State Legislature, even though its members have a lot to do with the creation of this column.
You see, in 2018, the California Supreme Court issued something familiarly called the Dynamex Decision, which came down hard on employers who used fulltime contractors but didn’t pay them like fulltime employees, mainly in the ride-hailing business, as it’s called. (It really should be called the ride-clicking business, no? You “hail” a cab, at airports, hotels or outside office buildings in movies set in big cities. The only time I “hailed” a Lyft or Uber driver was when he was driving away with my briefcase in the backseat).
The new law forced many businesses in the state to either hire their consultants or face very expensive lawsuits. To be sure, there were some notable exemptions for jobs vital to the commonwealth, such as doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and hair cutters. Newspaper delivery people were granted a one-year reprieve, presumably to give newspapers time to go out of business on their own.
During the column’s entire run—five days a week online, one day in print—I remained a freelance writer. I suppose I wanted it that way, since I hadn’t been anyone’s employee since leaving my last real job in January of 1984, as assistant director of the UC Davis Medical Center. (That had been a mutual decision, by the way. The director of the hospital said, Get out,” and I said, “Okay.”) Then again, neither the publisher nor editor of the Sacramento Business Journal ever offered me an actual job complete with medical benefits, forced retirement and a mandatory invitation to the annual office party, at which I’d have sampled Midge From Accounting’s legendary rum balls.
So please fasten your seatbelts. The Goldman State is about to take off.