Happy President’s Day

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

Happy President’s Day!

Fun Fact: The holiday was originally established to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, but now it always takes place on the third Monday in February, so it acts as a combo celebration for Washington, Abraham Lincoln and any other presidents you like.

Fox and Hounds Daily will resume publishing on Tuesday, February 21st.

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Read All the Lines in an Editorial

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

We are often told that we must “read between the lines” to get a true understanding of what the words on a page mean. In the case of political campaign material, it is safer to read all the lines in the original source material from which the campaign material is quoted.

Take the contentious Measure S on the Los Angeles City ballot March 7. The measure, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, would put a two-year moratorium on certain Los Angeles developments, avoid one time adjustments to the plan that approve specific developments and require the city council to redo the city’s planning documents.

If you read the cuts taken from Los Angeles Times editorials included in the campaign mailers that are hitting mailboxes it would seem the Times’ editors are all for the measure.

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Top Two’s Next Victim? The 2018 Gubernatorial Contest

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Boy does California ever need a robust, wide-ranging debate about the future of the state, and the future of governance. And so you might think that the 2018 governor’s race, with the incumbent termed out, would be just the opportunity for such a debate.

But there’s no chance of such a debate. Top two will keep the conversation narrow.

California’s top two system (I don’t call it a primary, even though the state does, because top two eliminates primaries) has many faults. In 2018, we’ll experience how, in the names of expanding choices, it eliminates our choices.

All the candidates of all parties are on the ballot in the first round of balloting. That is supposed to encourage moderation and spur turnout and give voters more choices, but it does the opposite of those things.

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Top Two Reform Speaks to the Political Middle

Ed Coghlan
Contributing Editor & Special Correspondent, California Forward

On NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, host Chuck Todd made a comment in the guise of a question that talked about the “hollowed-out middle” of American politics, namely how hyper-partisanship will endure because voter behavior in the primaries only results in very conservative Republicans and very liberal Democrats.

The story of growing division is a common theme in political cable news, which can often focus on partisan conflicts and Twitter wars.

Well, Chuck, while that might be true where you live and obviously guides how you produce your program, it isn’t the case where I live.

Since Californians passed the Top Two primary in 2010 that middle vote, which Todd and others think has been disenfranchised nationally by the hyper-partisanship, has been alive and well in the Golden State.

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Half of Small Businesses Say Regulations are a Problem

Tom Scott
CA Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

According to new research by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small business owners are drowning in regulations imposed by every level of government. It is a major problem affecting millions of businesses, and the federal government is the biggest contributor.

For small businesses in California, however, we know that in many areas including labor and environmental law, the state frequently reaches far beyond federal regulations, which only compounds the regulatory burden imposed by the federal government.

According to the survey, 25 percent of small employers say regulations are a “very serious problem.” Another 23 percent say regulations are a “somewhat serious problem.”

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Government Policies Perpetuate Poverty in California

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Anyone can see the road that they walk on
Is paved in gold
And it’s always summer
They’ll never get cold
They’ll never get hungry
They’ll never get old and gray
~ Fastball, “The Way,” 1998

Before California was officially christened the Golden State by the Legislature in 1968, it was also known as the Land of Milk and Honey. The California dream of prosperity was touched off by a gold rush, and there followed for decades a steady flow of millions seeking better lives. Fastball’s Tony Scalzo didn’t have California in mind when he wrote “The Way,” but for many, his description is the image they see in their heads when they think of migrating to California. That is the dream.

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UC Berkeley Unfairly Criticized in Wake of Protest

Ronald Turovsky
Partner with the law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips in its Los Angeles office. He attended UC Berkeley for his undergraduate degree and law school.

After the violence that shut down the speech of the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley, the University has come under substantial criticism – including from President Trump, who tweeted a threat to defund it. Many have trotted out the old yarn that the University is nothing more than a hotbed of liberalism and political correctness and not a serious academic place. One article in particular, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times, by Heather Mac Donald, a Stanford Law School graduate now employed by the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute, attacks the University, asserting it has declined “from a place of learning to a victimology hothouse” and is a “cultural reeducation camp.” These attacks on the University are unwarranted and tarnish the many attributes of this most important institution – and tarnish other colleges and universities across the country and undermine their mission. In a time when it is particularly important to speak about phony facts and other libels, the record needs to be set straight.

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Caltrain and High Speed Rail and FTA funding – Revolving Door Shenanigans

Morris Brown
Resident of Menlo Park and Founder of DERAIL, a grassroots effort against the California high-speed rail project

A brewing scandal involving Federal Funding for the Bay Area Commuter line, Caltrain, has emerged.  Caltrain has been seeking funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for its “modernization program”.  Caltrain has been seeking approval for a FTA Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in the amount of $647 million. Caltrain was pushing very hard to get approval of the grant, before the Trump administration took over on Jan 20th.

The push to get approval before Jan 20th involved, in a rush effort, special meetings being called by three county boards to approve additional funds. The additional funding from these boards, was being demanded by the FTA, before approving the FFGA. Even the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) held a special meeting and then sent its executive director, Steve Heminger, to Washington to lobby and gain approval of the grant, before the new Trump administration could take control.

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California Must Discredit Trump Before Trump Discredits California

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California is already on defense in its battle with Donald Trump.

We need offense—now.

Trump is attacking our state as if it were just another political opponent. His strategy is not merely to punish California; he wants to rob our state of its political legitimacy.

So the president of the United States has falsely claimed that California’s elections are fraudulent exercises involving millions of illegal votes. He’s frequently accused our biggest cities of endangering our country by failing to assist with deportations. He has called California “out of control” and threatened to “defund” state programs.

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The Oroville Dam and the Fight for Infrastructure Funding

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Might a pending disaster of the Oroville Dam spillway collapse move the legislature to a compromise on infrastructure funding? One of the criticisms that has arisen since the threat of a water deluge is that the dam and spillways were not maintained properly even when warnings about the structure were raised more than a decade ago. A disaster or near disaster could focus the legislature to resolve differences and create a package for infrastructure improvements.

Recall nearly 25 years ago that fires roared through Orange County prior to a statewide vote in a special election called by Governor Pete Wilson on a tax measure to fund public safety purposes. Nature’s fury convinced voters to go along with the tax in Proposition 172.

Similarly, the swollen Oroville Lake and coming rains might awaken legislators to act quickly on infrastructure fixes. The focus in the legislature has been on roads and highways but the danger to people and property at the site of the Oroville dam could set off a more complete infrastructure solution.

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Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.