Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

It’s hard to believe in modern day California multiple stories of rats are making news. From the 15-pound rats in the Delta, to the rats inhabiting downtown Los Angeles—one expert told a Los Angeles news radio station there probably exist in the city the same number of rats as the human population, in other words in the millions–these rodents are getting attention. The rats’ impact could be enough to change government policy on dealing with the homeless. 

With court orders protecting the homeless from forced removal from the streets and criminalizing street living, approaches to either change the law or have a higher court reverse lower court mandates are going forward. 

The Statewide Commission on Homelessness and Supportive Housing is considering asking the state to establish a “right to shelter” law.  Such a law would require local governments to provide shelter space—and provide some state dollars to achieve the goal. 

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Should California Business Leaders Accept a Deteriorating State Business Climate?

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

In recent weeks and months, there has been a back and forth debate in the media and at political events regarding California deteriorating business climate. 

In particular, as discussed in a recent Fox & Hounds Daily column, the liberal-leaning Economist wrote a major story that was highly critical of California’s political economy which concluded that the trend lines indicate that there is little hope on the horizon for things to get any better.    

One prominent USC academic even described the demographic trends of able-bodied Californians fleeing the state as a “slow motion train wreck.”  

President Donald J. Trump routinely characterizes California as a “disgrace” and a “disaster” for the homeless problems in San Francisco, where he owns property, and Los Angeles, where he has visited on several occasions during his Presidency.  

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Another Angry Billionaire

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)

If I were angrier, would I be richer?

The question occurs as Tom Steyer enters the presidential race, running as some sort of avenging angel against American wealth and corruption. He kept saying the word “outsider” in his announcement.

As an outsider myself to the world of billionaire outsiders, I found myself wondering: What on earth is he talking about?

But Steyer is hardly alone. The president of the United States plays a scarier, less competent and way more racist version of the billionaire outsider. And we just read obituaries for another billionaire outsider, Ross Perot.

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Anti-Recidivism Coalition Provides Transformational Criminal Justice Reform

Michele Hanisee
President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys

The ADDA has long advocated rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration – so long as that rehabilitation is effective and successful.  

We also believe reducing the prison population is a laudable goal so long as it can be done without endangering public safety. However, the initial focus should be on effective rehabilitation that does not compromise public safety, rather than planning for early releases first and then implementing rehabilitation programs after the fact.

One of the more effective rehabilitation programs is the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), located in downtown Los Angeles. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with ARC founder Scott Budnick, and members of the ARC team. While Mr. Budnick and I may not always agree on policy, his approach of keeping lines of communication open and listening to all perspectives, including those of law enforcement and crime victims is refreshing and commendable.

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Harris Gains in Poll

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The Quinnipiac poll this week showed Kamala Harris taking the lead in the presidential contest among California Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Her gain in the polls reflects rising support for her candidacy in Southern California. 

In February, Quinnipiac polled California Democratic voters on which Democratic candidate they were most excited about. Joe Biden topped Harris 60% to 58%. In April Quinnipiac asked California Democrats who they favored to lead the party.  Biden lead Harris 26% to 17%.

Now Harris is out front 23% to 21% (although well within the poll’s margin of error at 5.7%) with most observers agreeing her performance in the first Democratic debate boosted her campaign. 

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Is the Miracle of Vaccination Fading?

Henry I. Miller
Physician, molecular biologist, and senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the co-discoverer of an enzyme that is critical in the replication of influenza virus. He was the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology.

This year’s debate over Senate Bill 276 (Pan) has generated significant controversy in an area where there should be none – the importance of vaccinating all children from often deadly or debilitating communicable diseases.

This debate comes as infectious diseases that used to claim the lives of one in six children before their fifth year are making an alarming comeback in California and nationwide. The culprits are parents who should know better – and the politicians who accommodate them.

Parents of small children today no longer know the fear of deadly childhood diseases. It wasn’t so long ago that diphtheria, measles, and whooping cough epidemics regularly killed large numbers of children and left others with permanent disabilities. As a child in the 1950s, I was prevented by my parents from going to public swimming pools during the summer because of the threat of polio.

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A Scandal That is Not a Scandal

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)

The state auditor has discovered another scandal that isn’t a scandal.

The latest target of Elaine Howle’s office is the California State University system. And if the supposed crime sounds familiar, it is: CSU has been behaving in fiscal prudent ways.

And you can’t do that in California.

Our state, with a dysfunctional budget process, has developed its own genre of scandal involving the public institution that saves too much. CSU is accused of keeping a secret surplus of $1.5 billion. Of course, the surplus wasn’t really secret—it was disclosed in documents—but the university system didn’t advertise it prominently enough to legislators.

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Despite crackdown, is state losing ground in vaccination push?

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Four years into a crackdown on high numbers of California students going unvaccinated because of claimed concerns over vaccine risks, new statistics from the 2018-2019 school year show that 10 percent or more of the students in 117 kindergartens and 5 percent or more of those at 1,500 other kindergartens do not have their required shots. But these students are able to attend school because their parents have succeeded in obtaining medical exemptions.

After a new law by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, was enacted in 2015 that ended personal belief exemptions from vaccinations, the number of vaccinated kindergartners increased to above 95 percent on average. That’s the level seen as creating “herd immunity” from infectious diseases. This was treated as a success story by public health officials who supported Pan’s effort to respond to a Disneyland-based measles outbreak that was California’s worst in years. They expected the vaccination rate to keep going up as public health information campaigns emphasized their importance.

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Looking Forward on Affordable Housing

John Moorlach
State Senator representing the 37th Senate District

With the state budget mostly concluded, now is a good time to look at future reforms to bring Californians more housing, affordable or otherwise.

It’s called a housing crisis, yet you can buy a 282-square-foot kit home on Amazon.com for $18,800, instructions included. If you need something bigger, there’s a 1,336 square foot kit home for $64,650.

So perhaps it should be called a property crisis. While building a house can be cheap, in California the property under it is the expensive component, requiring builders to meet all sorts of state and local regulations. State and local governments refuse to make it easier to erect any kind of housing.

Just Google “land entitlements” for a rude awakening on how complex property regulations are. This traditional approach needs a review.

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Pelosi’s Real Failure on Immigration

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)

The fight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the “Squad” of young, female, non-white members of Congress exposes a huge problem for the immigration debate and for the country Neither Pelosi nor her young tormentors have a real plan—on policy or in narrative—on immigration.

In fact, while the hyper-progressives don’t realize it, they aren’t that far away from President Trump, or from President Obama for that matter, when it comes to immigration. Trump and Obama have both used reckless, rights-violating mass deportation as an immigration policy, and both presidents have reinforced the last 30 years of American immigration policy—which is about endless ramping up of border security and surveillance.

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