The Black Bart Award Winner for 2012

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

Fox and Hounds Daily’s Black Bart Award as Californian of the Year in Politics goes to: Molly Munger and Charles Munger, Jr.

Both John Wildermuth and I considered writing about the Mungers influence on this year’s election before we considered any others and Joe Mathews also gave them the nod. Not much bickering this year, the brother and sister residing on different points of the political spectrum were runaway winners.

As I wrote in my nominating column, Their influence was felt widely during the election and made them prominent figures on the California political scene. More importantly, just because the election is over and their money did not convince voters to follow their leads in all matters, don’t expect the Mungers to disappear. Their influence on the causes they espouse will endure. Expect both Mungers to continue efforts to change policy.

Obviously, the amount of money they put into the causes they championed are part of their stories. However, their dedication to those causes, schools funding in Molly’s case, electoral and political reform for Charles, and their ability to have an impact on California politics could not be ignored.

It should be noted that all members of our committee noted that Governor Jerry Brown’s success this year, maneuvering through difficult waters, deserved attention. While a governor as the chief executive of a state always has an upper hand in gaining year-end recognition, Brown’s achievement this year is particularly noteworthy.

However, the Mungers arrival on the scene was more dramatic. After all, California is the home of Hollywood and the Silicon Valley, a world of drama and a place that is always looking for the next “new” thing. Those homespun ingredients helped the Mungers compete successfully for attention with the governor’s success.

We named the Californian of the Year Award after gentleman highwayman Black Bart, a California original. He mixed a bit of larceny, artistry, good manners with character to push-back when he thought the system was working against him.

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