Padilla and elections are top California story

The 2020 election year has been a roll call of voting disasters. The Iowa caucus. The New York primary. High-visibility legal battles in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia and many, many others. Missing from the list? California, which ran a secure and problem-free election, despite a record number of voters and a virtually […]

Black Bart Nominee: Scott Wiener

By definition, all legislators are politicians. But not all politicians are legislators, officeholders committed to making their city/state/country better and willing to compromise and work with anyone to get that done. State Sen. Scott Wiener is a legislator. And his willingness to take up important but controversial issues and fight hard to do what he […]

Black Bart Award Nominee: One Party Dominance

If you’re looking for the person, group or organization that most shaped California in 2018, consider this: Jerry Brown purposely goes where the president won’t and invites leaders from around the world to San Francisco for a landmark summit on climate change. Nancy Pelosi leads her party to a smashing election day victory and stands […]

Black Bart Award Nominee: Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown, California’s 79-year-old governor, is as clear an example as you’d like to prove that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. And that’s why he’s my choice as Californian of the Year. Sure, Brown has been involved with the environmental movement for decades, signing the coastal protection act in 1976, leading […]

Black Bart Nominee: Zuckerberg Brings New Look to Giving

There are plenty of people in the tech world who have lots of experience – and an outsized interest — in making buckets of money, but far fewer of them are talking about the best way to give that cash away. For making that connection between the money that comes in and the good it […]

Black Bart Nominee: Newsom Out Front On Tough Issues

Last June, when a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a right and that “No longer may this liberty be denied,” the decision’s roots stretched back to 2004, when a newly elected San Francisco mayor decided on his own to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. In 2013, the state’s lieutenant […]

Black Bart Award Nominee — Legislature is California’s Comeback Story

Pigs are taking wing. There are snowdrifts outside the devil’s door. The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. And the California Legislature is my pick for the Black Bart award. Yeah, that’s pretty much the same Legislature that in 2009 defined dysfunction by forcing the state to issue IOUs because lawmakers couldn’t agree on […]

Who To Vote For, No Names Allowed

(Editor’s Note: I wish this editor’s note was an April’s Fools joke, but, unfortunately, it is not — John Wildermuth’s column here is his last for Fox and Hounds. John has been pulled back onto the political reporting team at the San Francisco Chronicle so he must forgo his writing for F&H. John’s contributions to the site have […]

Serious Issues Don’t Bring Serious Discussions

There may be some favored spot in the United States where politicians and their constituents can discuss controversial matters and come to a decision based on the facts of the case, but California sure isn’t that place. The case in point is the recent effort to pass SCA5, a constitutional amendment that would have again […]

Politicians Want to Run for Office, Any Office

If flexibility, the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, is one of the most important virtues in our new, high-tech world, boy, are California politicians virtuous. Take Wendy Greuel. It was less than a year ago that she was running for her dream job as mayor of Los Angeles. Everything in her political career […]