Winston Churchill & Tom Campbell Had the Same Idea: Is it Time for a Centrist Political Party?

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

Former California congressman, state senator and state finance director Tom Campbell is building a new political party in the state. Campbell calls it the Common Sense Party, designed as a centrist party that would avoid extreme positions often adopted by the major political parties. Winston Churchill had a similar idea.

In Andrew Roberts best-selling biography of Winston Churchill, Walking with Destiny, Roberts writes about Churchill’s plan early in his political career to form a center party. “Along with the development of Churchill’s social thinking came an interest in the idea of a centre party in politics that would combine the best and most moderate elements of the Conservative and Liberal parties, both shorn of their extreme wings,” Roberts wrote. “This dream of a grand coalition of reasonable, liberal-minded centrist politicians ruling in virtual perpetuity was to stay with him until the early 1950s.” 

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Without the Tax Break, Would That Tarantino Film Be So Darn Long?

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)

Is the state’s tax credit for Hollywood production giving us too much?

I’ve been wondering that as I work through my endless watchlists on various streaming services, with an eye towards seeing films and others productions that benefited from the $300 million-a-year tax credit program.

I do this critically—I’ve never thought the program was justified. It’s corporate welfare for rich Hollywood producers, who never give us taxpayers the producers credits we deserve for our investments.

But there’s also something about the films we’re backing: they seem languid and long, as if filmmakers, operating with extra dough, can’t make tough, smart choices about what to leave out.

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Big Tech’s Hypocritical Wokeness May Soon Backfire

Joel Kotkin
Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Not long ago, in our very same galaxy, the high-tech elite seemed somewhat like the Jedis of the modern era. Sure, they were making gobs of money, but they were also “changing the world” for the better.

Even demonstrators against capitalism revered them; when Steve Jobs died in 2011, the protesters at Occupied Wall Street mourned his passing.

Increasingly, Americans no longer regard our tech oligarchs as modern folk heroes; today companies including Google, Apple and Facebook are suffering huge drops in their reputations among the public.

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Tourists Could Visit Us. No, Really.

Charles Crumpley
Editor and Publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Here’s one oddity about the San Fernando Valley: There’s a bounty of cool stuff to do and see and experience. Yet a tourism industry is next to nonexistent.

Will that ever change? Will tourism one day thrive in the Valley area? Well, maybe, just maybe – if you cross your fingers and dream. More about that in a minute. First, let’s take a moment to rack up some of the possible lures for visitors.

Probably the foremost attractions for out-of-towners are all the houses and outdoor scenes filmed in TV shows and movies, such as those in “E.T.,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Karate Kid” and “Wayne’s World.” In fact, if you want a reminder of how people go bonkers for that kind of stuff, consider that the Studio City house used for the exterior of the “Brady Bunch” show sold 1½ years ago for $3.5 million – twice its asking price.

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Markets Will Lead CA to the New Energy Future, Panelists Say

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

The 13th annual Verde Exchange, designed by its founder, L.A. civic leader and businessman, David Abel to understand and advance the New Energy Economy, kicked off in downtown Los Angeles yesterday with panels that questioned whether development of the green energy economy was best driven by government or the markets.

Panelists agreed that California was setting the pace for the green economy. David Hochschild, chair of the California Energy Commission pointed to the power of California’s influence. Since the state passed legislation to reach a 100% clean energy goal other states have followed so that now 30% of the country’s population live in areas under the 100% clean energy mandate.

Yet, some argued that markets will lead to a wider acceptance of a green energy economy.

Bob Foster, current board member of EPCOR Utilities and former president of Southern California Edison and former mayor of Long Beach, said markets are taking over. While admitting that both public and private organizations have difficulty managing change, Foster asserted that markets move faster than government. If government bureaucracy moves slowly in changing regulations or legislation it could hamper advancement in the market.

“Let the market do its thing,” Foster said.

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The Age Factor in California Elections

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught at the University of San Francisco, Berkeley and Golden Gate University, is a regular columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and was Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, 2017-2019.

It has been pointed out by one of my fellow columnists on this website that Californians—particularly Democrats—prefer older political leaders.

He writes, “The good news for younger, more ambitious politicians here is this: if you live long enough, you might get elected to something big.”

For the moment that would seem the case with Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren topping out the current primary polls. 

If elected Biden would be 78 upon inauguration, Sanders 79. If either should get there they would certainly benefit from a big chunk of Democratic votes from California. Warren will have turned 71.

March 3rd, so-called Super Tuesday, may help to resolve some of that riddle.

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PAGA Hurt Us – And Our Workers

Anne Hackney
Chief Financial Officer of Dytran Instruments, a manufacturer of pressure sensors and accelerometers in Chatsworth.

As the cost of living continues to skyrocket in California, working schedules are busier than ever. For many working families, receiving an end-of-year bonus makes all the difference during the holidays and going into tax season. Our company prides itself on offering bonuses to our employees when we’ve had a good year.

Which is why it was devastating for our company to be the target of a frivolous and harmful lawsuit. The case cost our business upwards of $1 million and the ability to provide our employees with end-of-year bonuses and schedule flexibility. 

In the case brought against our company, we were accused of denying workers timely meal breaks, otherwise known as the “five-hour rule.” Our workers asked, collectively, if they could report to work at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. so they could finish their day earlier, at 2:30 p.m. We allowed this flexibility for our workers. At this time, we asked them to move their lunch time to 10:30-11 a.m. However, they felt this was too early; they asked to take lunch later because they wouldn’t be hungry at 10:30 a.m. They also stated that it would make the end of the day go by faster if they ate a little later. It was their choice. No one was injured and no one lost pay – there were no damages. It was as simple as that, a collective morale-boosting employee request, and we saw no harm in it. It meant, however, that the first shift took their lunch break more than 5 hours after they began work – in violation of the state’s five-hour rule.

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Shenanigans? Under California’s primary rules, some campaigns boggle the mind

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Kathy Garcia is not your typical Republican candidate for the California Senate.

For one, she only just joined the GOP. A lifelong Democrat, she won election to the Stockton school board member with the backing of the county Democratic party. She changed her affiliation to Republican in June 2019, six months before the deadline to enter the Senate race.

She said the idea to run — under the banner of a party she’d opposed most of her adult life — was suggested to her by a Stockton lawyer and powerbroker who, records show, has helped fund the campaign of another candidate in the race. And that candidate, a moderate Democrat, incidentally stands a better chance if the Republican vote is divided.

The 80-year-old Garcia, asked by CalMatters why she’s running under the GOP label, gave a series of distinctly un-Republican explanations.

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Condolences on the Death of Kobe Bryant

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom issued the following statement regarding the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant:

“We mourn the tragic and untimely death of a California icon and basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. In his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he made history with raw talent and unparalleled dedication that raised the bar and paved the way for a newer generation of players.

“Despite winning five NBA championships and two gold Olympic medals, and achieving countless accolades in the athletics world, he also helped improve the lives of youth and families through the Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant Foundation, and was an outspoken advocate for combating homelessness through partnerships with organizations such as My Friend’s Place and Step Up on Second.

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Key Supreme Court Case Could Increase School-choice Possibilities In California

Lance Izumi
Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute

The week of January 27th is National School Choice Week, which is appropriate since a potentially landmark case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could have wide-ranging implications for California parents who want more education options for their children. 

The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, involves a Montana school-choice program that gives Montanans a tax credit if they contribute to a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to children to attend private schools, including religious schools.  The Montana Supreme Court struck down the program based on a so-called Blaine amendment provision in Montana’s state constitution that prevents government funding going to religious schools.

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