Fox and Hounds Daily Says Goodbye

With this article, we end publication of Fox and Hounds Daily. It has been a satisfying 12½ year run. When we opened in May 2008, our site was designed to offer an opportunity to those who wished to engage in public debate on many issues, especially in politics and business, but found it difficult to get placed in newspaper op-ed pages. 

Co-publishers Tom Ross, Bryan Merica and I have kept F&H going over this time investing our own time, funding, and staff help. Last year at this time we considered closing the site, however with an election on the horizon we decided to keep F&H going through the election year. With the election come and gone, and with no sense of additional resources, we have decided to close the site down. 

Fox and Hounds will live on, at least, with my articles collected in the California State Library.

On a personal note, I have spent over 40 years in California policy and politics. There have been some incredible high moments and some difficult low points. It pains me that politics too often is a blood sport, frequently demonizing the motives of opponents and using the legal system as a weapon in public discourse. At Fox & Hounds, we tried to adhere to the practice of giving all a voice in the debate, yet keep the commentaries civil and avoided personal attacks.

F&H offered the opportunity to publish different perspectives (even ones that criticized my writings!).  We had success as indicated by the Washington Post twice citing Fox and Hounds Daily one of the best California political websites and many other positive affirmations and comments received over the years.

Tom, Bryan and I want to thank our many readers and writers for being part of our journey.  The publishers of Fox and Hounds Daily believe that we added value to California and its people. We hope you agree.

Black Bart Winners for 2020—The Crisis and the Chief Responder

Covid-19 pockmarked California’s political landscape like no politician or ballot measure ever could. It ended or damaged lives, put a dagger into the heart of a healthy economy, it disrupted well planned political agendas, it shrunk government budgets and shocked the day-to-day life of all Californians. It could not be ignored. Neither could the person in the hot seat who by dint of his office had to lead the California response on the pandemic. So, Fox and Hounds Daily names Covid-19 and Governor Gavin Newsom as co-Black Bart Award winners having the greatest impact on California politics in 2020.

Recognizing the pioneering achievement being elected vice-president of the United States, there was debate over whether California’s junior senator, Kamala Harris, deserved this award. However, Harris’s step onto the national stage did not change greatly the dynamics of California politics and lifestyle. (more…)

My New Year’s Wish: Fact-Checking the Correctness of “Politically Correct” Environmental Policies

Norm King served as city manager in three Southern California cities and is the former executive director of the San Bernardino Transportation Commission. 

It is important for the reader of the following critique of various “politically correct” assertions to understand that I believe that climate change is serious and is caused by human activity, that we need to reduce poverty in California and that that a transition to reduced carbon consumption is a necessity. 

My hot button issue is that so many proposed “politically correct” solutions rarely survive a “fact check,” that they will not solve our critical environmental concerns, that they will exacerbate social inequities and that they will result in costly and ridiculously expensive policies to reduce carbon consumption vs. what could be achieved at less cost. (more…)

For Every California Kid, A Seat in the Bar

Santa, California children need more this Christmas than you can fit in the sleigh. But could you at least give every Californian under 18 their very own barstool?

Why universal barstools? If our kids are going to get back to education and socialization anytime soon, their best shot lies in restaurants and bars—the places that adults care most about keeping open these days.

Yes, St. Nick, turning the bars into havens for those too young to drink legally is not a great idea. But it’s way better than anything California has offered its kids during this pandemic.

Our state’s grown-up Scrooges, giving short shrift to data showing low COVID transmission rates for kids, miss few opportunities to damage children’s academic, social, and mental health. So we’ve closed the schools (and, at times, playgrounds) and imposed distance learning that produces educational regression and screen addiction. We’re keeping children away from friends, coaches, mentors, and even their beloved grandparents, aunts, and uncles. (Also on the banned list: you, Santa!)  (more…)

Black Bart Nominee Devastated the Year for All Californians

In attempting to decide what action or actor on the California political scene had the greatest effect on the state’s policy and politics, naturally, you first think of politicians. None stands out more than Governor Gavin Newsom. He has been in the center of the crisis management dealing with outside disasters with the pandemic and its effects on California’s people and economy and the rash of state wildfires, as well as other newsworthy problems, some of his own making.

In responding quickly to the virus when it first hit the Golden State, Newsom reaped praise both nationally and statewide for not allowing California to suffer the deaths and contagion that hit other states, especially New York. But the praise has worn thin as the virus continues its destructive ways and Newsom’s solutions of lockdowns have disgruntled many residents. (more…)

Does This Black Bart Nominee Have a Ghost of a Chance?

It’s a difficult year to pick a Black Bart, at least among the living in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom made a good start against homelessness and COVID-19, only to strike a deadly blow to his own career with one wine-fueled dinner in the Napa Valley.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein lost her way, and appeared on her last political legs as this was written.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was supposed to gain seats, but lost them; the end is near. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both failed to win back the House—and ended up going over the deep end, embracing anti-democratic conspiracy theories and Qanon candidates in his caucus. He deserves every ounce of our scorn.

You might say that Kamala Harris had a good year, getting elected vice president. But that job has been compared to death, and warm spit. And in lifestyle, she loses big, having to leave Brentwood for the official v.p. residence at the Naval Observatory. (more…)

Legal Guidance For The Vaccine, Employers And Workers

(Latest in a series since March on the pandemic’s employment impacts, and rebuilding America’s job base. The previous ones are here.)

As the vaccine arrives this week, so too do questions from employers regarding the role of the vaccine in the workplace and in return-to-work protocols. Can an employer mandate a vaccination for a worker to return to work? 

Conversely, can an employer be required to mandate vaccines for a safe workplace? What of workers who refuse to take the vaccine due to a disability, or religious reasons or because they don’t feel safe doing so? (more…)