The AG Brought Charges, But Will the Public Empathize with David Lacey?

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

The California Attorney General charged the husband of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey with a misdemeanor because he answered a 5 a.m. knock on the door of their home with a gun. News reports portray the incident as a political problem for incumbent Lacey in her hotly contested District Attorney race against progressive challenger, George Gascón. 

But considering the context of what happened, the incident might reflect a deeper concern in the general public about  fear and self-defense in these troubled times. 

Jackie Lacey’s husband David was not wise in brandishing a gun at early morning protestors at his front door. He would have been better off telling the intruders to leave and call the police if they continued to trespass. One wonders if that issue of trespassing should also be in play in the current brouhaha made large by the turbulent DA election fight.

Since objections to Jackie Lacey’s handling of police related cases brought the protestors to her doorstep in the dark at 5 a.m.; and given that DA Lacey had received death threats, her husband’s reaction could well be recognized by the public as a human one—he was protecting his wife and family.

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Faced with dying Californians and withering businesses, Gov. Newsom steers a middle path. Can it last?

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Californians could be forgiven for feeling like we’re running in place.

Three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom began easing the stay-at-home order meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the virus is raging — and the vast majority of residents are back to living under major government restrictions.

About 97% of Californians live in counties where schools are not allowed to reopen, and where indoor malls, gyms, churches and hair salons are shuttered. Across the state, bars have been ordered to close, and restaurants and movie theaters are barred from serving customers indoors. Unemployment is worse than it was at the peak of the Great Recession.

And yet, with infections and deaths rising dramatically this summer — more than half a million Californians have been sickened with COVID-19, and the state’s average daily death toll doubled between June 1 and Aug. 1 — Newsom is under pressure from some quarters to restrict activity even further. 

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California’s Woke Hypocrisy

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

No state wears its multicultural veneer more ostentatiously than California. The Golden State’s leaders believe that they lead a progressive paradise, ushering in what theorists Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca call “a new progressive era.” Others see California as deserving of nationhood; it reflects, as a New York Times columnist put it, “the shared values of our increasingly tolerant and pluralistic society.”

In response to the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to defund the police—a move applauded by Senator Kamala Harris, a prospective Democratic vice presidential candidate, despite the city’s steep rise in homicides. San Francisco mayor London Breed wants to do the same in her increasingly crime-ridden, disordered city. This follows state attorney general Xavier Becerra’s numerous immigration-related lawsuits against the Trump administration, even as his state has become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants—complete with driver’s licenses for some 1 million and free health care.

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LA’s Most Corrupt City Council: No Reforms Despite Jose Huizar Indictment

Jack Humphreville
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler

On Thursday, a federal grand jury threw the book on Councilman Jose Huizar, returning a 34-count indictment on “charges that he lead a criminal enterprise where he used his powerful position at City Hall to enrich himself and his close associates, and unlawfully gave favorable treatment to developers who financed and facilitated bribes and other illicit financial benefits.” 

This is in addition to his arrest on June 23 on federal racketeering charges. 

But this is old news. The real news is that the most corrupt City Council in the history of Los Angeles has done nothing to clean up its act: no meaningful campaign finance reform; failure to reform the City Council’s ability to make decisions on land use; the failure to provide rigorous oversight of land use decisions; and the failure to punish and prosecute developers who bribed Huizar and Englander. 

In 2019, the City Council passed a watered down campaign finance ordinance that allowed developers to continue to contribute to Councilmembers’ pet projects (“behests”), allowed developers to bundle campaign contributions from their cronies, allowed subcontractors to make contributions, delayed implementation until 2022 (conveniently after the March 2022 primaries), and did not provide for meaningful enforcement and penalties. 

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Proposition 15 and the Tug-of-War over Gov. Newsom

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

You’d have to forgive Gov. Gavin Newsom if he’s feeling like the rope in a classic tug-of-war between those on the opposite sides of the Proposition 15 property tax increase measure, each grabbing an arm and pulling him in their direction for an endorsement. 

Yesterday, numerous small business owners and representatives of small business organizations held a press conference urging Newsom to oppose the $12 billion commercial property tax proposal, pointing out the false premise that only big corporations will pay the bulk of the tax. 

“There is a misnomer that this will have zero impact on small business and that is not true,” said Rachel Michelin, President, California Retailers Association, referring to Proposition 15. “It will have a drastic impact, particularly on small and independent retailers who frankly are the cornerstone of local communities.” 

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Fair Housing Door-to-Door Sweep Dead, for Now

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

The federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has withdrawn its controversial regulation subjecting landlords to invasive local reviews of their rental properties to see whether there are “any barriers to fair housing, housing patterns or practices that promote bias.”

 Suspension of the regulation, dubbed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, will also free localities from laborious analyses of “patterns of racial bias in their neighborhoods” – a welcome change. 

“After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the AFFH regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” said HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.”

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California loses thousands of jobs and crucial fuel as Marathon Martinez refinery goes idle

Ronald Stein
Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California

California just experienced a catastrophic loss from the COIVD-19 impact on the economy, as one of its major refineries, Marathon Martinez has just announced it will be idled indefinitely.

With airlines and cruise ships virtually shut down, and vehicle transportation at an all-time low, the demand for fuels and petroleum derivative products manufactured from petroleum, are at an all-time low, the Northern California refinery, one of the largest in the state has just become a COVID victim.

We have all seen the photos of those foreign tankers with crude oil parked off the coast of California as the refineries had no use to manufacture products that were in limited demand. With in-state crude oil production at an all-time low and going lower with pressure from the Governor, California’s dependency on other suppliers has increased imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5 percent in 1992 to 58 percent today of total consumption. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day, yes, every day, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs, careers, and business opportunities.

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Complying with the Oath of Office for an Elected Los Angeles City Official

Dennis Zine
Former Los Angeles City Councilman and Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant.

Some of us have witnessed an elected L.A. City Officials sworn-in to serve in public office.  Either in person or via media.  There is all the pomp and circumstance that follows the election and then the work begins.  I remember my entry into the political arena and the Oath I truly believed in and with heart and soul.  I wanted to carry out all my duties and responsibilities and live up to my words before God and myself, supporters, critics.

I look back on my years as an elected member of the L.A. Charter Reform Commission and my 12 years as an L.A. City Councilmember and can honestly say that I tried my best to live up to the commitment I made to everyone.  Years later, I still remember the words and my commitment to the oath.  

 I recently reviewed the Oath of Office and it reminded me that it is a promise that one should remember and keep as a base for their service to the people that elected them to office.  

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California’s Choice: New and Enriched Public Programs or Freer Private Enterprise?

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

Change is coming to California following the double whammy of a pandemic eruption and police reform protests. Responses to the extraordinary dual events will initially flow into California’s current cultural and political liberal tide—a move toward more government involvement in our lives and more spending.

History tells us that government officials and agencies enlarge their portfolios during a time of crisis and rarely reduce them after the crisis subsides. In California, engaging government to confront the pandemic by offering new powers for public health officials and altering the standards of policing, while enlarging the scope of social services and business regulations to deal with societal problems, opens the door for even more government—which always leads to a need for more money.

The pandemic and the social justice protests give an impetus for social experiments in this state whose political leaders generally see spending as the go-to solution for any problem. California has been paving the road for social change with increased tax-funded social welfare programs for a good time now with negligible results. Yet, advocates and officials see the current situation as an opportunity for more of the same.

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How to sabotage a recovery: Raise taxes

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Even before Covid-19, many Californians were struggling with the high cost of living here. The long-time willingness of many Californians to pay the “sunshine tax” premium for living in a state with great weather, universities, entrepreneurial culture, and lifestyle has eroded in the face of high costs of daily life.   

Things have gone from bad to worse during the pandemic crisis. The Sacramento response to the economic and jobs calamity has been not to cut costs, but instead propose more taxes – higher property taxes on commercial, industrial and agriculture property; a new sales tax on services; a new tax on jobs; and most recently another hike in income taxes for families and small businesses that make more than $1 million a year.

These tax proposals each present a host of policy problems, but more broadly they reveal a massive gap between the lawmakers making decisions in Sacramento and the views and needs of average Californians trying to get ahead and take care of their families.     

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