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.

Good Economic News Will Lead to Lower Tax Rates, Right?

When Governor Jerry Brown campaigned for Proposition 30 last year, he argued that the temporary tax was needed for only a few years until the economy bounced back. Perhaps too early to celebrate, but the signs of a reviving economy are popping up.

Does that mean the Prop 30 tax will expire on schedule? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Last week’s report that California’s 8.6% unemployment rate is the lowest in five years is certainly welcome news. This week we learned that California is leading the nation in home price growth. That could lead to a boost in property tax revenue. (more…)

Does Pete Peterson Understand He’s Running for Office?

What is wrong with Pete Peterson?

Doesn’t the Republican candidate for Secretary of State understand that he’s running for office?

Doesn’t he know that no politician in his right mind would run on difficult, complicated ideas in this day and age?

Heck, this guy is so clueless that he’s just written a long, thoughtful essay for the California-based magazine Pacific Standard. You must read it, because it’s hysterically naïve. (more…)

Perspective on Uptick in Manufacturing

The Sacramento Bee and others have written about recent statistics showing that California’s economy grew faster than the country in 2012. They have also pointed out that the state’s manufacturing gdp numbers had an eight percent boom in 2012.  That is very good news!

We hope the trend continues because we have a lot of lost ground to make up.  California manufacturing has recovered much slower than the U.S.   We’ve seen only five percent manufacturing GSP growth since 2010 while the country enjoyed a robust 21 percent growth.  High-wage manufacturing jobs have grown by only a half percent versus the country’s 4.4 percent boom in that time period. (more…)

Sacramento Spotlight: AB 110 – The Not-So-Balanced Balanced Budget

“A tremendous achievement.”

“Ho-hum, another on-time balanced budget.”

These quotes, the first from Assembly Speaker John Perez and the second from Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, perfectly encapsulate the mood of Sacramento last week as California’s State Legislature voted to approve a state budget—officially known as AB 110As mandated by law, lawmakers had until June15 to pass a balanced budget, or go without pay.  This incentive mechanism has achieved one of its intended goals—an on-time budget—but hasn’t necessarily proved successful on the balanced provision.  (more…)

Enterprise Zones are Indispensable to a California Recovery

Two decades ago California was recovering from the then-worst economic downturn since the Depression. We needed all the tools we could muster, including tax incentives, infrastructure spending, permit streamlining and aggressive marketing. We also needed a unified voice among our state and local political leadership.

I should know: I was privileged to be undersecretary of the new Trade and Commerce Agency – created by Governor Wilson, a Republican, and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. I’m proud to recall that the Legislature really delivered. They cut taxes for new manufacturing investment, enacted some workers’ compensation reforms, and provided the marketing and permit streamlining resources that enabled the success of our job creating “Red Teams.” (more…)

Boxed in by the Prison Issue

The Ninth Circuit three judge panel’s order to release nearly 10,000 prisoners from California jails by the end of the year seemingly has put a resisting Governor Jerry Brown in a box.

On one side, Brown is threatened by the courts to free prisoners. On the other side, political opponents are mounting a campaign against Brown arguing that freed prisoners threaten public safety.

The left hook from the courts: The judges on the panel give no indication that they will accept any plan the governor puts forward to relieve prison overcrowding and the Supreme Court has already sided with the three judge panel when a previous challenge to their orders about the California prison system came before the high court. (more…)