“Come back, Taxpayers!”

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

I couldn’t help but think of the well-known ending to the classic movie western, Shane, when I heard New York Governor Andrew Cuomo plead for rich New Yorkers to return to the Big Apple.

Brandon De Wilde plays the young boy who idolizes Alan Ladd’s Shane. As the wounded gunfighter rides away for good, De Wilde plaintively calls out, “Shane! Come back, Shane.” Cuomo, concerned that the rich New Yorkers, who cover 50% of the New York City’s income tax, during this economic crisis will declare their official residences to be their vacation homes or homes in other states, promised if they’d come back, “‘We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!’” Meanwhile, New York City officials are not helping the governor’s sale pitch by talking about raising the top end income tax even higher. 

Could a similar scenario play out in California?

Read comments Read more

The People’s Voice: Coronavirus Edition

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

California voters are understandably anxious about the health and economic crises facing families and workplaces. CalChamber commissioned a brief survey to better understand how voters want state leaders to address key economic issues as the clock ticks down on the 2020 Legislative session. 

The chilling events over the past three months have moved California voters to a more pessimistic frame of mind. 

Asked if the United States is going in the “right direction” or “wrong track,” voters, chose wrong track by a more than four-to-one margin, 82% – 18%, accelerating their jaded view of national affairs, which had trended two-to-one negatively over the past three years. 

Voters also view California affairs pessimistically. By a 60% – 40% margin, voters believe the state is on the wrong track, reversing the past three years’ assessment, which averaged a slight majority pegging the state in the right direction. 

Read comments Read more

Green Policies Won’t Keep California Truckin’

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

No state advertises its green credentials more than California. That these policies often hurt the economy, driving up housing costs and narrowing opportunities for working-class people while not even doing much for the environment, has not discouraged the state’s environmental overlords.

Consider the state’s insistence on electrifying transportation. Even as California reduces its reliable sources of power, notably nuclear and natural gas, it is mandating a statewide shift to all-electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks starting in 2024, with the goal of reaching 100 percent of all new sales, wherever feasible, by 2045. On top of other electrification mandates for light-duty cars and buildings, the new truck rule will further increase the state’s demand for electricity and raise rates, already among the nation’s highest. Since 2011, electricity prices have increased five times as fast as the national average. In 2017 alone, they increased at three times the national rate.

Read comments Read more

CalPERS’ Effort to Become a Lender Takes Curious Turn with Sudden CIO Resignation

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a senior fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Now that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System has decided to become a lender, it follows that the taxpayers who finance the pension fund have the right to know what types of loans will be made and to whom. The process, though, will unlikely be sufficiently transparent. There is legitimate concern that CalPERS will be making “secret loans.” 

The CalPERS board approved in June a plan to make “opportunistic” investments in private debt. Still hurting from $100 billion in losses during the Great Recession, and battered again by the pandemic downturn, the pension fund, which is financed at only 71% of its liabilities, is desperate to close the gap between its assets and obligations. 

CalPERS typically holds positions in stocks, bonds, and real estate through institutional investors. Not enough, say its managers. They “want to cut out the middlemen and begin making and holding” loans, CalMatters reports. While some accounts say the fund will move up to 5% of its total value into these loans, the Financial Times says leverage could be “20% of the value of the fund, or nearly $80 billion based on current assets.” Either way, it’s a risky venture.

Read comments Read more

Has the Legislature Reduced Its Bill Load?

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Has the California Legislature reduced the number of bills it is considering and voting on this Session due to the pandemic and their two lengthy shutdowns? This is the first question being discussed in and out of the State Capitol the past few months. And, the answer is a resounding yes. 

The second question being discussed the past few weeks is which house of the Legislature has done a better job of reducing their respective bill load? That question is more difficult to answer. Let’s take a look at the metrics. 

Regarding the overall bill load, we need to look at a few sets of figures. We will begin with the total number of bill introductions, followed by the number of bills considered by the house of origin. Out of the 2,223 bills introduced during the 2020 Legislative Session, 682 were Senate Bills (SBs), which represent 31% of the total, and 1,541 were Assembly Bills (ABs), which represent 69% of the total. As a result, the Assembly introduced just over 2/3 of the bills this Session.

Read comments Read more

Another version of ‘ethnic studies’

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A year ago, the California Department of Education released a draft of guidelines for implementing “ethnic studies” in public high schools.

It unleashed a torrent of controversy — for good reason.

The 303-page document was ersatz Marxist agitprop that, if adopted, would have drummed into young minds the notion that in America, anyone not a white male is virtually enslaved.

“At its core,” the draft declared, “the field of ethnic studies is the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States,” adding, “The field critically grapples with the various power structures and forms of oppression, including, but not limited to, white supremacy, race and racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, that continue to impact the social, emotional, cultural, economic, and political experiences of Native People(s) and people of color.”

Read comments Read more

California’s homelessness crisis is about to get real

Susan Shelley
Columnist and member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, and the author of the book, "How Trump Won."

The homelessness crisis is about to get real.

Up until now, the crisis that has been termed “homelessness” has been made up of a significant, if disputed, percentage of problems that can’t be fixed with housing alone. Billions of dollars have been thrown at non-solutions such as “supportive housing” that costs up to $700,000 per unit to construct and the secretive Project Roomkey that turns hotels into “temporary” homeless housing, soon to be made permanent in many places, even over the objections of city governments.

If the problem called homelessness had been described and addressed in alignment with reality, billions of dollars could have spent on restoring the state’s in-patient mental health treatment facilities, building residential facilities for the treatment of substance abuse and developing useful support programs for formerly incarcerated individuals. Money could have been spent to construct long-term and short-term shelters, and on grants to nonprofit shelters that are already operating but hurting for funds.

Read comments Read more

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.

Read comments Read more

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. 

Read comments Read more

California’s Woke Hypocrisy

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com 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.

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.