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.

Midway through plagued first term, Newsom’s career hits make-or-break point

Speaking to the camera from his home office during the final days of a family quarantine, Gov. Gavin Newsom seemed at times to be giving himself a pep talk, as much as encouraging 40 million Californians to hunker down amid a coronavirus spike threatening to overwhelm hospitals

“We will get through this,” the governor said last week, before a bookcase decorated with antique cameras and stylish knick-knacks. “This is the final surge. We have a light at the end of the tunnel with these vaccines, but we need to take seriously this moment.”

The moment is consequential not only for California — with more than 10,500 people hospitalized with COVID and 77% of the state’s population on the strictest state-ordered lockdown since spring — but also for Newsom’s political career. He’s approaching the midpoint of his four-year term just as California confronts a critical phase of the pandemic. How he manages it will shape his political future. (more…)

Poll Shows Support for Government Funded Economic Advancement Programs, But Not How to Pay for Them

Polling offers snapshots of voters’ thinking but is frequently frustrating because while certain information is revealed the pollsters don’t have the time to dig deeper into issues that might change the reflexive attitudes expressed in answering the initial question. Yet, polls are often used by politicians as foundations to suggest new programs and spending. This feeling came up again in reading the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll on Californians and Their Economic Well-Being

In short summary, the poll shows many Californians are struggling economically due to the effects of the coronavirus. The complete, detailed polling results can be found here

In focusing on how to improve Californians economic well-being, PPIC posed a series of questions on providing government funding to improve citizens’ economic standing.  (more…)

California Office Pool 2021

This is the 12th annual edition of the California Office Pool. It was inspired by the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire, who made a habit of writing an annual column he called Office Pool. In it, Safire offered, multiple-choice style, a series of possible news events that could take place in the new year. At the column’s end, he let you know which ones he thought would occur.

Safire’s focus was Washington; ours is California. My picks are at the end.

My record in last year’s pool was poor. I didn’t see the pandemic coming, or much of anything else. I got Oscar best picture right, was correct that AirBnb would go public, and foresaw that both the Democratic nominee and President Trump would be claiming to have won the election right now. But that’s about it. I didn’t see the Lakers or Dodgers championships coming. I considered—but discarded—the prospect of a Vice President Kamala Harris. (more…)

Blue State, Red Tape — California is Shedding Residents and Businesses

A Sacramento Bee headline from late October, “How liberal politics, COVID-19 and a high cost of living are fueling a new California exodus,” could have been written, without the virus reference, a year ago. Or ten years ago. The flight from California kicked off long before this year’s pandemic.

Eight years ago, an Investor’s Business Daily editorial laid out the reasons Californians were moving “To Texas (And Arizona And Nevada),” all of them fueled by progressive public policy. That same year, a Manhattan Institute report detailed “the great ongoing California exodus . . . reversing the storied passages of the Dust Bowl era.” The authors attributed the mass departure to policy decisions making the state a less desirable place to live. Two years earlier, in 2010, New Geography asked: “If California Is Doing So Great, Why Are So Many Leaving?” and noted that the state’s “domestic migration has been negative every year since at least 1990.” (more…)

Let’s Unite to Draw Distressed Coastal Residents

Thousands of people on the coasts are pleading for help getting out of the urban enclaves from which they once looked down their noses at us, out in Flyover Country.

How should we respond? By taking advantage of an economic-development opportunity for the ages.

The reports by now have become too numerous to dispute: People in droves are leaving, or want to leave, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and other once-formidable coastal outposts. Now they want to get the heck out of Dodge because of the inhospitable results of Covid-19 lockdowns, the dispersal of white-collar work away from offices in Manhattan and Mountain View and Redmond, violent protests and calls to defund the police that are actually getting traction, and the ruination of restaurants and theaters and sports stadiums and museums and other entertainment and cultural venues that traditionally have helped define life in these places. (more…)

Becerra Confirmation; An Old Issue for a New AG; Elimination of Cash Bail?

Xavier Becerra’s selection as Health and Human Services Secretary could face a bumpy ride in the senate confirmation process if the Republicans capture a majority of the senate. The California Attorney General has already been challenged by some Republican senators for his position over the years in both Congress and as California’s top attorney on Medicare for All and the Affordable Care Act. But those are the issues on the surface that they can discuss. There may be other motivations more related to bare knuckle politics rather than policy for Republican senators to object to Becerra.

Chief among those concerns is that Becerra gleefully boasted about his 100 lawsuits on numerous issues against the Trump Administration. Many Republicans won’t forget. (more…)