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.

On Lockdowns, At Least One County LA Supervisor Gets It

Two Los Angeles County Supervisors represent the San Fernando Valley area. One of them understands the challenges of business operators. The other doesn’t seem to get it.

That became clear recently when the supervisors voted 3-2 to allow the shutdown of outdoor dining for at least three weeks at Los Angeles County restaurants in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys along with eastern San Fernando Valley, voted against the shutdown. Not only is there no evidence that outdoor dining is contributing to the spread of the coronavirus, but she expressed deep concern that the shutdown would rough up already struggling restaurants and financially hurt their remaining employees.  (more…)

California Tops Nation Least Affordable Housing

Nearly all of the nation’s top 20 least affordable housing markets are in California.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo Bank report that 18 of the country’s most unaffordable regions are in the Golden State, including all of the top 10. 

As usual, San Francisco and its peninsula communities led the way with the greatest mismatch of prices and income – only nine percent of the households there had enough steady pay to buy a home in the area.  The Los Angeles metropolitan area ran a close second.

And, it’s not just the state’s coastal areas that were found to be experiencing this income/home-price mis-match.  Merced, Napa and Salinas were all in the top ten, with Stockton/Lodi not far behind.  Supply is on trial inland. (more…)

Look to Orange County for How to Turn California Purple

For decades, Orange County was a reliable incubator of conservative politics, and, in the era of Nixon, Goldwater and Reagan, a fairly powerful force in the state and on the national level. More recently, the area has been widely seen as tilting blue, particularly during the Trump era, with the media celebrating the end of “the Orange Curtain” in the 2018 midterm elections and its metamorphosis into another addition to our state’s progressive political culture.

Yet this November’s election results tell us something more nuanced. Instead of following the flow of the state’s urban centers, Orange County turned a deep purple and, in the process, reinforced its relevance to the state’s political future.

The county defied the politics of polarization, voting for Biden against Trump, but also electing two new Republicans to Congress, Michelle Steel and Young Kim, both Korean Americans. House seats in the county are now split with five Democrats and two Republicans. And its voters supported generally conservative positions on a host of state ballot issues. (more…)

A Perspective on Police Reform

The way to achieve police reform is to have the rank-and-file officer core buy into reforms. That was the message during a panel discussion at Cal State LA’s Pat Brown Institute’s annual conference looking post-election, “Where do we go from here?” But it will take not only the police to accept reforms but for the communities to also accept changes like community policing and give the reforms a chance to work.

Civil Rights attorney Connie Rice who has both sued and worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to improve policing relationships with the community said attitudes of police chiefs have changed. Police chiefs understand that changes are needed and policing attitudes have come a long way since the 1990s, she said.

However, Rice said there is turmoil in the ranks, much of it promoted by recent protests and a youth movement of those who back Black Lives Matter, gun control and other reforms. She said the turmoil is caused by the pushback from advocacy groups that promote Blue Lives Matter and set up obstacles to reforms.  (more…)

Earth to Palmdale

Hello, Palmdale. Planet Earth calling. You ever coming back here?

You, a struggling working-class exurb of 160,000, may be located in the Antelope Valley, in north L.A. County’s. But your civic head lives in outer space.

Is it your hot desert air, your elevation (2,657 feet), or all your psychedelically orange poppies? I don’t know, but you are always madly charging toward some grandiose goal line—building an “intercontinental airport,” becoming a high-speed-rail hub, or commanding space warfare—but never quite reaching kicking the football. You’re the Charlie Brown of California cities.

Your latest face-plant speaks volume about the combination of space-age nostalgia and futuristic myopia that afflict you. (more…)

The Case for Cristina Garcia for Senator

As all the political world knows, the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s Vice President will create a vacancy in the US Senate that Governor Gavin Newsom is authorized to fill by either making an “interim” appointment or calling a special election within 100 days.  The Governor has indicated he will appoint a replacement and the jockeying for this Senate seat has already intensely begun.

The Washington-based “Black Women’s Roundtable” is already demanding that Harris’ successor be a Black woman, while the “Latino Victory Fund” endorsed Secretary of State Alex Padilla, saying: “He’s the ideal candidate to break one more barrier by becoming the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate and increase Latino representation.” 

An open letter from 150 major Democratic women donors pressed Newsom to choose a “woman of color.”  Shortly after the Biden-Harris ticket declared victory, Newsom worried aloud about “the stress of having to choose between a lot of friends, to choose between quality candidates — and the fact that whoever you pick, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be upset.”  The Los Angeles Times upped the pressure in an editorial around then: “It’s imperative that Newsom appoint a senator of color. And if he picks a woman, that would be even better.”  

Well, Newsom could easily meet the
Times’ criteria and please many voters in Southern California by appointing Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, leader of the Women’s Legislative Caucus.