The Threat of Critical Race Theory

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Like many of my fellow Fox and Hounds enthusiasts, I am ashamed of the history of racism and racial discrimination in California, indeed the country.  I believe in what our founding fathers saw and declared as the American ideal – that “all men (and women) are created equal.”  I, as do millions of U.S. citizens, practice those words daily – in both my professional and personal lives.  

Regrettably, there is a movement afoot in the country today which challenges that virtue.  It’s called “critical race theory” (CRT) and it’s becoming a regular feature of mandatory adult education in government and corporate settings, and is slowly but steadily creeping into our academic vernacular.   

Popularized by the 1619 Project – the controversial edict, published in the New York Times Magazine, which says slaves from Africa, not religious refugees from Europe, founded the United States. (Times Magazine correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones, won a Pulitzer Prize for the Project.)  The Marx-inspired CRT doubles down on the 1619 Project by proclaiming America is inherently and systematically racist.  Its backers insist that the CRT curriculum ought to replace the early American history being taught in our schools.  

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We Are All Unincorporated Now

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

We are all unincorporated now.

Unincorporated communities—which don’t have their own municipal governments—live at the mercies of their counties, who may or may not provide vital services. The pandemic is giving all Californians a taste of unincorporated life, since our county governments determine whether we can shop, play in a park, or send our kids to school.

Life under your county’s thumb is full of uncertainties and frustrations. The good news for most Californians is that county domination will end once COVID-19 recedes. The bad news is that California’s thousands of unincorporated communities will have to keep on living like this. 

Unincorporated places can be islands of development within urban areas or small towns in remote areas. A few, like Rancho Santa Fe, are wealthy enclaves, with residents rich enough to fend for themselves. But most unincorporated places are full of people desperate for a place to live. Without municipal government, such places can lack sidewalks and sewage services. There are often no local police to call, much less defund. 

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What will tax increase advocates do now?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Proposition 15, which would have boosted property taxes on commercial real estate by billions of dollars a year, finally bit the dust last week.

It wasn’t a surprise. Although its advocates — unions, mostly — may cite the COVID-19 pandemic and recession as causes for failure, the measure never polled strongly even before the twin crises struck.

Their pitch was two-fold — schools and local governments need the money and big commercial property owners benefit from an unfair loophole.

The successful counter argument from business opponents was also a two-fer — if Proposition 15 passed, property owners would shift extra taxes to business tenants and their customers, and it would be the first step toward dismantling Proposition 13, California’s iconic and popular property tax limit.

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The Governor is Not a King

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

Governor Gavin Newsom has wielded unchecked power throughout the pandemic with the use of executive orders. Unchecked until now, that is. On Friday, Superior Court Judge Sarah H. Heckman issued a permanent injunction declaring that Governor Gavin Newsom’s use of executive orders when they amend or create law is unconstitutional. It seems a pattern of the governor to push the limits of his power in challenging both legislative statutes and laws created by voters.

The court action was sought by Assemblymembers James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) who challenged an executive order that had to do with elections at the time of the pandemic emergency.

But Judge Heckman saw the executive order issue in a much broader context, “whether  the Governor has the authority under the California Emergency Services Act (CESA) to exercise legislative powers by unilaterally amending, altering, or changing exiting statutory law.”

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I’m White, Male, Old, Disabled: Your Next U.S. Senator

Ralph E. Shaffer
Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona

Speculation abounds over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s likely appointment to fill the senate seat soon to be vacated by vice-president elect Kamala Harris. Among those mentioned are some prominent figures in the Democratic party… mostly politicians with an ethnic minority label. That’s wrong-headed thinking. The most ill-represented group in California is the one I’m linked to: elderly, disabled, white male Democrats. Let’s have some meaningful affirmative action in the upcoming appointment. Governor, appoint me!

How long ago was it that we had a white male representing California as U. S. senator? I had to look it up in Wikipedia. Alan Cranston was the last elected white male senator, elected in 1986! Thirty-four years since the major ethnic group in this state has won an election to the senate. It’s time for a change.

I’m prepared and ready to fill the Harris seat. If she’s savvy, she’ll resign from the senate immediately, allowing Newsom’s appointee to get an edge in seniority over the other senators elected this month or in those January run-offs in Georgia. I’m prepared on a moment’s notice to head for that Washington swamp, the only non-politician there.

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Gavin, Please Send Me to the Senate

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Dear Governor Newsom,

You’re overwhelmed with texts and calls, and I understand why. With the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, you must appoint someone to fill the final two years of her United States Senate term. Everyone in politics wants this gig, and that’s a lot of pressure.

So let me take this burden off your hands. You don’t have to make the excruciating decision to elevate one of your politician buddies over all the others. 

You could send me to the Senate instead.

At first, you may find the idea absurd. You might ask: Why in heaven’s name would I bestow a U.S. Senate seat on some smart-ass columnist who makes fun of me publicly, has no government experience, and occupies no elected office higher than School Site Council chair at his local elementary school? 

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Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is a co-founder and senior fellow at the California Policy Center

On November 13, ten days after the election, and facing final counts that made any chance of victory impossible, California State Senator John Moorlach (R-37) conceded defeat to his challenger, Democrat David Min.

Reached for comment, Moorlach said “we worked hard on fundraising, the ground game, the phone calls; we worked hard, and we had a great team, but the Democratic party in Orange County is very organized.”

Moorlach is being polite. His defeat is because the prison guards union spent nearly one million dollars to back the campaign of his opponent. How Moorlach lost exemplifies the political power of public sector unions in California, and how their agenda is inherently in conflict with the public interest.

A revealing article just published by the Sacramento Bee goes through the political spending by CCPOA this election. The pattern is clear: CCPOA supports strong law and order candidates and initiatives, unless they are in conflict with their primary objective, which is to expand their membership and increase the pay and benefits of their members.

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Picking Senator Harris’ Replacement After Proposition 16’s Defeat

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

The suggestions of a replacement for California Senator Kamala Harris when she resigns to assume the office of Vice-President are piling up. Most come from interest groups with rationales that one of their own deserve the prized senate seat primarily based on the candidate’s identification with a demographic group. All this sounds contradictory in a state where voters just rejected the idea of choosing people for positions based on their identity. 

African Americans say Harris’s seat should be filled by a Black like her. Harris also has Asian roots and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce has written to the governor with a list of names from that community. Latinos argue they deserve the seat in a state in which Latinos outnumber other ethnicities; the LGBTQ community has spoken up for one of their own; and women organizations say Kamala Harris must be replaced by a woman. 

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If You “Take Out California”

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California may not need to declare independence from the Union. Leading Republicans may just kick us out. They’re already claiming we’re not real Americans, whose voting choices don’t matter.

The latest person to remove California from the U.S. is Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, which I’m told is a smaller state somewhere in the middle of the country.

Mr. Braun is among those Republicans disputing the election results without evidence. And when pressed, he explained that the election was quite close, if you don’t California. 

“When you look at how close the election was, basically a tie vote in the popular vote if you take out the margin of difference in California,” Braun said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

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California Voters Approve Billions in Local Taxes and Borrowing

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is a co-founder and senior fellow at the California Policy Center

in March 2020, for the first time in a generation, Californian’s did not approve the overwhelming majority of new tax and bond proposals that were put before them. Out of 125 proposed local bonds, only 31 percent passed; out of 111 proposed local tax increases, only 41 percent passed.

Early returns from the November 2020 ballot show Californians have snapped back towards approving the vast majority of new local taxes and borrowing. As shown on the table below, of the 46 proposals to issue new bonds that have been decided so far, 89 percent passed, and of the 161 proposals to raise local taxes that have already been decided, 82 percent passed. 

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