Catching Up With California and Texas

Featured image Busy week, with a LOT to catch up on. Stay tuned; I will. In the meantime, two important videos about California and Texas. First up, the great J.P. Sears. The COVID-19 lockdown is probably bad for his touring act, but it has meant that he’s producing more videos for us to enjoy. Although he lives (I think) in Colorado, he turns his attention here to California, or as he puts »

Only in California

Featured image Today’s California Crazy comes from the Los Angeles Times. Question: Is electricity for these housing units extra? Housing costs for the homeless rose to $531,000 a unit, L.A. controller’s report says The average cost of building a single unit of housing for the homeless in Los Angeles has risen to $531,000, according to an audit from the city controller, who recommends that L.A. rehab motels and open dormitory-style buildings to »

The Decline and Fall of California in Two Maps

Featured image Yesterday afternoon, as the temperature in many parts of the Los Angeles area topped 110 degrees, the mayor of Los Angeles issued this tweet: It was known for nearly a week that we were in for record-breaking heat this weekend, and remember that as it is a holiday weekend, most industry (that is still left in the state) is shut down, which ought to have made it easier to secure »

The Great Implosion

Featured image A couple days ago I referenced Tom Wolfe’s classic essay “The Great Relearning,” and it may be that we have to go through the Great Implosion in order to relearn things like common sense. As you have heard, California is going through a series of rolling blackouts of the kind not seen since the botched electricity “restructuring” almost 20 years ago ultimately ended up costing Governor Gray Davis his job. »

The Decline and Fall of San Francisco

Featured image Not long ago UC Hastings School of Law, as well-regarded law school in downtown San Francisco, sued the city because local neighborhood conditions had deteriorated to the point that the law school was losing prospective students who took one look at the place and said, “No, thanks!” Hastings is a very liberal law school—I don’t think they have a single conservative on their faculty—but as Robert Conquest reminded us, everyone »

Zero Bail and Zero Brains

Featured image As we’ve reported previously, California has gone all-in on the “zero-bail” nonsense that crime is just part of middle class oppression or something. Here’s today’s story of how this is working out, from Placer County, a Sierra foothills region east of Sacramento: Placer County Sheriff’s Office: Just after midnight early Monday morning, our graveyard-shift deputies initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle with suspended and expired vehicle registration, in Auburn. The »

A move to reinstate racial preferences in California

Featured image California Proposition 209, enacted by the state’s voters in 1996, amended the California Constitution to prohibit public institutions from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, or ethnicity. Now, the California legislature is considering legislation to reinstate racial preferences. That legislation, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5), would repeal Prop. 209. The text is here. The legislation tries to paint a grim picture of educational prospects for blacks and Latinos »

Observations on the Great Hunkering (5)

Featured image • There are a handful of states, especially Illinois and Connecticut, whose fiscal woes have never really recovered fully from the financial crisis and recession of 2008-2009. Illinois wants to raise its personal income tax—again—through a ballot initiative this fall, but of course only on “the rich.” The money will supposedly got to schools, but everyone understands that most of it will go to backfilling the unfunded public employee pensions. »

Feeling the Bern in California

Featured image My pals at the Institute of Governmental Studies here at UC Berkeley (where I remain a fellow against all odds—story to follow some day soon) today released their latest poll on the state of the presidential race here in the once Golden State ahead of the March primary. I know the IGS pollster, Mark DiCamilo, quite well (in fact we shared an office for a time), and I think he »

Election Aftermath

Featured image Move over Cook County, Illinois, and make room for King County in Washington state, where Seattle’s ongoing bid to rival San Francisco in the crazy department is only exceeded by its dubious record in ballot counting after close elections. Last week I noted that the attempt to reimpose affirmative action in Washington state had failed at the ballot box, but then the “late vote” started coming in from King County. »

California Dreamin’

Featured image • California recently passed a law aiming to crack down on “abuses” and “exploitation” of independent contractors and other participants in the so-called “gig economy.” (I prefer the term “side hustle” myself, but whatever.) The real target of this law are Uber, Lyft and other enterprises that offer great flexibility for people to set their own hours, etc. The new law will requite Uber drivers to be formal employees, subject »

Down and out in Santa Monica

Featured image I’m tied up on personal matters in Venice Beach and Santa Monica through this weekend. The scene has deteriorated considerably since I was here in 2011, when I filed this report: We spent the weekend at a family wedding in Santa Monica, California. Just after I started in the private practice of law in 1981, I was assigned to work on a major project that took me out to the »

California Keeps Digging

Featured image The “First Law of Holes” (“If you’re in one—stop digging”) is usually attributed to the late British politician Denis Healey, but whatever. One thing is certain: California never heard of the First Law of Holes. • Item, from the Washington Post a while back: The One Issue Every Economist Can Agree Is Bad: Rent Control By Megan McArdle There aren’t that many things you can get economists to agree on. »

Rewriting Tony Bennett

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has adapted Charles Kesler’s editorial in the forthcoming issue of the Claremont Review of Books — we’ll be getting to a few highlights ourselves next week — into the column “California’s biggest cities confront a ‘defecation crisis'” (subhead: “Lawmakers ban plastic straws as a far worse kind of waste covers the streets of San Francisco and L.A.”). Having turned one of the most beautiful cities in »

The news from Newsom

Featured image The trouble with California is that it represents the wave of the future. Take California Governor Gavin Newsom — please. Citing Newsom’s tweeted video (below), Monica Showalter writes: “I thought it was satire, something cooked up by his political enemies. You couldn’t put out a less attractive video than the one Gavin Newsom did for illegal aliens on Twitter, advising them himself on how to obstruct ICE from any deportation »

Beach of the living dead

Featured image When I went into private practice one of my first big projects led me to Venice Beach. I took up residence in Venice with my late colleague Bob Collins at the Marina Pacific Hotel (as it was then) for several months. We enjoyed the time in Venice, although it was our impression that we might be the only people in Venice working for a living. I therefore turned with special »

A Preview of the Green New Deal

Featured image Liberals love trains. I am not sure why that is; it certainly wasn’t true in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But as train travel has become less practical, liberals have learned to love it. Thus, a principal feature of the Green New Deal Socialism is reliance on passenger trains to replace air travel, and to largely replace automobile travel. Good luck with that–the liberals have a better chance of »