California Has Way Too Many Laws

court gavelBravo to Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton for his article yesterday excoriating frivolous and dumb laws that waste lawmakers’ time and public money. Too many laws is an issue I’ve returned to time and again on this page, even praising former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer because she did not author many laws.

With Carly Fiorina running against Boxer in 2010, criticizing the incumbent for only authoring five measures that became law, I came to the senator’s defense in a post. Declaring that I was not a Boxer supporter, I wrote, “I don’t object, as Carly Fiorina does, that Boxer has authored only five measures that became law in her time in the U. S. Senate. We have too many laws already.”

I pointed out in that article that in a recent two-year session in Sacramento, 4,865 bills were introduced in the California legislature and 1500 became law.

Returning to the subject in January 2015, I pleaded with legislators coming back to Sacramento to cut back on the lawmaking. “Here’s a New Year’s resolution for legislators returning to Sacramento from the holiday break: make fewer laws and get rid of some of the old ones. Eager legislators have plenty of ideas how to “fix” problems. Therefore, many pieces of legislation are introduced. A great number will become law. California saw about 950 new laws on the books on January 1. Last year there were about 800 new laws and the year before hundreds more — you get the idea. Over a decade the state adds thousands and thousands of new laws.”

And once again in 2017 I made the argument that perhaps the problem is that we call solons “lawmakers” so they decide that’s what they have to do. Each session the law books get fatter and fatter and no one can know all the laws in those books.

Time to cut back on the lawmaking. The California Chamber of Commerce has some suggestions on bills to kill that would hurt the economy in their updated, annual job killers list.That’s a good place to start.

And Mr. Skelton had many good ideas in his column, too. Go get ‘em, George!

ditor and co-publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.

Cruz’s Fiorina Pick a Play for California

Ted Cruz’s choice for vice-president was made with California in mind.

With Donald Trump running swiftly toward the nomination, his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, tried to grab the spotlight by naming his vice-presidential nominee, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina, off a presidential run of her own, has a California pedigree, although the Silicon Valley executive decamped to Virginia after losing the United States Senate contest to Democrat Barbara Boxer in 2010.

However, that senate run may have a lot to do with Fiorina’s early selection by Cruz as his running mate.

Cruz (and the rest of the No-on-Trump GOP) is running out of time to prevent Trump from gaining the necessary delegates and forcing a contested convention in Cleveland. California is the big prize with 172 delegates. A strong showing by Trump in California could shut the door on the hopes of those who don’t want Trump to be the nominee.

But, it is important to know that California delegates are selected mainly by a candidate winning the Republican vote in each congressional district. Only registered Republicans can vote in the California Republican presidential primary.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.27.33 PMDespite Fiorina losing to Boxer by a million votes out of about 9.5 million votes cast in 2010 (Boxer 52%; Fiorina 42%), Fiorina defeated Boxer in 20 of California’s 53 congressional districts. The county map shown here shows Boxer’s strength (in blue) mostly along the coast and Fiorina’s victories (in red) generally inland.

Testing Fiorina’s strength in the closed Republican Primary of 2010, she captured all but five congressional districts won by former Congressman and State Finance Director, Tom Campbell, in the Bay Area — most likely Kasich country in the coming GOP primary.

The question for the Cruz campaign: will Fiorina’s 2010 effort in the congressional districts translate to the 2016 presidential campaign?

Fiorina is a good speaker and can connect with Republican voters when given the opportunity. The Cruz campaign has the best ground game in the state of all the Republican candidates so that should help.

Cruz’s gamble is that enough California voters remember Fiorina fondly to support his campaign so that he can grab enough congressional districts to stop Trump from getting the necessary delegates the New Yorker needs to prevent a convention fight.

Given the track record of California voters’ lack of knowledge about political contests once those contests have passed, that is a long bet. Maybe the Republican faithful will make a difference this time.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Carly Fiorina Ends Bid For Republican Presidential Nomination

As reported by NPR:

Carly Fiorina is exiting the Republican presidential race after a seventh-place showing in [Tuesday] night’s New Hampshire primary.

“While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them,” said Fiorina in a statement.

Fiorina was an unconventional candidate. Her only previous political effort had been a 10-point loss in a race for U.S. Senate in California, and her tenure at Hewlett-Packard was most notable for her being fired by the board of directors after an unsuccessful merger with Compaq.

Still, Fiorina struck a chord with many Republican voters, many of whom were especially drawn to her fierce anti-abortion viewpoints and spirited appearances on the campaign trail and in debates. …

Click here to read the full article

CA Conservatives React to GOP Debate

On Tuesday night, the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president gathered at the Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip for the last GOP debate of 2015. Below are some observations from various conservative and Republican leaders around the Golden State:

Arnold Steinberg, GOP Strategist and Pollster
Cruz was aggressive, almost rude; Rubio articulate, but hassled; Carson, talking points; Christie and Kasich, executive but redundant; Fiorina, precise; Paul, sensible. Trump keeps killing Jeb, on auto-pilot to defeat, with kindness. Trump finally acted like the front-runner.

James Lacy, Publisher, California Political Review
Rubio was hands-down the audience favorite, a terrific communicator who bettered both Cruz and Paul in the exchanges, and won the debate. TV viewers should know the live audience was decidedly, almost rudely anti-Trump, but I don’t think Trump will lose any ground at all with his voters, as he countered the Bush “chaos candidate” punches effectively and made his points.

Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
When you’ve argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, a presidential debate seems like a walk in the park. Cruz control.

Celeste Greig, Grassroots Conservative Leader, Publisher GreigReport
No losers; however, Carly Fiorina looked uncomfortable, sometimes angry, no longer impressive, no policy making, some sound bites, interrupting with “ask me a question.” Marco Rubio quite sharp and quick with his answers. Trump did very well with foreign policy, and the need to be tougher to destroy ISIS, and to cut Internet access to terrorist and countries that harbor them. Cruz and Rubio went after each other because both are fast, smart and knowledgeable–a lot of animosity between the two of them.

Joel Pollak, Editor-in-Chief, Breitbart California
Donald Trump had his best night ever, while Ted Cruz got bogged down fighting Marco Rubio, who finally faced tough questions about his immigration policy; no one else broke through. Trump is no longer the frontrunner – he’s the favorite to win the nomination.

This piece was originally published by

Read more reactions to the debate here … 

High-Profile Republicans Flee Golden State

CA GOP cartoonWith an underperforming field of gubernatorial candidates and no dominant figures leading the party, California Republicans have found themselves hard up for statewide leadership.

Many high-profile California Republicans have shown a strong inclination to leave the state altogether to pursue their political fortunes in the wake of a major defeat. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, recent departures have taken their toll on the party’s ability to field prominent candidates across the range of statewide offices, with former Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore relocating to Texas, onetime gubernatorial hopeful Neel Kashkari shifting gears to run the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, and current presidential candidate Carly Fiorina moving her home base to Virginia.

In a painful indication of how limited GOP ambitions can be on the west coast, all three have won praise and a higher profile outside the Golden State than within it. MayKao Hang, the incoming chairwoman of the Minneapolis Fed’s board of directors, underscored the impression that California is often little more than a proving ground for political talent to the right of center, calling Kashkari “an influential leader whose combined experience in the public and private sectors makes him the ideal candidate to head the Minneapolis Fed,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, some who stay behind have left the bounds of party orthodoxy entirely. Perhaps the state GOP’s most famous resident Californian, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has accompanied Gov. Jerry Brown to the United Nations climate talks in Paris, posting an open letter on Facebook that declared, “I don’t give a [expletive] if we agree about climate change.”

The lack of leadership has exacerbated the party’s recent tendency toward disunity. In an effort to soften the language of its stance on unlawful immigration, the state GOP changed its platform to indicate that members “hold diverse views” on “what to do with the millions of people who are currently here illegally” — phraseology that has been criticized as fodder for Democrats without marking out a principled position.

Business trouble

At the same time, the state GOP has been unable to effectively pivot away from social issues that divide it and toward economic issues that have traditionally reaped reliable dividends. Recent trends suggest that big business has come to view Republican candidates as risks not worth taking where electable corporate-friendly Democrats are to be found.

Cathleen Galgiani

“At a time when GOP power in Sacramento has been on the wane, many business interests — which have traditionally skewed Republican and wield considerable clout in the party — are throwing their weight behind centrist Democrats,” the Times reported separately, such as state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, whom GOP favorite Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, wants to defeat. “A year from election day, groups such as the California Assn. of Realtors and Chevron have told the candidates and other political players that they’re for Galgiani,” the Times added, “a show of support from entities that routinely spend big to back their choices.” The state GOP has refused to support Olsen, preferring to sit the race out entirely.

Outside energy

In a strange irony, presidential politics has offered California Republicans a glimmer of hope for better organization, inspiration and leadership. While they have often been looked upon by barnstorming candidates as little more than a source of campaign cash, the unusually fluid and uncertain presidential primary season has led some White House hopefuls to pursue the kind of ground game in California that can be the lifeblood of state and local parties.

“If the nominee is not obvious by the June 7 primary, which is unlikely, Republican candidates would need to compete in San Francisco, Berkeley and Democrat-dominated downtown Sacramento, as well as in Reps. Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa and Dana Rohrabacher’s red districts,” the Sacramento Bee noted. Ron Nehring, the former nominee for lieutenant governor, has found a fresh mission in-state as Ted Cruz’s California campaign chairman. “We are preparing for California to matter,” he told the Bee.

This piece was originally published by

Meg Whitman: Carly Fiorina needs more than CEO experience

As reported by CNN Money:

Hewlitt-Packard CEO Meg Whitman — who is taking over HP Enterprise in the company’s split — said Carly Fiorina’s experience working in corporate America doesn’t by itself make her the most qualified Republican presidential candidate.

“While I think business strengths are important, I also think having worked in government is an important part of the criteria,” Whitman said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “I think it’s very difficult for your first role in politics to be President of the United States and so I think having experience in either the Senate or as the governor of a state is really important.”

Fiorina, a former HP CEO, has cited her business experience as one of her biggest strengths in her run for president. …

Click here to read the full story


Fiorina: The Falling Star

The rapid rise and equally rapid fall of Carly Fiorina deserves our attention.

Before the most recent GOP debate, she was languishing in the polls at only 4 percent of the vote, according to a Sept. 9-Sept. 13 CBS survey. After a smashing performance at the event, she soared into second place with 15 percent (CNN, Sept. 17-Sept. 19). Now the most recent polls have her falling back into the pack with only 6 percent support (CBS, Oct. 4-Oct. 8).

What happened?

Her initial rise was partially due to her headline-stealing riposte to Donald Trump for his ill-considered comments demeaning her physical appearance. By linking her cause to that of all women, she effectively played off the GOP front-runner’s publicity and vaulted to the top of the field.

But the deeper reason for her climb was that Republicans want to nominate a woman to counter Hillary Clinton; they found Fiorina, a self-made woman, a far more authentic model of female advancement than they did the former first lady. Here was a woman who did not depend on her husband’s career to move ahead and who did not have the baggage of scandal and secrecy that burdens Clinton’s candidacy.

Fiorina showed an eclectic knowledge of national affairs and fluently recited key facts about our weakened defense posture. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO seemed like a non-ascorbic, scandal-free alternative to Clinton.

There has been no major scandal or faux pas to bring Fiorina down. While the impact of her debate performance may have worn off over time, why is she suffering this fate while Trump, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio have continued to gain from their debating styles?

While The New York Times contributed to her fall with a front-page article chronicling — and bashing — her record at HP, it was the bloggers who brought Fiorina down. The Times story regaled the saga of how Fiorina had induced HP to buy Compaq despite evidence of its declining clout and emphasized the 30,000 layoffs under her tenure as CEO.

But the bloggers really did a number on her conservative credentials. They quoted her 2010 comment during her contest with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and noted her endorsement of Rubio’s (R-Fla.) plan for amnesty for illegal immigrants, as well as her support for Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and her willingness to weaken Proposition 13, which holds down property taxes in California.

The blogs left Fiorina bleeding.

For rest of article click here.

Originally published on on October 13, 2015


CA voters could be players in GOP race for the White House

VotedThe easiest way to tell whether you’re in California or New Hampshire is to walk into a coffee shop. If you don’t see a presidential candidate, you’re in California.

Our state’s presidential primary in June usually takes place in what the NBA calls “garbage time,” that final few minutes of play after the outcome is beyond any doubt.

But 2016 could be different.

On Wednesday, 15 Republican candidates for president were at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for two televised debates. An astounding 23 million people watched the CNN telecast, making it the No. 10 cable TV show of all time, behind eight college football games on ESPN and the GOP debate last month on Fox.

CNN’s previous ratings record for a presidential debate was set on Jan. 31, 2008, when an average of 8.3 million viewers tuned in. On Wednesday, even the early debate for four low-polling candidates drew an audience of over 6 million people.

The reason for the skyscraping ratings, of course, is Donald Trump. “Will they send me flowers?” he tweeted on Thursday.

“Trump deserves a lot of credit” for drawing tens of millions of viewers to the debates, said Shawn Steel, who represents California on the Republican National Committee. “Some candidates would give up organs for coverage like that.”

California’s primary could be actively contested, Steel believes, if four or five candidates are still in the race at the beginning of April.

“Eighty percent of the delegates will have made up their mind after March,” he said. But he predicted that as long as the debates continue to have “the JV table,” candidates are likely to stay in the race for the TV coverage. The RNC scheduled a total of nine debates, spaced about a month apart. The next one is Oct. 28 in Boulder, Colo.

A year ago, a prediction that the Republican presidential debates were going to break TV rating records would have won you the Brian Williams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fantasy.

“Trump has brought a whole new dynamic to the Republican brand,” Steel said, by attracting alienated voters, independents and Democrats.

“His poll numbers in the African-American community are better than any Republican’s in the past 50, maybe 70 years,” Steel said. “And in the Latino community, where you might expect that he’d be polling at 5 percent, he’s at 25 percent. That’s Gallup. It’s quite a shocker.”

Steel said it’s evidence of illegal immigration’s “impact on working folks,” including Latinos who are legal immigrants. “You can’t dismiss it,” he said.

At a Kiwanis Club meeting in West Hills Thursday morning, the usual ban on political talk was lifted for a discussion of the debates. Republican Doris Panza said Trump would not be her choice for president, but she thinks he is saying what people have been itching to hear, and what everyone else is afraid to say. Panza, whose husband served in the military for 38 years, liked what Sen. Lindsey Graham said about fighting ISIS. “I think he’s right that if we don’t fight them there, they’ll be over here,” she said.

Janet Lucan, a Democrat, said she liked the way Carly Fiorina “put Trump in his place” and was impressed with her as a person. She said she likes Jeb Bush and, to her surprise, she liked what Rand Paul had to say.

Ron Guilbert described himself lightheartedly as a “far right-wing Republican” and said he would vote for Marco Rubio if the election were held today.

At a Constitution Day event Thursday at Pierce College, associate professor of political science Anthony Gabrielli also gave high marks to Rubio.

“I think he had the strongest performance of the ‘insiders,’” he said, “and Carly Fiorina was the strongest of the ‘outsiders.’”

California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte said during a break between the debates Wednesday that the GOP candidates are “head and shoulders above what the Democrats have to offer.” Steel called the field the “finest quality candidates in our lifetime.“

They’re getting a good long look from the voters, courtesy of Donald Trump. According to Nielsen data, millions of people who never watched a presidential debate before are watching now.

Could California’s political landscape be affected if new voters register in the Republican Party to cast a vote for Trump, Rubio, Fiorina or another candidate in the GOP primary?

A year ago, a prediction that a New York real estate developer would rebuild the California Republican Party would have won you another Brian Williams Award.

Takeaways From Second GOP Debate

As usual, there are so many polls, opinions and scorecards examining who did well during last night’s Republican debate at the Reagan Library. Here are my takeaways – not so much on what happened but where things might lead after the debate performances.

Carly Fiorina impressed those voters looking for outsiders to run the government and she will move up at the expense of Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

Trump, however, probably didn’t damage himself with his base of support and will remain relatively steady although the establishment GOP will still search for ways to make him disappear.

Meanwhile, the establishment will remain splintered for the time being. Jeb Bush showed some spunk (Code name: Eveready) and might reassure his backers to a degree but the establishment is still wary about him. Ohio Gov. John Kasich held steady and could be around to emerge if the Bush doesn’t catch fire. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered another good debate performance but still will find himself stalled behind Bush and perhaps Kasich.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did better than the first debate but will probably not move the needle much.

Marco Rubio showed good knowledge on foreign affairs and will remain in the multi-candidate fray to the end (whenever that may be.) He might also be setting himself up for a VP nod, depending how the primaries break.

Ted Cruz demonstrated his debating skills. He made sure he looked at the camera nearly all the time instead of looking at the questioners. Still, his strategy as the outsider working from the inside has the problem of Trump, Carson and now Fiorina blocking his path as true outsiders.

Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul showed that the GOP is certainly made up of different types but neither will break out to a wider audience with their performances.

The biggest move in the polls the next few days will belong to Carly Fiorina. Many of the debate watchers didn’t see her in the first round when she participated in the JV event.

I missed more questions from radio talk host and attorney, Hugh Hewitt, who along with CNN’s Dana Bash, had a subordinate role to CNN’s Jake Tapper on the moderator panel. Hewitt got into the politics of running for office and winning when he noted that Kasich didn’t seem to want to attack potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton whereas Fiorina would bring up Clinton without being asked.

Kasich explained people were still getting to know him so he was spending time explaining his record. Fiorina picked up on that saying she wanted to talk about records — Clinton’s — and attack it for lack of accomplishments.

At any rate, not enough time for Hewitt who I found was an excellent interviewer when he was one of the hosts as I did his Los Angeles PBS TV show, Life and Times, on numerous occasions in the 1990s.

That’s my reaction. There are many others, of course, from pundits and spinners. Old friends Mike Murphy and Todd Harris were firing off tweets and re-tweeting comments that supported their candidates, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, respectively.

The three-hour debate was Lincoln-Douglas like in length if not in format. The Lincoln-Douglas debates also lasted three hours but had no back and forth arguments or a moderator attempting to gain control. Rather the first speaker talked for an hour, the second speaker for an hour-and-a-half and the first speaker came back for a 30-minute rejoinder.

Not exactly a made for television event.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Could Fiorina, Brown or Condi Make It on the Presidential Ticket?

Republican presidential candidate businesswoman Carly Fiorina stands on stage for a pre-debate forum at the Quicken Loans Arena, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015,  in Cleveland. Seven of the candidates have not qualified for the primetime debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Only one Californian — actually a former Californian — is even given an outside chance of appearing on one of the major party presidential tickets. That would be Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard who while a resident of this state lost a senate race to Barbara Boxer. Fiorina has since moved to the East Coast.

So it appears that no Californian will find a place on a major party ticket in 2016 — or maybe one could, but it would be even a longer shot.

We are still eleven months away from the Republican nominating convention in Cleveland and already pundits are having a field day with the ever-changing nature of the presidential campaign.

Forgive me for this wild speculation but I think it fits the tenor of the times when it comes to presidential punditry.

How might a Californian make a national ticket?

This past weekend, Governor Jerry Brown ruled himself out of the presidential race but said if he were Vice President Joe Biden he would seriously consider joining the race. What if Biden gets in and weakens front-runner Hillary Clinton? What if Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is able to make a strong enough showing to win some delegates? Could the Democrats enter the convention without a candidate securing the necessary delegate votes for the nomination?

Unlikely, but if this scenario plays out, Democrats would look for an alternative and I would venture a guess that Gov. Brown will be near the top of the list.

There is even a greater potential for a brokered nominating convention on the Republican side with so many candidates seeking the job. It is likely that the nominee would come from the announced candidates. The vice presidential nominee, however, could very well be someone not currently seeking the presidency.

A winning nominee, especially one who served as a state’s governor, may want a vice presidential candidate with experience in foreign affairs.

Former Secretary of State and current Stanford University professor Condoleezza Rice might make a nice fit. She always seemed averse to running a campaign but being tabbed to seek the high-profile station may be acceptable to her. She would add gravitas to a ticket—although there is little hope she could bring her home state along in the Electoral College count.

Will either of these scenarios play out? Don’t bet on it. But stranger things can and have happened in presidential campaigns. As evidence, just look at the goings on in the current race for the White House compared to predictions from just six months ago.

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