Bellator 263: AJ McKee submits Pitbull to win $1 million title fight

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, kicks Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, celebrates after defeating Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, punches Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, knees Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, punches Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, kicks Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, celebrates after defeating Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, has his arm raised after defeating Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, celebrates after defeating Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, is choked-out by AJ McKee blue gloves, in the first round during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • AJ McKee blue gloves, celebrates after defeating Patricio “Pitbull”Freire, red gloves, during Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Saturday, July 31, 2021. McKee defeated Freire to win the 145-pound World Grand Prix tournament million dollar prize and the championship belt. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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INGLEWOOD — A.J. McKee’s call-out finally came home.

The undefeated Long Beach star’s crusade, which started with his professional MMA and Bellator debut in 2016 when he dared to invoke the name of featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull, has been more than six years in the making.

On Saturday night at The Forum, McKee won the $1 million Bellator World Featherweight Grand Prix with a technical submission via standing guillotine choke of Pitbull in the first round to claim the belt and establish his superstar status in the sport.

After the pair largely squared off with little action to start the fight, McKee stunned the champion with a left head kick and dropped him with punches against the cage.

The 26-year-old phenom began to prematurely celebrate before Pitbull began to rise. McKee then pounced and locked in a standing guillotine choke, torqueing with all his might before Pitbull began to fade. Referee Mike Beltran jumped in at 1:57 to kick off a wild celebration in front of the partisan crowd.

Pitbull (32-5) hadn’t lost in five years, winning all seven title fights before Saturday – twice dethroning a champion and five times successfully defending his featherweight title.

McKee (18-0) kicked off his professional MMA career more than six years ago, having just turned 20 and collecting a victory via submission at Bren Events Center in Irvine and calling out Pitbull, who was seven months into his first featherweight title reign.

Pitbull and McKee both started their journeys in the grand prix at Bellator 228 in September 2019 at The Forum — Pitbull dominating top contender Juan Archuleta in a unanimous decision after McKee recorded a highlight-reel 8-second knockout of Georgi Karakhanyan

Three months later against Derek Campos, McKee grinded out a third-round submission win despite tearing his lateral collateral ligament in his left knee at Bellator 236 in December 2019. And in November, he advanced to the final by forcing a tapout via a neck crank/guillotine choke of former Bellator bantamweight champion and NCAA wrestling champion Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 253 in November.

Pitbull, 34, had been regarded by some as the top 145-pounder in the world. The two-time Bellator featherweight champion also boasts the organization’s lightweight title after his first-round knockout of Michael Chandler at Bellator 221 in May 2019, joining Ryan Bader and Joe Warren as the only double champions in Bellator history.

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2 things that derail most sale-leasebacks

You’ve opted to own the location from which your company operates. A great move by the way! A limited liability company was formed and owns the building. Presumably, the LLC’s members are similar to that of the occupants.

You struck an agreement with the resident – your enterprise – to pay the LLC an amount of money each month for the use of the address. In effect, you’re paying yourself. It’s a beautiful thing! Tax benefits are afforded for the owners of an LLC, such as depreciation of the asset, write-offs for any mortgage interest, property taxes, and operating expenses. Over time, the LLC’s investment appreciates.

Your occupying business pays rent just as it would to a landlord who has no stake in the company. Plus, because the owner of the real estate and operation are synonymous – if business ebbs and flows – so can the rent you pay yourself monthly. We are fortunate to have such a situation.

We own the building from which we ply our brokerage. Each month Lee & Associates Orange – the occupant – pays Taft Lee LLC – the owner – a dollar amount that provides a nice return on our investment. However, during the term of our ownership, we have deferred rent increases, banked reserves for a new roof, and kept the rent commensurate with market conditions. We can do this because we are the landlord AND the tenant.

Generally, a business or ownership transition will create a commercial real estate decision. As an example, if you acquire a competitor, will the real estate you own and occupy adequately house the marriage? Conversely, if you sell the business, does the buyer of the business have their own location? Thus making your asset an excess?

An election to move your enterprise out of state requires some time to facilitate and turn the equity in the real estate to buy your new location. In all cases, as you can surmise, you’ll make a decision. Keep the building or sell it.

When selling is chosen, one of the strategies employed is a sale-leaseback. By definition, a sale-leaseback inserts an investor to replace the LLC ownership. The group – your company – stays in the building, and in the leaseback, pays rent to the investor.

With that as a backdrop, let’s discuss what can derail most sale-leasebacks.

The operating company cannot afford market rent.

Remember. One of the reasons you own your business location is to provide flexibility during tough times. Maybe the amount allowed to your operation to pay is well below what comparable rents are. This is done because your two interests – business and building – are satisfied.

In order to maximize the value of your investment, however, you’ll need to shore that delta. Someone buying your real estate – and relying on rent – is only concerned with a return on their money. Therefore, the price an investor will pay you is based on a formula known as a capitalization rate or cap rate.

A cap rate is determined by net income (rent less expenses) divided by purchase price. The relationship is inverse: the lower cap rate, the higher the price. But, the higher the rent, the higher the price … within reason. If the company housed cannot afford market rent, the sum an investor will pay will result in a lower value.

As a seller, you’d like to max your sale proceeds but don’t want to saddle the business with an unsustainable monthly rent. A true dilemma!

What to do with the proceeds?

Your ownership LLC with a related company paying you is a tidy investment. If you sell the real estate, where can you reproduce the return? Remember, you’ll need to accomplish a tax-deferred exchange into another income property or be faced with a whopping tax bill.

In the three transitions above – acquire a competitor, sell the business or move out of state – a sale-leaseback could ensue. However, each presents complexity.

Buying a competitor is easy, especially if you need more space. No lease-back is needed. You simply sell the smaller and exchange into a larger. Boom.

A business sale – especially if the business buyer doesn’t need your real estate – is challenging. You’ll have to fill a vacancy by selling or leasing. The timing of an out-of-state move works great for a sale-leaseback. Simply, point A is sold. A lease is created for two years. Point B is bought and rented short-term while you prepare to move your enterprise. The lease expires on Point A and the relocation to Point B is completed.

More on these later.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104. 

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Supreme Court has an opportunity to clarify extent of Second Amendment

The opening brief has now been filed in what could be a landmark Supreme Court decision on Second Amendment rights.

The justices will hear the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett during their October 2021 term. The question to be decided is whether New York’s denial of applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.

Thirteen years after the Supreme Court established, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to “keep and bear arms” meant individuals have the right to possess a handgun in their homes, the New York case could establish that it also means individuals have the right to carry a weapon outside the home for self-defense.

Two individuals who are petitioners in this case, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, passed all required background checks and met all qualifications required by New York to have a license to carry, but under state law, special permission is required for an “unrestricted” license that allows a gun owner to carry a weapon for self-defense. New York requires “proper cause,” defined as a special need for self-defense that distinguishes the applicant from the general public.

According to a brief filed by public defense organizations including Black Attorneys of Legal Aid and The Bronx Defenders, New York’s law in practice has meant the criminalization of racial minorities in particular for exercising their constitutional rights.

“Each year we represent hundreds of indigent people whom New York criminally charges for exercising their right to keep and bear arm,” they write. “For our clients, New York’s licensing requirement renders the Second Amendment a legal fiction. Worse, virtually all our clients whom New York prosecutes for exercising their Second Amendment rights are Black and Hispanic.”

This case has implications for every state. Many laws excessively burdening the rights of gun owners are still on the books because until the Heller decision, the Supreme Court had never stated clearly that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s rights, unrelated to service in any militia. That left room for lower courts to allow restrictive laws to stand.

Justice Clarence Thomas has repeatedly called out his colleagues for giving Second Amendment rights second-class status and refusing to hear cases in which lower courts essentially ignored the ruling in Heller. The court agreed to hear this case after Justice Amy Coney Barrett succeeded Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In an amicus brief submitted by the California Gun Rights Foundation, the group calls on the Supreme Court to issue a ruling that provides clear guidance and puts a stop to the “free-wheeling and deferential balancing used in lower courts to dilute Second Amendment rights.”

We hope the Supreme Court rejects New York’s unreasonable law and makes clear that constitutional rights, all of them, are enforceable limits on the power of government. People should not be criminalized nor demonized for merely exercising their constitutional rights. Period.

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Dodgers’ extra-inning frustrations continue in Arizona

PHOENIX — Back on April 16 at Petco Park, the Dodgers scored five times in the 12th inning to beat the San Diego Padres.

If they had known then that it might be their only extra-inning win of the season, maybe they would have savored it a little more.

The Dodgers spotted the Arizona Diamondbacks a three-run headstart, ran them down in eight innings but lost in the 10th, 6-5, on Friday night.

The Dodgers have ventured into the dark alley of extra innings 12 times this season and came out at the other end with a victory just that one time back in the innocent days of April.

This loss kept them in lockstep with the rest of the NL West’s big three. The Giants and Padres also lost, maintaining status quo in the division – the Dodgers three games back, the Padres 5½.

Max Scherzer can’t get here soon enough – literally, they could use a starter Saturday.

The trade that will bring Scherzer to the Dodgers eventually – he is scheduled to join the team in Arizona on Saturday and make his Dodgers debut most likely on Wednesday – cost the Dodgers their Saturday starter, Josiah Gray.

Some bullpen games are planned. Others are thrust upon you.

Starter Tony Gonsolin faced just 11 batters on Friday and walked five of them, putting the Dodgers in an early hole and setting off a conga line of relievers.

Scherzer’s arrival and Clayton Kershaw’s imminent return from the injured list have made Gonsolin’s days in the starting rotation numbered. It’s a spot he has never really had much of a grip on.

Gonsolin spent the first two months of the season nursing a shoulder injury. In 10 games (nine starts), he has only occasionally looked over it.

Gonsolin completed five innings just twice in those 10 games. His fastball velocity has been consistently low – he averaged 93.3 mph on Friday, down from 95.1 mph last season. And his command has been erratic. Friday was the fifth time he walked three or more batters in a game. In total, he has walked 26 batters in 35-2/3 innings this season.

The only damage the Diamondbacks could manage before Manager Dave Roberts got Gonsolin out of the game was a two-run double by Josh Van Meter. They added a single run in the fourth against Phil Bickford and two more against Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia in the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had just three baserunners in the first five innings against Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen – a walk, an error and a single. From the sixth through the 10th, though, they put 13 runners on base, chipping away with two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings. Chris Taylor drove in three of the four runs – one on a home run, two on a triple.

A pinch-hit RBI single by Albert Pujols in the eighth tied the score – and Kenley Jansen nearly untied it in the bottom of the eighth. Jansen loaded the bases before striking out Christian Walker and Carson Kelly.

But the Diamondbacks pushed across the winning run in the 10th against Jimmy Nelson, a double by Asdrubal Cabrera driving in the extra runner from second.

More to come on this story.

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U.S. edges Qatar on late goal to reach Gold Cup final against Mexico

AUSTIN, Texas — Gyasi Zardes scored in the 86th minute and the United States beat Qatar, 1-0, on Thursday night to reach the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Zardes, one of the few first-line U.S. players on a mostly junior varsity roster for this tournament, replaced Daryl Dike in the 63rd minute and combined with two other second-half subs, Nicholas Gioacchini and Eryk Williamson.

Gioacchini picked up a Qatari clearance attempt and fed Williamson, who returned the ball. Gioacchini passed to Zardes, and he scored with a right-footed shot from 7 yards, his 14th international goal and second of the tournament.

The 20th-ranked U.S. matched its record with 13 consecutive home wins and advanced to Sunday night’s final in Las Vegas against defending champion Mexico, which beat Canada, 2-1, in Houston.

CONCACAF filled out the field for the Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, with 2022 World Cup host Qatar as an invited guest.

Goalkeeper Matt Turner made three big first-half saves for the U.S.

Qatar had a chance to go ahead in the 61st minute but Hassan Al-Haydos sent a penalty kick over the crossbar following a foul by James Sands. Al-Haydos took a stutter step and tried to fool goalkeeper Matt Turner with a panenka, a soft shot down the middle.

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Zack Steffem, Josh Sargent and other U.S. regulars missed the Gold Cup for vacation followed by preseasons with their European clubs.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter started the same lineup in consecutive games for the first time since the 2019 Gold Cup semfinal and final.

The match was played at Q2 Stadium, which opened last month and will host the Americans’ World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Oct. 7.

The U.S. beat Mexico in their last meeting in a dramatic finish to win the CONCACAF Nations League.

In the other semifinal …

Mexico 2, Canada 1: Orbelin Pineda scored on a penalty shot in first-half stoppage time, his fifth international goal and third of the tournament, and Tajon Buchanan tied the score in the 57th with his first goal. Héctor Herrera scored in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time, his ninth international goal, for 10th-ranked Mexico.

VAR intervened to hand Mexico a chance from the penalty spot after a review confirmed a foul on Canada’s Donell Henry in the area and Pineda converted to put El Tri in front at the break.

Buchanan drew Canada level early in the second half with an excellent individual effort, picking up a long ball on the left edge of the area, beating his defender and firing past Mexico keeper Alfredo Talavera at the far post.

Mexico again benefitted from a video review, with Canada’s Mark-Anthony Kaye whistled for a foul on the edge of the box after a VAR check, but Maxime Crepeau saved Carlos Salcedo’s penalty shot to preserve the draw.

The match was stopped as the second half progressed because of an anti-gay chant from the Mexico fans, but play resumed shortly after.

Herrera pounced on a ball at the top of the area and fired home in stoppage time to hand Tata Martino’s team a berth in the title game after nearly 13 extra minutes that were at times very tense.

The Canadians were without striker Lucas Cavallini and defender Steven Vitoria due to yellow-card accumulation. They were also without forwards Cyle Larin and Ayo Akinola because of injuries.

Canada was in its first semifinal since 2007 and was seeking its first championship since 2000. The Canadians are the only country other than the U.S. and Mexico to win the tournament.

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Trinity League Football Podcast: Top offseason highlights, players on the rise, storylines to watch


The Trinity League Football Podcast is back to get you ready for the 2021 season, which begins with Mater Dei and St. John Bosco ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the nation by MaxPreps.

Listen to this week’s episode here, and subscribe in Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts to get every episode as they publish.

In this episode, Dan Albano and Trinity League insider Scott Barajas recap the offseason highlights in the Trinity League, discuss players on the rise and spotlight the top storylines for each team as they get ready to start the season.

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Water shortage, fire threat move to the top of Californians’ environment concerns

This second year of drought has helped push water supplies and wildfires to the top of Californians’ list of environment concerns in a new Public Policy Institute of California survey.

While climate change, last year’s No. 1 environmental issue, fell to third place in the latest poll, most respondents linked their current top concerns of wildfires and water to climate change.

“Most Californians believe that the effects of climate change have already begun, and that it is contributing to the current drought and wildfires,” said Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president and CEO. “Six in ten are very concerned about more severe droughts and wildfires as a result of climate change.”

A quarter of adults polled listed drought and water supplies as the most important environmental issue, followed by wildfires (17%), climate change (13%) and air pollution (6%). In 2020, climate change, at 18%, topped the list.

A significantly higher percentage of Californians (68%) than Americans nationwide (59%) believe the effects of climate change are already happening. And while only 44% of the state’s Republicans think those effects are happening, most Republicans in the state do prefer expanding renewable energy to expanding than fossil fuel extraction (56%), and a majority in the GOP also oppose new fracking (56%) and offshore oil drilling (55%).

Among state Democrats, 82% believe the effects of climate change is occurring, 72% oppose more oil drilling, and 63% oppose expanding fracking.

Water worries

Southern California water supplies are holding up well so far, thanks the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s aggressive policy of increasing reservoir and aquifer storage. The district has reported that it started the year with record amounts of stored water from northern California and the Colorado River, and says it expects to have enough to get through another year of drought without mandatory restrictions.

But the drought is taking its toll elsewhere throughout the West. While Southern California was not included in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s current declarations of drought emergency, 50 of the state’s 58 counties were — and the state is calling for people to voluntarily reduce their water use.

That geographical disparity is reflected somewhat by the new poll, with 70% of San Francisco Bay area adults saying water supply is a big problem in their area, followed by 67% of those in the Central Valley, 60% in Los Angeles, 59% in the Inland Empire and 57% of those polled in Orange and San Diego counties.

“About four in 10 residents say their households have recently done a lot to reduce water use in response to the current drought,” Baldassare said. There is less regional difference in those results, which range from a high of 43% in Los Angeles to a low of 38% in Orange and San Diego counties.

Trust issues

On the heels of California losing a record number of acres to wildfires in 2020, this year’s fire season started early with major wildfires in northern California and Oregon.

That’s not gone unnoticed by residents of northern California, 55% of whom say the threat of wildfires is a big problem in their part of the state. About the same portion of Southern Californians say that threat poses a big problem in their counties.

But residents aren’t so sure government is prepared to deal with fires. Just one in three have “a great deal of confidence,” while 52% have “some confidence.”

Meanwhile, general approval of the governor and president on environmental issues is solid, with 59% approving of Newsom’s handling of those issues and 61% supportive of President Joe Biden. However, when it comes to state and federal governments overall, far more trust the state “just about always” or “more of the time” on those issues (48%) than they trust the federal government (33%).

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Santa Margarita graduate Katie McLaughlin helps U.S. relay strike Olympic silver

Katie McLaughlin and her teammates did their job, setting up Katie Ledecky for her anchor leg in the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay at the Toyko Olympics on Thursday, July 29.

The U.S. star responded right on cue, racing with the determination to deliver a silver medal and American record for the Santa Margarita High product in an epic final.

McLaughlin teamed with veteran Allison Schmitt, fellow Olympic rookie Paige Madden and Ledecky to bring Team USA to the wall in 7 minutes, 40.73 seconds, four-tenths of a second behind China’s world-record 7:40.33.

Ledecky rallied past heavily favored Australia, which touched in 7:41.29 for the bronze.

The final was so fast, the United States and Australia also raced well under the world record, a 7:41.50 by Australia in 2019.

.⁦@KatieMcLaugh1in⁩ isn’t wrong about 800 free relay ⁦@ocvarsity⁩ ⁦@OCVswimdivepic.twitter.com/g52Cv4rL5t

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) July 29, 2021

McLaughlin, 24, did her part, splitting a 1:55.38 in her third leg to keep the Stars and Stripes positioned third behind China and Australia.

Ledecky sizzled a 1:53.76 and nearly caught China.

Madden also delivered in the clutch, splitting a 1:55.25 that moved the U.S. team to third after it was fourth after a 1:56.34 leadoff leg by Schmitt.

Madden and McLaughlin also raced in the second and third spots for the United States in prelims, producing the two fastest times for the team.

For McLaughlin, the relay marked her Olympic debut and Tokyo finale. The former Mission Viejo Nadadores and Nellie Gail Gators club swimmer qualified for the Games in the 800 free relay, and delivered.

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Gov. Newsom pulls his kids from summer camp with no mask requirement

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE | The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO  — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said Tuesday he pulled his children out of a summer day camp that did not require kids to wear masks, a violation of state policy that Newsom’s spokeswoman said he and his wife missed when reviewing communication from the camp.

“The Newsoms were concerned to see unvaccinated children unmasked indoors at a camp their children began attending yesterday and after seeing this, removed the kids from the camp,” Erin Mellon said in an email. “The family reviewed communication from the camp and realized that an email was missed saying the camp would not enforce masking guidance. Their kids will no longer be attending this camp.”

Two of Newsom’s four children, ages 10 and 11, attended the day camp, Mellon said. Her statements came after Reopen California Schools, a group that promotes full school reopening without masks, tweeted Monday it had obtained photos of one of Newsom’s sons at the camp. The group cast it as another example of Newsom saying one thing and doing another, something that could further frustrate his critics and other voters as his Sept. 14 recall election looms.

Signatures in support of the recall spiked last November after he was caught dining maskless at the expensive French Laundry restaurant while telling Californians to avoid gatherings of more than three households. He also took heat from critics for sending his children to private school that adopted a hybrid learning schedule as most public school students remained in distance learning.

The state’s masking rules require everyone, even vaccinated people, to wear masks in youth settings because children under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated.

“We support this summer basketball camp’s approach of having each family determine their own masking situation,” the Reopen California Schools account tweeted. “The real problem is Newsom’s own family having mask choice, while he forces a different policy on every other kid in California.”

The group is run by Jonathan Zachreson, a parent who is supporting Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley in the recall.

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Politicians never learn the harm of their endless rules

Politicians just don’t learn.

People die as police fight drug dealers. Marijuana dealers form gangs and fight among themselves.

It’s so stupid. Especially because marijuana is relatively harmless.

Finally, some states legalized it, hoping to put an end to the black market. But legalization hasn’t ended the violence.

Why? Because many states impose so many unnecessary rules.

California is one of the worst.

“The illicit market is approximately two to three times the size of the legal market,” says cannabis industry lawyer Tom Howard.

Illegal sales thrive in California because politicians make distribution pointlessly difficult.

Howard advises clients who want to open a dispensary, “You have to have a $50,000 safe, a $200,000 security system and a $100,000 consultant help you make an 800-page application.”

Every single plant must be weighed, tagged and tracked from seed to sale.

This information is “not being used to benefit anybody,” complains grower Jason Downs. “It’s just a waste of everybody’s time, money.”

While legal sellers struggle, clueless California Gov. Gavin Newsom complains: “Illegal cannabis grows! They’re getting worse, not better.”

His solution: California taxpayers now will spend $100 million to bail them out!

Much of what government does is tax people to try to fix problems that government caused.

Politicians are so arrogant and ignorant that they even lose money when they take over profitable illegal industries.

Bookies once let people bet on horse racing without going to the track. Politicians called them criminals and said government would put an end to the “crime” of off-track betting by running that business themselves.

New York claimed they’d use their profits to “promote the public welfare.” But the state’s rules were so bureaucratic that New York lost millions on its off-track betting parlors.

Other states manage to lose taxpayer money running liquor stores (Alabama, certain counties in Maryland), and even on sports betting (Oregon).

Only governments can mismanage so badly.

Back to marijuana: Illinois’ rules are probably the worst.

“Only ‘social equity veterans’ in Illinois can get a license,” explains Howard. In other words, new licenses are supposed to go to prior “victims of the drug war.”

But the bureaucrats’ rules are so complex that a full year after legalization, zero new licenses have been issued.

Meanwhile, politically connected people grabbed every existing license.

One billionaire from the Wrigley gum family “paid $155 million for six dispensary licenses,” says Howard. Illinois is “creating a cartel.”

Vice News confronted Illinois bureaucrat Toi Hutchinson, the governor’s cannabis adviser. She denied that her licensing program is a failure. “It’s delayed, but it’s not done yet,” she said. “The fixes that we’ve been able to do almost in real time … another thing that is not normal for government. I don’t know how to solve for racism and capitalism and structures that have existed for 100 years.”

She blames capitalism for her failure to allow capitalism to work?

Arrogant government workers have little knowledge and no shame.

Howard says Illinois is “like (old) Russia, where they had the state pick and choose winners and losers.”

Other states have bad rules, too.

“Florida and Arizona are millionaires’ clubs,” says Howard. “You have to not only grow it; you have to be able to produce it and process it. You have to own your own dispensary. If you have $40 or $50 million, it’s great.”

Massachusetts requires all dispensaries to black out windows lest anyone see the marijuana. Stores must also check everyone’s IDs multiple times.

Legalization doesn’t have to be stupid.

Oregon and Colorado have reasonable rules, and in Oklahoma, “anyone can get a cannabis license,” says Howard, “provided you’ve lived in Oklahoma for two years.”

The result?

“You get a lot more innovation — more entrepreneurs coming into market. Some go out of business, and some do very well … It’s free market capitalism.”

That works! If only politicians would let people try it.

John Stossel is author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”

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