Legendary Mater Dei football coach Dick Coury dies at age 91

Legendary former Mater Dei football coach Dick Coury, who helped build the Monarchs into a powerhouse before embarking on a long and successful career at the collegiate and professional levels, died Saturday, Aug. 15, announced Lake Oswego High in Oregon, where Coury’s son Steve is the football coach.

The announcement, from the official twitter account of the Lake Oswego football program, said Coury was 91.

“He treated everyone he came in contact with like they were the most important person in the world,” Lake Oswego tweeted. “Even with all of his accomplishments in coaching, he will be remembered more for the type of person he was.”

Rest In Peace coach Dick Coury. #Family #LakerNation pic.twitter.com/wY9rfOkD7n

— LO Lakers Football (@LOLakersFB) August 16, 2020

Coury coached Mater Dei for nine seasons in the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, leading the Monarchs to three CIF-SS titles and seven league titles. His combined record was 85-9-5 from 1957 to 1965.

Coury went on to serve as defensive coordinator for USC and became Cal State Fullerton’s first football coach in 1970.

He was part of the Trojans’ coaching staff for their 1967 national championship. In his two seasons at Cal State Fullerton, he compiled a 13-8-1 record.

Coury was an assistant coach for several NFL teams, including the L.A. and St. Louis Rams.

He served as an assistant with the Eagles in 1981 when they lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl.

Coury also coached in the World Football League and United States Football League. He was the USFL’s coach of the year in 1983.

The family has informed us that Dick Coury has passed away at the age of 90. Coury coached all three seasons with the #USFL Breakers in Boston, New Orleans and Portland. He also coached with the @steelers, @Broncos, @Chargers, @Eagles, @RamsNFL, @Patriots, @Vikings and Oilers. pic.twitter.com/s8uL2q9SNw

— The USFL Project (@theusflproject) August 16, 2020

While he helped with the Lake Oswego team, Coury also could be spotted at Mater Dei in retirement. He attended the Monarchs’ pre-game ceremony for the 1950 and 1960 team in 2015.

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson, who hoisted Coury’s arm before the 2015 game, played for Coury at Mater Dei.

“I’ve known Coach Coury since around the seventh grade and have always admired him as both a great coach and a great person,” said Phil Anton, a longtime observer of Orange County football and former chairman of the county all-star game.

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The constitutionality of federal mask mandates

With COVID-19 exploding in states across the nation, the clamor for a federal mask mandate has correspondingly grown.

Joe Biden promises, if elected, to make wearing a face covering in public compulsory using executive power. Nancy Pelosi has lamented that “mandat[ing] the wearing of masks across the country” is “long overdue.” (California already has imposed a requirement that everyone wear a mask.)  But whatever the merits of a national mandate, it runs head on into an insurmountable problem: the Constitution.

Our founders established a national government of limited, enumerated powers, and reserved the authority over everything else to the states.  Under federalism, Washington, D.C. can only exercise power in discrete, specialized areas, such as interstate commerce, foreign affairs and taxing and spending on the general welfare.  States have long had the primary duty to protect public health and safety, even during a pandemic, where the federal role remains limited to providing funds and supplies, lending technical expertise and medical research and controlling the borders and interstate traffic.

Joe Biden, however, would demand a vast federal power over health, and he would locate it in the executive branch. But that would be a mistake. It is true that the Constitution gives significant power to the president over foreign affairs. There, as Alexander Hamilton observed in Federalist No. 70, “[e]nergy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.”

But on the domestic front, the Constitution sends Congress to the fore. Justice Robert Jackson once argued in his famous concurrence in the so-called steel seizure cases that presidential power in domestic affairs would reach its zenith when the president acted according to Congress’s authorization, and it would hit its nadir when the president acts contrary to Congress. There is a middle zone where the president is neither acting in accord or against congressional authorization, and so must rely solely on whatever executive power the office has.

There is nothing, however, that authorizes a President Trump now, or a President Biden tomorrow, to mandate face coverings nationwide via executive power. Congress has not enacted any such law for the president to enforce. Masks do not fall under the president’s power as commander-in-chief, nor do they plausibly come within any of his other executive authorities, such as granting pardons or nominating officers.

So the president must rely on Congress, which makes Speaker Pelosi’s demands all the more rich given that the House has yet to mandate masks. She could try and claim some power under the Commerce Clause, which empowers Congress to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States.” The Founders wanted to prohibit the destructive state protectionism the states that had beset the nation during the early years of independence. Under the original meaning of the Commerce Clause, Congress might be able to require people crossing state lines, or within the streams of interstate commerce, to wear masks.  It could even buy all Americans masks. But it cannot compel the large percentage of Americans who are not traveling to wear them.

Biden and Pelosi could point to the Supreme Court’s modern expansion of congressional power. To protect FDR’s New Deal, the court allowed Congress to regulate any intrastate activity that cumulatively had a substantial impact on the national economy. As the economy increasingly grew interconnected, that logically meant that Congress could regulate nearly everything, from petty crime to workplace conditions to air quality. In other words, the constitutional division of power between the national and state governments was dead.

In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has cabined that expansive reading. It has struck criminal laws against gun in school zones and gender violence, as well as Obamacare’s individual mandate, to fall outside the Commerce Clause. It is likely any federal mask mandate Congress passed would suffer the same fate. Wearing a mask is not commerce, though mandating masks would certainly increase commerce. But as a majority of the justices held in the Obamacare case, Congress cannot create commerce in order to then regulate it.

A pandemic certainly affects the national economy. But Congress cannot constitutionally regulate everything and anything that might have an economic effect. Under that logic, Congress could force us to take our vitamins and eat broccoli, sleep enough, stay indoors, wash our hands 10 times each day — the list goes on.

This is not Congress’s domain. The Constitution reserves the “police power” — the power to protect health, safety and morals — in the hands of state governments. Our nation’s response to the pandemic has played out largely along the constitutional design. The federal government has barred those travel from abroad, gave grants to states, universities and companies to help fight the virus, funded research, disseminated information, and helping coordinate public and private efforts. It must be the states that primarily answer the challenge by ordering people to stay home or businesses to close. A majority of states have some kind of requirement that its residents wear face coverings in public. Just as the Constitution envisioned.

In light of the enormous, seemingly all-powerful federal government we are accustomed to today, it may seem quaint to take the position that the federal government cannot do whatever the people want for the good of the nation. But that’s not the constitutional republic we have. And what we do have is worth keeping.

James Phillips is an assistant professor of law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law. John Yoo is the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law. John Yoo is Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of Defender-in-Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power, to be published on July 28.

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Dentistry bill limits consumers’ choices

Too often, “consumer protection” laws are little more than efforts by established industries to use the government to stifle the competition. One recent example is Assembly Bill 1998, which requires firms that provide direct-to-consumer orthodontics – so-called teledentistry firms – to meet a host of new regulatory requirements.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the bill, which last month passed the Assembly and is headed for a Senate vote, is backed by the state’s dental industry. For instance, the California Dental Association argues that the measure simply ensures that these competitive companies “have the same level of dentist oversight and patient safety as in person … models of dental care.”

That sounds reasonable until one looks at the details of the bill. As the Sacramento Bee summarizes it, the bill “would require teeth-straightening patients to get an X-ray if they don’t already have one in their medical records – regardless of whether a dentist thinks it’s clinically necessary.”

Current law requires teledentistry firms to review a patient’s most recent X-ray and other records before approving teeth-straightening or other treatments, as the Assembly analysis explains. AB1998’s supporters don’t think that goes far enough and want California to mandate brand new X-rays before dental treatment is approved.

The obvious goal is to force Californians to see a dentist, which will provide more work for dentists and dissuade consumers from using these alternative approaches. Some of the bill’s disclosure rules seem reasonable, but its protectionist results are unacceptable.

“(W)e cannot sacrifice patient health and safety in exchange for making billionaires out of tech bros,” said the sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley. Teledentistry isn’t primarily about protecting “tech bros,” however, but expanding access to dentistry services to Californians who can’t afford the prices dentists charge.

Like other rapidly expanding telehealth services, teledentistry might not be as ideal as in-person visits, but these it provides lower-income residents with access to the kind of dental care that they’ve never had before. It would be a shame if lawmakers put the demands of the dental lobby above the needs of California residents.

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Alexander: A resounding, dominant result for LAFC

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (66) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon, center, attempts to shoot on goal as Los Angeles FC defender Eddie Segura, left, defends during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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  • LA Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon, center, is congratulated by midfielders Sebastian Lletget (17) and Emil Cuello (27) after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of an MLS soccer match against Los Angeles FC, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega argues a call by an official during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher, right, kicks the ball in front of Los Angeles FC defender Diego Palacios (12) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon, center, is congratulated by midfielders Sebastian Lletget (17) and Emil Cuello (27) after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles FC, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) competes for the ball with Los Angeles FC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (20) and defender Eddie Segura (4) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Dejan Jakovic (5) and LA Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon compete for the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona (15) flies through the air after being separated from the ball by Los Angeles FC defender Dejan Jakovic (5) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (66) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona (15) wins a header in front of Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing (7) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, back, scores a goal past LA Galaxy defender Giancarlo Gonzalez during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham (1) reacts after giving up a goal to Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi during the second half of an MLS soccer match, early Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • LA Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon celebrates after Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing scored an own goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi celebrates after scoring a goal past LA Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham, below, during the second half of an MLS soccer match, early Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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Galaxy fans may have been prescient, nervously so, before their team’s latest match with LAFC Saturday night.

An hour before kickoff in Orlando, Fla., this was posted on the “LA Galaxy Rumors” twitter feed:

“Hey @ibra_official, can you get to Orlando in an hour? We need you. #LAGalaxy.”

Hey @Ibra_official, can you get to Orlando in an hour? We need you. #LAGalaxy

— LA Galaxy Rumors (@LAG_Rumors) July 19, 2020

Well, Zlatan Ibrahimović apparently is going to be available again, his departure from AC Milan said to be imminent. But I’m not sure that’s even going to help the Galaxy, considering the turn that El Tráfico has taken.

The commentators on ESPN’s coverage of Saturday night’s resumption of L.A.’s MLS rivalry nailed it at the beginning of the evening. LAFC has an identity that is fairly evident. The Galaxy still seems to be searching for one.

And so it was that Diego Rossi filled the superstar void more than adequately on another steamy night in Florida. Rossi’s four goals – a penalty, a rebound of a Bradley Wright-Phillips shot, a finish of a Mark-Anthony Kaye pass off a 2-on-1 and a tap-in of Francisco Ginella’s shot in second-half stoppage time – accentuated a 6-2 LAFC victory that pretty well assured it a spot in the knockout round of the MLS Is Back tournament.

Scoring-wise, it was even more dominant than it looked. It was tied 2-2 at halftime, mainly because the Galaxy had bottled up LAFC’s midfield progress, but the two Galaxy goals were an own-goal (Latif Blessing deflected Cristian Pavón’s shot past goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega) and a penalty (Pavón beating Sisniega on a second try after Sisniega came off the line on the first save).

In the second half, the guys from downtown just wore down the guys from Carson. That could have been a consequence of the heat (81 degrees at the 10:30 local time kickoff) and humidity, or it could be a pattern.

The comeback from a two-goal deficit in the late stages Monday night against Houston would suggest the latter, but coach Bob Bradley noted these were two different types of games.

“Against Houston we pushed forward and created chances,” Bradley said on the Zoom conference following Saturday’s game. “Tonight in terms of fluidity and finding ways to connect passes in the first half, as I said, (it) was poor. So, a different kind of game. It’s expected in a derby and (Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s) experience in derbies and his way of getting his team prepared, we know. So we had to fight through, honestly, a poor half. We were very pleased to get the equalizer before halftime. And then I think at halftime we were able to iron out a few things, and then, of course, it’s hard for them to keep that up.”

It was a weird rivalry game in some ways, given not only the conditions (no fans and that Florida weather) but the circumstances. Not only was there no Carlos Vela, but there was no Chicharito; Javier Hernández was ruled out by the Galaxy shortly before the game because of a calf injury suffered in training Thursday. And LAFC changed goalkeepers, maybe because of those three first-half goals Monday night by Houston; Sisniega made his seventh MLS start and Kenneth Vermeer went to the bench.

But others stepped up. Pavón assumed the striker’s role with Chicharito on the bench, and he had a part in both Galaxy goals, had yet another waved off in the second half on an offside call and created several other opportunities.

So did Rossi.

“I think he’s in excellent form,” Bradley said. “We saw it early in the season, and he worked very hard during the period when we couldn’t train, and you could see as we got back into team training how sharp he was.

“He continues to grow as a player – his maturity, obviously his speed, but also his movement, his way of coming away from defenders, his threat to go deep, those are all things you can see. And his finishing just gets better and better.”

As befits a Los Angeles rivalry, then, there is no shortage of stars, or potential stars, or at least players capable of taking a star turn.

And while the setting and atmosphere were far different than the previous iterations of this matchup, it was truly a derby in one sense: Seven yellow cards, and a lot of players hitting the turf. I think it’s safe to say that with fans or without, LAFC and the Galaxy bring out the best, and the worst, in each other. Isn’t that what a rivalry is all about?

“This is different to play any game without fans,” Rossi said. “When we play in our stadium every game is full, every game the fans are with us, and that is something that’s really important for us because they push us in a good way. So obviously this is different.

“But you have to be smart. The group has to be really focused on what is going on. Yeah, it is different, but it is the new life that we have, and we have to be ready for this.”

LAFC at least has adapted well, after starting out 0-2-3 in this rivalry but ending the jinx with a victory in the Western Conference semifinal last October. Just off of the small sample size this season, two MLS games pre-pandemic and this tournament, LAFC is in a much better place than the Galaxy, with stars or without.

That was underlined Saturday night. And no, Galaxy fans, Zlatan is not walking through that door.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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America faces too many problems the status quo can’t solve: Richard Boddie

Hi, I’m Richard Benjamin Boddie.

“I was born a highly privileged white lad” on Oct. 19, 1938 in Elmira, New York, the son of Mary Lavinia Johnson Boddie and Rev. Charles Emerson Boddie.

OK, not quite.

The parents, the location and date are true. But didn’t you recognize those opening words as an intended reversal of the now famous words by Steve Martin in his classic movie, “The Jerk”?

The movie opened with Martin saying, “I was born a poor black child.”

These days, race and privilege are becoming two of the most dominant political themes of our times, along with guilt, fault, anger, hate and much more.

Those issues, along with the government mandated shutdowns, pandemics and quarantines, plus the coming or at least historically scheduled POTUS elections, as well as other future yet-to occur significant events of concern resulting therefrom, must be addressed and dealt with.

As a new columnist, in the months ahead I hope to share some of my perspectives on those and other topics in the future. I also hope that you will read and consider some of these ideas, ideals and beliefs as something important enough to at least take a few minutes to read and think about.

Some of my ramblings might be considered new and quite different from the norm for many of you, especially coming from a Black man.

Where I’m coming from

Giants such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Ronald Paul, James Doti, Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, R.C. Hoiles, Alan Bock, David Bergland, Marshall Fritz, David Nolan and scores of other solid moral rational intellectuals who were and are honest about topics have laid the groundwork for my looking in a totally different direction from the norm.

First, some introduction to my background and where I come from.

My roots go back to the Rose Hill Plantation in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. That’s where my great-grandfather, Rev. Coolie E. Boddie, is buried. He was and is the only former enslaved person buried there.

I grew up in Rochester, New York, the son of a third generation of Baptist ministers. In a reflection of the current political climate, someone just in the past week destroyed a statue of my spiritual mentor, Frederick Douglass in Rochester.

As an aside, I submit that all statues should be on private property, where the owner or owners have the legal ability to protect the statue and also receive damages from harm and destruction. If ever a person should be purged and have his history eliminated for actual professed racist words and ideals, it would be Woodrow Wilson.

I moved to Huntington Beach with my wife and three daughters in the fall of 1977. I immediately began my California newspaper experience reading the Los Angeles Times, but in 1979 or so, the editorial section of the Orange County Register caught my attention and I encountered the ideas of R.C. Hoiles, Robert LeFevre and David Bergland, among others.

For many years now I have opined on political matters under the catchy title of “The Boddie Politic.” I taught political science, American government, history and business law at Coastline Community College for almost two decades, retiring in 2017.

I try my best to always function from kindness. I attempt to pursue solutions via collaboration, mediation, arbitration or third-party neutral dispute resolution. I literally hate war and all things and rationalizations attached thereto.

But much of our current political climate is hostile to collaboration, especially on contentious matters like race.

Speaking as a Black man, I must say that white guilt is both sickening and suspect. Regretfully, we have now reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened long before they were even born, while other people are not held responsible for the many bad acts that they themselves are doing today.

On a related note, groups operating under the banner of Black Lives Matter need to be honest in admitting their agenda does not extend to the belief that all Black lives matter. Many are actually more interested in promoting far-left policies and Marxist-Leninist ideologies.

Such divisiveness and ideological presumptions don’t lend themselves to collaboration and mediation. They just make problem solving harder while our nation continues to drift in the wrong direction.

With the massive growth of government, the unbelievable national debt and unfunded pensions throughout this nation, not to mention the tendency of the federal government to pull “stimulus” funds from thin air, I am greatly concerned for my progeny.

Politics as usual won’t save us

The nation has many problems I don’t see getting fixed with politics as usual.

I believe that there are way too many who are in positions of power and influence, and who function totally contrary to those I esteem, and contribute to our current detriment and future demise as a great nation.

Oh, know I’m not a Trump supporter, although his administration has instituted policies that I do believe are important to our future survival.

I favorably view his appointments to the Supreme Court and federal courts, and the Trump administration’s general approach of pulling back overbearing government regulations that have grown and stifled freedom and progress since FDR. I am also pleased that “The Donald” has not fired Ben Carson — yet.

Overall, though, Trump just doesn’t do it for me, with his overbearing narcissism and absence of class. He’s not even close to “being presidential,” like Barrack Obama was. It is my feeling that anything that comes out correct or right from Trump is solely from the rational wisdom of those inside of his inner circle. On the other hand, as Dennis Miller is known to say, “But of course, I could be wrong.”

In my mind: Republican or Democrat, name your poison! That was the theme of my 1992 and 1994 U.S. Senate television commercial ad, and much to my regret, things in our lives are much worse today, to put it mildly.

There is hope

I must say, however, that there is hope for the future of freedom in this nation as long as Americans keep an open mind and genuinely strive to solve problems.

Americans have it in their power to longer accept Tweedledum or Tweedledee, believing they will finally change and actually represent you, the individual citizen. If you believe in “live and let live” then you do have a choice.

For me, I put hope into the Libertarian Party, which since 1971 has been working in a principled and consistent way for everyone’s liberty on every issue, every day.

Even if the LP isn’t for you, once you admit to the fact that the status quo will continue to only represent special interests over you, and seek to continue to be elected or reelected as their sole objective, you can start to see matters more clearly and make a difference.

There is hope, and you can possibly control outcomes in this democratic republic. But to do that, we need to be willing to think outside of the confines of the two-party system and approach problems with the goal of actually solving them.

Richard Boddie is a member of the Southern California News Group’s editorial board.

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How Newsom could use his powers to revive California’s economy

With Californians facing double-digit unemployment in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, California’s governor should be using his emergency powers to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on our economy.

Unfortunately, he has interpreted his emergency powers to authorize him to legislate additional costs on employing Californians.

Perhaps in good times, the state could add regulatory burdens on employment and small business without undermining the jobs market.  But these are not ordinary times.  The Wall Street Journal estimates that nearly 50 percent of leisure and hospitality jobs in California were lost between February and April.  The Southern California Association of Governments estimates that unemployment in Southern California will average 12.2 percent in 2021.

However, with the state facing a $54.3 billion budget deficit, it is hardly in a position to help.  The state will need to rely on the private sector, but the pandemic has reduced its revenues for hiring.  Thus, the governor must act to lighten the cost of hiring workers.

Fortunately, the governor has a potent emergency power to “suspend any regulatory statute” or regulation “where the governor determines … that strict compliance … would … prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency.”  The governor should direct his administration to identify every regulation and statute that he might suspend to make it less expensive to hire additional workers while the pandemic lasts.

For starters, the governor should suspend Assembly Bill 5, which turned many independent contractors into more expensive employees, causing freelance writers and many others to lose their jobs.  In April, 153 economists and political scientists wrote an open letter to the governor, explaining that the law was “doing substantial, and avoidable, harm to the very people who now have the fewest resources and the worst alternatives available to them.”

Temporarily suspending Assembly Bill 5 makes sense:  In addition to the points made in the open letter, it has only been in effect for six months.  It is a costly luxury the state cannot afford at the moment.  Moreover, an initiative has qualified for the November ballot that would narrow the scope of the law.  Why not wait for voters to have their say before enforcing a law that has reduced hiring opportunities?

Instead of reducing the cost of hiring, however, the governor has used another emergency power – a questionable one – to issue at least two executive orders that have made it more expensive to hire additional employees.

In April, the governor issued an executive order that requires employers to provide two weeks of supplemental sick leave for various food sector workers.  In May, the governor signed an executive order, creating a presumption that any person, who is diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of working at the employer’s premises, was infected at work (even though that individual could have easily contracted the disease elsewhere).

These executive orders are unconstitutional because they constitute legislative acts, which fall outside the governor’s executive branch powers.  The governor issued them under an emergency power that provides that “[d]uring a state of emergency, the Governor shall …have … the right to exercise … all police power vested in the state by the Constitution and laws of the State of California ….”

But to the extent the governor is using this law to legislate, it is clearly unconstitutional. The California Constitution expressly provides that “[t]he powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial” and “[p]ersons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution.”

Our state constitution vests our governor with the “supreme executive power of this State,” not the power to legislate.  By contrast, his power to suspend the enforcement of statutes during an emergency falls squarely within the governor’s executive authority to enforce the laws, particularly since the Legislature has granted him the power to suspend them.

Recent California governments have been reluctant to lift the regulatory burden on employment.  But as our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, observed, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. … As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew.” Our stormy present requires that we think anew.

Daniel  Kolkey is a former judge and former counsel to Gov. Pete Wilson and serves on the board of the Pacific Research Institute.

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Take back cities for people and the automobiles they use: Randal O’Toole

The pandemic has reminded us that our society has to be resilient to face all sorts of unexpected events, and this is doubly true for transportation. The good news is that the United States already has the most resilient transportation system in the world. The bad news is that some people are trying to take it away from us.

Transportation needs to deal with all kinds of unexpected events, including terrorist attacks such as 9/11, natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and southern California wildfires, economic downturns such as the 2008 financial crisis, and of course pandemics such as COVID-19. The most resilient transportation in all of these cases is motor vehicles and highways.

Terrorists seek to horrify the populace and disrupt the economy. When they choose a transportation target, it is almost always some form of mass transportation such as subways or high-speed trains. Even a crowded highway isn’t dense enough to cause much horror and, unlike rail lines, which can take weeks to repair, nearly all highways have alternative routes.

When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, 123,000 people in New Orleans lived in households that had no automobiles. When the levy failed, those with cars got out; many of those without cars were forced to stay and more than 1,000 people died. A few weeks later, when Hurricane Rita hit the Texas Gulf Coast, where auto ownership rates were much higher, 3.7 million people were able to evacuate in a couple of days.

Mass transportation systems such as Amtrak and public transit are particularly vulnerable to recessions. Because they are so labor-intensive, a decline in revenues can force major cutbacks in service. Highways, once built, are there when you need them; they aren’t going to go away because revenues to the agency that built them has temporarily declined.

Before the current pandemic, research found that people who ride transit are nearly six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory diseases than those who do not. Masks help, but — as the CDC recently advised — the safest way to travel during an epidemic is in your own private automobile.

Despite the tremendous advantages of autos over mass transportation, a powerful anti-auto movement remains. A New York Times article recently urged cities to “take back streets from the automobile,” as if people in cars are less important than people who aren’t in cars.

In the decade before the pandemic, Los Angeles Metro lost a third of its bus riders. Metro’s solution? Make traffic congestion worse. “It’s too easy to drive in this city,” said Phil Washington, Metro’s CEO, about the city that is perennially at or near the top of the list of the worst congested areas in the country. He wants to turn lanes now open to all traffic into exclusive bus lanes so that his empty buses can zip by frustrated motorists.

Cities across the country are participating in a movement to make congestion worse. Sometimes called “road diets,” sometimes “complete streets,” the goal is to take lanes away from motor vehicles.

The results can be deadly. When a 2008 wildfire burned near Paradise, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the city realized it needed better evacuation routes. Instead, it put its only four-lane street on a road diet, removing two of the lanes. When a fire burned through the city in 2018, more than 80 people died, many in their cars while they were stuck in traffic.

Fifty years ago, people’s concerns about automobiles were justified. Cars were energy hogs, spewing pollution that darkened the skies of our cities, and killing 50 people per billion vehicle miles in highway accidents.

Those problems were reduced not by forcing people out of their cars but by making cars cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient. Compared with 1970, autos use only half the energy, emit only 3 percent as much toxic pollution, kill 78 percent fewer people per billion vehicle miles in accidents, and improve each year. Irrationally, opposition continues as if automobiles were still as bad as they were in 1970.

In spite of anti-auto policies, 80 percent of passenger travel and 90 percent of urban travel is by automobile. It’s time to take back cities for people and the automobiles that have liberated them to reach more productive jobs, better homes, lower-cost consumer goods, and greater recreation and social opportunities. That means fighting the road dieters, congestifiers, and others who think that the primary goal of transportation policy should be to force people out of their cars.

Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute senior fellow specializing in transportation and land-use policy and the author of “Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need.”

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We need to reopen schools, but is it safe?

Schools are the bedrock of the American economy. They provide childcare that allows parents to go to work while supporting the healthy development of children through education, meals, and social services.  With four in ten US families having at least one school-age child, closing schools for the COVID-19 pandemic has had a predictably profound effect on millions of lives.

It is now clear that we cannot wait for a vaccine or herd immunity to take hold before we resume normal life and restart the economy. We need to reopen K-12 schools, and this means children will be among the first of us to re-emerge from the security of sheltering in place. This can be a safe decision if done correctly, and if we dynamically improve plans as we learn more about virus.

But what do we know so far that can guide us?

Handwashing, social-distancing and face-coverings have been remarkably successful, keeping infection rates low in many parts of the country. However, these non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs) are hard for children, especially those under 10 years of age or with special needs.

Additionally, healthy children seem resilient to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While a scary Kawasaki-like inflammation of the blood vessels is seen in rare cases, the latest figures from China show that only 2.2 percent of 44,672 cases were in those under 19 years of age. Yet we need more community-based data tell us if children evade infection, or if they are infected and remain asymptomatic. This is an important distinction because children require hands-on care, and asymptomatic infection can put older caretakers at home and school at risk.

Countries that have already reopened their schools and have had vastly different experiences. In Denmark schools have successfully remained open without outbreaks for about a month now, and the pandemic continues to lessen across the country.  Conversely, in Israel, South Korea, France, and Sweden, hundreds of K-12 students have become COVID-19 positive in the weeks since schools reopened. Though all of these countries planned carefully, in Denmark the schools took extra caution to reduce student-teacher ratios, implement physical distancing, and provide facilities for students to wash their hands as often as once an hour.

At the University of California, Irvine (UCI) we have convened a group of scientists, clinicians and educators to collaborate with the Orange County Department of Education and representatives from regional schools to help identify the unique re-opening needs of each school in our diverse communities. This complex process requires new resources and has inherent challenges — here are some of our initial procedural recommendations for the return to school:

  • Pre-arrival symptom screening. Families need easy-to-use, standardized approaches to perform daily symptom checks for students, possibly using a mobile app.  Symptomatic students will be required to stay at home and seek advice from their healthcare provider.
  • Arrival screening. Schools need to develop screening procedures for all students and personnel arriving at the school.  If students develop symptoms during the day, they must be isolated, consult with a healthcare provider, and be sent home until cleared to return to school.
  • Students exposed to COVID-positive family members. These students should stay home, check with their healthcare provider, and arrange to continue distance learning until they are cleared to return to school.
  • NPI: Handwashing (or hand sanitizers), face covering, and physical distancing. These are the most important steps to prevent virus transmission, but implementation in school settings requires thoughtful planning

Of course, there are many creative ideas under consideration to support a safer return to in-person learning. These include limiting students and teachers to small groups of 5-10 people to prevent widespread transmission, increasing the number of school nurses and on-site health centers, and testing sewage discharge for evidence of the virus. Many countries have reflexively abandoned physical education and after-school activities on school reopening. However, our collective disagrees, believing that the benefits of exercise on cognitive and emotional health, and prevention of disease, are a strong argument for resuming P.E. with physical distancing.

As students return to school, it is also important to address how the pandemic has heightened existing health inequities due to crowded living conditions, limited access to health care, jobs that carry higher risk of viral transmission, and the increased danger for those with comorbidities that are more common in underserved populations such as type 2 diabetes. Further, children have fallen far behind on routine immunizations that prevent other life-threatening diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles during the pandemic.

We have not seen a crisis of this magnitude in decades and while our schools face complex realities, they can reopen safely.  This will be achieved by strategies that will improve over time through the efforts of academic health centers like ours with parents, schools, businesses and public officials working together to protect our children for the duration of the pandemic.

Steve A.N. Goldstein is Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs at the University of California, Irvine. Dan M. Cooper MD is Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Science, UCI.

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The two parties have failed America: Mimi Robson

Why should Californians give up on the old parties? Because they’ve failed us!

In this year’s presidential election we don’t have to decide between two big-spending old white men, neither of which seem to have our interests in mind when determining the direction of the country. We now have a third serious choice.

I know that sounds too simple, but it’s something we can truly do. We can finally elect a Libertarian for president and Dr. Jo Jorgensen is the candidate that can make that happen. She’s the difference the county needs.

Jorgensen, a senior lecturer in psychology at Clemson University, was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate on a ticket with Harry Browne in 1996.

Her platform is straightforward: fix our $23 trillion dollar national debt, put an end to the non-stop involvement in expensive and deadly foreign wars, fix our broken healthcare and retirement systems, stop the tariffs that are destroying free markets for American consumers and producers and finally put an end to the immigration crisis.

In the past four years both of the old parties have failed us. Not just in California but across the nation. It once seemed that things were going along nicely; the economy was humming along, we saw the lowest unemployment in years, and most of us started the year thinking that 2020 was going to be great. But that all went to hell in a handbasket and it’s the old parties that are to blame.

The presidential election this year will give all Californians a chance to change the direction of both the country and the state. For too long we’ve let the Democrats and Republicans frame the narrative on the direction of the country, with the results being an unsustainable economy, unsustainable foreign intervention, and greater infringements on our personal liberties and freedoms daily.

In March, the country shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it can’t possibly be said that the government is responsible for the pandemic, they are most certainly responsible for their reaction to it. And that reaction has caused ramifications that will last for decades to come. At both the state and national level, our elected representative could have developed a plan to keep people safe from the virus while keeping people employed, but they instead decided to keep us in our homes and close our businesses.

Jo Jorgensen would have done things far differently. She would have allowed companies to start developing and employing testing immediately, by using the Emergency Powers Act to allow the FDA to more quickly approve tests.

Jorgensen would have also not supported the $3 trillion stimulus bill. She would have let people keep their money and decide how they wanted to spend it.

And then, after almost three months of our county being shut down, there was a flash point. George Floyd was killed at the hands of the Minneapolis police. This wasn’t an isolated incident and has been going on for far too long. Police officers have been acting with impunity for decades, including what happened in Los Angeles in 1992 with Rodney King. This happened in New York in 2014 with Eric Garner who died after being suspected of selling cigarettes. This happens again and again, and people have finally had enough. People want a change and neither of the major parties have set out to fix it.

Jorgensen believes that things need to be changed by first doing away with qualified immunity, along with no-knock raids and the militarization of the police.  She would support bills like the “tri-partisan” bill introduced by Rep. Justin Amash, L-Michigan, to end qualified immunity for police, unlike President Trump or Joe Biden who only wants to “reform” qualified immunity.

As the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, Jo Jorgensen will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states, as we were in 2016. This means that California voters will have a real choice this year.

Mimi Robson is chair of the Libertarian Party of California.

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After police changes, what else will unrest spur?

It’s now plain that weeks of social unrest following the Minneapolis police killing of the unarmed African American George Floyd in late May will spur huge changes in policing across America and California.

But what else? For landmark demonstrations through history sometimes produced major changes affecting much more than the immediate targets of the protesters.

Anti-tea tax protests of English colonists in Boston, which British authorities called riots at the time, helped spur the American Revolution and world-changing concepts of democracy. The storming of the Bastille about 15 years later not only freed political prisoners it aimed to break loose, but toppled the royal Bourbon dynasty that ruled France and much of Europe for centuries.

Anti-war protests across America in the 1960s not only led to the end of the Lyndon Johnson presidency, but undermined the U.S. war effort in Southeast Asia, eventually leading to an American pullout and a subsequent wave of immigration from Vietnam.

Most likely, many potential and partially complete changes will later be seen as fallout from the last month’s wave of demonstrations and the opportunistic looting that accompanied some of the them. These have involved more people around the world than any since the era of the Vietnam War.

For one thing, the protests exposed President Trump’s disregard for constitutional rights, shown when he ordered the clearing of Lafayette Park opposite the White House of peaceful demonstrators so he could walk to a photo opportunity that made him look silly. That misplay further exposed his lack of candor when he lied about use of tear gas.

No one knows for sure whether that will help end his presidency or lead to some new kind of constitutional crisis, but it did produce an unprecedented memo from the Trump-appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Mark Milley reminded fellow military commanders their oaths are to the Constitution, not loyalty oaths requiring them to follow illegal orders from the commander in chief. No previous top military commander ever felt the need to spell this out.

Prior to that memo, rumors circulated that Trump was considering a refusal to leave office if defeated this fall. The memo pretty much quashed that talk. So if the rumors were correct, one result of the demonstrations may have been to help preserve American democracy.

In California, the protests vastly increased chances of the Legislature putting a new proposition on the November ballot aiming to overturn the 1996 Proposition 209 ban on affirmative action in university admissions and other areas. That measure passed the state Assembly within a day of Floyd’s burial, and figures to pass the state Senate easily. There’s also a start to serious discussion of reparations for descendants of slaves.

And the protests produced budgetary shifts likely to put more funds into projects benefitting areas of the state that are majority-minority. They have already caused some employers who rarely did so before to consciously cast about for minority job candidates. And the city of Fort Bragg, named for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, may get a new name.

But policing will be affected most quickly. Major police departments like those in Los Angeles and San Francisco have seen their proposed new budgets cut by tens of millions of dollars. They also face proposals to gradually defund them, with smaller, community-controlled units as replacements.

Gov. Gavin Newsom almost immediately ordered the state’s police training agency to stop teaching carotid choke holds constricting the main artery to the brain. Then California’s largest local police academies swore off teaching the knee-on-neck tactic that killed Floyd.

Police know they risk further protests if they don’t weed out officers with criminal pasts and start recruiting new cops less inclined to mistreat persons under their control. No one is sure how they’ll do that, but it’s now a must.

These are just some of the obvious effects of the weeks of civil unrest.

As with past protests like the Boston Tea Party and the storming of the Bastille, no one knows what else might follow. But it’s already plain the effects will help shape politics and some lives for years to come.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com.

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