Actually, more COVID restrictions resulted in greater economic harm

At our recent forecast update conference, we reported that the COVID-19 recession slammed California’s economy leading to a 9% loss in jobs in 2020 versus a milder loss of 6.7% in the U.S.

In a recent article of mine published in COVID Economics, I showed that California suffered more job losses because of its aggressive COVID-19 lockdown policies. As measured by the Oxford University index, California’s 2020 annual average daily stringency score was 60.4 versus 50.2 for the U.S. That stringency score of 60.4 ranked California as the 6th highest of all 50 states.

The close relationship between higher stringency scores and higher job losses can be seen by dividing the 50 states into five groups of 10 states each in order of stringency. For example, the ten states with the lowest Oxford University stringency scores (18.4 – 36.1) experienced an average job loss of 5.1%. The next highest stringency group of states (36.5 – 40.0) had an average job loss of 6.0%; followed by states (40 – 43) with an average job loss of 8.1%; followed by states (44 – 48) with an average job loss of 8.3 percent; followed by states (49 – 61) with an average job loss of 10.4%.

These findings provide strong statistical support that California’s higher job losses than the nation in 2020 were caused by its more restrictive mandates. Rigorous support of this conclusion is provided by using more sophisticated statistical procedures (multiple regression analyses) that show the exact relationship between stringency scores and jobs. Specifically, my findings show that as states become more restrictive as measured by their Oxford stringency scores, job losses in those more restrictive states increase. Not only that, but the degree of job losses increases at an increasing rate.

This statistical finding suggests that as states like California become increasingly aggressive in imposing mandates (like closing K-12 schools), the economic loss for those states is exponentially greater than those states that followed a more moderate policy. Texas, for example, had a stringency score of 50.5 (close to the national average of 50.2) and, as a result, experienced an average job loss of 4.8% versus California’s 9%.

If California’s stringency were closer to the national average of 50.2, my empirical findings suggest that California would have saved about 370,000 jobs, a total similar to the population of Anaheim, California’s 10th largest city.

These job losses in California did not occur only in low-paying job sectors like leisure and hospitality. Our recent update of the Chapman-UCI innovation index through the third quarter of 2020 shows that just as COVID-19 hit California harder in overall job losses, it also led to lower job growth in innovation industries in California as compared to the U.S.

California’s aggressive strategy in mandating harsher stringency regulations is reflected not only in lost jobs but also in lower real gross state product – the most comprehensive measure of a state’s economic output. My empirical findings show that real gross state product was about a half percent lower because California’s stringency score was 10 points higher than the average score for all states. That translates to a loss of $87 billion in real gross state product.

Even more startling are my findings that reveal the economic cost per life saved associated with California’s more aggressive policies. After holding all other explanatory factors constant, the economic cost per life saved in California was $1.4 million, about 30% higher than the $1.1 million average cost per life saved for the nation.

It should be noted that my research showed that increasing stringency saved lives. No doubt, higher stringency scores are associated with lower COVID-19 death rates. But unlike jobs and gross state product, where the economic costs increased exponentially with higher scores, the COVID-19 death rate decreased at a diminishing rate.

By pushing past the average stringency score of 50, California’s job and income losses rose rapidly while the number of lives saved diminished. That, in turn, suggests that the sweet spot in terms of optimal stringency strategy is to stay closer to the national average rather than push the boundaries.

James L. Doti is president emeritus and professor of economics at Chapman University.

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Why did tougher COVID restrictions help state economies?

In April 2020, with the pandemic in full swing, the Economist published: “A Grim Calculus: COVID-19 presents stark choices between life, death and the economy.” Soon Americans were blaming the lockdowns for recession and, in the words of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, “the destruction of millions of lives across America… without any corresponding benefit in COVID mortality.” Before the end of the year, some states, notably Texas, were ending COVID restrictions with the goal of improving their economic activity.

Now that 2020 is mercifully in the past, we have data (from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis) to evaluate the “grim calculus” in each state. And looking at that data—especially for large states, which have more diversified economies—the results may surprise. It’s hard to find any real trade-off between COVID lockdowns and decreased economic activity.

If anything, we find the opposite.

First, let’s step back and look at larger state data. Of those states that performed better economically than the U.S. as a whole in 2020, the state of Washington, with greater than average COVID restrictions, took first place. Then came three less COVID-stringent states—Arizona, Colorado and Georgia—followed by three more stringent states—North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.

Then, in eighth place, came California, one of the most stringent states. After California, only three other states outperformed the country economically—Texas, Indiana, and Florida, all less stringent. Across these 11 states it is hard to find a trade-off; states with more COVID restrictions did well economically and those with fewer restrictions also did well.

And if we look beyond those 11 states to all states, we find a striking pattern: States with more stringent interventions had on average better economic outcomes and better health outcomes.

Is this just a statistical anomaly? The answer seems to be no. One reason to be confident of the result is to look at other countries. Consider, for example, Sweden, well-known for having few stringent COVID measures. In 2020, Sweden had worse health outcomes than the similar Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Finland. At the same time, its economic outcomes during the pandemic were no better than any of its healthier neighbors.

The finding also fits with history. A 2008 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis survey of the 1918 influenza pandemic found that St. Louis, which took the flu more seriously and opened up later, had better economic and health outcomes than Philadelphia, a city that opened up sooner.

Similarly, 2020 research into the 1918 pandemic found that cities with more stringent interventions had better employment gains and better health outcomes.

What explains this seemingly strange but persistent result? The power of government signaling.

When a state indicates through policy and pronouncements that it takes the pandemic seriously enough to impose measures (sometimes extreme) to control the spread of the disease and protect public health, it is sending a message to its citizens. Part of that message is about businesses. The state is saying that there are protocols in place to make open businesses as safe as possible, and were that not possible, the businesses would be closed.

But when a state indicates through policy, as Sweden did, that individuals should make a choice as to what they do during a pandemic and that the government will not choose for them, it sends a different signal. It is saying, “Citizens, you are on your own, choose wisely.” So, while an open business will be busier than a closed one, the open businesses are likely to do better in a place with more stringent restrictions.

Does this show up in data? Yes, in some ways. Using OpenTable’s data for the pandemic, a decline in the number of diners was more dramatic for restaurants and bars in California than Texas. However, for those individual businesses were open, hours worked by employees fell by only 1.5 percent in California versus an 8.9 percent decline in Texas. But this is simply cherry picking two states. The decline in the number of diners in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Ohio was comparable to that in Florida, Georgia, and Missouri even though the former were closer to California in restrictions and the latter closer to the Swedish approach.

The retail sector data paint a similar picture. For the same large states mentioned above, there is no significant correlation between changes in retail sales and the stringency of COVID interventions. A similar analysis of retail purchases by type of store also shows no correlation between interventions and the volume of sales. And, for the smallest 10 states, the same result holds true. People headed to online platforms to purchase goods at about the same rate regardless of the stringency of interventions.

The bottom line is that people respond to the information they have and the signals they receive from their government. Clearly, business closures increase unemployment in affected sectors. But there is no evidence to suggest that closures and other public health interventions have led to worse economic outcomes. So, the trade-off, such as it is, must be between sectors directly impacted by interventions and, in states and countries with fewer interventions, voluntary lower demand and more work absenteeism due to higher overall infection rates.

Knowing all this, you might still believe that the freedom to choose is valuable enough to pay the societal and health costs of that freedom. But empirically it is not a trade-off between health and economic outcomes. It is a trade-off between the freedom to choose and public health.

Jerry Nickelsburg is faculty director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast and a former columnist for Zócalo Public Square.

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Renewing our commitment to the Declaration

The Declaration of Independence, written 245 years ago, sparked a revolution that helped birth a nation. The power of the Declaration’s “self-evident” truths also inspired global movements for human rights and democracy that remain powerful today, by declaring that all “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As we emerge from a tumultuous year—of pandemic, racial strife, and party polarization—it is worth returning to these fundamental truths, and to reflect on how they might help us heal and rebuild our incredibly diverse nation. This 4th of July weekend, a group of funders, thinkers, creators, and community leaders are launching the New Declaration campaign (at www.newdeclaration.com), which invites every community to join in reflection and creative expression. Our goal is to strengthen the foundations of our nation in advance of the Declaration’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

Our partners span the country, including the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in Ohio, which for over 35 years has inspired grassroots movements for creative expression across the country. It also includes Thomas Allen Harris, the creator of Family Pictures USA, a nationally broadcast PBS documentary-style series that inspired hundreds of Americans to share their family portraits, and to discover the fundamental ways that our histories are interconnected through celebration and struggle alike. It also includes the Census Legacies project, which builds on the foundations of 2020 Census outreach to build stronger communities and more inclusive regions.

To begin, the Maryland Philanthropy Network and the Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside will serve as an incubator and accelerator, helping to build and launch a five-year campaign that strengthens our shared commitments to interdependence, equity, and unity. We aim to engage communities across all states and regions—coastal and inland, urban and rural, red and blue. And we hope to soon build a movement that engages and supports a diverse array of artists, writers, storytellers and community leaders from across the country, to elevate and amplify their narratives as we begin the story of our next 250 years.

Our first year starts with a simple premise: how do we make the Declaration of Independence relevant and resonant today? Much like a living Constitution, whose meaning takes shape as society and technology evolve, we invite Americans from across the country to share their thoughts and creative expression on what each of the Declaration’s “self-evident truths” means to them and their communities.

Take “Life,” for example. What does it mean to be alive today? This question is particularly poignant as our country emerges from a year of illness and death, resilience and renewal. Using their well-honed techniques of crowdsourcing creative expression through digital media, our partners at the Wick Poetry Center and Each+Every design studio are building a platform that will allow Americans from across the country to submit their reflections through text, images, and sound.

This dynamic exhibit on “Life” will run through September 2021, and will be followed in the fall quarter with community reflections on “Liberty.” What does liberty mean to us today, particularly in light of various movements for liberation at home and abroad? What does it mean to be truly free, and how do we ensure that exercising our individual freedoms does not cause undue harm to others? In the winter quarter, we dive deeply into questions about the “pursuit of Happiness.” What does it mean to be happy? Wealth does not equate to happiness, but can we ensure happiness for all amidst growing poverty and widening inequality?

Finally, next spring, we invite Americans to think about how they would make the Declaration their own. If they had a chance to add something meaningful to the document, what word or concept would they choose that strengthens our nation? Would it be the recognition of our civic obligations, even as we affirm our most cherished freedoms? Or an affirmation of our shared fates and interdependence across race, creed, and class? Or perhaps the assertion of another kind of right, something that we see as more self-evident today than our Founders did two and a half centuries ago?

These are just the beginnings. We are at an important juncture in this country, as new technologies seem to divide us like never before. We invite you to join us in this journey, to generate a renewed commitment that can unify our nation for its next 250 years.

Karthick Ramakrishnan is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, and Maggie Gunther Osborn is the President and CEO of Maryland Philanthropy Network.

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Under SCA 1, yes is no and no is yes

Regrettably, Californians are accustomed to strange bills being introduced in the California Legislature. The designation of an official state dinosaur comes immediately to mind.

But others are not just strange, they are purposefully designed to fool the public. For example, Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 1, dealing with the peoples’ right to referendum, seeks to reverse the meaning of yes and no. Here’s the background:

As voters may recall, Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys was the author of a 2018 bill (Senate Bill 10) that sought to abolish cash bail in California. Like most states, California utilizes a cash bail system to allow release of detained criminal suspects before their trials. Defendants pay a cash bond to be released from jail pending trial with the promise to return to court for trial and hearings. The cash bond is repaid to suspects after their criminal trials are completed, no matter the outcome. SB 10 would have replaced the state’s cash bail system with risk assessments to determine whether a detained suspect should be granted pretrial release and under what conditions. But bail bond companies, along with groups representing victims and law enforcement, qualified a referendum of Senate Bill 10. In a referendum, voters act on a proposal exactly like their elected representatives. A yes vote approves the legislation and a no vote rejects it. Because SB 10 was highly unpopular with Californians due to their concern with the state’s increase in crime, it was not surprising that voters rejected it.

Not content to heed the will of the voters and their desire to retain the existing cash bail system, Sen. Hertzberg now seeks to alter the very way referendum votes are counted. His SCA 1 would count “yes” votes as rejecting the law and “no” votes as approving the law. This is an obvious attempt to confuse voters.

The proposal is also contrary to well-established case law. Courts have described the voters’ referendum power as being “the same as the Legislature’s approval of a bill. The power is to determine whether a legislative act should become law.

It is notable that the legislature’s own analysis of SCA 1 reveals what a radical departure it is from the norm: “According to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in 23 states, legislative acts may be repealed by a popular referendum, also called a ‘veto referendum.’ According to NCSL research of those states’ laws or practices, in the majority of states, including California, a ‘yes’ vote indicates that the voter approves of the law passed by the Legislature and wants it to remain in effect.”

It is true that a handful of states, including Alaska and Wyoming, depart from the norm with systems similar to what SCA 1 would require. But even here, the consequence of the vote is clearly spelled out. Again, the committee analysis notes that, “in Alaska the ballot label describes the law that is the subject of the referendum, then provides voters with the following prompt: ‘A yes vote rejects the law. A no vote approves the law. Should this law be rejected?’ Immediately after the prompt, a voter may mark either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

One final consideration on this issue is bound to make voters’ heads spin. As a proposed constitutional amendment, SCA 1 would have to go on the ballot. So voters would have to understand that voting “yes” on the proposal would flip the current practice on referendum votes to mean that a “yes” vote means “no” and a “no” vote means yes. On the other hand, voting “no” would retain the current system where a “no” vote means “no” and a “yes” vote means “yes.”

Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of the California Legislature.

 Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

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CIF-SS boys basketball playoffs: Friday’s scores, updated schedule for next round

The scores from Friday’s CIF-SS boys basketball playoff games and the updated schedule for the next round.

CIF-SS BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

All games start at 7 p.m. unless noted

OPEN DIVISION

Friday

Pool A

Sierra Canyon 60, St. John Bosco 46

Etiwanda 85, Ribet Academy 74

Pool B

Harvard-Westlake 70, Corona Centennial 65

Damien 55, Mater Dei 51

Monday, May 31

Pool B

Damien (1-0) at Centennial (1-0), 5 p.m.

Tuesday, June 1

Pool A

Ribet Academy (0-1) at Sierra Canyon (1-0)

St. John Bosco (0-1) at Etiwanda (1-0)

POOL B

Harvard-Westlake (1-0) at Mater Dei (0-1)

DIVISION 1

Second round, Friday’s results

Heritage Christian 81, Loyola 44

Windward 54, St. Anthony 49

JSerra 65, Santa Clarita Christian 56

Capistrano Valley 78, Rancho Christian 52

Oak Park 53, Eastvale Roosevelt 44

Bishop Montgomery 66, Fairmont Prep 56

St. Bernard 60, Oxnard 51

Chaminade 85, Villa Park 76

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Heritage Christian at Windward

JSerra at Capistrano Valley

Oak Park at Bishop Montgomery

Chaminade at St. Bernard

DIVISION 2AA

Second round, Friday’s results

Colony 63, Serra 49

Los Altos 54, Los Alamitos 52

Long Beach Poly 63, Village Christian 48

Orange Lutheran 48, Westlake 43

Rolling Hills Prep 67, Hesperia 51

Fountain Valley 60, Compton 56

Laguna Beach 49, Crossroads 34

Santa Margarita 82, Palos Verdes 63

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Los Altos at Colony

Long Beach Poly at Orange Lutheran

Fountain Valley at Rolling Hills Prep

Laguna Beach at Santa Margarita

DIVISION 2A

Second round, Friday’s results

Crean Lutheran 56, Silverado 30

Culver City 86, Hillcrest 61

Dominguez 65, La Serna 61

Servite 71, Aliso Niguel 69 (OT)

West Ranch 65, Beckman 62

Agoura 63, San Clemente 45

Murrieta Valley 62, Cajon 55

Capistrano Valley Christian 64, San Marcos 48

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Culver City at Crean Lutheran

Servite at Dominguez

Agoura at West Ranch

Capistrano Valley Christian at Murrieta Valley

DIVISION 3AA

Second round, Fridays results

Foothill 43, Brea Olinda 34

Maranatha 67, Price 56

King 88, Adelanto 53

Cerritos Valley Christian 61, Long Beach Wilson 51

Covina 45, Downey 44

Lakewood 71, Eastside 61

Aquinas 62, Schurr 44

Saturday, June 29

Burbank at Thousand Oaks

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Foothill at TBD

Maranatha at King

Covina at Cerritos Valley Christian

Lakewood at Aquinas

DIVISION 3A

Second round, Friday’s results

Shalhevet 68, Morningside 63

El Segundo 71, Norco 67

Marina 63, Cabrillo/Lompoc 46

St. Paul 57, Woodbridge 43

Glendora 54, Oak Hills 51

Palm Desert 72, Buena 50

Citrus Valley 65, Diamond Bar 60

Knight 64, Northwood 50

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

El Segundo at Shalhevet

St. Paul at Marina

Glendora at Palm Desert

Knight at Citrus Valley

DIVISION 4AA

Second round, Friday’s results

Pasadena Poly 71, Pioneer 30

South El Monte 70, South Pasadena 66

Orangewood Academy 62, Burroughs/Ridgecrest 30

Da Vinci 59, Santa Clara 52

Arcadia 57, Pacifica 51

Paramount 54, San Bernardino 51

Victor Valley 61, Banning 59

Saturday, May 29

Elsinore at San Marino

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1 

South El Monte at Pasadena Poly

Orangewood Academy at TBD

Arcadia at Da Vinci

Paramount at Victor Valley

DIVISION 4A

Second round, Friday’s results

Linfield Christian 90, Riverside Bethel Christian 45

Chino 51, San Jacinto 39

Milken 68, Jurupa Hills 64

Lakeside 91, Twentynine Palms 89 (OT)

Pilibos 61, Trinity Classical 49

Arlington 58, Sage Hill 50

West Valley 70, Gabrielino 57

Saturday, May 29

West Covina at Rio Mesa

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Chino at Linfield Christian

Lakeside at Milken

Pilibos at Arlington

TBD vs. West Covina

DIVISION 5AA

Second round, Friday’s results

Calvary Chapel 49, Villanova Prep 40

Moreno Valley 51, Sierra Vista 45

Western 61, Canyon Springs 55

AGBU 48, Santa Ana 42

El Monte 49, Rancho Alamitos 33

Costa Mesa 69, Hawthorne 51

Nordhoff 41, Santa Rosa Academy 33

Valley Torah 74, Bolsa Grande 44

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Calvary Chapel at Moreno Valley

Western at AGBU

El Monte at Costa Mesa

Nordhoff at Valley Torah

DIVISION 5A

First round results

Orange 78, Hillcrest Christian 49

Desert Hot Springs 62, Calvary Chapel 33

Bosco Tech 53, Rim of the World 36

Edgewood 61, Hueneme 46

Acaciawood Academy 63, Crossroads Christian 56

Faith Baptist 68, Eastside Christian 22

Webb 64, Santa Maria Valley Christian 40

Quarterfinals, Tuesday, June 1

Desert Hot Springs at Orange

Edgewood at Bosco Tech

Acaciawood Academy at Faith Baptist

Webb at Malibu

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Ex-Crean Lutheran star Ella Eastin halts swimming career for health concerns

Former Crean Lutheran High and Stanford swimmer Ella Eastin announced Tuesday, May 18 that she won’t race at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials because she has developed chronic fatigue and a nervous system disorder.

Eastin, 24, shared the conditions in a post on Instagram, writing that “for the first time, the health of my body and mind had to take priority” over her swimming career.

“Over the past year and half, I have been battling a seemingly undiagnosable illness that has incapacitated me,” she wrote. “I lost my ability to manage daily activities and had to be taken care of by family and friends.”

Eastin was expected to be among the contenders in the individual medley events at the Trials in Omaha, Neb. She is a member of the national team in the 200 and 400-meter individual medley.

Her last major appearance with the U.S. national team was in 2019 at the World Championships, where she placed 12th in the 200 IM.

Eastin helped Stanford win three NCAA team championships during a decorated collegiate career. She won eight individual NCAA titles and set four American records.

Eastin’s collegiate career came after a record-setting career at Crean Lutheran and rising the ranks with the SOCAL and Irvine Novaquatics club.

She said her nervous system disorder affects her cardiovascular health, energy and mental stability. She said she will continue to swim as a “restorative” activity and hopes to pursue a nursing career.

“I have been blessed by my swimming career in that it gave me lifelong friends, priceless experiences and prepared me to take on any challenge that may come my way,” she said. “You may just see me again behind the blocks one day.”

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Man pleads guilty in series of Southern California Trader Joe’s robberies

LOS ANGELES — A Huntington Park man pleaded guilty Wednesday to carrying out more than a dozen robberies of Trader Joe’s stores throughout Southern California during a four-month crime spree last year.

Gregory Johnson, 43, admitted federal counts of interference of commerce by robbery and using a firearm in a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Johnson faces between seven years and life in federal prison, with sentencing set for Aug. 2.

The defendant admitted that from last Aug. 28 to Dec. 4, he robbed Trader Joe’s stores in Eagle Rock, Sherman Oaks, Chatsworth, Pasadena, Culver City, Rancho Palos Verdes, Agoura Hills, Brea, Santa Ana, Tustin and Chino Hills, and attempted to rob locations in Simi Valley and Corona.

During many of the robberies, Johnson brandished a handgun. On two occasions, he robbed stores in Rancho Palos Verdes and Brea, and returned weeks later to rob them again.

Johnson and his son, Gregory E. Johnson, were arrested following the Chino Hills robbery on Dec. 4, after a witness gave authorities a description of their getaway vehicle and license plate.

The younger Johnson, 20 at the time he was charged in December, pleaded guilty to participating in the Chino Hills and Chatsworth robberies. He faces up to 40 years in prison when he’s sentenced July 12 in downtown Los Angeles.

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You don’t need college to be successful

Americans took out $1.7 trillion in government loans for college tuition.

Now, some don’t want to pay it back.

President Joe Biden says they shouldn’t have to. He wants to cancel at least $10,000 and maybe $50,000 of every student’s debt.

“They’re in real trouble,” says Biden, “having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent.”

Poor students!

But wait: Shouldn’t they have given some thought to debt payments when they signed up for overpriced colleges? When they majored in subjects like photography or women’s studies, unlikely to lead to good jobs? When they took six years to graduate (a third don’t graduate even after six years).

Shouldn’t politicians also acknowledge that it’s taxpayer loans that let bloated colleges keep increasing tuition at twice the rate of inflation?

Yes.

But they don’t.

“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe points out that students’ demand for loan forgiveness is “kind of self-involved.”

“I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running.  Some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck. Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?”

It’s a good question.

“For some reason,” continues Rowe, “we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than that big piece of metal in the driveway that allows the guy to build homes that you … are in.”

The political class does focus on subsidizing college.

“Now everybody is armed with a degree. What kind of world is that?” asks Rowe. “Everybody dreams of being in the corner office, but nobody knows how to build the corner office?”

Lots of good jobs in skilled trades don’t require a college degree, he points out. “The push for college came at the expense of every other form of education. Shop class was taken out of high school. We have denied millions of kids an opportunity to see what half the workforce looks like.”

It’s a reason America now has a shortage of skilled trade workers.

Yet, plumbers, elevator mechanics construction managers, etc., make $100,000 a year.

MikeroweWORKS Foundation gives young people scholarships to schools where they learn such trades. He seeks to make skilled labor “cool” again.

One Rowe scholarship recipient, Chloe Hudson, considered college but was shocked at what it cost.

“I was like, ‘I can’t afford this!’ I don’t want to be saddled with student debt the rest of my life!”

Instead, thanks to her Rowe scholarship, she learned how to weld, and now she has no trouble finding work.

“I’ve been under nuclear plants … been in water systems,” Hudson recounts. “Those jobs make me appreciate what I have now so much more.”

“What do you make?” I ask Hudson.

$3,000 a week,” she responds.

She’s appalled by today’s college student’s demand for loan forgiveness.

“There is not a single loan I have ever taken out where I didn’t have an expectation put on myself that I was going to repay it,” says Hudson. “That’s getting up at four o’clock in the morning and making sure I’m at work on time. That’s staying late. That’s working weekends.”

But now she will have to help pay for all those college students who won’t pay their debts.

“I am taxed heavily,” complains Hudson. “It’s not a good feeling to know that the government thinks that they can spend my dollars better than I can.”

Right. Government doesn’t spend our dollars better than we do. “Forgive student loans” really means workers must pay for privileged students who don’t.

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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Seniors rally Huntington Beach girls basketball past Fountain Valley

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The situation appeared dire for Huntington Beach High’s girls basketball team in the fourth quarter on Thursday, April 29.

Orange County’s eighth-ranked squad trailed hot-shooting No. 25 Fountain Valley by five points with less than five minutes left in the Surf League game.

But the Oilers’ seniors leaned on the theme of the night for some extra motivation.

“It’s Senior Night,” senior center Andie Payne later said with a laugh. “It’s kind of one you want to win.”

And Huntington Beach’s seniors showed how much they wanted it.

Payne, Jessica Doke, Minami Cheever and Alyssa Real each made key plays in the clutch to help the Oilers rally for a hard-fought 57-48 victory to improve to 10-0 overall, and 2-0 in the Surf League.

Huntington Beach, the two-time defending league champion, closed the fourth on a 16-2 run to hold off the Barons (6-4, 0-2) and twins Audrey and Margaret Tengan.

“All the seniors stepped up,” said Payne, who scored 23 points and a grabbed a season-high 25 rebounds. “I’m so happy we won this game.”

After Fountain Valley took a 46-41 lead on a 3-pointer by Audrey Tengan with 5:26 remaining, Huntington Beach started its surge on a long 3-pointer from Real.

Cheever then tied the score 46-46 by finishing a strong, post-up move with her off hand with 3:26 left.

After Payne recorded her fourth block, sophomore guard Akemi Tanga drove for the go-ahead layup with 2:50 remaining. Payne and Doke, listed at 6-foot-1 and 6-foot respectively, used their height advantage to add baskets in the post and the Oilers were on their way.

A three-point play by Doke off a putback rebound capped a 12-0 run and gave the Oilers a 53-46 lead with 1:35 left.

“They’re just too big for us,” Fountain Valley coach Marianne Karp said. “When you got big players like that who are strong, that ‘s difficult to overcome sometimes but our kids are quick. They work hard.”

Karp played a smaller lineup in the third quarter and the Barons responded by erasing a 27-18 deficit at halftime to lead 39-36 going into the fourth.

Margaret Tengan, a junior guard, scored nine of her team-high 18 points in the third. Audrey Tengan also reached double figures with 10 points.

Fountain Valley showed plenty of progress with the effort. The Barons, playing without starter Enya Nguyen (concussion), lost 60-41 to Corona del Mar earlier in the week and fell 53-27 to the Oilers in a nonleague game.

Despite his team fast start, Huntington Beach coach Russ McClurg knows his team faces a challenge at Corona del Mar on Tuesday. “They’re the team to beat,” he said.

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Huntington Beach investigators seek help finding suspect in fatal hit-and-run

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Huntington Beach police Tuesday asked for the public’s help tracking down a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run collision in January.

Police released more details about the vehicle involved in the collision that killed 29-year-old pedestrian Jacob Andrew Conroy of Midway City on Jan. 24.

Police are looking for a full-sized SUV with dark tinted windows similar to a newer-model Chevrolet Tahoe or Cadillac Escalade, according to Lt. Brian Smith of the Huntington Beach Police Department.

The SUV was going southbound on Goldenwest Street north of Oxford Drive when it struck Conroy, who was crossing outside of a crosswalk, Smith said. The driver fled the scene and Conroy was pronounced dead at the scene, Smith added.

A second vehicle struck Conroy, but that driver stopped and cooperated with investigators.

The suspect vehicle is believed to have sustained moderate front-end collision damage, Smith said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact investigators at 714-536- 5231 or 536-5670. Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at 855-TIP-OCCS.

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