Yesterday, the National Association of Bilingual Educators concluded its 2001 annual national convention in Phoenix on a desperate note. According to a front-page story in the Arizona Republic, the 7,000 participants were beseeched to pony up millions of dollars to fight the forthcoming state-wide "English for the Children" campaigns in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and... Read More
For the first time in living memory, California's entire diverse galaxy of campaign finance reform groups has united behind a single ballot measure campaign. Surprisingly, this reform grand alliance is actually aimed at defeating a campaign finance reform proposal--namely, Proposition 34, a measure placed on the November ballot by Gov. Gray Davis and the Democrats.... Read More
Our campaign finance reform measure---Prop. 25 ---was overwhelmingly defeated by the Democratic Party and their close union allies (with the Republicans cheering them on from the sidelines). Fortunately, this same powerful coalition had failed to defeat the earlier Prop. 227, whose excellent results continue to gain attention in the media. I enclose the most recent... Read More
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Tuesday's crushing defeat of a sweeping campaign finance measure in California thwarted reform in a state much in need of it. It also put the lie to the conventional wisdom that the Democratic Party is less opposed to campaign reform than the Republicans are. With absolutely no limits on the size... Read More
This past Wednesday, even as Democratic Presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley were debating in Los Angeles over which was the stronger supporter of campaign finance reform, the California Democratic Party was pouring $500,000 into the campaign to defeat the campaign finance reform measure---Prop. 25---on the same March 7th ballot. This should come as... Read More
Everyone agrees that the current campaign-finance system is dreadfully flawed, consisting as it does of a mishmash of contribution limits unadjusted for 25 years of inflation and a gigantic "soft money" loophole that has grown large enough to devour any and all financial restrictions. But the virtual defeat yesterday of the McCain-Feingold bill marks an... Read More
There are many areas of the world where ordinary citizens suspect that their elections are for sale. But California is one of the few places where these purchases are publicly disclosed. Consider last November's Proposition 9, an initiative sponsored by consumer activists that would have slashed utility rates in the state. The utility companies spent... Read More
The recent release of campaign finance reports for the first half of 1999 has revealed a surprising fact: unlike its national counterpart, the California Republican Party has suddenly become the party of the poor. Early press accounts mostly emphasized the astonishing pace of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’s post-election fund-raising, in which he racked up nearly... Read More
I'm attaching below a very comprehensive and generally rather positive profile of my activities which just appeared as the cover story of the current issue of The New Republic. I've been a subscriber to TNR for almost fifteen years---it's long been one of my favorite publications---but I certainly never expected to make the cover any... Read More
A theoretical physicist by training, Mr. Unz serves as founder and chairman of UNZ.org, a content-archiving website providing free access to many hundreds of thousands of articles from prominent periodicals of the last hundred and fifty years. From 2007 to 2013, he also served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, and had previously served as chairman of Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company which he founded in New York City in 1987. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University, and is a past first-place winner in the Intel/Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He was born in Los Angeles in 1961.
He has long been deeply interested in public policy issues, and his writings on issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and social policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Nation, and numerous other publications.
In 1994, he launched a surprise Republican primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson of California, running on a conservative, pro-immigrant platform against the prevailing political sentiment, and received 34% of the vote. Later that year, he campaigned as a leading opponent of Prop. 187, the anti-immigration initiative, and was a top featured speaker at a 70,000 person pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles, the largest political rally in California history to that date.
In 1997, Mr. Unz began his “English for the Children” initiative campaign to dismantle bilingual education in California. He drafted Prop. 227 and led the campaign to qualify and pass the measure, culminating in a landslide 61% victory in June 1998, effectively eliminating over one-third of America’s bilingual programs. Within less than three years of the new English immersion curriculum, the mean percentile test scores of over a million immigrant students in California rose by an average of 70%. He later organized and led similar initiative campaigns in other states, winning with 63% in the 2000 Arizona vote and a remarkable 68% in the 2002 Massachusetts vote without spending a single dollar on advertising.
After spending most of the 2000s focused on software projects, he has recently become much more active in his public policy writings, most of which had appeared in his own magazine.