Across California on May 1, tens of thousands protested in defiance of statewide lockdown orders. In Sacramento, the west lawn of the state capitol building was filled with protesters, with thousands more marching along the sidewalk surrounding the capitol grounds. Additional thousands driving their cars and honking their horns created three hours of total gridlock on the streets that loop around the capitol. Noteworthy protests have taken place in San Diego, Encinitas, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Paso Robles, Santa Rosa, and even tiny Lakeport on the shores of Clear Lake. There is no end in sight.
While the media has typecast these growing protests as populated by right-wing extremists, Trump supporters, and remnants of a geriatric Tea Party movement, the reality in California is different.
In Laguna Beach, the protest was organized by surfers. Overall, these protests included people who claimed never to have been involved in politics, people who identified themselves as former Democrats, and young people. Thousands and thousands of youth: children, teenagers, college students, twentysomethings. A generation is waking up.
And among the constituencies outraged by the shutdown are not only people who can’t work, or people who can’t run their businesses, or free speech advocates, or defenders of the Second amendment, or anti-vaccine activists, but also devout Christians.
As perhaps the biggest and most politically neglected constituency in California, in poking Christians, Newsom may have poked a sleeping giant one time too many. An inflection point will be reached this month, as growing numbers of pastors in California and across the nation have declared they will open their churches to congregants.
Of course, the question boils down to this: is this health emergency sufficiently dire to merit an ongoing lockdown that has turned the entire nation into a minimum-security prison? And unfortunately, there isn’t much information available to Americans that doesn’t come with an agenda.
Why have the data on death rates been skewed upwards? Why have social media and search monopolies suppressed contrarian information, such as the possible efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc? Why can’t general practitioners prescribe these drugs, or try other promising therapies, before the disease becomes life-threatening?
Questions are endless and urgent. Is there enough focus on therapies, along with trying to develop a vaccine? Why, at a time like this, has the media attacked every move by the president, while defending every move by Democrats? Why is the media defending the fascist regime of China? Why didn’t Americans try the Swedish approach, encouraging social distancing and prioritizing resources to protect the most vulnerable? Why does the United States stand on the brink of economic suicide, when maybe, just maybe, other tactics could have managed the pandemic without destroying the economy?
It isn’t unreasonable to ask these questions, and when the answers are unsatisfactory, anger grows.
Newsom’s Record Invites Criticism
It’s also not unreasonable to take issue with Newsom’s performance as governor before this crisis began.
Apart from doing whatever the public employee unions and his left-wing billionaire donors tell him to do, he really hasn’t pleased anyone. If you work as an independent contractor, Newsom put you out of a job by signing AB 5. This draconian and poorly conceived law, written for the state legislature by the unions, requires companies to hire independent contractors as employees. But that didn’t happen. Instead, and in an instant, most of them lost their jobs.
How does that work, if you’re a “nonessential” writer, musician, or artist, or, more to the point, an “essential” nurse, caregiver, or truck driver? Essential or nonessential, workers need to work. With one signature, Newsom robbed millions of Californians of that right. And that was before the pandemic hit.
And then there’s California’s 150,000 homeless, now seeded with tens of thousands of criminals granted early releaseto relieve jail overcrowding, or released because in California drug and theft crimes now carry less punishment than traffic tickets.
These homeless, some of them merely down on their luck, others hardened predators, have turned California’s streets and sidewalks into a public toilet, with many of them stealing to support their drug habits, and none of them held remotely accountable for their behavior. They could have been rounded up and treated, overnight. The national guard could move them onto public land and help them recover. The homeless constituted a health emergency in California before the pandemic hit.
So why is it Newsom could lock up nearly 40 million residents of his state, at the same time as he lets the homeless consolidate their control of entire cities? Could it be that the homeless are a useful political tool? Never mind that Democratic policies created unaffordable housing, decriminalized petty theft and hard drugs, and emptied the jails.
Now the Democrats’ allies in the media and the well-heeled nonprofits can point their cameras at these squalid “urban refugees” and scream “social injustice.” Taxes must be raised. Bureaucrats must be hired. Massive borrowing must be approved for affordable housing bonds. And developers make tens of billions, building a handful of palaces for a lucky few, solving nothing, at an average cost to the taxpayer of $500,000 per unit.
One of Newsom’s Democratic cronies, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, presides over a city council that is considering using federal bailout money to buy up homes where landlords have been prohibited from evicting tenants.
Let that sink in. Instead of using federal bailout money to help tenants pay rent, the Los Angeles City Council is poised to wait until the small landlords go belly-up so it can buy their live-in duplexes and triplexes out of foreclosure, evict them, and fill those homes with homeless people. Eventually, their developer friends will consolidate the properties and demolish them to build high rises. You can’t make this stuff up.
A New Recall Effort
Newsom can blame the pandemic for the imploding revenues that doom his state to budget deficits that will make the great recession look like a picnic, but voters should see right through that.
Did Gavin Newsom ever stand up to the teachers unions, and tell them they’ll never get another dime until they agree to reform CalSTRS, the teachers’ pension fund? No, but he let these unions successfully advocate for curricula that, among other things, “challenges binary concepts about gender” in third grade.
Did Gavin Newsom ever put forward a pension reform measure to save CalPERS, the largest public employee pension fund in the world, along with CalSTRS and dozens of other pension systems catering to California’s public employees? No. Everybody knew these pension funds were bankrupting California’s cities and counties and state agencies before the pandemic hit.
With a record like that, you’d think Governor Newsom would realize he is on thin ice. But how did he cope with the pandemic? He became King Newsom, issuing executive orders without consulting the legislature. He even spent $1 billion of taxpayer money to buy masks from a Chinese company. The public still doesn’t have the details of that transaction.
Newsom’s coronavirus “task force” is led by billionaire Tom Steyer, who when he isn’t paying for Democrats’ ballot harvesting, wants to save the planet by forcing Californians to live in small apartments and ride trains everywhere. Joining Steyer on Newsom’s dream team are dozens of other grandees, including none other than the disgraced Gray Davis, who may take comfort in knowing he may not have long to be the only California governor to be recalled.
A few months ago, a ragtag team of volunteers, with no money and little previous experience in politics, gathered nearly 300,000 valid signatures in a failed attempt to recall Gavin Newsom. While this wasn’t even close to the just over one million signatures they needed, nonetheless it was an unprecedented accomplishment. They learned a lot, and now they’re trying again, this time with the ability to ride the momentum of an awakened electorate.
Have you lost your business? Have you lost your job? Do you think it was worth it, or do you think things could have been handled differently?
Gavin Newsom has a lot of explaining to do. But it may well be too little, too late to save his political career.