Rob Bonta Praised Fentanyl Murder Case but Ducked California Legislation on Deadly Drug

Something unusual – perhaps even historic – happened this month in Placer County, in the foothills northeast of Sacramento.

A man named Nathaniel Evan Cabacungan was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the death of Jewels Marie Wolf, a 15-year-old girl he had supplied with a fake Percocet pill containing a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Cabacungan is the first person to be convicted of murder for a fentanyl death – a milestone that the victim’s family and law enforcement officials somberly marked in a post-sentencing news conference.

“This is not an honor we wanted, nor one that Jewels’ family deserved,” Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said. “I think for those of you that witnessed in court the impact statements of Jewels’ parents and loved ones, we truly saw the strength of the human spirit today.”

Prosecutors said that after Cabacungan gave the girl the fentanyl-laced tablet, he left her alone dying in her bed without calling for help and later sold the deadly pills to someone else.

“He had the opportunity to intervene. He had the opportunity to save her life, and he chose to watch her die instead,” Gire said of Cabacungan.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta was one of the officials who spoke at the news conference, telling reporters, “This historic sentencing, again not something that we wanted to happen here, but it is historic. And to me, it’s an example of good law enforcement at its finest, working together, following the facts, building the case.”

Bonta cited the alarming increase in fatal fentanyl overdoses among young people, saying, “It’s cheap, it’s potent and it’s lethal.”

Superficially, having Bonta, the state’s top law enforcement official, at the news conference was quite understandable, even commendable.

However, it had the trappings of publicity mongering and image-building by an ambitious politician who wants to become governor because Bonta was missing-in-action this year when the Legislature was considering bills to crack down on fentanyl abuse – and rejecting many of them.

Bonta’s praise of Placer County’s fentanyl murder conviction implied that he supports tougher sentences for those who distribute the deadly drug, but neither he nor his office supported bills that would have implemented even lesser punishment.

In April, the Assembly Public Safety Committee considered seven fentanyl bills and rejected three that would have increased penalties for fentanyl suppliers. One would affect dealers whose customers die or are seriously injured such as Wolf, one that would punish using social media to sell fentanyl, as Cabacungan did, and a third that would increase penalties for possessing large amounts of the drug.

The committee, which is notorious for rejecting legislation to enhance criminal punishment, shunted aside broad support for the measures from law enforcement groups and emotional pleas from families of fentanyl victims.

Bonta could have appeared to voice his support for the bills, but did not. Nor did he list himself as a supporter.

The committee passed four bills, only one of which would increase penalties for fentanyl possession by raising its classification to that of heroin and other deadly drugs. It was later signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Placer County is trying to crack down on the deadly fentanyl trade.

“Let me be clear: For those that come into our county and knowingly sell their poison, we will come after you,” District Attorney Gire said. “We will prosecute you, and we will do our best to separate you from society for as long as we possibly can.”

Click here’s to read the full article in CalMatters

Convicted Child Molester Displaying ‘Free Fentanyl’ Sign Across SF School Arrested Then Released

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — We have a striking example of the San Francisco Police Department’s return to their pre-pandemic policy on dealing with the city’s unhoused population. They are now enforcing lower-level laws against camping on public sidewalks. A homeless, convicted sex offender living next to a Catholic grade school got arrested on Friday.

The I-Team’s Dan Noyes arrived just as police gave 46-year-old Adam Moore one last chance to move from the sidewalk where he’s lived for more than two years, across from Stella Maris K-8 in the Richmond District.

Adam Moore: “They want me to make me go away. That’s it. They were very clear about that.”

Dan Noyes: “They want you to go where?”

Moore: “They said, wherever I go, they’re gonna do the same thing. They say I can’t have stuff on the sidewalk.”

Police had several contacts with Moore over the past months — even knew he was a convicted sex offender, but he didn’t have an order to keep away from schools as part of his case. But, police focused on Moore after he posted a sign offering “free fentanyl 4 new users.” He told ABC7’s Dan Noyes on Thursday, that he was serious.

Noyes: “Were you giving away fentanyl? Was that just a joke?”

Moore: “No, it’s not a joke.”

We watched Thursday as police offered him housing. Moore refused saying, “I will never voluntarily incarcerate myself.”

MORE: CA families, united by grief, introduce ballot initiative to punish fentanyl dealers

And we were there one day later when police cited Moore for a misdemeanor, PC 370 — creating a public nuisance.

Moore: “I did everything you told me to do.”

SFPD Lt. Wayman Young, HSOC: “No, sir, I asked you to abate the situation, the nuisance — You haven’t.”

Moore was arrested on a probation violation. He had to obey all laws after violating a stay-away order obtained by Station 31 firefighters to keep Moore from camping next to their entrance.

Sgt. Eric Mahoney: “Is this trash over here?”

Moore: “No, that’s my belongings.”

Sgt. Mahoney: “It’s belongings, so you want everything bagged and tagged?”

Captain Chris Canning from SFPD’s Richmond Station tells us, the department is returning to pre-pandemic policies on the unhoused population, enforcing basic laws such as no camping on a sidewalk.

“We want to give them the help that they need to get their life in a better place,” Capt. Canning said. “And for those who are denying that help and are choosing to live on our streets, then we’re going to use all the enforcement options available to us now that we have that understanding, that designation between voluntarily homeless and involuntarily homeless.”

Late Friday, we learned that during the ride, Moore had a medical complaint and went to the hospital. Then, police decided to delay pursing the probation violation. He was out of custody Friday night.

Click here to read that the full article in ABC News

1st Person Convicted in CA of Fentanyl-Related Murder Sentenced to 15 years in Prison

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. —The man who was the first person to receive a fentanyl murder conviction in California was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Placer County on Tuesday.

Nathaniel Cabacungan, 22, was convicted of second-degree murder for the fentanyl-related death of a teenage girl from Roseville.

Roseville police said the 15-year-old girl, Jewels Wolf, was found dead in June of 2022.

Cabacungan was given an “indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life” in prison, meaning he has to serve the full 15 years before he is eligible for parole.

He was also sentenced to nine “concurrent years” for distributing narcotics to a minor. Those nine years will be served at the same time as the previous 15.

Cabacungan will remain at the Placer County Jail for the next few days until he’s taken to the California Department of Corrections. It’s not clear what state prison he’ll be placed in.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta was also at the press conference with Wolf’s family after the sentencing.

His office was directly involved in the investigation and in Cabacungan’s arrest.

“If you are pedaling fentanyl and you have conscious disregard for the life of another, you can be charged, and charged and convicted for murder, as was here,” Bonta said. “The existing law provides for that and a very strong case was built here and we will come after you.”

Jewels’ mother, Regina Chavez, said that she knew obtaining a murder conviction for a fentanyl poisoning would be an uphill battle because it would be the first for California.

“However, I knew my daughter’s case was in good hands when both District Attorney Dan Wesp and the detective assured me that they were up for the challenge to hold the defendant accountable for murder,” she said.

Chavez added that although the conviction and sentencing won’t bring Jewels back, she’s honored to know that Jewels’ story could save lives moving forward.

“The game has changed for fentanyl dealers and distributors. The precedent has been set. An individual can and will be charged for murder with the act of distributing and selling deadly products containing sentinel and Placer County,” she said.

Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said the sentencing demonstrated that “we can hold fentanyl dealers, those who knowingly sell poison in our communities. We can hold them accountable and we will.”

He said the “real strength” comes from families who have lost loved ones to the fentanyl crisis.

Click here to read the full article in KCRA

Grieving Families File California Ballot Proposal Aimed at Fentanyl Dealers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Frustrated by what they call inaction from California lawmakers, families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning took matters into their own hands on Tuesday.

Matt Capelouto, who lost his daughter Alexandra in 2019, and Chris Didier, who lost his son Zach in 2020, hand-delivered the proposed initiative to crack down on fentanyl dealers to the California Attorney General’s office in Sacramento.

“Together, supporting this ballot initiative, we can bring hope to stop the flow of this deadly drug as well as the demand,” Didier told reporters outside of the building while the sidewalk was lined with dozens of massive photos of loved ones lost to the drug.

The proposed ballot initiative would ask California voters to require courts to give fentanyl dealers the same notice given to those convicted of driving under the influence: Do it again and you could face murder charges. This is also known as Alexandra’s law. The ballot proposal would also set a new 10-to-12-year prison sentence for dealers who sell the drug if it ends up killing someone.

Capelouto, Didier, the young daughter of late rapper DMX and numerous other parents and advocates helped for a committee called Stop Fentanyl Dealers. The group will likely be cleared within the next two months to start gathering signatures. They’ll need to collect more than half a million signatures within a certain time frame to land it on the 2024 ballot.

“Passing this law is the right thing to do,” said 11-year-old Sonovah Hillman Jr, who lost her father, DMX, to a drug overdose in 2021. “I’ve taken it upon myself to be the voice for kids, I want my peers to have a shot at life.”

The filing comes months after California lawmakers blocked Alexandra’s Law in the early stages of the law-making process this year despite having support from both Democrats and Republicans. Some Democrats have argued that increasing punishment would return California to the failed war on drugs, which inflated prison populations and devastated Black and brown communities. Others have argued the drug is unlike any other, with the state’s latest statistics showing an average of 110 Californians die of fentanyl every week.

Hours after the unveiling of the proposed ballot initiative, Republican lawmakers in the Assembly attempted to force a vote on a measure that would put Alexandra’s Law in the California constitution. Democratic leaders defeated the attempt to suspend certain legislative rules to do so in a 42-18 vote, with several Democrats not voting.

“Isn’t it true there are several bills related to the sale, distribution, accountability, and network around fentanyl still to be dealt with on this floor by September 14 and in fact, this body has passed more legislation on fentanyl than any other legislative body in California’s history?” Assemblyman and Democratic Majority Leader Isaac Bryan asked the Speaker Pro Tempore, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry ahead of the vote.

“That is correct,” she replied from the dais.

The group of parents and Stop Fentanyl Dealer supporters said they’re prepared to raise the millions of dollars and spend the serious time commitment required to run a successful ballot campaign.

“What’s said about it is this money could be spent in other areas,” said Mareka Cole, who lost her son, Marek to fentanyl poisoning. “We don’t know why it’s gotten this far, but here we are, fighting every day.”

A statement from Cynthia Moreno, press secretary for California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, reads:

“Speaker Rivas takes the issue of fentanyl seriously and recognizes we are experiencing a staggering and truly heartbreaking crisis. He is working closely with his colleagues to increase penalties for high-level fentanyl dealers and dismantle criminal networks. He is focused on saving lives, by increasing access to naloxone, which rapidly reverses overdoses, and test strips that detect fentanyl. And he knows that the courts are securing homicide convictions for those responsible for fentanyl deaths. The Speaker and his colleagues are taking action, and they’re doing it this session.”

Click here to read the full article at KCRA 3

Lawmakers, Parents Run Out of Patience with CA Leaders on Stalled Punishment for Fentanyl Dealers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As California’s Democratic Party-led Legislature continues to be divided on establishing more punishment for illegal fentanyl dealers, a group of Republican lawmakers and a group of parents who have lost loved ones to fentanyl are planning on launching separate efforts Tuesday to address the issue.

At the center of each effort is a proposal that would require courts to notify convicted fentanyl dealers that if they deal again and someone dies, they could face murder charges. Supporters of the measure have noted the advisement is similar to the notice drunk drivers receive once convicted under California law.

The proposed law, also known as Alexandra’s Law, is named after Alexandra Capelouto, a 20-year-old woman from Temecula who died of fentanyl poisoning in 2019. The proposed law was filed by a Republican in the Assembly and a Democrat in the Senate. The Republican’s version was blocked by the Assembly Public Safety Committee in one of its first hearings of the year. The Democrats’ version was blocked twice by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

In the bill’s last hearing, two Democratic lawmakers said they couldn’t support the version written in the Senate, with concerns it wouldn’t stop fentanyl-related deaths and didn’t exactly mirror the state’s advisement for those convicted of driving under the influence. In the Assembly, some lawmakers in the public safety committee said the Republican’s measure was too broad. The leader of the committee, Democratic Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, said he had concerns about filling up prisons and was interested in a public-health related approach.

The last-minute legislative effort

On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers in the Assembly plan to force Democrats to flex legislative rules to force lawmakers to vote on ACA 12, a proposed ballot initiative to allow voters to ultimately decide whether Alexandra’s Law should go into effect.

Click here to read the full article in KCRA 3

State Republicans Call on Newsom to Back Fentanyl Legislation

After the California Senate Public Safety Committee agreed to hold a special hearing to address a number of fentanyl-related bills this month, it did not take long for said bills to stat getting shot down.

California Republicans have now called on Gov. Newsom to support some of the legislation. Assembly Republican’s letter to the Governor can be viewed here.

Click to watch full interview at KUSI

Why Bills to Crack Down on Fentanyl Dealers Have Been Doomed in the State Legislature

‘It’s either fill the prisons again with people of color or fill the mortuaries,’ says one parent in response to fears that stiffer penalties would hurt minorities

The message from Sacramento has been clear: powerful state lawmakers have no appetite for a return to the War on Drugs, even as a way to combat the deadly fentanyl epidemic.

For years now, law enforcement, prosecutors and families of fentanyl victims have pleaded for harsher penalties for dealers of the synthetic opioid, which is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. In 2021, fentanyl killed 5,722 people in California, many of whom thought they were taking prescription medications or other drugs.

The graveyard for such legislation has been the Senate and Assembly public safety committees, which have repeatedly rejected bills that would result in more incarceration of fentanyl dealers.

On Tuesday, April 25, the Senate Public Safety Committee blinked slightly by approving SB 226, which would make it a felony to possess fentanyl with a loaded, operable firearm. Basically, the bill by state Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gill, D-Jackson, would expand an existing law, adding fentanyl to a list of less harmful drugs that cannot be possessed while having a firearm.

Victim families disappointed again

That distinction — that the committee was not creating a new law or new penalties — was stressed by committee member Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in rejecting another bill, SB 44, the latest iteration of Alexandra’s Law. The committee vote Tuesday came despite the impassioned pleas of families carrying pictures of children killed by fentanyl poisoning.

Under Alexandra’s Law, proposed this time by Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, dealers convicted of selling fentanyl would be given a warning — much like the warning given by judges to first-time drunken drivers — that they could be charged with homicide if they again sell fentanyl resulting in death.

It was the second time this year that the committee torpedoed Umberg’s bill, despite modifications meant to appease committee members.

“I’m stunned,” Umberg said. “It’s very difficult to comprehend the committee’s view on this simple admonishment. … It’s discouraging that my colleagues don’t see the reality of the epidemic and the benefit of stopping repeat fentanyl dealers.”

‘Unintended consequences’

During the hearing, Wiener said Umberg’s bill was overly broad and would not provide the solution that proponents are seeking.

“The bill, if it passes, would have a lot of unintended consequences and would sweep up a lot of people who didn’t know” they were selling drugs laced with fentanyl, Wiener said.

Bills to increase penalties for possessing or selling fentanyl have hit a brick wall of liberal Democratic lawmakers, who say sending more people to prison is not a deterrent but a return to failed strategies that in the past mostly penalized people of color.

Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, a member of the Senate committee, said legislators should be focusing on manufacturers instead of further punishing street dealers who may not know their product is mixed with fentanyl.

“The focus should be on causation, prevention and treatment,” Bradford said during a recent hearing. “We’ve seen this movie before. In the ’80s and ’90s, with mass incarceration … thousands of Black and Brown people doing life in prison for selling an ounce of cocaine where no one lost their lives.”

Lawmaker: Race shouldn’t matter

The race argument falls flat with state Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who saw two of her bills seeking harsher sentences for possessing and selling fentanyl rejected earlier by the Senate committee. Grove and others pushing to tighten drug laws say fentanyl is colorblind and deadlier than any drug ever peddled from a street corner.

“I don’t care what color your skin is, if you’re trying to kill our children … then you should go to prison for a very, very long time,” Grove said during a committee hearing.

With one side digging its heels against “Draconian,” anti-drug strategies and the other side insisting fentanyl dealers need to be held accountable, the debate will again be front and center in a special hearing Thursday, April 27, before the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Six Assembly bills previously held up by committee Chair Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, will now be heard.

“As chair of Public Safety, I felt that the number of bills heard in my committee this year did not provide enough time to properly discuss this crisis in a manner that is consistent with its importance,” Jones-Sawyer said in a written statement.

Assembly bills

Proposals going before the committee Thursday include:

  • AB 33 from Assemblymember Jasmeet Bains, D-Bakersfield, to create a Fentanyl Addiction and Overdose Prevention Task Force.
  • AB 675 from Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria, D-Merced, to prohibit the possession of fentanyl while armed with a loaded firearm.
  • And AB 955 from Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Irvine, to increase penalties for trafficking fentanyl through social media by making it punishable with up to nine years in the county jail.

Some remain dubious that the Assembly Public Safety Committee will budge.

“The do-nothing bills, (Jones-Sawyer) will let them through, but nothing that adds any penalties,” said Melissa Melendez, a retired Republican state senator from Lake Elsinore. “That would be a 180 for him.”

Melendez, now president of the Golden State Policy Council think tank, has twice unsuccessfully carried Alexandra’s Law to make it easier to sustain murder charges against dealers who sell fentanyl resulting in death. The proposal was resurrected this session by Umberg.

Alexandra’s Law would have allowed prosecutors to argue that dealers not heeding the warning had “an abandoned and malignant heart” and exhibited “a wanton disregard for life,” setting the stage for a homicide charge.

Umberg: ‘Can’t let it go’

“I can’t let this issue go,” Umberg said after the admonition bill was rejected. “I can’t face any more parents grieving their lost daughters and sons without doing everything I can to stop this fentanyl poisoning. I will continue to return with other measures.”

The bill was named after Alexandra Capelouto, who overdosed on fentanyl in Temecula a few days before Christmas in 2019 after taking what she thought was Percocet.

Umberg’s proposal was co-authored by Sen. Rosilicie Ocho Bogh, R-Yucaipa, who also is vice chair of the Public Safety Committee. During a recent hearing on another fentanyl bill, Bogh said her colleagues have been overly compassionate to dealers.

“I’m begging this committee to start sending a message to people who are taking advantage of that compassion,” she said.

But lawmakers and activists who say longer prison sentences don’t work are unmoved.

Wrongly focused on punishment

Cristine Soto DeBerry, executive director of the progressive Prosecutors Alliance of California, said most of the fentanyl-related bills have wrongly focused on punishment.

“We tried that when crack cocaine was a big problem, we tried it when heroin was a big problem … it’s painful that we’re watching these solutions be proposed in 2023 when they didn’t work in 1983,” DeBerry said, referring to the so-called War on Drugs.

DeBerry said such bills would fuel racial disparity without any benefit to public safety.

“I’m not advocating there should not be any consequence,” she said. “(But) a punishment-focused strategy does not give us reduced drug use. … We don’t do anyone any favors by continuing to pound our chest and say it’s going to get us there when it doesn’t.”

DeBerry said she is not advocating against punishing drug dealers, but insists there already are enough laws on the books to do that.

‘War on murderers’

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer says current laws don’t go far enough to combat the ferocity of fentanyl.

“Those legislators (blocking fentanyl bills) are complete cowards and I’m sick and tired of the BS excuse that they don’t want to repeat the ‘War on Drugs,’ ” Spitzer said in an interview. “I do believe if you lock up drug dealers we can reduce fentanyl deaths. … This is not a war on drugs, this is a war on murderers.”

In Orange County — under Spitzer’s guidance — some police and prosecutors already are warning first-time drug dealers that further sales could result in murder charges if someone dies. But many judges won’t accept the admonishment because it is not sanctioned by state law.

“I’m sick and tired of screwing around with the ineffectiveness of the Legislature,” Spitzer said.

Prosecutors in Riverside County and San Francisco also have begun issuing the warning on their own.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said state lawmakers have to find a way to put aside their philosophical differences.

“I would hope somebody sees the politics of this is endangering lives,” Boudreaux said. “There will be deaths.”

Hybrid bill needed

Boudreaux said the answer would be to offer a hybrid of sorts, combining stronger penalties with more social services in jail and a chance at the end to wipe the crime from a dealer’s record for low-level fentanyl possession and street dealing.

“If all you’re doing is putting them in jail, I agree, you’re not going to arrest your way out of this,” he said.

Perla Mendoza is among the parents of children killed by fentanyl who have repeatedly made the trip to Sacramento to plead with legislators. And every time, she returns home to Seal Beach frustrated and heartbroken.

Her 20-year-old son, Elijah Figueroa, was an addict who bought what he thought were 15 prescription-grade Xanax pills for $300 from a street dealer. He died at his grandmother’s house in Long Beach in 2020 after taking only one pill that contained fentanyl.

Mendoza, a former drug and alcohol counselor, has heard all the arguments against harsher fentanyl penalties. None, she says, hold water.

Dealers ‘are playing society’

“Allowing them to continue business as usual, you’re setting up serial killers,” she said. “It’s so disheartening. (Dealers) know exactly what they can get away with. They are playing society.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Here’s What You Can Do About Fentanyl, Gavin Newsom

Housing without behavioral conditions creates unquenchable demand, whereas housing with behavioral conditions reduces demand

On April 19, during his excursion into one of California’s countless drug infested neighborhoods, a man on the street asked our governor a very explicit question.

Question: “Gavin, tell me what you’re going to do about the fentanyl epidemic?”

Newsom’s answer: “What should I do, JJ? What do you want me to do? You tell me what we need to do.”

There are plenty of answers that could have been offered, since what has been allowed to happen in San Francisco and almost everywhere else in California is one of the most appalling cases of political malpractice in the history of the world.

Two days later, on April 21, the governor announced that he “is directing California Highway Patrol and California National Guard to identify personnel and resources to assist the city in combatting fentanyl trafficking.”

That’s a start, but absent a more comprehensive strategy that involves every afflicted region and affects the consumers along with the distributors, it isn’t going to solve the related problems of addiction and homelessness. 

So if you’re serious about handing California back to law abiding citizens, here’s what you can do next, Governor Newsom:

You should now announce that you will extend this “public safety partnership” throughout the state, and send the California National Guard into every remote county and overwhelmed rural municipality in California and root out the drug cartels. Flood the zone. Smoke them out. Lock them up.

Next, you can clean up the neighborhoods throughout California’s cities that are overrun with the “unhoused.” It is in these lawless enclaves where drugs like fentanyl find their way to retail distributors and end users. To do this, begin by instructing your attorney general to identify and aggressively challenge every court ruling and misguided statute that prevents law enforcement from getting vagrants, addicts, drug dealers, thieves and violent thugs off the streets. Wage lawfare. Don’t quit.

Meanwhile, and remaining in compliance with existing law, construct low cost, minimum security detention facilities, and classify them as “permanent supportive housing.” Locate them on state owned land in rural areas with mild winters, and set up at least three types. One for criminals, one for drug addicts and alcoholics, and one for the mentally ill. The remaining small fraction of homeless individuals who are none of the above will be easily accommodated in already built shelters and already built supportive housing in urban areas.

By taking this approach, you will create a deterrent. A sizable percentage of the entire homeless population in California will melt away once this program is implemented. Once they aren’t permitted to sell drugs and consume drugs while having access to free social services including needles and “safe injection” sites, they’ll find family or friends to stay with. Once they can’t steal without facing certain incarceration, they’ll stop stealing.

There will be plenty of money to pay for these facilities, as well as to pay for supervision and counseling personnel. As it is, California’s taxpayers spend, on average, well over $500,000 for every unit of “permanent supportive housing.” This money, with the full complicity of politicians, goes into the hands of politically connected real estate developers, often to build on some of the most valuable coastal real estate on earth. The magnitude of this corruption defies description. End it. End it now.

Why, governor, does a methamphetamine addict from Tulsa have a “human right” to a free apartment in an expensive neighborhood on the California coast? Instead, give them free housing in a tent. Since a spacious, durable tent will cost under $1,000, that leaves $499,000 to pay for other amenities including supervision and counseling. If you did this, governor, even in a state as corrupt as California, most of that money could be given back to the taxpayers.

Consult with the UN Commission on Refugees to learn how to construct tent cities at minimal expense. The work they’ve done in Syria, for example, shows that semi-permanent encampments, providing all of life’s essentials, can be built and managed at a reasonable cost.

There is a fundamental moral imperative here that eludes almost every progressive politician and analyst. It is not compassionate to let people die on the street. If you accept this, there is only one solution: build low cost tent cities on inexpensive real estate and move the homeless off the streets and into these encampments. Force them to withdraw from drug and alcohol addiction. Compel them to take their anti-psychotic medication. Hold criminals accountable by making them pay their debt to society.

There is no way around this. Everything else costs too much, takes too long, and won’t work anyway.

The reason you don’t solve the problem of homelessness in California, Governor Newsom, is because you’re afraid to stand up to the Homeless Industrial Complex. And until you do, they are going to take all the money, corrupt all the laws, and California will remain a magnet for every junkie in America.

Housing without behavioral conditions creates unquenchable demand, whereas housing with behavioral conditions reduces demand. And to build publicly funded housing at a cost of $500,000 per unit, when that amount of money would pay for 500 tents (or more), is a scam. You don’t just give drug addicts housing units that are better than the housing units that working people scrap their lives away to pay for and can barely afford. When you do this, you turn society upside down. You reward indolence, and disrespect diligence.

The reason the fentanyl problem just keeps getting worse, governor, is because you haven’t been willing to prosecute and convict the people who manufacture, traffic, and sell hard drugs. Harsh penalties are a deterrent. You don’t have to lock everyone up. Once a few thousand of the hard core culprits are locked up and doing hard time, the rest will decide the risk outweighs the benefits.

Click here to read the full article at California Globe

Proposed Ballot Initiative for Stricter Penalties for Fentanyl Drug Dealers

‘We want to let the legislators, who voted against every form of penalty for these drug dealers, know that we are holding them accountable’

A new movement that is pushing for a proposition to give stricter penalties to drug dealers who sell fentanyl, was started in California this week, with the group behind it saying that the strategy is to begin with a public opinion poll about the issue to help determine the best way to craft the proposition proposal.

2024 already has a large number of planned propositions due to many wanting to skip over the 2023 election in November, and focus on 2024, when more voters are expected to come out with the Presidential, Senate, Congressional, and state legislative elections.

So far, ballot initiatives include fast food regulation, new oil and gas well prohibitions, a new pandemic funding tax, labor law lawsuit changes, voter limitations on raising revenue for government services, and a minimum wage raise.

However, groups continue to push for more initiatives to be on the ballot because of the turnout, including one by The Newport Beach-centric group was founded earlier with this year with the expressed determination to combat the fentanyl crisis.

According to their website, Fentanyl Solution is “deeply committed to making a difference and saving lives by addressing the devastating impact this dangerous drug has on communities across the country. With an immediate focus on Orange County, we strive to raise awareness, provide education, and mobilize action to prevent the spread of fentanyl. Our goal is to bring together individuals, families, and organizations to work towards creating a safer future for everyone, especially our children. We believe that by working together and changing laws, we can effectively stop the spread of this drug and make the world a better and healthier place for all.”

To achieve that, they are planning a “Poll-to-Prop initiative.” Started this month with an initial $2.2 million bloc of funding with the purpose of creating stricter penalties for fentanyl dealers, the group plans to conduct an initial poll and gather data on what voters in the state want to see in a potential proposition that would have stricter penalties for drug dealers who sell fentanyl. The results of the poll would then be crafted into a ballot initiative. From there, it would go to the signature gathering phase, with the hope that enough are given in time to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

A potential ballot proposition

“We want to let the legislators, who voted against every form of penalty for these drug dealers, know that we are holding them accountable,” said Janice M. Celeste, President & CEO of “We believe that drug dealers who sell fentanyl and murder their customers must pay the price for their actions. The Poll-to-Prop initiative is a crucial step in our efforts to raise awareness about the need for stricter penalties for these criminals.”

While Californians have been shown to want to get rid of fentanyl and other harmful drugs off the streets, a progressive push for criminal justice reform that includes less jail time for dealers and alternate punishments to prison has been shown to be popular amongst many as well, with the right way to combat the crisis growing cloudy in recent years. With the fentanyl crisis getting worse, and the number of fentanyl overdose deaths rising across the state, many have seen hope for a return of stricter measures. A pushback against progressive policies and elected leaders for them has also brought significant hope of a change as well.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Father of fentanyl victim launches billboard campaign along Southern California freeways

Jim Rauh said he wants to warn Californians about the dangers of the cheap synthetic opioid because the state has been hit hard by poisonings

Jim Rauh has been fighting his own war against fentanyl since it claimed the life of his 37-year-old son, Thomas, in 2015.

That’s when he formed Families Against Fentanyl, a nonpartisan nonprofit that has drawn the attention and support of former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA Director John Brennan, among others. Rauh believes the cheap synthetic opiate — which has killed more Americans than World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars combined — is a threat to national security.

As of Friday, 48,722 people have signed the organization’s petition to persuade the U.S. government to declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction.

“I would sacrifice my life to get rid of this stuff,” Rauh said in a telephone interview.

Now the Ohio man has taken his campaign to billboards along Southern California freeways in Los Angeles and Orange counties, with signs carrying the stark message: “Fentanyl is the number one cause of death for Americans age 18 to 45.”

State No. 1 in fentanyl deaths

Using data gleaned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new report by FAF found that California ranks No. 1 in the nation for fentanyl-related deaths in 2021. It is why the organization aimed its billboard campaign at the Southern California region, Rauh said.

The signs can be seen on billboards along the 57 Freeway in Placentia, the 10 Freeway in El Monte, the 5 Freeway in Commerce and the 710 Freeway in Lynwood. And more are coming soon to the Inland Empire, Rauh said.

“We’re going to launch additional billboards in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” Rauh said. “The reason we’re doing this is to get the attention of the U.S. government.”

The FAF report also notes that fentanyl deaths are rising faster in California than anywhere else in the country, increasing more than 2,631% in the state since 2015. Young people ranging in age from 15 to 24 made up a significantly larger share of total fentanyl deaths in California than in the U.S. population overall, underscoring the need for greater awareness among that demographic.

Additionally, fentanyl deaths among California teens nearly tripled in just two years from 2019 to 2021, according to the report.

Because California’s voice is so loud in the political arena, Rauh said, he is hoping the billboard campaign helps to rally support from citizens, law enforcement and politicians in demanding that the Biden administration declares fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction and immediately establishes a White House task force dedicated to the fentanyl crisis.

“The government has a duty to do this. This isn’t optional,” Rauh said. “Them knowing about this danger and not doing anything about it is tantamount to treason to me.”

Proposed laws fail

So far, efforts by California law enforcement agencies, victim advocates and legislators to pass laws holding fentanyl dealers more accountable have failed.

Last month, the Senate Public Safety Committee rejected Senate Bill 44. Dubbed “Alexandra’s Law,” it was named after Temecula resident Alexandra Capelouto, a 20-year-old college student who was home visiting her family for Christmas in 2019 when she ingested what she thought was a Percocet pill and died from fentanyl poisoning.

The bill would have required courts to issue warnings to convicted fentanyl dealers that the drug is deadly, and, if they continued selling it and someone died, they could be charged with murder.

The bill, authored by Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, had 41 authors and coauthors from both sides of the aisle and was staunchly and tearfully advocated for during the March 28 hearing in Sacramento. But the Senate committee rejected it after opponents called the proposed law inhumane and futile. Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, said the focus should be on “causation, prevention and treatment.”

Son’s supplier convicted

Rauh’s son, Thomas, died from fentanyl poisoning on March 21, 2015. The man who sold him the drug, Leroy Shuarod Steele, 36, of Akron, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl and was sentenced in April 2017 to 20 years in prison.

Steele obtained the fentanyl from suppliers in China and then distributed the drug to people in Akron and Fairlawn, Ohio, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rauh filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron in July 2020, alleging that Chinese drug supplier Fujing Zheng, his father, Guanghua, and others shipped the fentanyl to the U.S. that killed his son.

Rauh said he prevailed in the lawsuit, and in January a judge heard evidence to determine awards for damages. That decision is pending, Rauh said.

Fentanyl as tool of warfare?

Since his son’s death, Rauh, owner of Rauh Polymers Inc., an Akron-based plastic fabrication company, has become somewhat of an expert on fentanyl, its analogs, and how they could potentially be used for mass destruction.

He firmly believes manufacturers of fentanyl analogs in China are working with drug cartels in Mexico to use fentanyl as a means of chemical warfare to kill millions of Americans in their prime. And he’s worried those efforts will be ramped up from drug trafficking on the streets to chemical bombs and airborne attacks.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise