DeMaio likes to attract attention. He has plenty of it from opponents. – Michael Smolens

Police and firefighter unions, Republican elected officials and others wage independent campaigns against radio talk-show host DeMaio in Assembly race

Carl DeMaio has crossed a lot of people in his various political endeavors. He’s being reminded of that daily in his campaign for the state Assembly.

The radio talk-show host is being opposed by a rare coalition that spans the political spectrum: labor unions, police and firefighter associations, Democrats, Republican elected officials, the state and local Republican parties, and even some real estate interests.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

The top financial supporters listed on one mailer attacking DeMaio include the California Professional Firefighters, California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Apartment Association.

At least five independent campaign efforts are aligned against him. DeMaio, a prolific fundraiser, has a substantial campaign war chest and is also benefiting from his statewide organization, Reform California.

DeMaio is running in the 75th Assembly District, a sprawling East County conservative district that almost certainly will elect a Republican, likely either DeMaio or Andrew Hayes, an aide to state Sen. Brian Jones, D-Santee, who has been endorsed by the Republican Party.

Incumbent Republican Marie Waldron is termed out this year.

A contested primary in a solid Republican district might not typically attract labor involvement but DeMaio changes that equation. Also contributing to the anti-DeMaio cause is the California Labor Federation, which is led by Lorena Gonzalez, who as a San Diego labor leader has clashed with DeMaio for years.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California is also spending money to defeat DeMaio. PORAC is headed up by Brian Marvel, the former president of the San Diego Police Officers Association who also has clashed with DeMaio.

DeMaio has been virulently anti-union and as a member of the San Diego City Council spearheaded a voter-approved ballot measure that did away with pensions for most municipal workers, except police officers, hired after July 20, 2012. The measure was overturned in court about a decade later and the city is now working to restore pensions to affected workers.

DeMaio envisioned that public employee pension bans would take hold across the state, but that never happened.

He also backed a related five-year pay freeze for city employees and restrictions on other benefits for employees, including police officers, that were not affected by the court rulings.

DeMaio maintained pensions were too generous and were bleeding money from government budgets.

He’s familiar with opposition from labor and said that doesn’t faze him. “I wear that with a badge of honor,” he said in an interview.

As for Hayes, DeMaio said, “This guy is backed by corrupt forces in Sacramento” — both Republican and Democrat.

Jones, who is the Senate Republican leader, is backing independent efforts for Hayes and against DeMaio. So are Waldron, county Supervisor Joel Anderson and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Bonsall. Issa defeated DeMaio in a contentious 2020 race for an East County-centric congressional district.

DeMaio also lost races for mayor in 2012 and for Congress to Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, in 2014 after serving one term on the City Council.

Clearly, DeMaio’s opponents don’t want him in the Legislature or, it seems, any other elected office. But their first order of business appears to be getting the lesser-known Hayes through the primary on March 5.

There are no guarantees in politics, but DeMaio seems poised to advance to November. He is being hit with negative mailers, contending he’s a “Never Trumper” and that he supported “defunding our first responders.”

In turn, DeMaio says he backs former President Donald Trump, and maintains Hayes is being propped up by Democrats and labor unions. Both have claimed they are the strongest on border enforcement and are the more conservative candidate. At times, they’ve mimicked Trump’s penchant for giving opponents derogatory names.

“‘Amnesty Andrew’ Hayes can’t be trusted on illegal immigration,” says one mailer backing DeMaio.

In a campaign release, Hayes accused “Crooked Carl DeMaio” of using donations to his Reform California committee for the Assembly race.

Beyond the attack pieces to dissuade Republican voters from supporting Hayes, DeMaio is making an appeal to Democratic voters, sort of. DeMaio’s campaign has been promoting the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate, Kevin Juza.

It’s an increasingly common campaign tactic to boost a perceived weaker opponent in hopes they will outdistance a stronger one in the primary.

The anti-DeMaio forces have responded in kind, though so far not in a big way. They made a small ad buy on Facebook to promote Democrat Christie Dougherty in an apparent effort to dilute the DeMaio-juiced Juza vote — which, in theory, could help Hayes.

This is becoming quite a tangled web.

Also running are Democrat Joy Frew and Republican Jack Fernandes.

Click here to read the full article in the SD Union Tribune

Words can mean life or death for ballot measures, including a November one in Santa Ana

Column: Attorney threatens the city with legal action over noncitizen voting measure, but not for the reasons you might think

Officials are notorious for sticking their thumbs on the scales as Election Day approaches. But how much is too much? It’s a question Santa Ana officials might do well to ponder.

We’re not talking Venezuelan manipulation of voting machines or fake ballots stuffed in suitcases or other fantastical flights of fancy here. We’re talking about the comparably mundane use of language, and how officials crafting ballot measures (and titles and summaries) can bless, or curse, an idea with words and words alone.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

A rose is a …

Remember the Republican-backed attempt to repeal gas taxes in 2018?

Drivers hated the gas tax and registration fee hikes (which aimed to raise some $5 billion a year for much-needed infrastructure work), but officials loved them. Proposition 6 would have repealed them and, like all statewide ballot measures, it had to traverse officialdom before reaching the great unwashed masses at the ballot box. When the Attorney General’s office wrote the title and summary for the measure, it didn’t simply say “repeals recently enacted gas and diesel taxes and vehicle registration fees.” It said, “Eliminates Recently Enacted Road Repair and Transportation Funding by Repealing Revenues Dedicated for Those Purposes. Requires Any Measure to Enact Certain Vehicle Fuel Taxes and Vehicle Fees Be Submitted to and Approved by the Electorate.”

Huh? Prop. 6 failed.

And who can forget all those pension reform attempts?

s the cost of generous public worker retirements gobbled more and more of state and local budgets, reformers circulated some pretty logical plans to get future costs under control. These plans would not have impacted current public workers; only workers hired in the future. But you couldn’t tell that from the title and summary from the AG’s office.

“Reduces pension benefits for current and future public employees … including teachers, nurses, and peace officers ….”

TEACHERS, NURSES AND PEACE OFFICERS?! Reformers went ballistic, calling the language “provably false or grossly misleading” — but, well, here we are, sans pension reform.

Enter now the extremely interesting measure from the city of Santa Ana for the fall general election that raises all sorts of tremendous questions.

Who votes?

On Nov. 5, Santa Ana voters will decide if noncitizens will get to vote in city elections.

The measure says, “Shall the City of Santa Ana City Charter be amended to allow, by the November 2028 general municipal election, noncitizen City residents, including those who are taxpayers and parents, to vote in all City of Santa Ana municipal elections?”

A conservative Orange County attorney threatens legal action over this — but not for the noncitizen voting part.

“‘Taxpayers and parents?’” said Laguna Niguel attorney James V. Lacy, one eyebrow raised.

Which is to say, just as no decent human being would claw pensions away from righteous teachers and nurses and peace officers, who’s going to deny righteous taxpayers and parents the right to weigh in on local governance?

Of course, Lacy points out, the measure would also allow non-taxpayers and non-parents — which is to say, just about exactly everyone of legal voting age — the right to vote on local governance. So the words do nothing except try to tip the scales in the measure’s favor.

“That language is jimmying with the ballot,” Lacy said. “It’s election interference.”

If “taxpayers and parents” isn’t dropped from the measure, Lacy — who served in the Reagan administration and has filed similar suits before — will ask an Orange County Superior Court judge to step in.

We asked the Santa Ana folks their thoughts. City spokesman Paul Eakins said the city attorney’s office will be providing an impartial analysis of the ballot measure at a later date, and referred us to the city clerk’s website for more election information at www.santa-ana.org/elections/.

No idle threat

Lacy has worked in this space before.

A few years ago, voters in San Francisco amended the city’s charter to allow noncitizen parents and guardians of school-aged children to vote in school board elections. Lacy took the city to court, citing Article II, Section 2, of the California Constitution: “A United States Citizen 18 years of age and resident in this state may vote.”

The city violated the constitution by allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote, he argued. The court agreed.

But the city appealed, arguing that the state constitution doesn’t expressly say “only” U.S. citizens may vote and doesn’t prohibit expanding the electorate to noncitizens. You might recall that, once upon a time in America, women were denied the vote, as were Black Americans and “natives of China.”

It’s important that San Francisco is a “charter city” — operating under its own voter-approved set of rules and regulations — as opposed to a “general law city,” operating under the general laws of the state. The appeals court reversed the lower court and handed the city a victory.

“(W)e agree with the City that the plain language does not restrict the Legislature’s discretionary power to expand the electorate to noncitizens,” the appeals court said. “(I)t makes sense to confer on charter cities the authority to expand the electorate where, as here, the city’s voters determine that doing so would better serve local needs. Conversely, where a charter city’s electorate determines expanding the electorate would not serve its local needs, it need not do so.”

Down the road, Lacy fears Santa Ana’s measure would dilute the voting power of minority citizens, thus running afoul of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Santa Ana is 77% Latino, 12% Asian, 9% White and 1% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The overwhelming majority of noncitizens are presumed to be Latino.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

New Poll Finds Trump Leads Haley By Massive 64%-17% Margin in California Republican Primary

‘Trump has a big donor base in California, much bigger than people realize’

According to a new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Poll released on Thursday, former President Donald Trump has a massive lead over former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, with California’s massive number of delegates likely to go to Trump on Super Tuesday.

The poll found that a massive 64% of California Republicans would back Trump in the primary, with only 17% backing Haley; 14% currently have voters wanting other candidates despite Haley and Trump being the last two candidates left in the race. A further 4% said that they wouldn’t vote in the primary with 1% currently undecided.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

“Trump’s support is at 75 percent among conservatives and is similar among men (65%) and women (62%),” the PPIC said in their breakdown. “Support for Trump is at 48 percent among college graduates and is at 67 percent among those 45 and older. When asked how they would vote when the choice is between the two remaining Republican presidential candidates, 69 percent say they would vote for Trump and 29 percent would vote for Haley, while 2 percent would not vote in the Republican primary.”

The PPIC poll is on par with the current 538 aggregate projection on the California Primary, which only factors in Trump and Haley as candidates. According to that projection, Trump is currently estimated to get 73% of the vote and Haley around 19%. Both the PPIC poll and the 538 California projections show Trump coming in slightly below the national Republican primary voter average of just under 77% in favor of Trump and 15.6% in favor of Haley.

Trump trumps Haley

The PPIC poll also showed that President Joe Biden is also currently leading Trump in the November presidential election in California. Biden is currently polling at 55% according to the poll, with Trump at 32%, other candidates at 10%, and 3% remaining undecided. When compared to the final 2020 percentages in California, Biden is currently polling well below his final 63.4% showing from the last election, with Trump only down roughly 2% from 34.3% in 2020. However, Trump is also currently up from his 2016 showing in California, where he received just above 31% of the votes in the state. With a large percentage of voters still open and Biden’s 39% approval rating actually being several points behind where Trump’s approval rating was during the same time in his presidency in 2020, Trump could get a higher percentage of Californian voters than he did in 2020.

“When it comes to California, the consensus is that Trump will win the GOP primary hands down, but will lose to Biden. Shocker, right?,” said Michael Springer, an elections analyst in Washington who focuses on presidential primaries. “But this poll was pretty interesting. For Trump, even with the multiple lawsuits and everything going on with him right now, he is still polling just about as well as he did in 2020 in California. It’s still not enough to send Democrats there into any sort of panic, but if Trump polls above his 2020 total and does better against Biden in blue California than he did 4 years ago, that is going to speak volumes of how how people are perceiving Biden.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California says gas prices could spike 50 cents a gallon next year thanks to this climate program

A nearly two decades-old program to slash climate-warming emissions from transportation could cause California gasoline prices to spike as much as 50 cents a gallon in the next two years.

That’s according to staff of the state’s leading air quality regulator, who provided the estimate ahead of that agency’s decision to strengthen the program created to discourage gasoline and diesel production in favor of cleaner alternatives.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

Their drastic projection comes amid growing concerns about fuel and energy costs related to California efforts to phase out fossil fuels. Already burdened drivers can expect to see gas prices hit $5 a gallon this spring, and electricity bills also are expected to rise.

“I was shocked to see it,” said Danny Cullenward, a climate economist and advisor to the state. “A 50-cent increase in the price of fuel is not a small thing.”

California Air Resources Board staff projected the price jump in a key report last fall, saying proposed reforms to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) would raise costs for the gasoline and diesel production companies that could get passed on to drivers.

In what they called an upper bound estimate, air board staff estimated that gasoline prices may jump by an average of $0.47 next year and $0.52 by 2026. They said diesel prices could increase by $0.59 this year and $0.66 in two years.

Over the long term, they found that gasoline prices could increase by $1.15 per gallon and diesel by $1.50 per gallon from 2031 to 2046. They also projected a $1.21 jump in jet fuel prices.

Air board staff have since downplayed their gas price hike projections, calling them “narrow and incomplete” in a December report. Instead, the agency has focused on cost savings to drivers across the economy as more people make the switch to EVs.

“CARB staff estimates the amount of money Californians spend on transportation costs across all vehicle classes could be up to 42% lower in 2045,” air board staff said this week in FAQs about the standard’s impact on fuel costs.

The LCFS was created in 2007 by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and encourage low-carbon alternatives. The first program of its kind, it has since been adopted by other governments, including the European Union.

It operates a system of monetary rewards and fees called “credits” and “deficits.” Producers of less carbon intensive fuel — such as biofuel, ethanol and biomethane — sell those credits to gasoline and diesel producers who rack up deficits.

Click here to read the full article in Sacramento Bee via Yahoo News

California voters will decide on Newsom’s mental health overhaul. How did we get here?

Fallout from our state’s long history of breaking promises to people with serious mental illness is everywhere.

It can be found under our overpasses and in our tent encampments, but also inside our jails and prisons, our emergency rooms, our schools, our homes.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

It flashes across our public opinion polls, which repeatedly list mental health as a top concern.

Increasingly, it makes its way into our political discourse. Referencing “our broken system,” Gov. Gavin Newsom in recent years has rolled out mental health policies with dizzying speed.

Now he’s promoting Proposition 1, a two-pronged March ballot measure that would fund a $6.4 billion bond for treatment beds and permanent supportive housing, while also requiring counties to spend more of their existing mental health funds on people who are chronically homeless. 

The measure makes promises of its own. 

“These reforms, and this new investment in behavioral health housing, will help California make good on promises made decades ago,” Newsom has said.

What are the promises that California has made to people with mental illness over the years? And why are so many people still suffering?

Here’s a brief timeline of mental health policies in our state—of promises made and promises broken—during the past 75 years.

1950s & 1960s: An era of institutionalization

In the 1950s, it is relatively easy to force people into state mental hospitals, many of which have horrific conditions. The number of patients peaks in the late-1950s, at approximately 37,000. During that time, the state starts shifting control over mental health services to counties, embarking on the process of deinstitutionalization. This process accelerates in the late 1960s with the passage of the landmark Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a law designed to protect the civil rights of people with mental illnesses.

1954: The federal Food & Drug Administration approves Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), the first antipsychotic drug, to treat people with serious mental illnesses.

1957: The California Legislature increases funding for community mental health under the Short-Doyle Act, aiming to treat more people in their communities instead of in state hospitals.

1963: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy signs the Community Mental Health Act, promising federal leadership to build and staff a network of community mental health centers. Less than a month later, he is assassinated. Many of the clinics are never built.

1965: Congress creates Medicare and Medicaid, allowing people with mental illnesses to receive treatment in their communities.

1967: Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signs the Lanterman-Petris-Short law limiting involuntary detention of all but the most gravely disabled people with mental illness and providing them with legal protections.

1970s & 1980s: California tax revolt leads to austerity

As state mental hospitals close in the 1970s, many people with serious mental illnesses are moved into for-profit nursing homes and board and care homes. Their numbers on the streets and inside jails and prisons begin to rise. The 1980s sees significant funding cuts for mental health services at both the state and federal levels.

1978: The Community Residential Treatment Systems Act seeks to create unlocked, noninstitutional alternatives for people with mental illness throughout California.

The same year, voters pass Proposition 13, capping property taxes and reducing the amount of money available to counties for a variety of services, including mental health.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Former Chapman Law dean John Eastman appeals for more money as license is threatened

Column: The former president’s former lawyer has been watching the Georgia soap opera closely

As the soap opera in Georgia rivets the nation, the deadline for a California Bar judge to rule on John Eastman’s law license — can he keep it and earn money to fight those criminal charges in Georgia, or will he be disbarred for trying to overthrow democracy? — was supposed to be February’s end.

But decision day has been pushed back a month or so.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

Turns out the State Bar’s prosecutor incorrectly cited a court case in a filing and asked to fix it. Attorneys for Eastman, the former dean of Chapman Law School, responded with a long list of other things they consider to be factually incorrect in the prosecutor’s filings. So now Judge Yvette Roland’s decision will be due by March 27, a State Bar spokesperson said by email.

Eastman has been charged with 11 counts by the State Bar, the most colorful of which are “dishonesty and moral turpitude.” He’s accused of prodding state electors to send fake electoral votes for Trump to the Capitol, of filing false information with courts, of spreading incendiary lies that fed the rage that consumed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and cost several people their lives.

Meantime, the former dean is keeping an eagle eye on the drama in the Peach State — seeing, perhaps, a way out — and pushing for more contributions to cover millions in legal bills.

“The sixty four dollar question many people are asking is whether Fulton County (Georgia) District Attorney Fani Willis and her (apparently former) boyfriend will be removed from prosecuting President Trump, me and some 17 other defendants on ridiculous, politically-motivated charges,” Eastman wrote in an essay published Wednesday, Feb. 21, on City News OKC’s website.

“The answer, according to numerous legal experts is: they sure should be. Judge Scott McAfee’s hearing last week turned into a must-watch TV drama. It reminded me of watching O.J. Simpson driving his white Bronco on a Los Angeles freeway back in the day with TV helicopters hovering above and police cars behind. You just couldn’t turn away, wondering how things would end….

“I obviously am much more than just an interested observer in this legal drama. The two people at its center are seeking to ruin my life, destroy my reputation and put me in prison simply because I lawfully gave President Trump legal advice on questioning the integrity of the 2020 election.”

Willis’ Georgia grand jury indicted Eastman, Trump and others on racketeering and other charges, saying they aimed to disenfranchise Georgia voters.

The former president’s former lawyer has bemoaned the “surreal, exhausting battle to defend my integrity” in fundraising emails, pinning the price tag for his legal defense at some $3 million to $3.5 million. He faces “an onslaught of false charges leveled by radical leftwing lawyers working with lawfare groups. Tragically, many of these false charges were repeated nearly word-for-word by State Bar prosecutors and form the basis of the Bar’s prosecution against me,” he told potential contributors.

Eastman’s GiveSendGo account has hit $628,000, with more than $10,000 in small donations pouring in over the past month. A donor recently kicked in $1,000, saying, “I remain appalled that the California Bar is persecuting you for zealously representing your client. How could the ethics authorities be so unethical?”

Eastman is categorically innocent of all the charges against him, Eastman has said, and is doing everything in his power to defend himself and expose the truth.

“The unprecedented ferocity and extent of the various lawfare attacks against me have been grueling,” he wrote on CityNewsOKC. “I am fighting this lawfare assault vigorously but I’m going to need to raise over $3 million to contend with the totality of the assault being waged against me.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

California lawmakers face a ballooning budget deficit

The biggest challenge facing lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom is the state budget deficit — and it just got bigger.

Today, the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected the shortfall as $15 billion higher, or $73 billion.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

The analyst’s office had pegged the 2024-25 deficit at $58 billion in January, using Newsom’s revenue estimates when he presented his initial budget proposal of $292 billion. 

On Friday, Newsom’s Department of Finance reported that preliminary General Fund cash receipts in January were $5 billion below (or nearly 20%) the governor’s budget forecast. Unless state tax revenues pick up significantly, the bigger number will make it more difficult to balance the state budget just through dipping into reserves and targeted spending cuts. 

But exactly how the state can dig its way out — at least in the Assembly — remains to be seen. Speaker Robert Rivas told reporters today that the budget has been at the forefront of conversations among Assembly Democrats and that he is very concerned with the growing deficit.

He praised the governor’s commitment to preserving classroom funding, and said he didn’t see a way to avoid dipping into the state’s reserves, as the governor’s January budget plan proposed — though the speaker urged a prudent approach to using rainy day savings in case the budget picture worsens in future years. 

“We are very concerned about short-term fixes for long-term problems,” said Rivas, who took over as speaker last summer, just days after the Legislature and Newsom reached a deal on the 2023-24 budget that covered a $30 billion deficit after two years of record surpluses.  

“Clearly, we need to prioritize oversight and curb spending and our investments,” Rivas added.

In the coming weeks, Rivas’ plan calls for an oversight budget subcommittee he formed in December to review the state’s spending on housing, he said. 

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Oakland’s Crime Stats Only Tell Half the Story; 6,000 Businesses Stopped Paying Taxes | Chris Moore

Small businesses and residents in Oakland are struggling with rising crime and safety issues, according to Chris Moore, a board member of the Bay Rental Housing Association. In an interview, Moore cited statistics showing over 6000 small businesses stopped paying business taxes in 2023, and businesses like In-N-Out Burger and a popular restaurant called Snail Bar have closed or been damaged by theft.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

Moore criticized Oakland City Council policies around public safety, noting the council has proposed defunding the police by 50% while crime rates for offenses like armed robbery and car theft have increased sharply. A restaurant owner described being burglarized three times and receiving only duct tape from the city to board up the damaged windows.

Residents say the current city council downplays rising crime by only comparing murder rates to past decades, ignoring other crime trends. Communities of color in East and West Oakland face significant blight and violence that city leaders do not adequately address, according to Moore.

Click here to read the full article in California Insider

Coupal: Gov. Newsom’s silly arguments against the Taxpayer Protection Act don’t stickCoupal:

Last week, the organizations sponsoring the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA) filed their response to the governor and Legislature’s lawsuit, which seeks to remove the overwhelmingly popular measure from the November general election ballot. 

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

The Taxpayer Protection Act will close court-created loopholes in Prop. 13 as well as providing additional taxpayer safeguards:

  • Empower voters with the right to approve or reject all new state taxes as well as local taxes.
  • Increase accountability and transparency so politicians spend our tax dollars more efficiently, and ballot titles for tax increases are clear and truthful.
  • Stop government agencies from imposing “hidden taxes” disguised as fees imposed by appointed bureaucrats.

The organizations that are sponsoring and defending the Taxpayer Protection Act include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Business Roundtable and the California Business Properties Association, which collectively represent tens of thousands of homeowners, businesses large and small, and owners of commercial real estate. These groups were supported by several “friend of the court” briefs from over a dozen local taxpayer associations. 

The lawsuit by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrat leadership, backed by public employee unions, calls for the nearly unprecedented step of using the courts to deny voters their constitutional right to vote on this duly qualified initiative, a commonsense taxpayer protection and accountability measure. They are using a series of political, not legal arguments, to ask the California Supreme Court to remove the measure from the ballot. 

The legal brief from the pro-taxpayer coalition exposed the abject lack of legal merit in the arguments from the governor and his allies in the Legislature. Specifically, the attack on the Taxpayer Protection Act fell far short of meeting the extremely high threshold the California Supreme Court has established for removing duly qualified initiatives from the ballot before voters exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

The lawsuit against TPA is chock full of frivolous political arguments to support their position that California voters should not have the right to vote on future taxes. If the lawsuit proves anything it’s that the tax-and-spend progressives who control California are scared to death that TPA will pass. And that fear is well founded as evidenced by polling showing that its provisions are supported by a majority of Californians. 

Previously, the governor and Legislature’s attorneys complained that “the [Taxpayer Protection Act] reduces the Legislature’s spending power… and increases the power of State and local voters to reject taxes and charges.” 

To which we responded, “Yeah, that’s the point.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

S.F. mayor backs measure to stiffen retail theft penalties

SAN FRANCISCO — Democratic Mayors London Breed of San Francisco and Matt Mahan of San Jose have endorsed a tough-on-crime ballot measure to reform Proposition 47, a controversial initiative that reduced some drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors.

The measure — called the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, Retail Theft Reduction Act — would change the 2014 law by increasing penalties for fentanyl dealers and repeat organized retail theft rings, as well as providing mandatory treatment for drug users.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to CA Political Review 

“In San Francisco, we are making progress on property crimes, but the challenges we are facing related to fentanyl and organized retail theft require real change to our state laws,” Breed said. “I fully support this measure and know it will make a meaningful difference for cities across California.”

These endorsements come in the weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters during his January budget presentation that altering Proposition 47 would not curtail the wave of high-profile retail thefts in the state. The Newsom administration instead has proposed six ways lawmakers can expand criminal penalties for organized theft without bringing the issue back to voters. Newsom agreed that tougher enforcement is needed and has called for more arrests in these cases.

Newsom also recently assigned 120 California Highway Patrol officers to combat crime in Oakland.

Proposition 47, supported by Newsom and approved by voters, reclassified some felony drug and theft offenses as misdemeanors and raised from $400 to $950 the amount for which theft can be prosecuted as a felony. Newsom often points out that some of the nation’s most conservative states, including Texas, have a higher threshold for felony charges.

Breed’s announcement comes as she runs for reelection and faces low approval ratings.

In 2022, San Francisco had the highest rate of property theft among all California cities, according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California, a leading nonpartisan group that researches crime trends and policies. Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Mateo also experienced an increase. However, according to the mayor’s office, property crimes in the city were lower than any period in the last 10 years, except for 2020. This year, in the first three weeks of January, property crime is reportedly down 41%.

Mahan told The Times in a phone interview that he was less aware of the governor’s plans and instead was more focused on the results of this bipartisan effort.

“The Legislature will be limited as far as what they can do without the voters,” Mahan said.

He cautioned that if Proposition 47 isn’t reformed now, there might be future support to repeal it altogether, which he said “would be a mistake.” Mahan said he witnessed firsthand a smash-and-grab theft at a grocery store.

“That feeling of no accountability is harmful to our society,” he said.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times