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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Democrats’ Budget is Making Poverty in California More Tolerable

Yet ‘Republicans need to change their product?’

By Katy Grimes, June 18, 2019 6:55 am

You can’t be irrelevant and responsible at the same time


“Republicans need to change their product. Californians aren’t buying it,” says the headline on the George Skelton column Monday in the Los Angeles Times. “California voters have not been buying Republican merchandise. So Democrats have monopolized the market,” Skelton said.

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a Politico interview Monday, Republicans “are into the politics of what California was into in the 1990s..and they’ll go the same direction — into the waste bin of history, the way Republicans of the ’90s have gone. That’s exactly what will happen to this crop of national Republicans.”

In a column about the Governor’s budget last week, Skelton dove deeper into Republicans’ fall from grace: “Anyone with a beef about Sacramento politics should blame Republicans. That’s because they’ve allowed themselves to become so weak they’re irrelevant on any issue not requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote, such as a tax increase. They only become players when a bill — perhaps a tax hike — is so liberal Assembly moderates can’t stomach it and lean Republican,” Skelton said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“The generously coiffed former San Francisco mayor, who spent the better part of the last decade waiting his turn back in the political klieg lights, is on the attack, and on multiple fronts,” Politico said.

Most readers couldn’t tell you the last time Skelton seriously ever challenged the Democrats or any of their proposals. Rather, he and many in the California press corps are cheerleaders and protectors of the kingdom building, spokes holes of the progressive leadership, burying any real transparency or accountability save for a few, select internecine issues.

Skelton and others in the California press corps have accommodated, and even fawned over the rise of the Democrats. But now they see that California is about to crash, and are compelled to blame.

Skelton claims that Republicans are irrelevant, yet responsible for the mess California is in – you can’t be irrelevant and responsible at the same time.

Republican legislators in California have indeed lost marketshare, but it’s not because of anti-tax increase positions.

Politico wrote:

“After all, California’s politics do have a way of presaging things to come to the rest of American politics — think the Proposition 187 vote on immigration in 1994 or the state’s early debates over fuel efficiency standards.”

“’America in 2019 is California in the 1990s,’ Newsom says, not approvingly. ‘The xenophobia, the nativism, the fear of ‘the other.’ Scapegoating. Talking down or past people. The hysteria. And so, we’re not going to put up with that. We are going to push back.’”

“If Newsom doesn’t yet have the national profile he might want, he also knows California’s status as a virtual nation-state, as so many pols and pundits here are fond of saying, makes him more than just one of 50 governors. He demands to be watched, and will be.”

In California, the switch from Republican to Democrat majorities can be traced back a few years to Los Angeles. My co-author Jim Lacy and I explained this in our 2017 book, “California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?“:

Led by Los Angeles County Federation of Labor head Maria Elena Durazo (now a State Senator), a group of socialist and Communist California labor officials and Democrat Party operatives created a program to target Latinos and immigrants (illegal and legal) to permanently drive California politics far to the left, Democrat political consultant Richie Ross wrote in CalBuzz in 2010. Ross openly boasts of targeting the Latino community’s fear of anti-illegal immigration measures, to drive the community even further into the arms of the Democratic Party.

In 1994, then-Governor Pete Wilson put Proposition 187 on the ballot.  It was called the nation’s first anti-immigrant initiative, but in fact the goal of Proposition 187 was to make illegal aliens ineligible for public benefits including public social services, public health care services, and public school education. It came in the middle of a deep recession in California and was popular partly because the fiscal estimate from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office said that it would save the state about $200 million/year.

Richie Ross, Calbuzz article 2010

“It’s not the fault of consumers for not liking what the GOP has been peddling,” Skelton writes. “Nor should the Democratic retailers be blamed. The Republican Party is culpable for not adjusting to the changing California marketplace.”

While Skelton is focused on party politics and blaming the weakened “irrelevant” Republicans for the state of the state, he’s not asking, “Who is going to pay for the $215 billion state budget?”

Taxing the wealthy again and again only encourages them to relocate to a lower tax state. The wealthy can afford to live where they want. And when they relocate, this results in taxing everyone else, which means the middle class and working class families will pay. Is it any wonder California has the highest poverty in the nation?

Skelton and Politico ignore the root causes of most of California’s biggest issues: the Homeless explosion and looming epidemic of diseases, rampant crime, the massively underfunded public pension and retiree healthcare debt of more than $1 trillion, excessive taxes and regulations, job killing tax increases, affordable housing shortage, regulations preventing more housing from being built, crumbling infrastructure, layers of Global Warming legislation which created Cap and Trade taxes on California businesses and industries, failing public schools, hundreds of public school districts nearing insolvency, wildfires, a broken DMV and motor voter registration… and much more.

Republicans have been weakened since the Wilson administration, some of it self-imposed. However, the Legislature, lobbyists and Capitol press corp is the stage, not the audience. That’s what needs to change, and it may be happening with a more robust and active Jessica Patterson as the new Chairwoman of the California GOP. Some of the CAGOP platform should be addressed and even modified, but not the party principles – frankly, of either party.

Republicans in the Legislature offer many proposals and bills every legislative session, usually to unwind regulations, reduce taxes and fees, or to chip away at anti-business policies and regulations. But these proposals are swiftly shut down by Democrats, and not because consumers don’t like what Republicans are peddling. Democrats are in charge of everything in the State Legislature, as well as hold all of the Constitutional state offices.

Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine) has had fifty percent of his bills killed prior to ever receiving a public committee hearing. “Some have never been agendized,” Choi said in an interview. “The committee chair killed them, or the Rules Committee kept the bill, and never assigned it to a committee.” Choi is just one example of the 18 Republican Assembly members and 11 Republican Senators — 29 total Republicans versus 111 Democrat legislators, out of 140 total in the California Legislature.

In 2016 following the Presidential election and Donald Trump’s Presidential win, California Democrats warned they’d not only “fight in the streets” anyone who tried to reverse their policies, with their new super super majority, they were going to aggressively push through every progressive Democrat policy they possibly could. “Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, ratcheted up the rhetoric by threatening to ‘fight in the streets’ anyone who tried to ‘dissolve the work we have done.’”

In the budget, 90,000 illegal immigrant adults aged 19-26 will be eligible for the state’s low-income and welfare Medi-Cal coverage. “This is in the larger context of our goal of universal coverage,” says Daniel Zingale, a Newsom senior advisor, the LAT reported.

California’s Medi-Cal coverage is already tapped, and unable to cover all of its enrollees, nor does the system reimburse doctors for the actual costs of Medi-Cal care. Just because you can get on a list for health coverage under this plan, doesn’t mean you have access. Adding another total 200,000 people to Medi-Cal under the Democrats’ and Governor’s wish list may make Democrats look as if they are doing something noble, but it doesn’t mean these people will have actual access to healthcare.

“We’re going to get it,’’ Newsom insists, Politico reported. “We’re committed to universal health care. Universal health care means everybody…We will lead a massive expansion of health care, and that’s a major deviation from the past.’’

Yet Mr. Skelton says, “California Republicans need to change their product.”

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