Home>Articles>What the Recall Candidates are Saying about California’s Escalating Crime

California Gov. Gavin Newsom State of the State 2021 speech at Dodger Stadium. (Photo: gov.ca.gov)

What the Recall Candidates are Saying about California’s Escalating Crime

‘Public safety is rapidly deteriorating in California for many reasons- all driven by those currently in power’

By Thomas Buckley, August 23, 2021 11:26 am

After years of decline, the past two years have seen sharp increases in crime throughout the state.

The causes blamed are myriad, with some being more valid than others.  The social stresses of the pandemic and increased economic uncertainty most likely do play a factor in the rise.

However, the impacts that Proposition 47, Proposition 57, the passage of AB109, and other “criminal justice reform” efforts cannot be understated.  Just a short while ago it would be inconceivable to the average Californian that walking into a store and just walking out with $949 worth of stuff would not be considered a criminal act, for example, let alone that certain District Attorneys would aggressively go out of their way to NOT prosecute criminals.

True, there are a number of academic studies that, while admitting violent crime is up, claim that the impacts of these measures has been to lower overall crime rate, but those treatises should be placed  squarely into the “these are not the crimes you are looking for” Jedi mind trick category.

To that end, the focus of this week’s recall candidate issue round-up is crime and the impacts it is having on our state.

One note before proceeding – We would like to take a moment to thank former Congressman Doug Ose for participating in our previous articles and wish him a very speedy and very complete recovery!

Here are this week’s questions:

Q1 – How directly has the combination of the decriminalization (for practical purposes) of shoplifting, vagrancy, certain drug offenses and other “low level/quality of life” crimes – combined with prisoner release/sentence reduction efforts and the “criminal justice reform” movement as epitomized by Attorney General Rob Bonta and District Attorneys like Chesa Boudin and George Gascon – impacted the typical Californian?

Q2 – What as governor would you do to reverse the current upward crime trend?

Joel Ventresca. (Photo: Joel Ventresca for Governor)

Joel Ventresca:

Q1 – I do not support decriminalization of shoplifting. I will work to end homelessness, poverty, and mass incarceration with comprehensive programs.

I will end the war on drugs for adults. I will remove drug sales from the streets. I will address the issue of low-level-quality-of-life crimes by developing programs to address this issue constructively. I support prisoner release with conditions for non-violent offenders. I would support sentence reduction for good behavior with conditions including work, training, and continuing education requirements. I support common sense criminal justice reform. If violent crime continues to go up, I will support increasing funding for police.

Q2 – There are three groups of lawbreakers who should be sent to prison after their due process rights are followed and if they are convicted in a court room: those who commit violence against girls and women, violent offenders, and Wall Street criminals involved in major environmental crimes harming our land, water, air, and planet and bankers who use fraud to foreclose on homeowners. I will increase law enforcement and police funding until crimes rates come down significantly.

John Cox. (Photo: Cox Campaign)

John Cox:

Q1 – Public safety is rapidly deteriorating in California for many reasons- all driven by those currently in power.  Criminals know that liberal prosecutors and the politicians in Sacramento don’t care about crime or enforcing the law. This emboldens the criminals to commit more and more brazen crimes. This leaves the general public vulnerable and unsafe. It also leads to more violent crime as criminal elements are left unchecked. And it hurts small business owners who can’t afford to absorb the costs of thefts. If all that weren’t enough, Gavin Newsom is letting thousands of violent offenders, even cold-blooded killers out of jail early.  The final straw is the politicians and radical activists pushing to defund the police. They refuse to support the policemen and women who put their lives on the line for us every single day. It’s a travesty when the politicians care more about criminals than they do law enforcement. The career politicians in California have created the perfect storm for criminals to thrive and the citizens and businesses of our state are suffering the consequences.

Q2 – As governor I will back the blue. Law enforcement needs our support now more than ever. Instead of decreasing funding, I will increase funding for law enforcement. Californians will never doubt that I stand on the side of public safety. I will also enforce the laws we have protecting Californians and not criminals. I would never let thousands of violent felons out of jail early to prey on law-abiding citizens. In short, I believe in public safety and being serious about crime, not soft on criminals.

Ted Gaines. (Photo: Ted Gaines)

Ted Gaines:

Q1 – There is no question that our recent crime surge is directly tied to our state’s intentional shift toward codified criminal leniency. Propositions 47 and 57 have made it harder to keep criminals off the street, and the results have been predictably disastrous. Ask anyone who has spent the last few years living in an inner city and they will tell you without hesitation that the problem of crime has gone from bad to worse. Every day it seems we see new footage of businesses being ransacked and innocent people being attacked in the street. New tent cities are popping up faster than we can count them, and corners of California that were once cherished for beauty and tourism are continuing to be crossed off destination lists everywhere. It wasn’t long ago that voters across the spectrum, left and right, understood and agreed with the simple reality that we’re witnessing: if you leave criminals on the streets, you will see your streets fill with crime. Give criminals the space and opportunity to operate, and they will do just that.  When we experienced record high levels of crime in the 1990’s, politicians coast to coast were willing to put aside their differences and crack down until the streets were safe to walk again. Today, Democrat leaders are instead doubling down on bad policy by pushing for early release of violent criminals, eliminating cash bail, and in some cases quite literally sponsoring vagrancy and drug use with tax-funded drug sanctuaries.

Q2 – The answer is and has always been simple: you must be willing to enforce the law. First, give our police officers the means to physically remove criminal elements from our neighborhoods by overturning Prop. 47 and increase -not decrease- funding for our police. But enforcing the law will never be enough if we continue to treat our criminal justice system as a revolving door. Democrats would have you believe that the solution to prison overpopulation is to simply move prisoners out of the prisons and back onto the streets. Let me be clear: as governor, I will never treat our neighborhoods as a substitute for a jail yard. Criminals must be kept in lockup until the entirety of their sentence is served, and our prisons, not our public, must be made to accommodate the criminal population.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. (Photo: Kevin Kiley for Assembly)

Kevin Kiley:

Q1 – A recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California shows a staggering 30.3% increase in homicides last year, the largest jump in a single year since they started consistently keeping records in 1960. These increases are impacting nearly every county in the state, with the Central Valley seeing the highest increase of 71%. This comes as California continues the early release of inmates under the guise of emergency powers.

We have also witnessed calculator-wielding thieves rob department stores in broad daylight, waiving at the security camera on the way out. It’s no wonder two thirds of residents say that kids living in our state today will be worse off than their parents. This used to be the state where anyone could get ahead. It’s now the state that many can’t wait to leave behind.

Q2 – Unlike Gavin Newsom, I will respect the Constitution and make restoring public safety one of my top priorities. I’ll immediately call a Special Session of the Legislature and demand action addressing our core problems: failing schools, homelessness, crime, and the cost of living. The order of the day will be back to basics: Pave our roads, store our water, manage our forests, maintain our grid, fund our police. Do the things government is supposed to do, do them well, and do nothing else.

As a former prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General, I represented the People of California in cases against violent felons. As a Legislator, I authored multiple bills to hold these felons accountable and stop human trafficking. I also authored a bill to strengthen threat assessments on school campuses in order to reduce the risk of school shootings. This received bipartisan support in the Public Safety Committee.

I know first-hand what it takes to support law enforcement and reduce crime. As governor, I will work to get guns out of the hands of criminals without making it more difficult for law abiding citizens to practice their Second Amendment Rights. I will also get serious about public safety reform and work to undo years of harmful policies such as Prop. 47 and 57.

Larry Elder. (Photo: Larry Elder for Governor)

Larry Elder:

Q1 – Soft-on-crime approaches have been a disaster for California. The Sacramento elite—led by Governor Gavin Newsom and his attorney cohorts’—not only enable criminals by allowing them to avoid conviction and incarceration, but hurt law-abiding Californians, especially blacks and minorities in tough areas like where I grew up. There is nothing compassionate about “early release” for prisoners when it is well known that most will re-offend. Where is Newsom’s concern for their past and future victims?

Proposition 47 is terrible too. For all intents and purposes, it gives free rein for theft up to $950. We’ve all seen shocking videos of criminals casually walking out of stores with armfuls of stolen goods. This is outrageous! Law-abiding store owners are forced to bear the brunt of this lawlessness. Small businesses are hurt the most as many are closing their shops early, hoping to help stem the crime sprees. Many are leaving the state altogether. And to those who think these are “harmless”, “low level” crimes, I’d ask you to tell that to the family of the Rite Aid employee who was shot dead trying to stop two men who were looting cases of beer.

The lawlessness doesn’t stop there. Newsom himself was the victim of assault at the hands of an aggressive homeless man. Barbara Boxer was assaulted and robbed in broad daylight. And all of this is compounded by the fact that our police have been made out to be more the enemy than our protector.

Q2 – First of all, I will never sacrifice public safety just to appease a corrupt minority that chants “defund the police” who falsely accuses police officers of “systemic racism.” That’s defamatory. I will support the police in their work, and by doing so, aid the 81% of blacks who disagree and want as much or more police protection in their neighborhoods.

Also, I will never surrender the safety of the streets to the insanity of “no cash bail.” I will work for a fair and firm bail policy. When you reduce the chances of a criminal being caught, convicted, and incarcerated—Guess what? Crime goes up. I will promote and support the repeal of Prop 47 as well as the recall of disastrous district attorneys such as Boudin and Gascon.

As governor, I will restore law and order to California. Criminals will once again be held accountable for their acts, police officers will be supported, and Californians can feel safe again in this beautiful state!

Kevin Faulconer (Photo: Kevin Faulconer for Governor)

Kevin Faulconer:

Q1 – How directly has the combination of the decriminalization (for practical purposes) of shoplifting, vagrancy, certain drug offenses and other “low level/quality of life” crimes, prisoner release/sentence reduction efforts, and the “criminal justice reform” movement –  epitomized by Attorney General Rob Bonta and District Attorneys like Chesa Boudin and George Gascon – impacted the typical Californian?

It’s clear Gavin Newsom does not care about the safety of our communities. He’s enabled the defund the police movement. He’s supported laws that weaken or remove consequences and as a result we’re seeing crime rise to a 13-year high. This level of drug use has greatly impacted Californians, especially our homeless population. I saw it firsthand as Mayor in San Diego. This isn’t acceptable.

Q2 – I believe all families should feel safe and be safe in their own communities. And it’s time we take the safety of all our communities seriously. That’s what I did as Mayor – when the radical defund the police movement protested my house for nights in a row demanding that I defund the police, I did not waiver, and instead worked with our legislative branch on a bipartisan basis to increase police funding. I did so because I believe that if we want to have safe communities – like we did in San Diego under my tenure – we need to invest to attract the best and brightest men and women and give them the tools, training, and equipment necessary to be successful.

As Governor, I’m going to support our police because I believe in safe neighborhoods. I’m going to put victims first and criminals in jail.

Kevin Paffrath. (Photo: Wikipedia, Kevin Paffrath)

Kevin Paffrath:

Q1 – California needs a strong leader to negotiate a massive, community-style policing transformation. As someone who has 3000 hours of time on the road with law enforcement, I recognize the dangers of underfunding police training AND the failure of transparency in police funding currently allocated.

Q2 – To address this we need to rethink policing with our police leaders AND our communities, especially black and brown communities. Rather than over-policing communities with night-prowl cops with headlights off and cracked windows, we should focus on integration: more lighting, community officers supporting local citizens, and serving and protecting by being present. Picture Times Square: we feel safe because of the presence of lights and law enforcement, but they’re not there to over police: they’re present to help. This is what we need more of: officers working with our community to help reduce crime, not over police. This is how we begin to break the cycle of crime. But we must also enforce our laws: we cannot turn a blind eye. Incorporating community policing with Future Schools giving adults and 16–18-year-olds the opportunity to learn careers and financial education is key. Adults of all backgrounds should be offered $2,000 per month to attend a Future School – helping again break the cycle of poverty and crime. With community policing, Future Schools, and an emphasis on investing in drug and mental-health treatment, we can dramatically reduce crime. More details and complete plan at www.MeetKevin.com.

Jenny Rae Le Roux. (Photo: Jenny Rae Le Roux for Governor)

Jenny Rae Le Roux:

Q1 – Our cities are less safe than they have been in over a decade. Gavin Newsom and many local DAs have overseen the largest spike in violent crime in at least 13 years. Four of California’s biggest cities – Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco – saw a ~30% increase in homicides and ~20% increase in both motor vehicle theft and commercial burglaries in 2020.

California currently has the 14th highest violent crime rate in the nation and the 19th lowest incarceration rate (25% lower than the national average).

Under policies fully embraced by Newsom, state prison rolls have been cut by more than 30,000 since the early 2000s. A new 34-state study from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics predicts that ~75% of these former convicts will have been arrested for something else within 5 years after their release. Each one of the crimes that these released convicts commit will impact an innocent Californian, and could have been prevented by Gavin Newsom.

I know firsthand what it’s like to be a victim of crime, and have 3 young children. This is personal for me.

Q2 – I am running to Free California from rising crime. My 6-step Safe Communities plan will accomplish this.

First, I will stop prison closures and early prisoner releases.

Second, I will veto AB 145 and SB 145, which allow the Attorney General to erase criminals’ records dating back to the 1970s.

Third, I will stop the “re-sentencing reform” Newsom is currently attempting that will place more power in the hands of DAs such as Gascón and Boudin to seek “re-sentencing” of those they believe have been punished too harshly. The law is the law – these DAs should follow it.

Fourth, I will audit and reform Corrections spending. Our prison population has decreased by almost ⅓ since 2006 yet Newsom is spending more on Corrections ($12B/year) than at any other point during California history.

Fifth, I will enforce our laws to the fullest extent possible so criminals know their actions have consequences. This shouldn’t need to be said, but Newsom has shown that it does.

Finally, I will fully support and fund our Law Enforcement.

Here’s What the Recall Team Says:

The signature gathering team behind the recall movement was also asked to chime in on the subject.  Here’s what Orrin Heatlie of www.RecallGavin2020.com had to say:

Q1 – What role did the state’s growing crime problem play in the recall effort?

Like the problem with Homelessness, the rise in crime has played a key role in the Recall, because it affects us all. Gov. Newsom has supported “progressive” district attorneys like George Gascon, (LA) and Chesa Boudin (SF). Both of which have seen crime spike in their perspective jurisdictions as a direct result of their dangerous criminal justice reform policies. Add that to this governor’s own soft on crime, criminal advocacy, and his policies to depopulate the prisons, people have opened their eyes and started to pay attention to what is going on around them.

Governor Newsom has already released nearly 20,000 state prisoners and pledged to make another 76,000 eligible for early release. He signed legislation which lightened the sentences for pedophiles and eliminated the registration requirement for some sex offenses. He eliminated the obligation for civilians to come to the aid of a law enforcement officer in need. He suspended the death penalty and made those who were once on death row eligible for parole. One of the prisoners released by Governor Newsom returned home early, then he tortured and killed his two-month-old infant son. He has pardoned hardened criminals, not based on the merits of their case, but based on solely on their immigration status, to prevent their deportation.

Q2 – How vulnerable do you believe the governor is on the crime issue?

The governor is not vulnerable on the crime issue – we are.

Governor Newsom is only called into scrutiny when people are made aware of the real consequences and the suffering caused as a direct result of his policies and decisions is exposed.  It’s an injustice to the victims themselves and society as a whole when Governor Newsom releases criminals from their sentence early. Their debt to society goes unpaid and people lose faith in the justice system as a whole. Beyond that the prisoners themselves are removed from a secure environment where they had access to food, shelter, medical care, counseling, job training, rehabilitation, and educational services. They are turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves without compassion or consideration for their survival. They suffer on the streets without access to shelter, running water, electricity, or even a pot to piss in. The community they are released into suffer as trash litters the streets, crime rates skyrocket and homeless communities take over every available open space.

This isn’t a housing or a crime problem, it’s a leadership problem.

As usual, we asked the Newsom campaign but, also as usual, they chose not to reply.  Here are the questions they could have answered:

Q1 – As governor, do you see any connection between the growing criminal justice “reform” movement and the significant increase in crime the state has experienced recently?

Q2 – Before or after September 14 –  if you prevail in the vote – what actions could or will you take as governor to reduce the negative impacts the growth in crime have on the average Californian?

We could have also asked the governor about the issue of behested donations (that’s when money is donated in a politician’s name to a cause or charity – either legit or a “non-profit” organization run by an otherwise unemployable relative or somewhere in-between) and whether or not those gifts have played a role in any number of his decisions to award state contracts to some of those donors but that, for some reason, is not actually illegal in California – just ethically reprehensible and therefore, technically, different.

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17 thoughts on “What the Recall Candidates are Saying about California’s Escalating Crime

  1. The fraud is starting!
    Foxnews reported that a felon was arrested with 300 bundled recall election ballots in Torrance CA.
    “Hundreds of California recall ballots, drugs, loaded gun found in passed out felon’s car”
    I will generally take Fox with a grain of salt but this was a report of a police arrest with a gun, drugs and ballots.
    Two for one – election fraud and crime – unfortunately this is becoming a win in California
    Why is this not reported by any of the local news outlets…

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