California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced he will seek more than $300 million in state funding over three years to in an effort to provide more support to law enforcement efforts to combat retail theft. This is in response to a massive crime wave taking place across the state: smash-and-grabs, large group robberies, and every imaginable retail establishment from malls to high-end boutiques experiencing untold theft. Walgreens announced that five more outlets in San Francisco would be closing on top of the 17 already shuttered just since 2019, the Globe reported.
Support for law enforcement is much deeper than the creation of a “Real Public Safety Plan” focused on “new investments that will bolster local law enforcement response, ensure prosecutors hold perpetrators accountable and get guns and drugs off our streets.”
While Newsom commits millions to the problem now, he wasn’t always so concerned about the growing crime in his home state.
In June 2020, while Californians were still locked down under Gov. Newsom’s COVID orders, the governor visited Oakland on a “listening tour” following the killing of George Floyd the month before in Minnesota.
The Times Herald reported:
“The city of Oakland marked the latest stop on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s listening tour as he travels the state to meet with community leaders to discuss racism and systemic injustices.”
After the meeting, Newsom was asked specifically about whether he would support calls to defund police departments in the state.
“If you’re calling for eliminating police, no,” Newsom said. “If you’re talking about reimagining and taking the opportunity to look at the responsibility and role that we place on law enforcement to be social workers, mental health workers, get involved in disputes where a badge and a gun are unnecessary, then I think absolutely this is an opportunity to look at all of the above.”
“Reimagining” is the buzz word politicians use when they don’t want to come out and say “reform” or “defund.”
Read that statement again:
“If you’re talking about reimagining and taking the opportunity to look at the responsibility and role that we place on law enforcement to be social workers, mental health workers, get involved in disputes where a badge and a gun are unnecessary, then I think absolutely this is an opportunity to look at all of the above.”
Law enforcement officers make countless life-or-death decisions every day, and political and public support for their work is imperative. When it is not, society descends into chaos and anarchy, as we have in California’s most dangerous cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento.
The Governor claims to be “Building on the Administration’s work in partnership with local law enforcement to bolster public safety,” but it is not clear, nor did he say what they are building on. This is all new.
Governor Gavin Newsom “unveiled a multipronged plan to fight and prevent crime in California,” his press statement announced Friday. “The Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan focuses on new investments that will bolster local law enforcement response, ensure prosecutors hold perpetrators accountable and get guns and drugs off our streets.”
“We’re doubling down on our public safety investments and partnerships with law enforcement officials up and down the state to ensure Californians and small businesses feel safe in their communities – a fundamental need we all share,” said Governor Newsom. “Through robust new investments and ongoing coordination with local agencies, this plan will bolster our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively curb crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians from the devastating gun violence epidemic.”
Not everyone bought this new and improved law-and-order Governor, who up until to Friday, had not addressed the crime wave and violent crimes taking place in the state.
“Today Newsom announced he’s ‘doubling down on our efforts to fight and prevent crime.’ Even math-challenged politicians know what multiplying by zero gets you,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) in a Tweet.
Today Newsom announced he's "doubling down on our efforts to fight and prevent crime." Even math-challenged politicians know what multiplying by zero gets you.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) December 17, 2021
California State Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) had plenty to say on the Governor’s Public Safety Plan:
“It’s laughable to think the Governor, and majority party democrats, can announce a public safety plan seeking to stop the real epidemic crime wave without acknowledging their bad policies led to these disasters. Prop 47 and AB 109 have allowed criminals to freely roam our streets and rob our businesses, without ever receiving the punishments for their actions. I would like to thank Governor Newsom for committing to increase funding for our District Attorneys, police and law enforcement officers, and for coming to the realization that our criminal justice system as a whole is what keeps our communities, families and businesses safe. I’m also pleased my colleagues have finally discovered that there is a fentanyl and drug crisis in our state. With this renewed interest in public safety by the Governor and legislative democrats, I look forward to their support for my SB 350, which seeks to slow down the fentanyl poisoning epidemic, when it comes up for a vote in January. Additionally, I welcome their advocacy for the public safety measures I plan to introduce next year to restore many of the criminal penalties removed or lessened by the majority party over the past decade.”
Assembly Public Safety Committee Vice-Chair Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) issued a stern statement:
“This plan is too little, too late. While Democrats around the state are scrambling to evade the fallout from a decade of pro-criminal policies, they can’t hide from their record of zero bail, defunding the police and pathetically light sentences for criminals who repeatedly prey on innocent Californians.
“More funding for law enforcement is a good thing, but it won’t make a dent in the crime wave if radical prosecutors let criminals out as they’re caught and state lawmakers continue watering down penalties for breaking the law.”
“Democrats are the party of defunding the police, zero bail and early release for felons. No matter how tough they act, things won’t change until they begin putting victims and law-abiding Californians first.”
Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) had this to say:
Gavin Newsom and AG Rob Bonta are doing a big presser today on how they are going to combat crime. No one should take them seriously. They literally championed the very policies that have led to this crime wave.
— James Gallagher (@J_GallagherAD3) December 17, 2021
Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) commented:
An astute bail agent also weighed in:
“Newsom and (AG) Bonta avoided the elephant in the room responsible for the rise in crime in CA. ZERO BAIL Pilot Program that cost CA Taxpayers $76M and Prop 47. Both should have been addressed today. Instead Newsom decides to throw $250M into a burning inferno.”
Again, claiming to be “Building on the Administration’s ongoing efforts,” the Governor says “the Real Public Safety Plan’s three core areas of focus crack down on crime to keep communities safe by:”
Bolstering Local Law Enforcement Response to Stop and Apprehend Criminals
- Increased Local Law Enforcement to Combat Retail Theft: The Real Public Safety Plan includes $255 million in grants for local law enforcement over the next three years to increase presence at retail locations and combat organized, retail crime so Californians and small businesses across the state can feel safe.
- Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit: Governor Newsom’s Plan includes a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit. Operated by the California Highway Patrol, the unit will consist of enforcement fleets that will work with local law enforcement to crack down on organized retail, auto and rail theft in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego regions.
- Keeping Our Roads Safe: With the Real Public Safety Plan, CHP will now be able to strategically deploy more patrols based on real-time data to help keep our roads safe. Governor Newsom will also work with the Legislature to upgrade highway camera technology to gather information to help solve crimes.
- Support for Small Businesses Victimized by Retail Theft: Governor Newsom’s Plan will create a new grant program to help small businesses that have been the victims of smash-and-grabs to get back on their feet quickly.
All of this is certainly needed, but even more, Californians deserve a governor who supports public safety more than he cares about politics, platitudes and virtue signaling soundbites. Police and sheriffs need to know they are supported from the top, which has not been the case. These have not been “ongoing efforts.”
For more information on the crime wave in California and to understand the origins, read “California’s Alarming Cocktail of Criminal Justice ‘Reforms’ Responsible for Major Crime Wave,” and “Californians’ Quality of Life is on a Collision Course With the Rule of Law.”