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California’s Most Memorable Political Moments of 2019

California Globe unpacks some of the state’s recent unforgettable acts in state government

By Katy Grimes, December 31, 2019 2:08 am

During his swearing in on January 7, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom wowed the crowds at his inauguration. But many wondered about his intentions following eight years as a frustrated and even bored California Lieutenant Governor.

Newsom did not disappoint in terms of keeping the media abuzz. Nor did the California Legislature.

This review of some of the most memorable moments in California politics during 2019 is made possible by the input and expertise of many policy experts and political wonks in Sacramento throughout 2019, and on the pages of California Globe.

Executive Orders, Signed Bills, Special Dispensations and Vetoes

Gov. Newsom signed 70 bills that his predecessor Jerry Brown had vetoed the prior year or two, and he vetoed nearly two dozen bills that Brown had also vetoed.

Through an Executive Order, California Governor Gavin Newsom has redirected gas tax money to fund railway systems and other projects. Californians pay the highest gas prices in the nation, most of which is taxes. The gas tax revenue would have repaired and upgraded the state’s broken highways and roads.

CEQA dispensation: Gov. Newsom signed legislation to let only Los Angeles bypass most of the California Environmental Quality Act to build housing for the homeless and shelters. This exemption is usually only reserved for professional sports arenas and stadiums.

Homeless Vagrants Allowed to Wallow in Filth on California Streets

Homelessness Epidemic: California’s vagrant street population exploded in 2019, bringing with it diseases once thought to have been mostly eradicated by the 15th century. Radio host and physician, Dr. Drew Pinsky sounded the alarms that the bubonic plague, carried by rats, could explode on the streets of Los Angeles because of the filth that more than 160,000 homeless vagrants were living in. Hepatitis, typhoid fever – another medieval disease – and hundreds of cases of typhus in Los Angeles County,  Pinsky said the entire population of California may be at risk.

Sacramento, San Francisco (and its notorious online defecation maps), San Diego, Fresno, and most other cities experienced identical homeless explosions, along with a major spike in property crimes and health conditions.

Amid these serious disease outbreaks, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of bills banning the sale of new fur products, banning certain animals from being used in circus acts, and legislation prohibiting hunting or killing bobcats in California.

‘Fires, Floods and Fools’

Climate Change Hysteria: Following in the footsteps of former Gov. Jerry Brown and his claim of the “existential threat of climate change,” numerous state and local California politicians continued to declare a “climate state of emergency” replete with the usual hyperbole like “this century will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy over the next 12 years” and “The United States has repeatedly obstructed efforts to transition to a green economy and thus bears extraordinary responsibility to rapidly address these existential threats,” reported Andy Caldwell, congressional candidate in California’s 24th congressional district on the Central Coast. 

Caldwell suffers no fools. “Having written nearly 2,000 opinion columns in the course of my career, there is one particular subject that I have repeated over and over,” Caldwell said. “It has to do with the dangers and implications of wildland fires. I characterize these observations by way of the subject line “fires, floods and fools.”

Theft by Executive Order

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order authorizing the looting of voter-approved gas tax funding for road repairs and highway expansions to be used to fight “climate change” via the high speed rail he promised to shut down. The Executive Order by the Governor requires state government to “redouble its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building a sustainable inclusive economy.”

The most expensive median home price in the U.S.

Solar mandate – California home prices already average more than $605,000, and effective in 2020, all new construction has a legislative mandate to install solar on every new home and commercial building built, adding significantly more cost to an already hefty price. 

The Revolving Door…

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez authored a bill to keep legislators from becoming lobbyists, but it was  killed in committee by lawmakers like Assemblymen Chad Mayes (former Republican, now NPP-Riverside) and Ian Calderon (D-City of Industry), both of whom are most likely going to become lobbyists soon.

Assembly Bill 5

The end of the legislative session each year always brings drama, sub-rosa backroom deals under the cover of darkness, accusations of double-dealing, and surprises. In 2019, the end of session also brought insults, bullying, tears, coercion, and the usual backroom deals. Specifically, Assembly Bill 5  by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Assembly Bill 170, a gut-and-amend bill Gonzalez said was forced on her by the Senate to add one more limited exemption into AB 5, if she wanted AB 5 to pass.

AB 5, written by the AFL-CIO, will serve to significantly limit Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers.

Gonzalez’s Twitter feed over the recent weekend showed cracks in the armor. Last week Gonzalez attacked freelancers after media outlet Vox fired 200 of their freelance writers because of AB 5:

“I’m sure some legit freelancers lost substantial income,” she tweeted following Vox’s mass firings, “and I empathize with that especially this time of year. But Vox is a vulture.”

“These were never good jobs,” Gonzalez said earlier this month. “No one has ever suggested that, even freelancers.”

Some say the day that will live in infamy is when Gov. Newsom signed AB 5. California Globe contributor Edward Ring said, “Sure, the main target was Uber. But Uber will make a deal, one way or another, with these unions. The real victims will be Uber’s upstart competitors who can’t afford union payscales and union rules at the same time as they try to grow to scale. Ditto for every other affected industry. And never mind the massive collateral damage – killing every independent contractor out there who doesn’t want to join a union, or get a ‘license.'”

Mandatory Vaccinations

The incredible speed at which the Governor signed Democratic Sen. Richard Pan’s mandatory vaccine bills after they were passed out of the legislature took less than an hour. There are now lawsuits against this mandate that removed any religious or medical exemptions on vaccines. And parents say if the State of California enforces the vaccine mandates in order for children to be enrolled in all schools, they will pull their kids out of California schools and even leave the state. 

In the 1960’s, children received only four vaccines: Smallpox, measles, polio and mumps vaccines. Now, children receive as many as 24 shots by 2 years of age and five shots in a single visit. Most children receive 49 vaccinations by the age of six, and more than 60 vaccinations from day of birth to age 18. Newborns receive eight routine vaccinations in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s vaccine schedule, during the first 15 months of life.

Charter Schools Under Attack

Education scholar Lance Izumi with the Pacific Research Institute said Gov. Newsom’s decimating charter school growth by signing AB 1505, “local school boards can deny a charter petition if it finds that the proposed charter ‘is demonstrably unlikely to serve the interests of the entire community,’ which is a carte-blanche reason to deny any charter petition.”

Izumi added, “The AB 1505 compromise will ensure that most such children will never get a chance at a better education.”

Other California Issues

  • Some in and around the State Capitol are critical of a special election that resulted in another legislative husband and wife team, this time of Sen. Brian and now-Assemblywoman Megan Dahle.
  • Investigative journalist Andy Ngo was beaten up by Antifa at Berkeley, and received traumatic brain injuries. He is now suing the Antifa members who attacked him.
  • The plastic straw and tiny shampoo bottle ban was passed during a time when the catastrophic epidemic of criminal vagrancy, drug addiction, mental illness, chronic/willful homelessness, and real homelessness, brought on by Prop 47  has mushroomed. Some called this “fiddling while Rome burned.”
  • The creeping Social Justice-oriented agenda in public school curriculum, and the lawsuits parents are bringing about are moving forward.
  • The rapid rise and fall of Rep. Katie Hill and the “throuple” affair Hill and her husband allegedly had with a young staffer have lead to Hill’s resignation and an election to replace her.

Water, Water, Water

California voters have approved more than $30 Billion in Water Bonds which has provided no new water storage, and water rationing on the horizon. 

California Globe spoke to noted water expert Kristi Diener for an update on this complicated matter:

In water year 2019, which spanned from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019, an amount of water equal to a year’s supply for 275 million people flowed under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to the Pacific Ocean. Rather than acting to build new, major, reservoir storage to capture all we can when Mother Nature brings us bountiful water for free, California continuously obstructs, and has even used the courts to block putting dam shovels in the ground. In fact, lawmakers recently enacted their own expensive and ineffective solution instead.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), authored two new mandatory water rationing bills. Senate Bill 606, and Assembly Bill 1668, were easily passed along party lines, signed into law, and will gradually keep ratcheting indoor water use down over the next 10 years, until it reaches 50 gallons per person per day. Unlike expanded reservoirs that capture additional new water to meet the current and future water needs of a growing population, Californians will adapt to living water poor. The cost of the new regulatory body, and added level of bureaucracy necessary to enforce these rationing laws, will be passed on to taxpayers. Water rates will continue to rise, and the “use less, pay more” scenario will increase. What’s worse is the actual water savings will be insignificant.

Rapid Fire Highlights on Gov. Newsom’s Strangely ‘Incoherent’ Positions

There are some big questions on policy positions Gov. Newsom appears to have flipped on, or came out of left field:

1. The high-speed rail project – he vowed to kill it in his first state-of-the-state speech, then flipped on it within the week, allowing one strange segment of the rail to be built in the Central Valley, nicknamed “the conjugal express,” going from prison to prison, Madera to Bakersfield.  The goal for the strange and unnecessary rail line was so California would not have to return $3.5 billion to the federal government.

2. The governor suing Huntington Beach for rejecting fake housing goals even though they were building more housing than other cities who pretended to have goals;

3. The wildfire problem which is a result of decades of preservationist policy honed by the radical left environmentalists not some cultish theory of climate change;

4. Homelessness and mental illness and appointing two of the most dubious elected officials to lead his panel: Gov. Newsom named ‘Leaders & Statewide Experts’ to advise on the homeless crisis… Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas have been so effective in eradicating the homeless in their cities, they will now recommend how to spend the $1 billion Newsom allotted in the budget to fight homelessness.

5. The many commissions Gov. Newsom has set up to fix every problem under the sun:  a new commission to study “the future of work,” a single-payer health care commission, Commission of the Californias, and DMV Strike Force are just a few.  

6. Every press release with the sentiments of “historic” or “unprecedented,” according to Capitol watchers;

7. The phalanx of bodyguards and armed guards with the governor at all times;

8. Leaving the historic Governor’s mansion downtown to move into another mansion in a suburban part of town for his family; 

9. His vindictive reactions to President Trump, especially when he is frequently asking for more federal funds;

10. The federal defunding of High Speed Rail;

11. The state travel ban list expansion, now up to 11 states, recently adding Iowa to the list based on passage of a law in Iowa that removed gender protections under Medicaid.

2020 looks to be just as interesting in California politics. Happy New Year everyone.

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