LA City Councilman Says ‘Kids are Afraid to Walk to School’ Due to Needles, Human Waste, Psychotic Behavior

Los Angeles city council member told Dr. Phil on Friday that kids have to “step over needles, human waste,” and deal with people exhibiting “psychotic behavior” on their way to school due to the homeless crisis in California.

Dr. Phil explained how a recent piece of local legislation to address the dangerous homeless tent cities has caused outrage among activists.

“At a recent Los Angeles city council meeting, members voted to prohibit homeless people from setting up tents within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers,” Dr. Phil summarized. “Protesters at one point shut down the meeting, angered by new restrictions that will expand the number of locations where sleeping and camping are prohibited.”

L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a Democrat, defended the vote.

“No child in America should be afraid to walk to school, and what we have found in Los Angeles [is] kids are afraid to walk to school,” he warned. “They tell their parents they have to step over needles, human waste, and deal with individuals unfortunately suffering from psychotic behavior – right next to their playground area.”

Buscaino went out of his way to say this is not about bigotry against homeless people, but recognizing the need to protect certain vulnerable public spaces in society.

“So, I’m saying again, it’s not a crime to be homeless, but these are sensitive spaces we have to protect, the most sensitive spaces among us. Playgrounds, beaches, libraries, parks – and have some accountability for those who are in these spaces,” he said.

Dr. Phil also spoke to TikTok star Franky Bernstein, who has made multiple videos chronicling his encounters with homeless crime in Venice, California. 

Bernstein’s TikTok videos ranged from him describing an encounter with a “homeless guy with a shotgun,” noting that “it took the cops 30 minutes to show up, which is insane,” to his confrontation with a “homeless man with a club” trying to break into his neighbor’s house, after which the homeless man allegedly attempted to break into another home “three doors down.”

Dr. Phil praised Bernstein for not just recording the problem, but for using his own time to take part in actually solving it.

Bernstein said, “I’ve dealt with my own fair share of addiction and mental health problems, just like I’m sure everybody in this room has, or a family member, so I totally get it.”

He said that the homeless crisis is more a matter of will for the American public than a matter of money, claiming, “One of the main problems as a civilian is that most people don’t do anything.”

He added, “We could have all the money in the world to solve this problem, but if we don’t have enough people showing up to volunteer, it’s not really going to work.”

Elsewhere in the episode, Dr. Phil dropped some alarming stats about homelessness in California, such as the claim that the state has “more than half of all unsheltered homeless people in the United States, and the highest number of homeless encampments.” 

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews

Why Is The State Giving Your Health Data to Political Consultants?

In May 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a “Vax for the Win” sweepstakes that would give away $116.5 million, with big cash prizes awarded in random drawings to dozens of lucky winners. Everyone who received a COVID vaccine was automatically entered.

“We have your information in our system,” Newsom said. The Mercury News reported that he was “referring to the millions of vaccination records in the California Public Department of Health’s confidential, digital Immunization Information System.”

The state “maintains a confidential registry of all vaccine recipients,” CalMatters reported, noting the governor’s assurance that the names of the winners would be kept confidential unless the individuals volunteered to have their information released.

But the confidentiality of the information in the state’s vaccine registry has a big loophole in it through which the confidential data is flowing to a political consulting firm called Street Level Strategy, LLC.

“I’m being stalked by the state of California,” one Los Angeles resident told me recently. “I just got a call from a guy who told me he has my file and he sees I got the Pfizer vaccine, but not a booster.” The caller identified himself as being with “Street Level Campaigns” and said they had a contract with “public health” to help people make appointments to get boosters.

Here’s how Street Level Campaigns describes itself on its website: “Street Level Campaigns, LLC (SLC) is a grassroots consulting firm specializing in community organizing, voter contact, and coalition building. Our clients include candidates, ballot measures, issue campaigns, non-profit organizations, and trade associations. SLC is an affiliate of our sister organization Street Level Strategy, LLC a national public affairs consulting firm.”

That description appears on a page listing a job opening for “Directors to lead teams of Community Organizers for political and public affairs campaigns.”

Responding to questions about the contract, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said this in an email: “MyTurn, the state’s vaccine appointment program launched by CDPH, shares a list of booster eligible California residents with Street Level Strategy, LLC that includes names, age, gender, ethnicity, contact information and vaccination history in order to prioritize equity, with a focus on reaching communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, the person who contacted me about the phone call from Street Level Campaigns did not make an appointment through MyTurn, choosing instead to go to a walk-up vaccination site. The next day, the person received a text from the California Department of Public Health. “Hi, congratulations on getting your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” it began, and then listed the type of vaccine, the lot number and the date and time it was received.

MyTurn, in other words, collected data from people who did not visit the MyTurn site and voluntarily provide it. Instead, the staff operating the walk-up vaccination site reported the data to the state. And now the state “shares” that data with Street Level Strategy, LLC.

In its emailed responses to questions, CDPH said the contract “includes terms and conditions that outline information privacy and security requirements,” and “provisions which limit the use and retention of individual’s confidential information,” and “specific information security controls Street Level Strategy must have in place to maintain and protect the security of the data.”

Let’s hope that’s enough, because the state of California has given this political consulting shop $12.7 million in contracts and access to a confidential digital registry of every California resident who has received a COVID vaccine. The contract was awarded without competitive bidding under the authority of the governor’s emergency declaration of March 4, 2020, even though work under this contract did not begin until July 16, 2021.

Who is Street Level Strategy, LLC?

The president and founder of Street Level Strategy is Pat Dennis. His profile on the company website says that before he founded the firm, he “directed grassroots operations for labor and independent expenditure committees in over 50 congressional races throughout the country and worked as an organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).”

Others on the team have resumés that include organizing and advocacy work for progressive groups and labor unions. The company markets the service of “building authentic, engaged, and active grassroots coalitions of everyday people” to “shape policy outcomes at the local, state and national levels.”

CDPH said the contract’s “Exhibit F,” titled the “HIPAA Business Associate Addendum,” contains “multiple provisions that limit and restrict retention or use of data provided to Street Level Strategy.” But shouldn’t this contract have gone to a company in the health care industry, one with experience handling confidential medical data?

In a June 2021 story headlined, “California Vaccination Records Raise Data Privacy Concerns,” the Mercury News reported that some experts had “fresh privacy concerns about Californians’ health data” as the state surpassed 50 million vaccine doses delivered.

Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, noted that the California Information Practices Act and HIPAA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, impose confidentiality obligations on health care providers and on state agencies, such as the California Department of Public Health, but he worried about the data security of local health agencies, where he said those laws don’t apply.

ecca Cramer-Mowder agreed with Dixon that the federal waivers might make it easier for patient information to seep into the hands of data brokers.

“Other legal experts, however, are less concerned,” the Mercury News reported, citing Stanford Law School professor Michelle Mello, who said California “will have no direct involvement in furnishing companies with medical data.”

Click here to read the full article at OC Register

Will California Meet the Moment on Homelessness?

It translates roughly into willingness to handle pressing issues and, of course, he uses it mostly to describe his own resolve.

So, one might ask, are Newsom, the Legislature, and city and county officials truly willing to confront California’s worst-in-the-nation epidemic of homelessness that gives its cities a third world ambience?

Whether or not Newsom intends to pursue his political career beyond the state, he knows that its squalid urban images undermine his oft-voiced characterization of California as a shining model of progressive governance.

The harsh reality is that despite spending billions of federal, state and local taxpayers’ dollars on programs aimed at sheltering the unsheltered and ameliorating underlying factors, the number of homeless people on the streets, sidewalks and parks of California cities continues to climb and at a minimum approaches 200,000.

Repeatedly, California voters disgusted by the filth and/or moved by compassion tell pollsters that homelessness is a crisis that politicians must address. Los Angeles voters just elected a new mayor, Karen Bass, on her promise to clean up the city and passed a new tax on real estate transactions that would raise hundreds of millions of dollars to make it happen. A newly re-elected Newsom says it will be the highest priority of his second term.

The specifics of what they or other political figures might do are murky, since there’s little, if any, consensus on what approaches would be most effective, and the lines of responsibility among the various levels of government are equally blurry. One obvious problem is that while homelessness is most evident within cities, health and welfare programs are largely administered by counties, using state and federal funds.

That conflict is very evident in Sacramento, the state capital, where city and county officials have sparred constantly over who’s responsible. Sacramento city voters just passed a new law banning homeless encampments on public property — but only if the city and county can agree on new shelters or campgrounds.

It’s one of a slew of new laws passed by either voters or local officials to restrict where the homeless can camp. Newsom, meanwhile, is clamping down on encampments along state-owned roadways.

Intergovernmental wrangling surfaced publicly just before the election when Newsom rejected all plans to reduce homelessness submitted by local officials who were trying to qualify for a new pot of state money.

He complained that the plans would seek only a 2% decline in homelessness, adding, “Everyone has to do better — cities , counties and the state included. We are all in this together.”

He was even more pointed in a Los Angeles Times interview, saying, “Deliver damn results. … It’s a crisis. Act like it. Everybody step up. I’m not the mayor. You want me to come in? I’ll do the job. I’ll do it. Happily. I’ve been going into cities cleaning up encampments. Has anyone gotten the hint? If someone did that to me when I was mayor, I’d be like, ‘OK, I got it.’”

Later, he met with a delegation of local officials and they emerged with pledges to become more aggressive in dealing with the issue. However, local officials are still reluctant to make commitments for programs without assurances of long-term financial support.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Court Rules School Districts in California Can’t Mandate Vaccines

A California appeals court ruled on Tuesday that only the state, and not individual school districts, can issue vaccine mandates for students. [Napa Valley Register]

The ruling comes following a legal challenge to the San Diego Unified School District’s attempt to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for students ages 16 and older. It marks the first ruling by a state appeals court and will be binding on lower courts statewide unless overturned by the California Supreme Court or contradicted by another appeals court.

In Sept. 2021, the San Diego district, which is California’s second largest school district, proposed requiring its older students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend classes and participate in sports and other in-person events. The proposed mandate would allow for medical exemptions but not religious or personal ones. Later, the district announced it would postpone any mandate until at least July 2023.

“The Legislature has mandated that public health officials — not school authorities — determine the disease(s) for which vaccinations are required,” the California 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego stated on Tuesday.

California requires schoolchildren to be vaccinated against 10 communicable diseases, including measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio and rubella. The appeals court noted state law allows the California Department of Public Health to add diseases to that list, but it does not expressly authorize local agencies to do so.

Click here to read the full article in Cal Coast

California Looks to Ban Diesel Trucks at Ports by 2035

Truckers say the state’s lack of charging stations for big rigs is major obstacle to switching to electric

An ambitious California plan to require trucking fleets in the state to switch from diesel to electric power faces a potential backup at charging stations. 

The California Air Resources Board is proposing phasing out older big rigs operating in the busy corridors shuttling shipping containers between ports, rail yards and warehouses and require that all new vehicles be powered by clean fuels starting in 2024. From 2025, the state would bar trucks powered by internal combustion engines that have more than 800,000 miles on them from operating at ports and rail yards.

The goal is to push more than 30,000 heavily-polluting trucks to clean energy by 2035. Trucking industry officials say there is a big gap between the target and the charging infrastructure that barely exists today and would take years to build. 

“Nobody is saying we don’t want to move to advanced technology,” said Matt Schrap, chief executive of the Harbor Trucking Association, an advocacy group that represents thousands of the state’s port truckers. Truckers can’t meet the deadline, he said, “because there’s no charging.”

The conflict between infrastructure and ambitions in California highlights the challenges that states face as they try to push some of the most heavily-polluting sectors of the logistics industry toward clean fuels. 

California leads the nation in its bid to wean drivers off gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. CARB, the state’s main regulatory body for air quality, passed rules this summer banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. It has also passed rules mandating that truck dealers ensure zero-emission vehicles make up an increasing share of sales over the next decade.

The latest proposed rule, which also pushes fleets of vans, long-haul trucks and buses to transition to zero-emission vehicles over varying timelines, is aimed at creating a market for dealers by forcing truckers into clean-energy rigs. The state regulatory board is expected to vote on the rule next spring.

Tony Brasil, a clean-energy trucking specialist at CARB, said the regulations solve a chicken-and-egg problem. Truckers won’t buy vehicles without a charging infrastructure in place, he said, but companies won’t invest in charging stations if they can’t be certain of demand. Requiring that dealers and truckers make the switch should give companies confidence to invest in charging stations, Mr. Brasil said.

Truckers say they face big challenges in moving to electric trucks. The trucks tend to cost two or three times as much as diesel trucks, which retail for about $150,000. Most electric trucks today have a range of between 100 and 200 miles between charges, making longer trucking routes impractical.

Aaron Brown, senior vice president of port services for logistics and trucking operator NFI Industries, said the Camden, N.J.-based firm is introducing about 90 electric trucks in Southern California over the next year. NFI is also installing dozens of chargers across three depots that are close to ports and warehouses. 

The firm, one of the nation’s largest privately held trucking companies, has plenty of customers that rely on roughly 90-mile, round-trip routes shuttling cargo between nearby ports and warehouses. It also has customers willing to pay a premium for a zero-emissions haul.

“We are counting on the shipper community to pay significantly elevated prices to support the higher equipment costs,” Mr. Brown said.   

Chris Shimoda, senior vice president of government affairs at the California Trucking Association, said it will be harder for smaller companies and independent truckers to operate electric trucks without a public charging network.  

California has about 80,000 electric-vehicle chargers, according to state data, almost all of them for cars and light trucks. State officials say they don’t know how many heavy-duty electric-charging stations there are in California, but they estimate the state will need 157,000 chargers by 2030 to support electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. 

The Port of Long Beach, where trucks handle hundreds of container movements each day, has two truck charging stations and plans to add more. A spokesman at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles says it doesn’t expect to add many chargers because of concerns about “local traffic impacts, available land and the grid improvements needed.”

Elizabeth John, who manages the California Energy Commission office that oversees investments in heavy-duty zero-emission infrastructure, said most heavy-duty charging stations are being built for private yards. 

Ms. John said public charging stations should follow quickly as the state provides billions of dollars in grants and as companies install charging stations and charge drivers for parking and filling up. ”There are a number of different business models emerging that will help support a network,” she said. 

Click here for the full article in the Wall Street Journal

California Governor Set to Release $1B for Homelessness

California Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed to release $1 billion in state homelessness funding he testily put on pause earlier this month, but only if local governments agree to step up the aggressiveness of their plans going forward to reduce the number of unhoused people in the state.

The Democratic governor said his afternoon meeting Friday with about 100 mayors and local officials in person and virtually was productive, with leaders getting on the same page about what needs to be done and willing to step up on their goals.

“It was nice to hear their progress. And it was nice to hear their recognition that we have to get to another level,” he said to reporters after the two-hour plus meeting. “What I want to see is what everybody wants to see: the streets of California cleaned up. We want to see encampments cleaned up, we want to see people housed.”

Newsom, who coasted to reelection this month, is on the hook in his second term to show reductions in the growing number of unhoused individuals, some of whom camp out along city sidewalks and under highway underpasses, exasperating even the most politically liberal voters in the country’s most populous state.

He stunned the state when he announced two weeks ago that he would withhold $1 billion in spending until cities and counties came up with more robust plans, calling submitted plans “simply unacceptable” as they would collectively reduce the state’s homeless population by just 2% over the next four years.

Mayors and county officials — many of whom are Democrats — as well as advocates for low-income housing pushed back against his effort to withhold funding, saying it was counterproductive to hold money needed for shelter beds, outreach workers and other services for unhoused people. They pleaded with the governor for more direction — as well as guaranteed, ongoing funding to build more ambitious plans.

On Friday, he reiterated the record amount of money his administration has spent on housing and homelessness, including a recent commitment by state lawmakers to spend $15.3 billion over the next three years. The money has kept tens of thousands of people housed, he said, but acknowledged people were not seeing results on the streets.

Newsom said he had no plans on turning his back on local governments, but that “finding new dedicated money as we enter into what could be a recession with the headwinds, one has to be sober about that — just as they’re sober about that with their budgets.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg defended Newsom, saying after the meeting that he understood the governor’s need to provoke local governments into action. He praised Newsom for his leadership on the issue — from converting motels into homes to new mental health courts to treat homeless people with schizophrenia and other serious mental health conditions.

But not everyone understood the point of Friday’s meeting.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who joined virtually, said there were too many people and little room for “forthright, constructive dialogue.” He and other mayors were told several days ago that Newsom planned to release the money if they submitted new plans.

Broadly, the governor seemed to be on a different page than the state housing department, which worked with San Jose and other cities on their original plans, said Liccardo, also a Democrat.

“There seems to be countervailing notions about what is required,” he said.

The California State Association of Counties was blunt in its criticism.

“We can’t fix an ongoing crisis with one-time commitments. Progress requires clear state, county, and city roles aligned with sustainable, equitable funding. We need to get out of our own way and work together,” said Graham Knaus, executive director of the association that represents the state’s 58 counties.

Addressing homelessness has for decades been left to local governments in California, but Newsom took office in 2019 vowing to own an issue he said he understood intimately as a former mayor of San Francisco, where tent encampments crowd sidewalks and people in clear mental health crisis are a common sight.

California had an estimated 161,000 unhoused people in 2020 with the number expected to be higher this year, the result of the state’s high cost of housing and historic under-building of homes. Advocates for the homeless say that they can’t keep up and that even as they find housing for some, many more lose their homes.

That possibility of a separate funding stream for homelessness became dimmer this week after state officials announced Wednesday that California will likely have a $25 billion budget deficit next year after a run of historic surpluses.

The state’s 13 largest cities, 58 counties and 44 groups of homeless service providers submitted 75 applications detailing their plans for spending $1 billion in what was the third round of disbursements.

An additional $1 billion is on the table, but Newsom won’t release that money unless those governments pledge “to be more aggressive across the board,” said Erin Mellon, spokesperson for the governor’s office. Plans are due in two weeks.

Applicants also must agree to implement as many best practices as possible, including more efficient methods of getting people into housing and streamlining the building of more homes for poor and extremely poor households.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Victory Within Reach for Esmeralda Soria in 27th Assembly District Race Against Mark Pazin

Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria continues to hold a slim, but increasingly safe-looking, lead over Mark Pazin in their contentious contest to represent the 27th Assembly District in the California Legislature. The latest results also bring clarity to many Fresno County races, but a seat in Congress remains too close to call. After updated election returns Friday afternoon from Fresno and Madera counties, Democrat Soria has 44,784 votes, or 51.2%, while Republican Mark Pazin, the former sheriff of Merced County, has 42,734, or 48.8%. The margin of about 2,050 votes is only a slight change from midweek totals. The 27th District includes portions of Fresno, Merced and Madera counties. Across all three counties, regardless of district, there remain a total of about 3,300 ballots left for election officials to process and count. For Pazin to make up the difference on Soria, not only would the lion’s share of those unprocessed ballots need to come from voters in the 27th District, but Pazin would have to garner the vast majority of them.

One North Valley race that remains very much in doubt is in the 13th Congressional District. That hotly-contested election pitted longtime state Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, against Republican businessman and farmer John Duarte of Hughson. Since Election Night on Nov. 8, the lead has see-sawed back and forth between the two men, and at no time has the margin even reached one percentage point.

That didn’t change after Friday’s updates from Fresno and Madera counties, which make up part of the district along with Merced County and portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. Duarte now has 63,539 votes, or 50.3% of votes counted to date, compared to 62,674 for Gray – a margin of 865 votes or six-tenths of a percentage point. The California Secretary of State’s office reported Friday that Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties still have more than 60,000 ballots yet to process and count. But it is unclear how many of those ballots are from voters in the 13th District. The 13th remains closely watched nationwide because a Duarte victory would add to the narrow margin that the Republican Party has now secured in the U.S. House of Representatives, while a win for Gray would strengthen the Democrats’ position as the minority party. In addition to the multi-county races for the Assembly and House of Representatives, the newest update from Fresno County helped to solidify the results in a slew of local contests from the Nov. 8 midterm general election.

FRESNO UNIFIED In one of the most closely-watched Fresno Unified School District board races, incumbent Veva Islas widened her lead over challenger Karen Steed, a retired FUSD teacher, for the district’s McLane High School area seat. The margin between the two candidates, which was as narrow as 25 votes election night, has grown to 325 votes. That gives Islas almost 45% of the vote, to Steed’s 39.7%. Chemist Michelle Scire, a second challenger, trails with 15.2%. There have been talks of a possible recount in this race, according to Islas, although Steed neither confirmed nor denied her intentions to request one in an interview Tuesday. As for the other three Fresno Unified seats that were up for election, two incumbents and one challenger have maintained commanding leads with every updated tally since election night. In the Bullard High School area, challenger Susan Wittrup, a retired FUSD school psychologist, leads incumbent Terry Slatic, a retired United States Marine Corps major, by almost 6,000 votes. She’s taken 58% of the vote to Slatic’s 26%. FUSD teacher James Barr and retired FUSD campus safety assistant Michael Haynes are in third and fourth with 11.7% and 4.3% of the vote, respectively. Incumbents in the two remaining races ran out to early leads election night and have held onto them ever since. Keshia Thomas, the incumbent in the district’s Edison High area, maintains a commanding lead of over 2,000 votes over her sole challenger Wayne Horton. Thomas has 76% to Horton’s 23.8%. Valerie F. Davis, the incumbent in Fresno Unified’s Sunnyside High area, is in first place in a pool of four by a little under 2,000 votes. She leads with 47.4% to alternative educator Karl C. Diaz’s second place with about 23.3% of the vote. Educator Tammy McMahon-Gorans follows with 20.7% of the vote, and marketer Michael Osmer is in last place with 8.5%. CLOVIS UNIFIED Little has changed in Clovis Unified’s two races on the ballot as well. Nonprofit executive and former Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier still leads in the competition for the district’s Area 1 seat by over 4,000 votes. He carried 39.3% to communications consultant Samantha Bauer’s 32.4%. Businessman Chuck Der Manouel and Realtor Joanne Burton lag behind with about 23.5% and 4.6% of the vote, respectively. In the race for the Area 6 seat, parent and teacher Deena Combs-Flores handily leads by over 14,000 votes. She’s taken 62% to retired business owner Bill Whitmore’s 37.9%.

Click to here read the full story at Fresno Bee

Gov. Newsom Relying on Politics and Deceit over CA’s High Gas Prices

We are witnessing political science and not climate science

Californians pay the highest income taxes in the nation, have the highest taxes on the wealthy, highest gas taxes and highest gas prices at the pump, highest housing prices, highest energy prices, most regressive taxes hurting the poor… need we keep going? California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest proposal is a new tax on oil suppliers, and will only serve to make gas prices even higher.

But CLIMATE CHANGE!

Gov. Newsom continues to demonize the oil and gas industry for “windfall oil company profits,” while patting himself on the back for “taking action to lower prices at the pump, by ordering the switch to winter-blend gasoline.” He also is “demanding accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California,” by calling for a windfall tax on oil companies, claiming that money “would go directly back to California taxpayers.”

We don’t believe for a minute that Gov. Newsom is woefully ignorant of the supply and demand economic model of price determination in a market. So that means the governor is relying on politics and deceit.

California’s record-high gas prices have been as high as nearly $8.00 per gallon in some locations.

Newsom cannot legislate a better climate by increasing energy costs, and turning over more energy decisions to unelected state bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists. This is one of the worst things California’s Governor and politicians can do while claiming they are  “saving the planet,” but really harming Californians economically.

The Western States Petroleum Association has warned Gov. Newsom will start banning gasoline, diesel and even hybrid cars and trucks in 2026, well before California has an electrical grid that can handle the increased energy demand while keeping our light on, or before there are more affordable electric vehicle options for families.

Energy providers currently direct electric car owners to NOT charge their vehicles during hot days when they anticipate energy shortages and possible rolling blackouts.

The California Air Resources Board is leading this charge to fulfill Gov. Newsom’s executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.

California is rich in natural resources which once powered the state: natural gas deposits in the Monterey Shale formation; geothermal energy, abundant rivers and waterways such as the San Joaquin River Delta and hydroelectric dams; the Pacific coastline; 85 million acres of wildlands with 17 million of those used as commercial timberland; mines and mineral resources, vast farming and agricultural lands, and hunting and fishing.

But California politicians and appointed agency officials, under pressure from radical environmental organizations and lobbyists, decided to ignore the energy producing natural resources, and instead move to an all-electric grid, and the only approved “renewable energy:” solar and wind energy, or “boutique fuels.”

In August, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California conflated climate change, drought, wildfires and the oil and gas industry through dextrous questions and weighted demographics.

The pollsters obviously had a desired conclusion, and created the questions and demographics to draw that conclusion using a significantly higher number of polled Democrats, a significantly higher number of high income Californians, and a significantly higher number of polled whites.

The PPIC poll conclusion supports Gov. Newsom’s claims about “windfall profits,” justifying his restrictions of the oil and gas industry under the guise of “climate change.”

Newsom listed oil company profits in a recent email, and then accused refiners like PBF Energy of “making more profits off of Californians than in any other state.”

In 1982, California had 43 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 25 million; today we have 11 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 40 million. And these 40 million residents are driving more cars, living in more houses and apartments, working in more commercial buildings, shopping in more stores, and traveling more across the state – all of which takes much more traditional energy.

The Globe has addressed Gov. Newsom’s claim that oil companies “are ripping you off. Their record profits are coming at your expense.” Newsom left out the part where in 2021 he largely killed hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in California as part of his overall plan to end oil extraction… because of Climate Change. He also announced his action to halt issuance of fracking permits by 2024.

And then Newsom claims, “Big oil was making these record profits at a time when Californians were seeing gas price hikes at the pump, despite the fact that the cost of crude oil was down.”

In October, Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) boiled down the actual problem of California’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices and gas taxes in a letter to the governor. The highlights are:

  • California’s isolated markets
  • an inability to access additional fuel that meets California’s stringent standards
  • the most hostile regulatory requirements
  • the most aggressive environmental policies
  • the extraordinary expense of cap and trade
  • the highest tax per gallon of gasoline
  • impossible standards that are not found in any other state in the nation
  • limited supply

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Newsom Resumes His Homelessness Crusade

As he was celebrating his landslide re-election last Tuesday night, a reporter asked Gavin Newsom what his most important issue would be during his second term.

He quickly replied that it would be confronting homelessness and the state’s chronic shortage of housing.

It was a déjà vu moment. Nearly three years earlier, Newsom had devoted virtually all of his second State of the State address to those issues, particularly the many thousands of people camped on the streets and sidewalks of California’s major cities.

“Let’s call it what it is, a disgrace, that the richest state in the richest nation — succeeding across so many sectors — is failing to properly house, heal and humanely treat so many of its own people,” Newsom told legislators, while outlining a series of proposals he wanted them to enact.

“The biggest risk is not taking a risk on homelessness,” Newsom later told reporters. “The biggest risk is denying the reality that we see on the streets and sidewalks across the state. The biggest risk is abdicating responsibility, pointing fingers.”

However, just a few weeks after Newsom delivered that speech, he declared a state of emergency as the murderous COVID-19 pandemic hammered the state. He shut down much of the state’s economy to limit spread of the disease and the pandemic became his preoccupation for the next two years while the state’s worst-in-the-nation homelessness crisis deepened.

A few days before winning re-election last week, Newsom stepped back into the homelessness crisis in a big way — harshly criticizing local government officials for failing to write aggressive and effective plans to spend state funds to reduce the number of unhoused people.

“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” Newsom said in a statement as he suspended distribution of the funds. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment. Collectively, these plans set a goal to reduce street homelessness 2% statewide by 2024. At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California — this approach is simply unacceptable. Everyone has to do better — cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”

Newsom was even more pointed in a Los Angeles Times interview, saying, “Deliver damn results. … It’s a crisis. Act like it. Everybody step up. I’m not the mayor. You want me to come in? I’ll do the job. I’ll do it. Happily. I’ve been going into cities cleaning up encampments. Has anyone gotten the hint? If someone did that to me when I was mayor, I’d be like, ‘OK, I got it.’”

Newsom’s action touched off angry reactions from local officials, who complained that he was seemingly “pointing fingers” in violation of his 2020 injunction.

“Now is not the time to play politics when people’s lives are at stake,” Carolyn Coleman, CEO of the League of California Cities, replied to Newsom. “Failing to release state funding will not put roofs over the heads of Californians or deliver desperately needed supportive services.”

Polls tell us that homelessness — or at least its squalid visibility — looms large in the public’s consciousness and it was a significant factor in this year’s elections. Newsom didn’t have to worry about his own re-election, but it was the pivotal issue in the hard-fought battle for the Los Angeles mayoralty and figured in other local campaigns.

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Election 2022: Newsom and abortion rights measure score easy victory, gambling falls flat

Props. 1, 31 swept to victory, Props. 26, 27 went down in defeat

Gov. Gavin Newsom coasted easily to a second term as California’s governor Tuesday evening, in an election in which voters voiced their support for abortion rights loud and clear but soundly rejected an expensive push to legalize betting on sports.

The Associated Press called the race for Newsom — a heavy favorite over Republican challenger Sen. Brian Dahle — almost as soon as polls closed. Democrats unsurprisingly also swept California’s other statewide offices, and incumbent Alex Padilla cruised to victory over Republican challenger Mark Meuser in the Senate race.

“The Democratic party just has another boost of political capital to go back to Sacramento and keep doing what they’re doing,” said Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College. Newsom’s decisive victory, coming on the heels of beating a recall attempt last year, also gives him a strong launching pad for a potential future presidential run, Michelson said.

Proposition 1, which explicitly guarantees the right to an abortion by adding it to the state’s constitution, passed by a landslide. On the other hand, Props. 26 and 27, both of which would have allowed sports gambling, fell flat.

Newsom, who had little need to put resources into his re-election campaign for governor, instead turned much of his focus this season to supporting abortion rights. After the polls closed Tuesday, he celebrated at pro-Prop. 1 watch party in Sacramento.

“We have governors that won their reelections tonight in other states that are banning books, that are banning speech, that are banning abortion, and here we are in California moving in a completely different direction,” Newsom said at the event, according to the Associated Press. “That’s a deep point of pride.”

With the battle for Congress shaping up to be much tighter than expected, California’s House races could have a significant impact on the outcome. Democrat Adam Gray had a slight lead over Republican John Duarte in the newly drawn San Joaquin District 13. In Orange County, Republican Michelle Steel and Democrat Jay Chen were neck-and-neck. Despite a backlash from conservatives for his vote to impeach President Trump, Central Valley Republican incumbent David Valadao held an early lead over Democrat Rudy Salas.

It will take some time for California’s final election results to roll in, as counties still have to count mail-in ballots that may arrive up to seven days after Election Day. Statewide, 28% of ballots had been returned as of Tuesday, according to Political Data, Inc., which tracks voter data.

Dahle, a state senator from a family of ranchers in Lassen County, faced huge odds from the outset in his bid to unseat Newsom. Californians haven’t elected a Republican governor since Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, and, just weeks before the election, Dahle was still an unknown to many voters.

In a Public Policy Institute of California poll taken right before the election, 52% of likely voters said they approve of the way Newsom is handling his job, while 45% said they disapprove. Perhaps the biggest storyline was how Newsom focused more energy on confronting red-state rival governors such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who also cruised to re-election Tuesday, over abortion and other social issues in what could be a potential preview of the 2024 presidential campaign.

Prop. 1’s victory also was no surprise in a state that heavily supports abortion rights. The measure isn’t likely to have an immediate effect, as the California constitution already protects the right to privacy — which has been interpreted to cover abortion — and the state’s 2002 Reproductive Privacy Act also guarantees a woman’s right to choose. By voting to formally enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, though, Californians sent a firm message that they stand behind the principle.

“Voters used their voice to say loud and clear they support access to abortion and contraception — safeguarding people’s rights for generations to come,” Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in a statement.

Abortion became a cornerstone of this election when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year, rolling back 50 years of abortion rights. The issue immediately became a key piece of politicians’ campaigns in California and across the nation, showing up in mailers, stump speeches and TV ads seemingly everywhere voters turned. Democrats hoped abortion would fire up voters and increase turnout, and even deployed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help spread the word with an event at a San Francisco Planned Parenthood facility.

Prop. 31, which would uphold California’s ban on flavored tobacco products, also scored an easy victory Tuesday. Two years after Newsom signed a law banning the sale of the flavored products — which critics say help hook kids on smoking — the tobacco industry gathered enough signatures to place a referendum on the ballot asking voters to overturn it. But Californians showed little willingness to do so. As of late October, 58% of likely voters said they’d uphold the ban, and just 32% said they’d vote to kill it, according to a poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

The one ballot measure projected to be a tight race was Prop. 30, which would have taxed the richest Californians to fund electric vehicle rebates and other environmental initiatives. Advocates said it would help improve air quality, while opponents — including Newsom — worried it would drive wealthy Californians out of the state. Lyft, which along with other ride-sharing companies must use zero-emission vehicles for at least 90% of its miles by 2030, bankrolled the measure. The measure appeared headed for defeat Tuesday night.

The dueling measures for sports gambling also failed to get enough voter support. After more than $556 million in fundraising for and against Props. 26 and 27 — making them the most expensive set of propositions in state history — and a blizzard of campaign ads, Californians gave a huge thumbs-down to the proposals to legalize betting on sports. Prop. 26, backed by a coalition of California tribes, and Prop. 27, backed by large online sports-betting companies, pitted the two sides against each other for control of what could be a billion-dollar industry. Prop. 27 was projected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the state in fees and taxes, 85% of which was pledged to go toward programs addressing homelessness and mental health.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register