Eric Christen: Vote ‘yes’ for the recall
The past few months since my last column, where I pointed out the sorry condition the left has put California in and why a recall is imminent, have not been kind to the left in general or Gavin Newsom in particular.
Joe Biden has managed to make Jimmy Carter look competent, having brought back the late 1970s. Gas prices at record levels, rampant inflation, sky-rocketing crime, America in retreat across the globe and Marxism and Islamic fascism on the march. Soon we’ll need the Misery Index re-created just to keep track of it all.
In New York, America’s fourth most populace state, the Democrat governor just resigned in disgrace not because he was responsible for the highest COVID-19 death toll in America — that he covered up — but because he was a pervert, or as he would say, “just Italian.”
The census revealed what anyone trying to rent a U-Haul out of a blue state already knew, and that is that people are moving to greener (or redder) pastures with red states about to gain congressional seats.
Here in California it’s been just as bad for Democrats. The recall against Newsom did qualify, and shortly after we found out that for the first time in our history we actually lost population.
It takes work to turn a geographically beautiful state like California into a place people want to flee, but 20 years of almost total progressive rule will do that. As I pointed out in my last column, California leads in almost every undesirable category there is, from poverty, unemployment and homelessness to income tax rates, gas prices and costs of living.
As easy as it is to critique horrid governance we also need solutions. With polls showing the recall with a strong likelihood of success, and with libertarian candidate Larry Elder Newsom’s most likely replacement, there is reason for hope and a need for ideas.
The opposite of Gavin Newsom’s self-promotional governorship is one of humility, not only in the conduct of the state’s chief executive but in the role of the government itself. Focus on the core functions of government, on nonglamorous but essential items. Fewer high-speed rail debacles and more core infrastructure like roads and bridges that are uncongested and drivable; dams, reservoirs and levies that are robust and reliable; power plants, grids and transmission lines that are safe and affordable. California today has the highest gas tax and second worst roads, never-ending water shortages and my home has its power turned off at least two weeks each year while Newsom empowers the criminal PG&E who, surprise, are his largest contributors.
Reinstitute the rule of law. Replace Newsom’s imposition of ad hoc law, that treats Nevada County like Los Angeles with regard to lockdowns and school closures. God forbid the next governor work with the Legislature and local entities to make rational, fact-based decisions.
The next governor needs to lead with accountability, which is the opposite of Newsom’s unscientific governorship which is not informed by facts and data and accountable for its outcomes.
Homelessness is an example. Despite only one in nine American citizens living in it, California has one in four of the homeless. We spend billions every year to fix it, but there is no strategy. A full audit of where funding was going and what outcomes were being achieved was proposed in 2020 so spending would be informed by data. The Legislature was one vote away from getting the audit approved when Newsom pressured three legislators to “abstain.”
Actual equity and social justice starts with education reform. Teacher unions that run Sacramento care about inputs. Parents and students need outputs that don’t rank near the bottom nationally despite spending $19,000 per student in Los Angles Unified, for instance. Despite this largess, only four in 10 California students graduate proficient in math, a disgrace. We allow radical unions to shut our schools down, hurting the poor the most. We have local private schools that were open all last year and there were no COVID-19 issues. Why did our local school boards fail our students? They’ll tell you the state (meaning governor) made them.
Fiscal responsibility would be nice. Our massively underfunded public pension system is not just a theoretical problem, as increased payments to CalPERS and CalSTRS are eating into the budgets of school districts, cities and counties today. We are more than $1 trillion in debt yet any annual “surplus” (an estimated $76 billion in 2021) goes to new programs instead of paying off our debt and unfunded liabilities.
Anything would be better than what we have now. Please vote for sanity.
Eric Christen is a Grass Valley resident.
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“You’ve heard me say this before: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state” — Cal Fire Director Thom Porter.