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That California is a progressive state is rarely disputed. It’s not just the lopsided Democratic dominance of the state Legislature and House delegation. The only non-Democrat elected governor since 1994 was a fluke — a charismatic movie star with 100 percent name recognition and unspoken environmentalism who only got into office in 2003 because as voters made the rare decision to recall a clueless incumbent. In the end, the stories of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis don’t say much about the Golden State.
But what’s happening now on an important issue feels even more important and suggests that California isn’t as blue as it used to be. After roughly 2014 to 2020 in which social movements focusing on police brutality and the brutalities inherent in the criminal justice system led to policy changes across the country, many Californians believe that some of the changes have been reversed. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Gov. Gavin Newsom is one of those who responded to this development by choosing pragmatism over progressivism.
In doing so, they ignore arguments from some in the progressive camp that the entire narrative of the rise in crime is an exaggeration based on saturation coverage of “smash and grabs” and cherry-picking of crime statistics.
This concern is fully justified by the history that has seen California and the country powerful forces that frankly use the fear of crime to achieve more political goals – sometimes evil. Evidence also confirms that the US has the most expensive and arguably the most brutal law enforcement system of any developed country, yet is neither safer nor less secure than other developed democracies. .
But the cliche about people who change their views after being gripped by reality is especially at play here. When expressing concern about crime, people are more likely to talk about their personal experiences than TV clips showing incidents involving others. Twenty years ago, one of the few times many sheltered Californians saw evidence of stepped-up efforts to prevent shoplifting were on weekend nights at grocery stores, where exit closest to the beer shelves is blocked to prevent young people from becoming thieves. grab the 12 pack and run. Nowadays, however, it is common for mundane consumer goods to be locked up every minute many stores are open. Gloria said this in her State of the City speech last week: “We need to lock up criminals, not do laundry,” she said. That this populist one-liner has echoes of 1968 Richard Nixon, 1994 Pete Wilson and legions of right-wing radio gabbers is telling.
The mayor made support for major changes to Proposition 47 a key part of his re-election bid. The voter-approved measure in 2014 reclassified many property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors — a decision sheriffs and police chiefs say the statistics encourage. of such crimes. The governor did not dispute this framing but wanted to protect the core value represented by Proposition 47 — its belief that harsh punishments destroy the lives of disabled people. He backed narrower proposals to reduce retail theft and to go after serial offenders who he described as “professional criminals” with efficient retail operations.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board thinks Newsom’s attempt to thread the policy needle here is worth a try. If only he could quickly come up with a proposal that would contain provisions that would prevent property crimes – but do so without resurrecting state policies that have ruined the lives of thousands of Californians because of their youthful error – that’s better than the alternative.
That said, the case for overhauling some state crime laws is important — and more than tweaking existing measures to ensure they prevent more crimes. The most enduring finding of criminologists is that crime is a young man’s game. However, the most recent statistics from the state corrections agency’s inmate database – from December 2019 – show that more than 25 percent of inmates are older than 50. epic waste of money.