Newsom Jets off to D.C., Dropping His Skinny Initiative Efforts to Thwart the Citizen-Led Reform Prop 47

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For once, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s craven self-interest has worked to the benefit of the people of California. As he races to Washington, D.C. to show his support for the failing President Joe Biden (and no doubt measure the drapes), Newsom decided to drop his efforts to destroy the citizen-led ballot initiative to Revise Prop. 47.

Gov. Gavin Newsom scrapped his last-minute push with legislative leaders to put a second crime-fighting measure before voters this fall, making a dramatic about-face hours before he heads to Washington to defend President Joe Biden.

Their measure would have toughened penalties for repeat shoplifters and drug dealers who lace substances with fentanyl. It was an effort to compete with another tough-on-crime measure, backed by prosecutors and big-box retailers, that will appear on November’s ballot.

Newsom’s Skinny Initiative did little. It was a weak and watered-down effort to confuse voters and destroy the coalition of citizens and law enforcement who had banded together to gather over 900,000 signatures in order to get the initiative certified for the November 2024 ballot. Senator Brian Jones posted a side-by-side comparison of the aims of the Revise Prop 47 ballot initiative versus Newsoms’ Skinny Initiative.

Democrats’ election interference is intended to confuse voters at the ballot box. Their anti-democratic measure has significantly fewer penalties for very serious crimes. Here is a comparison of the people’s Homelessness, Drug Addiction & Retail Theft Act vs Democrats’ soft-on-crime bill.  Democrats’ political games won’t fool Californians. Stop playing politics with public safety! #FixCalifornia

 Yeah, Newsom had zero interest in fixing his pet legislative achievement that he co-authored with L.A. DA George Gascon. But the beauty part of all his wrangling was watching him be put back on his heels. Newsom received vociferous pushback, even from certain members of the “homegrown team,” at the San Francisco Chronicle, and his Democrat Supermajority. 

This cynical, callous changing of election procedures to advance a political agenda diminishes trust in government and the integrity of elections. And it makes Newsom’s State of the State speech last week, in which he upheld California as a bastion of democracy and freedom in a darkened and divided nation, ring hollow. 

Manipulating the ballot for your political aims doesn’t further democracy. It undermines it. And it certainly doesn’t make California a model for the nation.

So, he essentially took his toys and flew to D.C. without so much as a by-your-leave. That reflects what Newsom considered the true measure of urgency: his political future, rather than the state of the state he was elected to govern. King Gavin had his office issue a statement.

The announcement comes just one day before it would have needed to win votes from a majority of each house to make it on the ballot before lawmakers break for a month-long summer recess.

The news was delivered to Democrats in the Legislature Tuesday evening in a late caucus call. The bill had already faced opposition from moderate and progressive Democrats who were frustrated by what they saw as a hastily-concocted plan to snub political opponents. One lawmaker, who was on the call Tuesday and granted anonymity to discuss private conversations, said some lawmakers took issue with Newsom’s sudden plans to head to Washington on Wednesday.

Chair of Californians for Safer Communities Greg Totten weighed in on this turn of fortune.

Statement from Greg Totten, co-chair of Californians for Safer Communities: We are pleased The Governor and Legislature have dropped their countermeasure and welcome them to join our campaign to responsibly amend Prop 47 to deal with retail theft, the fentanyl crisis and homelessness.

Republican Rep. Kevin Kiley rightly called Newsom’s maneuvering against the citizens he was supposed to represent for what it is: a huge embarrassment.

Californians finally have the upper hand in setting their state on a better course. Let’s hope they make good of it. 

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