Mismanaged Forests Burn, Newsom Blames “Climate Deniers”

What we quaintly refer to as “super fires” have incinerated nearly 5,000 square miles of California’s forests so far this year. In response, Governor Newsom has declared he has “no more patience for climate deniers.” But it isn’t climate change that caused these superfires. It was negligent forestry.

When it comes to facts that matter on the issue of our burning forests, perhaps Newsom is the one who is in denial. Because when Newsom denounces “climate deniers,” he denies the following far more pertinent facts about wildfires and climate:

The timber industry in California has been cut to a small fraction of what it was in 1990 in terms of employment and board feet of timber harvested. In 1990, 6.0 billion board feet were harvested from California’s forests, today the harvest rarely exceeds 1.5 billion board feet. Dense, overgrown forests result in unhealthy trees, because the increased number of trees are competing for the same amount of sunlight, water and soil nutrients. This is the reason so many of them cannot resist disease and infestations, not climate change. Year after year, millions of acre feet of snow and rain fall on these dense tree canopies and either evaporate immediately, or are sucked up by the overgrown, water stressed biomass as soon as they hit the ground. Far less water makes it into the aquifers and rivers as a result. The overgrown forests are not only packing up to ten times more fuel than what is historically normal, […] Read More

Recall Newsom Campaign at a Crossroads

With three months left to collect signatures, one of the largest and most organized grassroots efforts in the history of California politics is at a crossroads.

The Recall Newsom campaign has mobilized a bipartisan coalition involving over 100,000 volunteers, with momentum that is still building despite being almost completely ignored by the media, major donors, politicians, and political organizations. Those political organizations would include the CAGOP despite the fact that CAGOP tailors a significant percentage, perhaps even a majority, of its mass email messages to disparaging California’s hapless sitting governor.

This dismissal of California’s disenfranchised grassroots by their supposed professional champions not only signifies excessive caution and unfortunate hypocrisy, it is a practical blunder. A concerted and unified recall effort, backed by establishment political forces, would yield tangible political benefits. It would finally offer conservatives a cause that makes a compelling case to independents and disaffected Democrats. It would lend momentum to the campaigns of CAGOP candidates who endorse the recall, harnessing for their benefit the power of the recall volunteers.

Most significantly, a recall effort that was backed by the conservative establishment would be a courageous shot heard around the world. It would serve notice to anyone, anywhere, who has written California off as an ungovernable cesspool of corruption and chaos. People are fighting back, and they mean business.

What the political experts that consider a gubernatorial recall effort futile must understand is that Gavin Newsom’s failures are bigger than Gavin Newsom. If you successfully destroy the credibility of […] Read More

Life on the American River

…the colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces, of people going by, I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do, they’re really saying, I love you… – What a Wonderful World, sang by Louis Armstrong in 1967

The American River runs through the heart of Sacramento, from the bedroom communities in the eastern foothills all the way into downtown. There is a wide expanse of parkland along both banks. Down on the river these days the sun doesn’t set till after 8 p.m., and on weekdays after work, and after the heat of the day starts to recede, people gather.

Some sit on the bank in beach chairs, enjoying the breeze that’s cooled as it passes over the water. Others fish for striped bass and shad that run this time of year. On the footbridge that connects the neighborhoods of Rancho Cordova on the south bank to those of Fair Oaks on the north bank, hundreds of people cross, passing fishermen casting their lines. There are cyclists, people walking their dogs, families, couples. The people are of every color imaginable: white, black, brown, Asian. And nobody notices. Nobody thinks anything of it.

On these weeks near to the solstice, the daylight lingers. The sun drifts north as it slowly sets, prolonging the day. From the south bank the sun hangs directly over a bend in the river, reflecting off the water. It turns the swimmers downstream into silhouettes, their identities […] Read More

Why A Newsom Recall Can Succeed

There isn’t a political professional to be found in California who believes that the current attempt to recall Gavin Newsom will succeed. With petitions approved for circulation and a deadline of November 17, recall campaign volunteers are trying to defy the momentum of history.

To recall a sitting governor in California today, based on the voter turnout in the November 2018 state election, proponents will have to turn in 2.0 million signed petitions in order to yield, after verification of signatures, addresses, registration status, eliminating duplicates, etc., a net total of 1,495,709 validated petitions. Without millions to pay professional signature gatherers, this is considered impossible.

It’s not impossible. Not with the power of the internet and social media. Skeptics must consider only two factors: Are there more than 2.0 million California voters who would sign a recall petition? The answer to that is undoubtedly yes. The second question is more to the point: Can the recall campaign find 2.0 million voters in California willing and able to sign a recall petition?

To this second question, the professionals would have an immediate and unequivocal answer. No. But they are mistaken. In today’s fraught political environment, in this season of heightened political awareness, in this era of internet access, Gavin Newsom is one viral video away from seeing his name on a recall ballot, in a special election to be held in early 2021.

Newsom, to his credit, is taking the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign more seriously than the thousands […] Read More

From the California Militia to Pharoah Newsom

Over the past month, and with growing intensity, protests are cropping up in California against the pandemic shutdown. And as stay-at-home orders are gradually lifted, populist pressure continues to build, because the long term economic consequences have just begun. Rising prices in the stores just as households have spent what remained of their savings. Businesses fitfully coming back to life, but too late, with limited hours. Millions of jobs and businesses still lost, many lost forever.

History will judge whether or not this disease posed such an apocalyptic threat that choosing an economic depression was the preferable option. But at least half of all Americans today are completely alienated from the mainstream press. They view the totality of its product as nothing more than agenda-driven, self-contradictory, sanctimonious propaganda. For these Americans, the destruction of their liberty and livelihoods is a tough sell. And now in California, that feeling of alienation and mistrust has spread across ideologies and become a populist movement.

It may surprise many in the other 49 states, but even before the pandemic struck, California had its share of alienated citizens. In 2016, more than 4.7 million Californians voted for Donald Trump for president, and their support hasn’t wavered. These Californians are alienated from their state government, in most cases from their local governments as well, and they are grossly underrepresented by their congressional delegation.

Along with being politically disenfranchised, these millions of conservative Californians are belittled and dismissed in their own state by a liberal culture dominated […] Read More

Separating Good Bailouts From Bad Bailouts

The pandemic shutdown is about to enter its third month, and economic repercussions have just begun. Too much has been shut down for too long. In California, the initial reopen is not going to include huge business sectors – theaters, concerts, conventions, sports, travel, hotels – and other sectors such as restaurants and retail establishments are going to be at half-capacity. Business revenue and profits have crashed, with proportional hits to tax receipts. The cascading economic damage is likely to far outlast the spread of the virus.

The federal response so far has been the COVID-19 CARES Act Relief Bill, which allocates $1.8 trillion in emergency spending to stimulate the shut down economy. This dwarfs the $831 stimulus package passed in 2009, and is equal to more than half of 2019 federal revenue which was $3.5 trillion. In terms of spending, it represents a 40 percent increase to the 2019 federal spending of $4.4 trillion. Using these numbers, a reasonable estimate of the federal deficit in 2020 would be $2.7 trillion, before any additional relief bills are passed, which is likely.

California’s economy, huge and diverse, may confound its critics and weather the coming deep recession better than other states. The tech sector benefits by providing enabling technologies for distance learning and telecommuting, and it will also benefit from likely new infusions of cash into defense R&D as tensions with China deepen. California’s agricultural sector may slow down but it won’t crash, because people have to eat. And […] Read More

California is Ready to Get Rid of Newsom

Across California on May 1, tens of thousands protested in defiance of the lockdown orders. In Sacramento, the west lawn of the state capitol building was filled with protesters, with thousands more marching along the sidewalk surrounding the capitol grounds. Additional thousands driving their cars and honking their horns created three hours of total gridlock on the streets that looped around the capitol. Noteworthy protests have occurred in San Diego, Encinitas, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Paso Robles, Santa Rosa, and even tiny Lakeport on the shores of Clear Lake. There is no end in sight.

While the media has typecast these growing protests as populated by right-wing extremists, Trump supporters, and remnants of a geriatric Tea Party movement, the reality in California is different.

In Laguna Beach, the protest was organized by surfers. Overall, these protests included people who claimed they have never been involved in politics, people who identified themselves as former Democrats, and young people. Thousands and thousands of youth; children, teenagers, college students, twenty-somethings. A generation is waking up.

And among the constituencies outraged by the shutdown are not only people who can’t work, or people who can’t run their businesses, or free speech advocates, defenders of the 2nd amendment, and anti-vaccine activists, but also devout Christians.

As perhaps the biggest and most politically neglected constituency in California, in poking Christians, Newsom may have poked a sleeping giant one time too many. An inflection point will be reached […] Read More

State Legislature Continues Assault On Local Zoning Decisions

With the introduction of the latest housing density mandate, AB 725 in the California state legislature, the battle between state control and local control in California intensifies. At the same time, the pandemic crisis and its economic consequences add additional complexity to an already complex issue.

The debate over California’s housing policies offers an unusual combination: vehement disagreement between two bitterly opposed groups, yet within both groups are factions holding thoroughly divergent political ideologies.

This probably should come as no surprise. California’s housing crisis, and the policies that created it, incorporate big, challenging issues: income inequality, how to treat the homeless, environmental protection, public finance. Libertarians and leftists, along with Republicans and Democrats, are lining up on both sides of the debate, confounding easy categorization.

A grassroots organization fighting to preserve local control over residential zoning decisions is Livable California, founded by SF Bay Area activists in opposition to state legislation that would override local control of zoning laws. In less than two years, Livable California has grown its direct statewide membership to well over ten thousand, and has networked with allied groups that have hundreds of thousands of members.

If you follow the money, however, Livable California’s opposition, California YIMBY (“Yes in my backyard”), is far better funded. Receiving millions in support mostly from Bay Area tech moguls, California YIMBY and allied organizations lobby for state legislation mandating high density housing, as well as sue cities that resist existing state laws mandating high density.

Needless […] Read More

Suggested Executive Orders for Gavin Newsom

Without criticizing the tremendous efforts that are already being made, here are some additional steps that California Governor Gavin Newsom could take to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Some of these recommendations may run counter to the political momentum of California’s one-party state, but perhaps in these extraordinary times, they should be considered based solely on their efficacy.

(1) Suspend AB-5, the new law that prevents millions of Californians from working as independent contractors. This law, which has attracted fierce opposition from people of diverse ideologies, is particularly harmful during this crisis. AB-5 has already put hundreds of thousands either out of work or into legal uncertainty regarding their future, and now it’s preventing hospitals from hiring part-time freelance nurses, support staff, translators, phone counselors, and others.

(2) California’s regulatory burden placed on individuals who want to operate as independent service providers was oppressive before AB 5. Now is a good time for Governor Newsom to issue an executive order to revise occupational licensing requirements. In particular, permit nursing school graduates to fulfill their clinical rotation requirements using simulations instead of in-hospital rounds which have been discontinued during this pandemic.

(3) Immediately free California’s nursing schools to graduate as many nurses as qualify for certification. This would end the state Board of Registered Nursing’s attempt to use its authority unconstitutionally to limit new nurses and to control the schools that train them. The governor can immediately rein in this out-of-control agency, and allow 10,000 […] Read More

The Premises of California’s Dysfunction

Anyone unfamiliar with what is really going on in California would have listened to Governor Newsom’s State of the State address on February 12 and gotten the impression that things have never been better. Newsom’s opening set the tone for the rest of his 4,400 word monologue:

“By every traditional measure, the state of our state is strong. We have a record-breaking surplus. We’ve added 3 million jobs since the depths of the recession. Wages are rising. We have more scientists, researchers, and engineers, more Nobel laureates, and the finest system of higher education anywhere in the world.”

Newsom, to his credit, immediately qualified his sunny opening with a disclaimer that might be the understatement of the century, saying “But along with that prosperity and progress, there are problems that have been deferred for too long and that threaten to put the California dream out of reach for too many. We face hard decisions that are coming due.”

Ain’t that the truth. And Gavin Newsom, the political party he represents, and the ideology they’ve embraced, cannot possibly solve these “problems that have been deferred for too long.” First, because Newsom and his gang created the problems, and second, because the ideology they adhere to is based on premises that are both economically unsustainable and destined to eventually deliver not solutions, but tyranny.

Here are the three core premises of California’s dysfunction:

The Climate Emergency

Every policy in California must be ran through the filter of its “climate change” impact. […] Read More