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Can’t wait for these red caps! A week ago I was at Costco and noticed three tables outside on the sidewalk with petitions to recall California Gov. “GQ” Gavin Newsom. After I got done laughing, I looked at their list of complaints and had to nod my head: earthquakes, wildfires, traffic, taxes, crime, gang activity, illegal marijuana, smog, housing costs — maybe they’ve got a point.

We’re No. 1!

California has the largest homeless population, by far, of all 50 states with 25% of our nation’s homeless. California’s per capita homeless population is 3 homeless folks per 1,000 residents. Eureka’s per capita homeless population is 24 homeless folks per 1,000 residents. That’s eight times the state average. California has 12% of the nation’s population, yet has 30% of the nation’s folks receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

California has the strictest environmental regulations in all 50 states. One builder told me that the last home he built required seven letters from consultants to get his building permit. Each consultant letter cost him $1,000 to $5,000. Add in mandatory home sprinklers and next year we have mandatory solar, wanna guess what that’s going to do to housing prices?Taxes, taxes, and more taxes! California has the highest state income tax in the nation at 13.3%. Add in local sales tax of 8.5%. Additional cigarette tax of $2.87 per pack. Additional gas tax of $0.79. Operating costs for California businesses are 23% higher than the average of the rest of the nation.

California has the worst political correctness of all the states. The Social Justice Warrior snowflakes on California college campuses are so bad that comedians like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld don’t do shows at colleges anymore. Can you imagine a comedian doing jokes about sex, race or religion?

We’re No. 2!

California has the second highest (to New York) of unfunded pension liabilities for PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) and STRS (State Teachers Retirement System). Back in 1999, SB-400 was probably the worst law ever passed in Sacramento. It allowed public safety (police, fire, CHP, etc.) employees to retire at age 50 with a check for life. Ask any city, county, or the state what percentage they were paying for pension contributions from the general fund in 2000 versus today.Sanctuary state: If I have to read about one more Mexican Mafia cartel member selling heroin and fentanyl here in Humboldt County that asks for “sanctuary” before skipping bail (non-violent offender) and then showing up in a different California county selling more hard drugs? Please!Medicare for illegal immigrants: Before you blow a gasket on this one, we’re already doing it. It’s called Medicaid and hospital write-offs. If you’re an illegal immigrant who’s injured from an auto accident, hospitals don’t turn you away. They treat you, try to collect and then write off the debt.

We’re No. 41!

We’re No. 41 in education. That means 40 states are doing better than California. Truly embarrassing.

In 2011 former Gov. Jerry Brown did “prison realignment” where under a court order he sent many prisoners from state prisons back to the locations they were convicted. In other words, prisoners were transferred from state prisons (Pelican Bay, San Quentin) to our local county jails. The non-serious, non-violent, non-sex-offenders (“non-non-non” or “triple-nons” — but only their most recent arrest) would go back to their original county of conviction for probation.

Combine this with the 2014 voter-passed California Proposition 47, which was sold as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.” Who doesn’t want safe neighborhoods and schools?

Unfortunately this proposition greatly changed California in ways that no one could have predicted at that time. It reclassified felony crimes of open drug use and theft up to $950 (per day, every day) as a misdemeanor. Some clever thieves have been caught with calculators in their pockets. When asked why they responded, “I need to add up the things I’m stealing to keep it under $950.” Think about thieves stealing $950 from your business each and every day without consequences.Shockingly, these two laws have caused a rise in petty crimes, turned our streets and business alcoves into homeless BNBs and allowed open drug use with needles to be discarded everywhere with zero consequences.

OK, Republicans, ya got some good points. However, Newsom will easily win his 2022 reelection. If you haven’t figured out yet, he’s using California as a stepping stone for his 2024 or 2028 White House bid.

Matthew Owen resides in Eureka.

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