Dennis Fuerst | Smith No Friend of the ‘Little Guy’

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Christy Smith claims to be a friend of the “little guy.” However, her ongoing support for the job-killing California Assembly bill known as AB5 lays bare her false claim. AB5 was written and supported by the AFL-CIO for the express purpose of enhancing union membership and thwarting the opportunity of small-player independent contractors to earn much-needed money to support their families.

Christy Smith voted in favor of AB5 when it was initially considered in the Assembly. This bill was such a “turkey” that attempts have been made to repeal this legislation. When the California Assembly was presented with an opportunity to repeal AB5, Christy Smith abstained from voting, refusing to cast a vote either for or against the new legislation. Since she initially supported AB5, why would she not choose to continue her support for this legislation? The answer is quite simple. AB5 is such a “train wreck” that she does not want to be tied to it in her run for a U.S. congressional seat. Additionally, she is also beholden to her union donors and can’t afford to rile them. So we have an assemblywoman who will now not take a stand on a miserable piece of legislation for fear of offending her financial backers.

As most everyone knows, AB5 would prevent people who are making a valiant effort to support their families from working during times when their schedules permit. I occasionally take Uber from Santa Clarita to LAX. Although the current pandemic has altered her schedule, a typical Uber driver who has served me in the past lives in Castaic. She has been able to augment her family’s income by driving about four hours each day during the hours when her children are in school. She has no ability to work full-time but relies on the income generated by participating in the “gig economy,” which will be taken from her thanks to AB5.

When AB5 was being crafted, blanket exemptions were made for groups with strong lobbyists — doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and the like — but left most of the gig economy in a lurch. Left in the dust were writers, photographers, musicians, interpreters, tutors, part-time drivers, newspaper delivery people (including the folks who deliver The Mighty Signal), etc. Thus, Uber and Lyft drivers are not the only small players who have been harmed by this legislation. We can be hopeful that average citizens – not self-serving politicians – will overturn most of AB5 by voting for California Proposition 22 to allow the gig economy to function efficiently for the benefit of the “little guy” and not large, organized labor.

Christy Smith has shown her true colors by voting in favor of job-killing AB5 and then not having the courage of her convictions to even take a stand when the opportunity to overturn AB5 occurred. This is not the type of person who deserves the public trust. Please join me in retiring Christy Smith from public office by voting for Mike Garcia to represent the 25th District in the U.S. Congress. 

Dennis Fuerst

Santa Clarita

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