Scott Wilk | Progressive Public Safety Experiments Fail

Scott Wilk

Recently, while vacationing outside California, I noticed how nice it was to go into stores where nothing was locked up. Here in California, local stores have to keep everything under lock and key. I’m talking everyday items from deodorant to AA batteries, all locked away behind alarmed glass like fine jewelry.

Recently, as I waited for an employee to unlock a shelf, I noticed a small screen hanging at the end of the aisle – I was being recorded. Retail theft has become so commonplace that stores try to guilt folks into not smashing the glass and running off with armfuls of shampoo, mouthwash or detergent.

It was uncomfortable being watched, but I get it. Criminals run free while law-abiding citizens wait 20 minutes for a clerk to unlock the deodorant. Another frustrating result of California Democrats’ ongoing experiments to upend public safety by decriminalizing crime. Ponder that.  

Summer 2023: The summer of smash-and-grabs. Local and national news regularly feature videos of flash mobs wreaking havoc on California stores and malls. No California community is immune from this trend. Last month in our valley, eight businesses were broken into overnight. The Macy’s at the mall has been hit multiple times, and it’s hard to keep track of how many times Ulta Beauty on Magic Mountain Parkway has been targeted.

Perps caught are merely cited and released. Despite all the tough talk and task forces formed by politicians, there are no real legal teeth to hold these criminals accountable, and they know it. For instance, the highly publicized arrest of one suspect caught participating in a smash-and-grab in Glendale last month – arrested on Tuesday, released on Thursday. Seems crime DOES pay.

Sure, you can point a finger at progressive district attorneys, vested with enforcing the law, but it’s the progressive Democrats in Sacramento who make the crazy ideas into laws. And Sacramento’s progressives are making it abundantly clear they have zero interest in creating any real accountability for criminal actions.

Instead, they zealously double down on the ideology that locking up criminals is bad, regardless of the crime.

For example, in July, the Assembly Public Safety Committee rejected a bill, Senate Bill 14, that would have classified the sex trafficking of minors as a serious felony, making it a “strikeable” offense under California’s Three Strikes law. Progressive Democrats in Sacramento don’t want to pass any law that will put people in prison and keep them there, even for something as heinous as sex-trafficking children. Seriously.

Thankfully, the public, including many common-sense Democrats, called out that ridiculous decision. The governor and Assembly speaker both stepped in to express their dismay, and the bill miraculously was sent back to the committee where it was hastily and awkwardly approved. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

Similarly, on the fentanyl front, numerous bills seeking accountability for dealers have died this year, including bills that would have created sentencing enhancements for dealers who target children on social media and for dealers carrying guns. Democrats even shrugged off issuing written warnings to dealers convicted of selling fentanyl stating that if someone dies due to your fentanyl you may face manslaughter or murder charges.

Progressive Democrats are more than happy to vote on a “feel-good” resolution declaring one day out of the year as “Fentanyl Awareness Day,” yet when the moment comes to vote on meaningful legislation, they shun taking action.

Meanwhile, the governor brags that he’s “cracking down” on all these public safety crises, sending the National Guard and CHP into major cities and to the border. It’s not exactly victory-lap material when the world’s fourth-largest economy is rife with third-world problems – problems created due to passing really bad policy.

Sadly, it’s Californians, especially those in minority communities, who pay the highest price for Sacramento’s bad decisions.

It’s time for the out-of-touch progressive Democrat politicians to admit that their public safety experiment has been a complete and utter failure.

Sen. Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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