Scott Wilk | The Progressive ‘California Way’ Puts Politics Over People

Scott Wilk

A quick Google search of “California” will provide you with no shortage of depressing stories – stories about our failing education system or how only millionaires can afford a normal home. These aren’t just clickbait; our state is seriously off the rails these days.

Californians who have families to take care of, commute to work every day, or run a small business know this all too well. Their feelings are reaffirmed in the Public Policy Institute of California’s most recent statewide survey, which reveals six out of 10 Californians believe the state is headed in the wrong direction.

Regular people know something’s wrong, but what about the political leaders in Sacramento? They think everything’s great. In fact, they think there’s never been a better time to live and work in the Golden State. That is the mindset of the progressives currently running the show. Despite years of proven failures, they continue to double down on bad policy.

I’ve always believed in putting good policy over politics. It’s why I’m proud to be co-chair of the Legislative Problem Solvers Caucus. We are a bicameral, bipartisan group committed to achieving real results.

Earlier this year, we endorsed a number of public safety bills specifically to address the retail theft crisis. There’s a strong argument to be made that much of the mess we’re in today is the result of 2014’s voter-approved Proposition 47.

Deceptively dubbed the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” what it actually did was reduce penalties for many drug and theft offenses and allowed felons with prior convictions to reduce their charges to misdemeanors.

In the past 10 years, people in communities all over the state have witnessed an escalation in brazen crime, fentanyl deaths and homelessness. Previously, the governor and progressives in Sacramento have absolutely refused to fix anything about Prop. 47, but this year finally seemed to recognize the undeniable rise in crime and decline in quality of life.

Some fed-up Democrats came to the table with some good bills to address specific public safety issues. It seemed like a great coming-together moment for the good of the people. But this is where ugly politics weeded its way into the picture.

Progressive leadership decided to insert “poison pill” amendments into a majority of those bills that would automatically repeal them should voters decide to reform Prop. 47 this November.

Then, leaked emails from the governor’s office revealed that they wouldn’t negotiate to strengthen any of the bills or have the amendments removed unless sponsors postponed running the measure until 2026.

These moves have led numerous Democrat legislators to refuse to accept the amendments or even pull their bills from the retail theft package altogether. Other members no longer support the good bills that they would have supported before, myself included.

It’s now a huge mess causing a major rift among Democrat lawmakers, all due to the insistence on prioritizing politics over people.

The truth can often be ugly, and the truth here is that progressives are listening only to themselves, not the people. They’re insisting that they know what’s best, and they’ll stop at nothing to shut down alternative voices.

Californians don’t deserve to be bullied into a false choice. 

The gaslighting taking place right now on the crime front is the same gaslighting contributing to the status quo of failures across the board. It shouldn’t be the legislature’s role to rubberstamp the governor’s agenda. Checks and balances are vital to ensuring the people’s voices are heard.

On the same tack, the California Supreme Court (all governor-appointed) just decided to remove another November ballot measure that would have made it harder to raise state and local taxes. 

The governor touted the decision as a win for democracy. 

We’ve gone from a $100 billion surplus to a $73 billion deficit under unchallenged one-party rule. Not exactly the reassurance people want as vital programs are on the budget chopping block.

The best way to grow is to step outside of your comfort zone and listen. It would do progressives a world of good to pop their bubble and join the rest of us in the real world.

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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