Prop 47 Repeal Makes the California Ballot, but Dictator Newsom Hates the Will of the People

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Crime in California has become a nationwide cautionary tale, but California's elected leaders, from Governor Gavin Newsom to Attorney General Rob Bonta to the Democrat Supermajority legislature, have done little except put a new paint job on a red-tagged building. From blue sky initiatives like high-tech surveillance to banning self-checkout, as my colleague Matt Funicello reported in May, none of these addresses the root issue: people who do the crime in California rarely, if ever, do the time. There are no consequences for criminal behavior; therefore, there is no reason not to escalate that behavior. Ergo, crime continues to be rampant.

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Retail theft, among other crimes, is out of control in California, with the past couple of years seeing a massive spike in smash-and-grab robberies, shoplifting, and more. Now, California Democrats want to crack down on retail theft by proposing new legislation that would largely prevent grocery and some retail stores from using self-checkout lines. Instead of addressing some of the root causes of crimes like these, such as the passage of two controversial ballot initiatives — Propositions 47 and 57 in 2013 and 2016, respectively — California Democrats want to double down on their "nanny-state" policies and attack business, instead of the criminals that victimize them.  

After decades of this, and the gross incompetency of social justice and soft-on-crime district attorneys like George Gascón in Los Angeles County and Pamela Price in Alameda County, Californians have taken matters into their own hands. Among the number of reports of armed citizens standing their ground, most recently in Oakland, the citizens of California are now focused on fixing what went awry with Prop 47. 


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Last year, the Californians for Safer Communities Coalition mounted a signature campaign to repeal and re-envision Prop 47 through the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act. This coalition has received backing from the very people affected by California crime: individuals, small businesses, large retailers, county and state law enforcement, and real activists who have been committed to social and criminal justice reform that doesn't involve Soros-backed DAs. When this initiative was presented to the voting public, the coalition gathered over 900,000 signatures in order to get the measure on the ballot. On Tuesday, the California Secretary of State announced that the measure qualified for the November 2024 ballot.

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A tough-on-crime ballot measure presented as a fix to California's retail theft crisis officially qualified for the November ballot, Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced Tuesday, coming just hours after last-ditch attempts by Democratic leaders to negotiate a legislative package in the hopes of neutralizing the measure.

The measure, dubbed the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act, would revise a critical elements of the state's decade-old Proposition 47, which has come under fire in recent years by critics and the state's Republican legislators as retail crime has surged.

Law enforcement and business groups also have levied blame at Prop. 47, similarly arguing the measure's reduction of theft and drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors as a cause of the crime jump, though there are no empirically supported studies linking the two.

Do we really need empirical studies when the evidence is all around? How many news reports and personal stories are needed to belie the FBI statistics? As mentioned above, if law enforcement cannot protect its citizens, citizens are going to choose to protect themselves. Such was the case of a 77-year-old Oakland man who had two men and a woman enter his home without invitation. The man pulled a gun and shot and killed one of them, and has been arrested for murder. Oakland is within Alameda County, where Soros-backed District Attorney Pamela Price is the subject of a recall. So, there will be much interest in the office's decision whether to prosecute an old man who, from initial reporting, was legitimately in fear for his life. Yet, the gaslighting that crime in California really isn't all that bad continues apace. On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom's office decided to crow about the reduction of crime in Oakland and how much is being done in 2024 to make communities safe.

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Sure, Jan. 

From incidents like this home invasion to reports of gang warfare to data on Neighborhood Scout and other watchdog sites, the information indicates crime is on the rise. But reporting on that crime? That definitely is not, which is why Newsom and Co. can manufacture a narrative of crime reduction. 

Why should people report something when there is no enforcement or penalties? Instead, they focus on protecting themselves the best way they know how. The irony is that in gun-controlled California, it's been with firearms. The rest of us just flee the state. 

Despite the contradictions, it didn't stop the Mayor of Oakland, who is also the subject of a recall campaign, from preening for the governor and taking a premature victory lap.

Local Oakland activist Timothy Gardner calls out Thao for her information manipulation.

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The truth is that we just don’t know yet if crime is up or crime is down relative to 2023—at least not based on crime statistics to date. Data are incompletely tabulated. And history shows that burglaries and total crimes are significantly under-counted by ~20-35% at this point in the year (see second figure below). If 2024 follows the same pattern, the apparent improvements in burglary and total crime will evaporate as data becomes fully tabulated.

One good thing that has come from this drive to get Prop 47 revisions on the ballot has been the sudden hair-on-fire urgency of Democrats to combat crime. What it has also shown is that they are not very good at doing it. The only way they know is to undercut businesses and the will of the people in their hard-won victory to get the revised Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act on the ballot. What has the Democrat Supermajority been occupying themselves with for the past few days? Inserting poison pills into current public safety legislation that would go into effect if the Prop 47 countermeasure passes.

A major political fight over public safety in California is heating up as Democratic leaders attempt to negotiate a measure to reform Proposition 47 off of the November ballot.

Prop 47, an initiative voters passed a decade ago, has become notorious for loosening the penalties around drug and theft crimes in California and has been blamed by various law enforcement, business groups and elected leaders from both parties for the state's theft problems.

In the latest development of those negotiations, Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly doubled down on their efforts Monday to add inoperability clauses to 14 public-safety-related bills, signaling the group is prepared to abandon efforts it has spent the year working on if voters pass the reforms to Proposition 47.

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Senate Pro Tempore Mike McGuire claimed on Monday that the two proposals would conflict legally, but were short on specifics.

"We added inoperability clauses to help ensure that if these bills were put into law and the ballot initiative also goes into effect, we don't have a world-class mess of conflicting policies on our hands," McGuire said.

Proponents of the ballot initiative have said they do not conflict. The initiative enhances penalties for fentanyl dealers and manufacturers, while also requiring those convicted of stealing three times to spend added time in prison.

When pressed by KCRA 3 repeatedly about how exactly the ballot initiative and legislative package conflict, McGuire could not say.

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Newsom has been signaling for months that he does not want Prop 47 to be decided by the people of California.

Congressman Kevin Kiley called out Newsom and the legislature on their naked dictatorship moves.

This is what a threat to democracy looks like. Newsom and his enablers are ramming through legislation to punish California voters if they pass the End Prop. 47 initiative. Their legislation is a loaded weapon, providing: If voters dare pass End 47 in November, that automatically triggers changes to weaken other criminal laws as retaliation. 

But the point isn’t just to threaten voters. It’s to lie to them: Newsom will now claim that End 47 is actually a soft-on-crime initiative. This lie, undoubtedly, will appear in the ballot description itself. It is the most corrupt scheme in California political history, designed to suppress a popular voter initiative and keep crime spiraling out of control.

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From law enforcement to hampered DAs to everyday people, the Prop 47 measure making the ballot reflects that they are beyond fed up with Newsom, Caleg, and their duplicitous and empty promises. They are also fed up with the extortion tactics. On Wednesday, members of the Californians for Safer Communities Coalition and other impacted citizens protested in front of Attorney General Rob Bonta's office, reminding him that he is supposed to serve them and not partisan interests.

The Zavala thread, which also shows photos and quotes from leaders and grieving parents who have been impacted by the disregard for the rule of law and law enforcement, is only a composite of what voters will do in November. Whether by mail-in, walk-in, or crawl-in, and no matter how many deceptions Bonta will work with the wording, I believe Californians will vote "Yes" on the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act in order to see Prop 47 as we know it eliminated.

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