Dear Governor Gavin Newsom,
Like many Californians, I am frustrated.
For the last several years, despite my very vocal opposition to perhaps everything you stand for I have played good solider in attempting to “do my part” (perhaps to prove the hypocrisy and ineffectiveness of your policies) in complying with your requests for all Californians.
In 2016, together with my wife, we leased our first electric car. Later in the year we bought a home in the Los Angeles area and spent several hundred thousand dollars fixing it up. We went the extra mile to make our home completely energy-efficient and to limit our carbon footprint. We installed a Title-24 Cool Roof, an energy-efficient HVAC system including all upgraded R-8 ducting, a 6.5Kw solar system, new energy-efficient windows, upgraded our insulation, filled the home with the most efficient appliances we could find, installed water-conserving devices and weather-sensitive sprinkler controllers. There isn’t a thing we have done to this house for which you wouldn’t have advocated or of which you would have approved. I honestly believe that in that regard you’d consider us model Californians.
In 2019 we leased our second electric car, which again is charged on our smart charger in the house with the solar we installed (it only charges when there isn’t an energy rush). We have smart devices that are linked to controls for our utility companies and allow them to meter our usage for when there is high demand. We use water in a responsible matter. Consistently, we are below the average of our neighbors in utility consumption. Again, I don’t know where you’d have a problem with the way we run our household.
We pay our taxes (the highest rate in the country). We file every year on time. We pay our property taxes in full and on time (Might want to try doing that there, Gav).
We buy local and support local businesses.
We visit state and local museums and visit California’s beautiful State and National Parks.
We attended state schools (CSUN and Cal Poly SLO).
We register our vehicles, maintain them so they operate as efficiently as possible, and properly dispose of the waste associated with doing so. We pay gas tax (the highest in the nation when including Carbon Taxes) when we fill up.
We have our kids enrolled in local schools. We are very involved parents, participating in PTA, volunteering in the classroom, and organizing school events. When teachers are short classroom supplies or in need of other materials, we are the first to buy those things and deliver them to the teachers. We encourage our children to participate in community events, through both boy and girl scouts, taekwondo, faith-based activities, and community sports.
We are California, and I would like to think that despite our differences you’d be proud of the contributions we are making and have made to make California a good place to live. We have put our all into California, and we feel like California has failed us. More importantly, you have failed us.
As of this moment, 28 major fires are burning in the State. You and your party have empowered environmentalists to run forestry policy for decades which as led to California becoming a tinder box. I know five families that have been evacuated this week, including my aunt who is evacuated from her property for the third time in three years. Another close family friend has been evacuated from their beautiful home near Susanville. One of my family’s favorite escapes (Big Basin State Park) has been annihilated by fire. Closer to home, the Lake Fire has created health scares throughout our town.
Rolling blackouts are occurring throughout the state. Despite the fact that during the day my home generates more power than we use, our power could be shut down at any time, putting a larger burden on an already burdened system. When the state (while you were Lieutenant Governor, mind you) decided to raise their RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) goals for power generation, there were zero plans on how to achieve those goals. With the shutdown of clean energy generation at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, there was no replacement for that generation. To add insult to injury, the spent fuel rods that were in the reactors are now being stored on-site, which is likely not as safe as had they been inside their reactors. Environmentalists who were angry with those two facilities had little to complain about the massive solar generation system near Stateline along Interstate 15.
Our state faces the constant threat of drought. When plans are introduced by water officials to build a new dam or develop a desalinization plant, rabid environmentalists make any progress impossible. In 2016 I consulted on a project to place a water initiative on the ballot to build a dozen de-sal plants along the coast that would have provided California with 30 percent more water. It was killed before it hit the starting gate because wacky-enviros were worried about fish and not their 40 million fellow residents.
California High-Speed Rail is woefully over budget and behind schedule.
UC schools are some of the most expensive in the nation. K-12 education ranks 44 in the nation. We rank dead last in high school graduation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the state remain closed, denying our children the much-needed socialization they require. Furthermore, families with children with additional needs are left without the resources they so badly need.
While in grad school I drove for Uber and Lyft to help with my family’s budget. Before that, I was a consultant. Currently, I am a writer. Guess which piece of legislation (signed by you) has ruined all three? That’s right, AB 5. Unemployment numbers are on the rise and this sort of stupid (that’s right, it is freakin’ stupid) legislation just makes the problem worse. Are you to blame for the rising unemployment numbers (the DNC told us Trump is to blame)? Obviously, COVID-19 was the majority cause of this but when it comes to the standards set by the DNC, what is good for the orange goose is good for the hair-gelled gander.
Housing costs are some of the highest in the country. Our very modest home would be unaffordable for most California families. In response, the State has authorized disastrous Accessory Dwelling Unit policies which would increase housing but, as already stated, would place a huge burden upon our utilities and water. Think traffic is bad now? Wait until the ADU legislation allows for the planned increase in housing units and doubles housing density.
Homelessness continues to explode. Parts of Los Angeles look like a third world country. With 60,000+ homeless people on the streets of Los Angeles County, your leadership has only made this issue exponentially worse. We have no mental health or drug treatment programs in place. No permanent housing plans. You have done nothing and only continue to empower policies that make the problem worse.
Disastrous legislation like AB 109 and state initiatives like Prop 47 and 57 have released thousands of dangerous criminals onto our streets. Law enforcement has never experienced lower morale in their history in our state as they watch the crime-fighting efforts become a revolving door of arrest and release. Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands more of dangerous criminals have been released into our communities. Lawlessness is rewarded and not punished. Law-abiding citizens are targeted with laws and regulations while habitual lawbreakers are at times celebrated.
Which leads me to my question, Governor: What more would you have us do?
What more would you have us do while you and other state leaders continue to fail us? When will you step up and take responsibility for our state’s problems? (Or step down for incompetence?) You’ve been in Sacramento for a decade. Do you not hold some responsibility for our present problems? If so, why should you be able to continue in a job for which you are so woefully unprepared? Aside from dropping my criticisms of your horrible and failed leadership, what more could you honestly suggest that I do? How much more time, money, and sweat equity do you suggest we invest in the failed social experiment that is California? At which point will you tell democratic leaders in the legislature that it isn’t working? How much more are you suggesting we sacrifice for our state? When will enough, be enough? If our participation in California is a form of a social contract, what exactly are you responsible for, and what have you done to fix any of these issues?
Will there be haters who attack me for this open letter? Sure. Not a single one of them will address these problems, though. They will point to my political affiliations or my previous work. They will resort to ad hominem attacks, but they will never address what I could personally do, through action, to be a better Californian.
I’ve done my part, and it is about time you and many others do the same. It is time for you to set actionable goals and measures for success and failure. Enough platitudes. Enough blaming on boogie-men. Enough passing the buck. For once in your privileged, entitled life, take responsibility for something. Instead of being the image of a leader, be an actual leader. Tell us how we can measure whether or not you’ve been successful and be willing to be held responsible for your failures.
As for me and my family, unless we see significant change, we will do as hundreds of thousands of other good families have done and leave the state.