California politicians are now speaking tough on crime

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In summary

California’s liberal politicians are talking tough on criminals as the state sees a surge in robberies, homicides and other crimes.

It’s amusing — and a bit pathetic — to watch California’s liberal politicians slide to the right in response to a surge in crime.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is leading the not-so-subtle rhetorical shift from criminal justice reform — that is, reducing sentences for those who transgress — to tough punishment for criminals.

A week before Christmas, with retail stores witnessing a wave of armed robberies and cities reeling from record levels of homicides, Newsom unveiled what he called a “real safety plan.” policy” which “focuses on new investments that will strengthen local legislation. police response, ensuring that prosecutors hold perpetrators accountable and get guns and drugs off our streets.

“Through strong new investments and continued coordination with local agencies, this plan will strengthen our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively fight crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians. of the devastating epidemic of gun violence,” Newsom said.

Newsom looked more like one of those Republican governors of the past, such as George Deukmejian or Pete Wilson, than a governor who blocked the executions of murderers, closed prisons and supported the criminal justice agenda.

Newsom isn’t the only born-again crimefighter, though.

Days before his announcement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed took his own step-in-two step. Clearly worried that the wave of store invasions will put off tourists and Christmas shoppers, Breed has pledged to end “the reign of criminals who are destroying our city” by becoming “less tolerant” of what she has called “bullshit”. Breed also declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin area of ​​the city due to increased street crime.

A similar shift in attitude towards crime is evident in the San Francisco Bay Area in Oakland, which had embraced the ‘defund the police’ movement in response to the 2020 death of George Floyd with the knee of a Minneapolis policeman on the neck.

The Oakland City Council, at the behest of Mayor Libby Schaaf, voted to hire more police as the city had 134 homicides in 2021, the most in nearly two decades. Historically, Oakland has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation

Schaaf applauded the vote, saying residents “have spoken out in favor of a comprehensive approach to public safety – one that includes preventing, intervening and addressing the root causes of crime, as well as a properly staffed police service”.

The mayor of San Jose has joined the anti-crime chorus after a local judge allowed two people charged with homicide to be freed pending trial – citing more lenient bail reform rules.

“I appreciate the purpose of bail reform,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “but releasing a homicide suspect without bail is outrageous. The pendulum has swung too far, and our neighborhoods are bearing the brunt. of crimes that suffer from it.”

The harsh rhetoric about crime from these leading politicians and others clearly reflects their concerns not only about rising crime, but also about rising public anger about it and the possibility of a political reaction.

Although Newsom’s re-election this year is unlikely to be affected, there will be tests for other politicians, including Attorney General Rob Bonta, who was nominated by Newsom and will seek a full term.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who rose to fame prosecuting serial killer Joseph James DeAngelo, is challenging Bonta by tying him to criminal justice reforms she says have gone too far.

Bonta is politically and ideologically allied with Los Angeles and San Francisco district attorneys George Gascón and Chesa Boudin, both of whom face potential recalls for adopting more lenient criminal prosecution policies.

Crime could be the dormant problem of the year.

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