ALPERN AT LARGE--For better or for worse, for worse or for better, the people have spoken.
So-called GOP candidate John Cox (who was hated by many of the most ardent Republican voters in California), who was about as lousy and as irrelevant a candidate for California as this state has ever seen, lost and Gavin Newsom is our next governor. (Photo above: ‘Caravan’ arrives.)
The good news: Antonio Villaraigosa will never be governor of this state, and his foray into politics will hopefully be over. Ditto for John Cox (by the way, no one likes a developer carpetbagger from another state who attacks his own party more than provide reasons and plans to prove he should be elected, regardless of which party that person belongs).
The bad news: Gavin Newsom is--if we are to take a good look at the City of San Francisco from where his political background hails, the worst kind of example of how an ever-more-urban California should be run. Unaffordable housing, catering to the rich while giving the cold shoulder to the middle class, and a homeless crisis isn't good.
It's to be acknowledged that (unless one is a hopeless political hack) hoping for a governor to fail isn't helpful, and if any Republican is crying in his/her beer then perhaps that person ought to be grateful that John "Who the heck is that guy, anyhow, and is he even alive?" Cox lost, and perhaps that person ought to fight for Jim "Boy, oh golly gee, I just love to lose" Brulte to be thrown out of the leadership of a party that needs to offer a choice for Californians if they're unhappy with Democrats.
So, let's hope that Governor-Elect Newsom, warts and all, will tackle our state's problems like an adult:
1) The pension problem ain't going away. Sometimes it takes a stock market downturn to realize how tenuous and mathematically-unsustainable our pension problem. But it's getting worse, and will reach the $1 trillion shortfall mark sooner than we want or might believe.
"Pensions?" you might ask (because certainly most of our struggling fellow Californians) don't want to pay attention to this shortfall issue)? P-p-p-p-p-pensions? Pensions/schmensions? In the eight dimension? Why should we give a damn about that booooring topic?
Because all the money we just voted in for roads, rail, water, etc. will be diverted into pensions just like a whole bunch of tax money we promised before has been diverted. The roads will NOT be fixed.
The new rail lines will NOT be built. Water will NOT be prevented from running into the ocean after a rainstorm, and we will NOT do oceanwater reclamation.
2) Screaming "climate change" won't fix ANYTHING. Funny how Governor Brown and Governor-Elect Newsom slapped around President Donald "Climate Change Denier" Trump but asked him for lots of federal help after the Paradise and other fires that he warned about after our last bout of fires last year.
So, what's worse--that Trump said it, or that he was right? Anyone studying our environment knows that climate change is occurring, but the manmade versus natural factors, and the American-caused versus non-American caused factors, are much more nebulous and multifactorial.
So, what has that to do with Governor Jerry Brown nixing a plan to thin out the underbrush and prevent utility lines from starting fires? What is wrong with the forestry policies we've had for decades, and which are scientifically-based and proven? What is wrong with giving the logging industry some profit if it's necessary as well to avoid these hellish megafires?
And BY THE WAY, Mayor Garcetti, before you keep ramming the Venice Blvd. Road Diet down the Westside's throat, consider that the Paradise main road was narrowed despite warnings of what could happen during a major wildfire;
Next time there's a need for major movement of cars along Venice Blvd, Mayor Garcetti, any blood will be on YOUR hands as much as the responsibility for cooked Californians is on Governor Jerry Brown. Spin things all we want against the Orange Man in the White House, it's Governor Brown's poor decisions that led to so many dead Californians ... so let's not repeat that.
3) Hate the Trump Presidency, ridicule the "Trumpsters" and scream about the Orange Man's tweets all you want, but those "migrants" are here. 90% of them men, many with criminal records as per the government of Mexico and waving the flag of Honduras.
They're here, and as reported by the Guatemalan and Mexican governments, they're using the small number of children with them as human shields at the U.S. border as much as they did to those nations. Tear gas, and not nerve gas, was used to control the horde that tried to smash through the fence/border over the weekend.A similar effort with pepper spray was used under the Obama Administration by ICE, who then as now are just doing their jobs. And Mexico has now announced they will deport that group which stormed the border which means that Mexico is doing its job as well. After offering asylum to those in the "caravans" and being rebuffed, Mexico has the right to get tough.
So, what has this to do with Governor-Elect Newsom? Well, a lot--this crisis is NOT of his making, and it is NOT of Mexico's making...but this "caravan" headed to Tijuana, and not to the borders of Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas.
And why would that be? And why is Tijuana freaking out with the growing number of lovely "refugees" who are anything BUT migrants with legitimate needs for asylum, and who have already refused asylum in Mexico? And what will happen if President Trump closes the entire Mexico border as he has threatened.
The election cycle is OVER, Governor-Elect Newsom. Ardent Democrats in Massachusetts and Maryland elected Republican governors who were MANAGERS.
You want federal money and cooperation, Governor-Elect Newsom? You want to be re-elected, Governor-Elect Newsom?
1) Then address the fiscal problems of this state like an adult--the taxes and bonds that Californians just voted for to fix our infrastructure should ONLY go to infrastructure.
2) An environmentalist doesn't ignore forestry policies to prevent fires from reaching the crisis-level conflagrations we've just seen. Bring our state water. Make your case. And separate true environmentalists and scientists from those faux-environmentalists who either don't know what they're talking about, or just hate people altogether.
3) Stop the gas-lighting of Californians between conflating "caravans" breaking national and international laws from those who legitimately need asylum, and who legitimately want to become self-sustaining and necessary immigrants and citizens of the United States. Legal and illegal paths to residency and citizenship are NOT the same.
We need a leader in Sacramento, Governor-Elect Newsom. We need a manager.
Most of all, we need an adult.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)