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Are You Kidding Me?

RANTZ & RAVEZ-The State of California and City of Los Angeles suddenly discover that millions upon millions of dollars are available after claiming a lack of funds for essential state and municipal services performed by government employees.

Who do the Elected and Appointed Officials think they are fooling this time around? Are Californians and Angelenos that gullible to believe that millions of dollars will suddenly appear and fill government treasuries that were nearly empty a few months ago? 

California’s Governor, the Honorable facing a Recall Gavin Newsom, has had a fairly easy ride up the election ladder starting in 1997. First there was the Office of San Francisco Board of Supervisors followed by election to the Office of Mayor of San Francisco. Then came the Office of California Lieutenant Governor and finally the most prestigious Office of them all, the Governor of the once proud and glamorous State of California.  

Governor Newsom has been leading the shrinking state population during some troubling times. As California’s populace has fled with thousands of businesses and families relocating to other states across the land, due to a variety of quality of life and economic reasons and the California economy has taken a huge hit. Businesses have closed and COVID-19 has struck and killed huge numbers of California residents. Nationally, it is estimated there have been over 32,753,426 COVID-19 cases with deaths reaching over 582,769, at last report. 

COVID-19 is finally under control with fewer people getting sick; effective vaccines have been developed and are saving lives along with the misery associated with the deadly illness. Our roads are once again becoming congested with traffic. Local businesses are opening again, including restaurants and sports facilities attracting crowds that have emerged from their homes to engage in community activities with people wearing masks. 

It is anticipated that the mandatory mask rules will be removed in a few weeks -- a relief for many of us who are not comfortable wearing them. Just think of walking into a bank before the Pandemic. If you had walked into a bank wearing a mask, the police would have been called, and you would have been suspected of being a 211 (police talk) or robbery suspect. Interesting how we adjust to the changing times in our mostly law-abiding society. 

While I am on the subject of Police and the Law, here are the latest LAPD Citywide Crime Stats as of May 8, 2021:  

Homicides are up +30.9% with 123 people killed in LA since Jan 1. The total number of homicides last year reached a record 10-year high of 350. Keep this number in mind as we continue moving forward this year with fewer LAPD Officers (9519) and more convicted felons being released from state prisons as the months pass. 

Aggravated assaults are up +12.6% with 6351 victims. Motor vehicle thefts are up +18.1% with 7873 vehicles stolen. Shots fired are also up +58% with 1147 reports. Shooting victims are at 500, up +67.2%. These are people just like you who have been shot but not killed.  

Getting back to my main topic of Governor Newsom and the various state funding sources that have recently appeared on the radar to help convince or bribe you to reject the RECALL against him and let him continue his failed leadership. Remember that every dollar the Federal, State, or local government provides for any and all services comes from each of us in the form of a tax or fee from a variety of sources. Like my mom told me more than once, money does not grow on trees. We are all required to pay taxes and fees in more ways than I can explain. The bottom line is while the government prints the money, we are the ones that keep it moving with a variety of taxes that are used for all aspects of government services. 

Here are some examples of what Governor Newsom has in his hidden bag of money tricks.  Remember, we thought the state was in a dire financial situation until the RECALL petitions were validated and POP here comes the magic money from Governor Newsom. Don’t fall for the Newsom trick.  

  1. Pay rental housing providers 100% of the rent owed by tenants who qualify for COVID-19 rental assistance. 
  1. Governor Newsom has announced his plan to spend $2 billion from the state’s general fund to pay past-owed water and utility bills. 
  1. The Governor will pay rental housing providers all rental arrears attributable to the pandemic, both retroactively and moving forward. 
  1. Under prior legislation, owners have been required to forgive 20% of the rent owed to qualify for assistance. Now, owners will receive the 20% owed as well.             
  1. California will receive an additional $2.6 billion in rental assistance from the Feds. That brings California’s total federal rental aid to $5.2 billion. 
  1. Governor Newsom’s second round of $600 stimulus checks will target two-thirds of the state’s residents. It’s part of his $100 billion “California Comeback Plan” fueled by a $75.7 billion surplus in the state’s general fund projected for the next fiscal year and another $26 billion from the federal coronavirus relief package. 
  1. $12 billion plan to address the homeless crisis which is part of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. 

The staggering number – billions -- of dollars go on and on. My question is a simple one. What has taken so long for Governor Newsom to address the out-of-control crisis impacting California? While the money is there, the history of success is dismal when it comes to addressing the assorted problems associated with the state. It’s time to Recall Governor Newsom and elect someone who can turn California around and return it to the Golden State it once was. 

The City of Los Angeles is concluding its annual budget. I will address the Los Angeles City Mayor and finances in my next RantZ and RaveZ. Stay tuned.

 

(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County.) Photo: Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.