California Forum

Why are Newsom and Garcetti so optimistic? Because in California, everyone fails up

California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks with residents during a packed meet and greet in the San Luis Obispo, Calif., Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (Joe Johnston/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)
California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks with residents during a packed meet and greet in the San Luis Obispo, Calif., Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (Joe Johnston/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)

So, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to run for president.

Garcetti has been testing out his chops on the road – he’s been hanging around New Hampshire and Iowa in preparation for a 2020 run. And why not? He’s helped run the city of Los Angeles completely into the ground.

Now Eric Garcetti wants to be president. On the basis of…what, exactly?

According to The Los Angeles Times, L.A.’s homeless population has skyrocketed 75 percent in the last six years. Garcetti has been mayor of the city for the last five. Overall, there are now 34,000 homeless people living in the city of Los Angeles, a 48.7 percent increase since 2013. If not for Los Angeles, it turns out, the national homeless population would have dropped last year.

Then there’s the crime problem. While homicide has declined in Los Angeles, just as it has nationally, violent crime was up in 2017 for the fourth year in a row, including a 4.7 percent bump in robbery; violent crime jumped 7.1 percent between 2015 and 2017.

And then there’s the infrastructure problem. Garcetti’s tenure has seen a marginal increase in road quality. But L.A.’s roads still look like something from “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.”

And now Eric Garcetti wants to be president.

On the basis of…what, exactly? Presumably, Garcetti would run as the mayor of a large city who talks incessantly about illegal immigration, and who said the word “f***” publicly after the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup a few years back. But other than that, he’s got nothing.

The good news for him: In California, everyone fails up.

Take, for example, Gavin Newsom. The winsome lieutenant governor has a smooth glide path to Jerry Brown’s job this year. But that’s not because he’s done anything useful.

He was mayor of San Francisco from 2003 to 2010, where he made national headlines by authorizing same-sex marriages contra state law, and jabbered about impeding federal authorities from imposing immigration law. His governing record, however, left much to be desired. In 2007, Newsom slept with his married appointments secretary (he was married, too), and then effectively handed her a $10,000 payment from public coffers.

In 2004, Newsom promised that by 2014, San Francisco’s homeless crisis would be over. Not so much. The city has now has spent $1.5 billion on the problem, but the homeless population is the same – and now needles and human waste can be found on nearly every city corner.

Since 2005, the homeless population has increased 3 percent. In 2014, Newsom walked back his optimism on homelessness: “There’s a mythology that you can – quote unquote – end homelessness at any moment, but there are new people coming in, suffering through the cycles of their lives…We’ll never solve this at City Hall.”

Newsom didn’t solve much of anything at City Hall. During his first term, San Francisco saw more murders than anytime the rest of the decade. And as lieutenant governor, he hasn’t been much better – he once said he’d stand against Jerry Brown’s idiotic bullet train (he told me that personally, actually), but then backed off that position.

But at least he’s a good-looking dude. That counts for something, right?

California is one of the worst-governed states in America. Thanks to the quality of the people who live here and the strength of the industries that have made their homes here, the state continues to thrive in spite of that terrible governance.

But at some point, the citizens of this state will have to wake up and realize that elevating the same politicians who have failed at the local level to the state and federal government isn’t just a waste of time – it’s stupidity of the highest order.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire, a conservative news and opinion website. He can be reached at @BenShapiro.

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