From editorial boards to veteran columnist George Skelton: ‘Stop playing politics on retail theft crackdown’

Media outlets from multiple Editorial Boards are calling out Democrat lawmakers, and in some cases, Governor Newsom, for playing political games and denying Californians an opportunity to decide for themselves how certain criminal acts should be punished. The tactics from Democratic leadership used were parliamentary tricks, by adding “poison pill” amendments to several public safety bills, which would overturn them should the voters approve a November ballot measure on crime.

From the McClatchy California Editorial Boards, representing views from the editorial boards at The Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star and The Tribune in San Luis Obispo

“Here’s how it would work: If the Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act were to pass in November, then the anti-theft bills would be defunct. … Democratic leaders are so certain of their super majority at the Capitol that they feel emboldened to game the system and then they don’t have the nerve to answer legitimate questions about their behavior.” – McClatchy California Editorial Boards

The editorial board of the Orange County Register:

“The bills being considered by the Legislature, among other things, make it easier for DAs to combine thefts at different stores and charge perpetrators with a felony, as well as make it easier to prosecute those who break into cars. Those proposals certainly seem reasonable. Yet the poison pill’s cynicism suggests Democrats are more interested in playing politics than addressing legitimate crime issues. – Editorial Board, The Orange County Register

Veteran Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton stated in his column: 

“Straight-faced Democrats contend the self-destruct amendment —they don’t call it a poison pill — is necessary because of policy “conflicts” between the legislation and the initiative.” George Skelton, Los Angeles Times

CBS 13 exclusively obtained emails – leaked to them – showing Governor Newsom’s chief of staff threatening the California District Attorneys Association:

“An email chain obtained by CBS News California Investigates reveals that the Governor's Chief of Staff would not negotiate to strengthen a Democratic package of crime bills unless a coalition of crime victims, retailers, and law enforcement leaders would agree to postpone their ballot measure until 2026.”

Despite top Democratic legislative leaders’ best efforts to derail the citizen-led ballot initiative by adding “poison pill” amendments to their crime bills, both KCRA 3 and the Sacramento Bee have reported that some Sacramento Democrats are breaking ranks with their top leaders and are refusing to play along.

Capitol Correspondent Ashley Zavala with KCRA 3 Sacramento reported: 

"Unfortunately, I can’t support the retail theft package which contains my Retail Theft Accountability bill, AB 1794, with the poison pill non-operative amendments included," [Assembly Public Safety Chair Kevin] McCarty said in a statement.

And Legislative Reporter Lindsey Holden with the Sacramento Bee reported: 

“Assembly Democrats are fracturing over California legislative leaders’ decision to make changes to some retail theft bills that are designed to derail a controversial November ballot initiative aimed at toughening laws against such crimes.”