by Peter Franklin
Monday, 24
January 2022
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07:00

California Governor: my state is looking ‘third world’

Gavin Newsom is finally admitting there is a problem
by Peter Franklin
California Governor Gavin Newsom

One might expect the Governor of California to praise his state at every opportunity. But here’s what he had to say last week: “What the hell is going on? We look like a third world country.”

It wasn’t a gaffe. His words were spoken directly to camera. Given the backdrop, it was hard to disagree. In recent weeks, the Los Angeles railway system has suffered a looting epidemic. At sites across the network, goods wagons have been broken into and ransacked. Thousands of discarded, empty packages have been left strewn over the tracks, adding to the chaos. 

In the best traditions of the political photo-op, Newsom decided to lead a clean-up operation. Quite how long he was personally picking up the trash I don’t know, but it was long enough to be filmed by the media. 

His remarks are worth watching in full (for instance, here starting at the 9:20 mark). That’s because they reveals a political culture that has lost the plot on law-and-order. Newsom begins by acknowledging the systematic nature of the looting: “this is organised theft, these are organised gangs of people…” And then something odd happens: he stops to apologise — not to the victims of the crime wave, but for using the word ‘gangs’.

“Forgive me for saying ‘gangs’”, he says, “that’s not a pejorative.” Reaching for a more acceptable term he settles upon “organised groups of folks”. Later, he uses the forbidden word a second time — and apologises a second time: “again forgive me, that word is loaded”. And so there you have it. Public order may be breaking down in the most advanced economy on the planet, but at least its officials are making strenuous efforts not to offend anyone. 

To be fair to Newsom, he was clear that looting trains is “not acceptable” and that “we’re not condoning this behaviour.” However, he was rather less clear as to why it’s happening: “I don’t think anybody particularly cares who’s to blame.”

In fact, a lot of people blame California’s politicians for their ultra-liberal criminal justice policies. In a letter to the authorities, the Union Pacific train company complains that even when perpetrators are arrested, “charges are reduced to a misdemeanor or petty offense, and the criminal is released after paying a nominal fine.”

Newsom didn’t want to get into a policy debate: “we all want the simple reason, but it’s more complex than it appears.” And he’s partly right — crime is a complex phenomenon. However, the essence of maintaining order is not. At an absolute minimum, it requires that the most blatant offenders be caught, arrested and prevented from immediately reoffending. California shows what happens when you allow ‘progressive’ ideology to override this basic standard. 

You can always try tolerating petty crime. The trouble, though, is that it doesn’t stay petty. 

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Philip L
Philip L
6 months ago

First class pompous twit from party of second rate liberal midwits responsible for third world conditions. Quelle surprise.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago
Reply to  Philip L

“We look like a third world country.”” he said, then gave the thumbs up sign and smiled for the camera, ‘Mission Accomplished’ he added.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

My personal opinion is that defeating crime needs both the carrot and the stick. Those caught breaking the law need to be punished, but as a society we should also offer help to those people who want to try and turn their lives around, be it through rehabilitation programmes, or basics such as jobs or places to live upon release from prison.
From the outside most of America’s justice system seems to rely entirely on the punishment with no support, with predictably dire results in terms of reoffending rates.
California on the other hand doesn’t appear to apply either carrot or stick, and doesn’t seem to far away from anarchy

Tom Shaw
Tom Shaw
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I don’t know California. I live in a place where the homeless are well catered for. The result? We attract homelessness like wasps to a honeypot.
I’m sure you are right about offering jobs and places to live. But if those jobs and places to live are not in jeopardy if the user goes off the rails, then it’s all no more than free stuff to abuse.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Daily Mail today

“Carjackings rise by up to 510% across large cities: Chicago, New York, Philly and New Orleans are all experiencing ‘disturbing’ spikes in crime”

Carrot, get a car and the contents, Stick, get more entries on your rap sheet.

Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
6 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

get more entries on your rap sheet” Does this work the same as “likes” on Twittergram and Faceache?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“as a society we should also offer help to those people who want to try and turn their lives around, be it through rehabilitation programmes, or basics such as jobs or places to live upon release from prison.”

Why? Why should I ‘help’ some quasi-barbarian destroyer of civil society? This is all ‘equality’ BS, and lasts precisely as long as the last person who thinks they are ‘equal’. That isn’t normally that long.

Last edited 6 months ago by Arnold Grutt
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
6 months ago

Clown can’t even call them what they are — gangs — without checking himself for political correctness. Here’s a clue, Gav. When you stop enforcing your laws, people break them. See the correlation?

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
6 months ago

“Here’s a clue, Gav. When you stop enforcing your laws, people break them. See the correlation”

Clearly not. But still a good point.

Last edited 6 months ago by Sean Penley
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago

Organised Groups of Folksta Rap is the hot new genre I’m told.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
6 months ago

I’m told Organised Groups of New York Folks was a good movie

James Joyce
James Joyce
6 months ago

“I don’t think anybody particularly cares who’s to blame.”
Has the governor lost his mind? I care who is doing this. I want them tracked down and punished.
It seems that this was mostly done by non-birthing people. Even in California, there are barriers to entry for female and non-binary criminals, and I call on Gov. Newsom to change that.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I worked for Norfolk Southern Railway for a good bit as part of a subcontractor – and the USA rail Road laws are very harsh because of how they evolved in USA, they come under Federal Law as well as State. This stealing from a train could carry federal imprisonment of years if someone wished to do so.

John Pade
John Pade
6 months ago

This is what happens when politicians believe sociology and psychology PhDs from leading universities instead of folk sayings.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
6 months ago

“organised groups of folks” That’s better – it was just a group of ramblers out for a stroll. The stuff literally fell off back of a railway wagon into their hands.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
6 months ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

Actually, the most pejorative thing he did was compare LA to a ‘third world’ country. The PC term is Less Developed Country Exploited by Western Imperialists.

Mathieu Bernard
Mathieu Bernard
6 months ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

Major gaffe there. But at least “developing countries” are developing, right? So now we have California that used to be developed but is currently undeveloping?

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
6 months ago

The legions of the politically correct have dropped the pretence that those countries are developing and now refer to them as “low- and middle-income countries”, LMICs. This allows the poorest countries the conceit that they might be middle rather than low.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago

New York City smartened right up when Rudy instituted the “broken windows” strategy.

George Glashan
George Glashan
6 months ago

Newsoms version of “broken windows” will be to break all windows so that everyone can enjoy the equality of shattered glass.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
6 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Strangely the people who value ‘disruptiveness’ always live in quiet peaceful, middle-class areas which last saw a crime in 1923 (committed by a visitor, of course).

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
6 months ago

It is rather amazing that the voting public never seems to learn. Since the mid-1960s, “Liberal” municipal governance has always led to increased crime and social disorder. Eventually the populace gets fed up and elects someone who will enforce the law, and the situation slowly improves. After it has been tolerable for a while, they bring back the soft-on-crime liberals and the whole cycle repeats.
I suppose part of it may be that this is a generational cycle. The people who watched John Lindsay almost destroy NYC in the 1960s and early 1970s were a diminishing share of the vote by the time Dinkins was running in the late 1980s, and the people who lived through Dinkins had either forgotten or lost electoral weight by the time Bloomberg left and deBlasio arrived.
Or, maybe hope is just stronger than experience.

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
6 months ago

The problem is certain classes of people being coddled, and thus figuring that they can do what ever they like! Until this stops, America is ruined.

Marek Nowicki
Marek Nowicki
6 months ago

Pivoting attempt by discredited politicians who feels that the electorate sentiment is changing….typical.

Douglas H
Douglas H
6 months ago

OGF? Nice one, Gavin.

Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
6 months ago

EXcuse me. Why is ‘gangs’ a loaded word ?

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
6 months ago

I’m glad at least that he’s getting out more.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
6 months ago

“That’s because they reveals a political culture that has lost the plot on law-and-order.” and wealth inequality.