California continues to favor PR (and PC) over citizens’ needs

It's no secret that the liberal-run state of California has many present and alarming issues. If you live in one of the major cities, your commutes may involve evading medieval diseases like typhus due to a surplus of rats or stepping around used needles and human feces.

California ranks at #2 out of 50 states in CNBC's 2019 most expensive states to live report with an average home price of $1,243,239. Despite being home to many of the world's rich and famous, California's homeless population is #1 in the country and rising steadily. Instead of devoting time and money to cleaning up the major cities of the golden state, the mayors of LA and San Francisco have prioritized other "needs."

These PR-heavy pieces of legislation include banning plastic water bottles, plastic straws, e-cigarettes, rat poison, and even accommodating to felons by changing the terminology of their criminal status. These are all allegedly much higher public health concerns than rats, needles, feces, and rotting garbage.

San Francisco's latest move sanitizes the language that is used to describe criminals, no longer referring to them as a "convicted felon," but instead a "justice-involved person." The soft new terminology also applies to addicts and juveniles calling them "a person with substance use history" or "a young person with justice system involvement."

The Board of Supervisors voted this useless new bill into law merely days after banning the sale of plastic water bottles while leaving plastic soda bottles perfectly legal.

In June, the board voted to effectively become the first city in the US to ban e-cigarettes as a way to "combat teenage use." Never mind the rising population of addicts that now exceeds the number of high school students in the city. They are free to litter the streets with dirty needles, feces, urine, and vomit as long as you're not puffing an e-cigarette. Addressing real issues like that doesn't appease the "woke" people of California, nor does it draw any lobbying money or good PR.

All the while, San Francisco's homeless population is up 17% from 2017 as of May in a city with more billionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Los Angeles has recently set a terrifying precedent due to its uncontrollable rodent and garbage infestation — bringing back the medieval disease typhus. Many LA residents have contracted the disease already including Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Greenwood who got exposed to the bacteria at the rat-infested city hall.

Homeless people's tents in LA's skid row (photo credit: Russ Allison Loar)

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LASHA) reported a 16% increase in the homeless population since just 2018.

Rest assured residents: the city board has worked that year diligently to ban plastic straws and single-use plastic bottles. Succumbing to pressure from the media, they've taken a brand new step towards fixing homelessness, and it's genius — banning being homeless.  The LA city council recently reinstated an ordinance that prohibits sleeping overnight in vehicles in any residential area. Not only is this behavior not necessarily indicative of homelessness, but it's as useless as banning heroin, and the city knows that. The ordinance likely won't be enforced on anyone living in vehicles, but instead used as a way to issue an incremental citation to an unlucky taxpayer.

In a perfect society, which we are far from living in, legislating your way through every issue of public health and safety would work fine. Instead, it merely crafts the "look at me; I'm helping" PR that San Francisco and LA require to keep the reputation afloat and justify the cost of living. When one in five Californians have a criminal record, and the streets are filling with waste and drug paraphernalia, it is time to prioritize and govern differently.

Bobby Harr is an independent journalist and freelance writer who has been featured in the Western Journal, American Thinker, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Twitter: @TheDailyNoble.

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