With medieval conditions in California, Gov. Newsom looks back to the old Poor Laws

California was once called "the Golden State."  It has a mellow climate; its agricultural industry was "the fruit basket of America"; San Francisco was "the City that Knows How"; Los Angeles was the "City of Dreams"; and the Sierra mountain range, one of the most beautiful in the world, was a summer and winter pleasure paradise.  That's the California in which I grew up.

The current California isn't quite so nice.  The climate is still lovely, but the agricultural industry has been struggling because of environmental concerns over the Delta Smelt, a small fish.

Regularly occurring droughts, which are part of California's natural cycle, are proving devastating, mostly because California has refused to upgrade its water system in the last 60 years, even as the population almost doubled.  The new plan is to limit people to 55 gallons a day, which gives them a choice on many days between cleaning their clothes and cleaning themselves.

Punishing taxes and regulations routinely drive businesses (AKA employers) out of the state.

Those are all bad things, but what people really know about California today is that it has a homeless problem — 156,000 homeless people, to be specific.  Tucker Carlson spent a week looking at the way in which San Francisco, once one of the world's most beautiful cities, has seen its quality of life collapse under the weight of the homeless.  Los Angeles has vast tent cities that have become breeding grounds for medieval disease, while Sacramento is overrun with rats.

But fear not!  Governor Gavin Newsom has a plan.  He wants to amend the California constitution to mandate that all cities and counties must provide housing and shelter enough for every homeless person within the region:

California should pass a constitutional amendment requiring all cities and counties to provide enough housing or shelter to put every homeless person under a roof, a task force appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday in its long-awaited report.

[snip]

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, co-chair of the 13-member task force appointed in February, said it concluded that leaving the problem to the whims of local governments hasn't been working. California's homeless population of 156,000 — up 16% in the past year — is the biggest in the United States and shows no sign of declining.

"We are calling for a legally enforceable mandate requiring governments to bring people home," Steinberg told The Chronicle. "No more of this being an option. It's past time to do what is fair, compassionate and necessary to save lives."

Reading that, it occurred to me that I'd seen the same policy elsewhere.  It's an update of Britain's Poor Laws, which was started in the 16th century and lasted into the early 20th.  Under the Poor Laws, any community in which an indigent person found himself was on the hook for providing life's minimal necessities for the person.

Arguably, this simply mandated that tight-knit communities look after their own.  What happened instead was that communities did one of two things: either they brutally drove the poor out of town so they would not become a charge on the community or they built Workhouses that were miserable places of deprivation, family separation, and hard labor.  Thus, the poor houses were a more sophisticated way to drive the poor out of town, lest they start living the lush life at townspeople's expense.

America's Democrat-run cities have a homeless problem, much of which is tied to mental illness and substance abuse.  Rather than tackling those problems, Left-leaning communities have opted to make life easier for those living on the streets due to their mental illness or substance abuse.  These cities are especially havens for drug addicts because they give them needles, food, and freedom from criminal laws, including preventing people from sleeping on or taking their toilet habits to the streets.

Awful as that sounds to most of us, California's cities are actually giving the junkies everything they could want.  Until California stops being a paradise, not for its taxpayers, but for its homeless, the situation will get worse, not better.  Reintroducing Poor Laws will not help.

California was once called "the Golden State."  It has a mellow climate; its agricultural industry was "the fruit basket of America"; San Francisco was "the City that Knows How"; Los Angeles was the "City of Dreams"; and the Sierra mountain range, one of the most beautiful in the world, was a summer and winter pleasure paradise.  That's the California in which I grew up.

The current California isn't quite so nice.  The climate is still lovely, but the agricultural industry has been struggling because of environmental concerns over the Delta Smelt, a small fish.

Regularly occurring droughts, which are part of California's natural cycle, are proving devastating, mostly because California has refused to upgrade its water system in the last 60 years, even as the population almost doubled.  The new plan is to limit people to 55 gallons a day, which gives them a choice on many days between cleaning their clothes and cleaning themselves.

Punishing taxes and regulations routinely drive businesses (AKA employers) out of the state.

Those are all bad things, but what people really know about California today is that it has a homeless problem — 156,000 homeless people, to be specific.  Tucker Carlson spent a week looking at the way in which San Francisco, once one of the world's most beautiful cities, has seen its quality of life collapse under the weight of the homeless.  Los Angeles has vast tent cities that have become breeding grounds for medieval disease, while Sacramento is overrun with rats.

But fear not!  Governor Gavin Newsom has a plan.  He wants to amend the California constitution to mandate that all cities and counties must provide housing and shelter enough for every homeless person within the region:

California should pass a constitutional amendment requiring all cities and counties to provide enough housing or shelter to put every homeless person under a roof, a task force appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday in its long-awaited report.

[snip]

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, co-chair of the 13-member task force appointed in February, said it concluded that leaving the problem to the whims of local governments hasn't been working. California's homeless population of 156,000 — up 16% in the past year — is the biggest in the United States and shows no sign of declining.

"We are calling for a legally enforceable mandate requiring governments to bring people home," Steinberg told The Chronicle. "No more of this being an option. It's past time to do what is fair, compassionate and necessary to save lives."

Reading that, it occurred to me that I'd seen the same policy elsewhere.  It's an update of Britain's Poor Laws, which was started in the 16th century and lasted into the early 20th.  Under the Poor Laws, any community in which an indigent person found himself was on the hook for providing life's minimal necessities for the person.

Arguably, this simply mandated that tight-knit communities look after their own.  What happened instead was that communities did one of two things: either they brutally drove the poor out of town so they would not become a charge on the community or they built Workhouses that were miserable places of deprivation, family separation, and hard labor.  Thus, the poor houses were a more sophisticated way to drive the poor out of town, lest they start living the lush life at townspeople's expense.

America's Democrat-run cities have a homeless problem, much of which is tied to mental illness and substance abuse.  Rather than tackling those problems, Left-leaning communities have opted to make life easier for those living on the streets due to their mental illness or substance abuse.  These cities are especially havens for drug addicts because they give them needles, food, and freedom from criminal laws, including preventing people from sleeping on or taking their toilet habits to the streets.

Awful as that sounds to most of us, California's cities are actually giving the junkies everything they could want.  Until California stops being a paradise, not for its taxpayers, but for its homeless, the situation will get worse, not better.  Reintroducing Poor Laws will not help.