California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is trying to look tough on crime as he attempts to stake a claim to national leadership in the Democratic Party, telling the city of San Francisco recently to enforce the “damn laws.”
The problem: no one is quite sure which laws he means. And the city is fighting in court to preserve its power to do just that, against advocates for homeless encampments that say the city cannot clear them from the streets.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Emily Hoeven tried to get to the bottom of the question this weekend:
“I can’t take it anymore,” Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said of rampant open-air drug dealing and property crime in San Francisco.
The problem, he suggested, was not one of lenient laws but of lenient prosecution. “There are plenty of laws on the books, and it’d be nice to see some of these damn laws enforced for a change.”
I repeatedly asked Newsom’s press office to identify specific laws the governor believes aren’t being enforced in San Francisco, but didn’t get a clear answer.
Last week, a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused to rehear a decision that struck down local ordinances prohibiting homeless people from sleeping in public places unless there are adequate shelters.
Separately, San Francisco is fighting a lawsuit by activists for the homeless who oppose clearing them from the streets. The city says that it is offering alternative shelter, but many of the homeless are refusing to accept it.
Newsom recently sent the California Highway Patrol to assist in the fight against fentanyl in San Francisco. But he continues to back the open-border immigration policies that allow fentanyl to enter the United States.
Moreover, Newsom has backed and defended some “reform” prosecutors — like George Soros-backed George Gascón — who are responsible for lenient enforcement policies in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Newsom worked with Gascón in San Francisco when Newsom was mayor of the city — a point that critics say marked the beginning of the city’s decline into a morass of petty crime, homelessness, and public drug abuse.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.