California Report: Bad News and Good News

California Report: Bad News and Good News

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on March 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christian Milord

Christian Milord

2/28/2024

Updated: 2/28/2024

Commentary
As we move ahead in early 2024, there are a number of government actions that will negatively impact Californians, while some might offer a ray of hope breaking through the storm clouds. Although California is a laboratory for an array of crackpot ideas, once in a while common sense takes us by surprise.

The Bad News

Proposition 1 on the primary election ballot would continue to throw money at homelessness, a strategy that has failed miserably for years as it enables unruly behavior. It authorizes $6.38 billion in bonds for housing, mental health, and substance use treatment.
Micromanaging the homeless problem from afar wastes taxpayer dollars and takes decisions out of the hands of local communities that could forge effective streamlined solutions.
Moreover, the state already has double the budget deficit that was forecast early this year. The homeless require tough love policies that focus on personal responsibility. If the homeless receive transitional sheltering and treatment for addictions or mental issues, they must strive to improve their lives through courses and employment searches.
A school within the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A school within the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Top California officials and teachers unions want to create a firewall between parents and the public schools by keeping a student’s alleged “altered” gender identity information within the schools. They don’t realize that children belong to the parents, and parents have the right to be informed if there are troubling issues at school.
Parents need to know what children are being taught, which includes academic progress and any behavioral concerns that need to be addressed. There would be no public schools without taxpaying parents, therefore schools should restore rigorous academic courses and eliminate Marxist culture war issues.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has effectively banned fracking in California despite safer drilling and extraction methods in recent years. This action will further California’s dependence on other countries and states for its energy needs. It could also stunt economic growth and increase energy costs for consumers.
A recent California Senate Bill (SB 847) will allow Sikhs to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Do the politicians think that wearing a turban will protect a Sikh from traumatic brain injury if they have an accident? Every other motorcycle rider must wear a helmet, so why exempt one ethnic/religious group? Either exempt every operator and let them ride at their own risk or else mandate helmets for everyone. Aren’t the Department of Motor Vehicles and insurance companies in the business of safety? Vehicle insurance costs could further increase due to this exemption.
In a stunning development, the San Francisco Elections Commission appointed a noncitizen to the Commission. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors conducted the swearing-in ceremony on Valentine’s Day.
Some citizens have a tough time fully understanding the responsibilities that accompany citizenship and voting, so visualize the difficulties a noncitizen would encounter. Only law-abiding citizens should be on election commissions in order to maintain election integrity. Voting is a right for native-born Americans and legal immigrants who have truly earned their citizenship.
Back in the day, the minimum wage was slowly raised incrementally, yet in recent years it has risen dramatically. This wage is meant to be a first step on the path toward upward mobility, yet California politicians keep pushing the wage higher. This will eliminate many teenagers from the labor market, increase employers’ costs to run a business, cut hours and even positions for employees, and maintain inflationary trends due to higher costs of living for consumers. This is a no-win situation for California.
The Enterprise Bridge passes over a completely full Lake Oroville in Oroville, Calif., on June 15, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Enterprise Bridge passes over a completely full Lake Oroville in Oroville, Calif., on June 15, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Good News

The California Assembly is working on a bill (AB 1772) that would reportedly reform Proposition 47. The new bill is meant to crack down not only on retail theft but also prosecute those who receive and sell stolen property. If this goes through, it might help to make a dent on the smash-and-grab mobs who break into businesses and steal substantial amounts of goods. The state has also been crafting methods to come down harder on those who buy and sell catalytic converters on vehicles.
Local and state governing entities in California continue to work on methods to collect and store water during the rainy season to prepare for the lean years of drought. This is critical for the state.
Recently, the state has returned to the idea of bringing phonics back into the reading curriculum in public schools (AB 2222). Many charter, private and religious schools already utilize phonics when teaching students how to read. These schools don’t adhere to the pendulum shifts and other trends in education that come down the pike every few years. They use techniques that work. Studies have found that students learn how to read effectively by first recognizing and sounding out letters (consonants and vowels) rather than entire words.
“Reading across the curriculum” and the “whole language” approach are fine if students already know how to read through learning phonics, or the “science of reading.” Some public schools utilize phonics, and the state at this time won’t mandate phonics teaching in the early elementary grades. However, due to dismal reading test scores in recent years, it would assist student success if more school districts would restore phonics into the language arts curriculum.
Despite some district and state efforts to create hurdles, the charter school movement has gained some momentum in Orange County and other areas of the state. Charters are public schools, but they don’t have to navigate a mind numbing bureaucracy to operate.
Currently, about 41 charter schools are operating in Orange County, and they generally outperform the public schools in state test scores. Hopefully, competition can improve the state-run public schools. This would be good news indeed.
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Christian Milord

Christian Milord

Author

Christian Milord is an Orange County, California-based educator, mentor, USCG veteran, and writer. He earned his M.S. degree from California State University, Fullerton, where he mentors student groups and is involved with literacy programs. His interests include culture, economics, education, domestic and foreign policy, and military issues. He can be reached at cnvmilord@sbcglobal.net

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