***BELOW IS A COPY OF WHAT THE ELDER CAMPAIGN SUBMITTED TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE. CAMPAIGN EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE REDACTED FOR PRIVACY REASONS. THE RESPONSES THAT THE SACRAMENTO BEE REMOVED ARE IN RED***
Political party (if applicable)
South Central, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Nationally syndicated radio host, newspaper columnist, best-selling author, award-winning documentary filmmaker
B.A., Political Science, Brown University
J.D., University of Michigan Law School
Native son of California; practiced law; owned a business; has three decades of engagement with policy experts, activists, political leaders, and ordinary Californians on the challenges facing this state; appointed by President of the United States as a member of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys; member of the California and Ohio state bars.
What precautions, if any, should California continue to take to cope with COVID-19 and its variants? *
Protecting public health is a priority for the governor, a duty that should never be abused to trample individual freedoms. Encouraging those who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine is a reasonable approach. Individuals and parents must make decisions about vaccination.
It is long overdue for California to return to normalcy. Scientists keep assuring us that the vaccines are effective. Everyone who wants a vaccine can get one. Californians who assume the risk of not wearing a mask or not getting vaccinated should not be forced to do so.
Remember the original reason for the lockdowns? It was to prevent overloading our healthcare system. That threat no longer exists. Our ruling classes—with Governor Newsom as their poster boy—have imposed repeated mandates and moved the goalposts, shutting down businesses and inflicting unnecessary pain on ordinary Californians.
I will govern as a governor, not as a tyrant.
California provided significant cash support to individuals and small businesses who suffered during the pandemic, with billions of dollars allocated for rent relief and small-business grants. To which extent should that assistance continue? *
Temporary relief was certainly reasonable and desirable, but Gavin Newsom’s spending spree is not.
We have seen the effects of Newsom’s profligacy firsthand. Has anyone tried to get an Uber lately? Far fewer drivers are on the road, because they make more from state and federal pandemic subsidies than from driving. Stores and restaurants can’t find employees for the same reason. Newsom wants to keep our dynamic workforce at home and indebted to him. A state that does not work falls behind. We can and must restart California’s robust economic engine.
Newsom’s policies have hurt the most vulnerable—hourly workers who can’t work remotely, and poor families with children at home because he closed the schools. He’s an elitist who lives with taxpayer-funded security. The French Laundry restaurant debacle was a symbol of his alienation from the public. His policies hurt the very people whom he claims to champion while further enriching his mega-wealthy and special-interest campaign donors.
What more would you do to address California’s housing crisis? *
California housing has always been somewhat more expensive than in the rest of the country—and it’s been a truly great place to live. But today, housing in California costs about 150 percent more than in the rest of the country—and more and more Californians can no longer afford to live in their own state. Regulations and laws that benefit a select few have sent home prices soaring. I will repeal those perverse regulations.
Newsom pledged to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025—it was one of his campaign promises. But, though we have builders eager to build homes for the growing population in California, their hands are tied. Poor policymaking in Sacramento has left our state ranking 49th in the union for the rate of construction. Why? Because, as is the case for gas prices, housing prices in California are being substantially and artificially inflated by tampering politicians in Sacramento. I will alleviate the housing crisis by letting the home builders build.
What should California do to build up its middle class? *
California has been devastated for years by a radical tax policy and (more recently) forced business closures. We have the highest marginal income-tax rate and one of the highest corporate-tax rates in the country. These are government barriers to the growth of the middle class. As governor, I will go to bat for Californians to reduce their tax burden and alleviate regulatory burdens on their entrepreneurship. More disposable income equals more spending money for Californians as we reopen our economy. With these commonsense steps, we will bring all Californians back stronger than before.
Would you propose any new policies to address climate change? *
Being concerned about the long-term viability of our planet should not mean suffocating our economy. Let’s come together and allow the private sector—our beloved problem solvers—to innovate. I’m not here to tell you which car you can and cannot drive by 2035, but I will cultivate a business-friendly environment that does not chase out our electric auto companies, outsource our solar-panel manufacturers, or act as a disincentive to innovation. We can lead the way for the rest of the country and make clean energy not just a luxury, but something that is affordable for all.
What should California do in the long term to address wildfire and drought conditions? *
Gavin Newsom admitted that our forests need brush clearance and better management. He then scaled back fire-prevention work. This is unacceptable. I will allocate adequate resources for firefighting and prevention, especially during drought years.
As for water, all options must be on the table: desalination, reforming regulatory barriers in water trading, and a functional pricing system. Upgrading infrastructure will be most important. Much like the freeways that can’t support the vast numbers of drivers, our water infrastructure has not kept pace. It was built for a population half the size of today’s! Before wasting more money, let’s invest in that.
Also, drought is not inevitable. Just in 2017, we had overflowing dams and reservoirs, flood evacuations, and a massive mountain snowpack that lasted late into the summer. In times of surplus, we need to store more water. Sacramento has been prioritizing bullet trains and releasing criminals. I will refocus our efforts where it matters.