COVID, Vaccination, and Masks

Protecting the public health is an utmost priority for the governor, but that duty should never be abused to trample on individual freedoms. We now have access to multiple vaccines. Encouraging—not mandating—those who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine is a reasonable approach. But it is the prerogative of parents to decide whether their children should be vaccinated, and the prerogative of every individual to decide whether he or she will be vaccinated.

The virus and its variants should not lead to panic or overreaction. It is long overdue for California to return to normalcy. After all, scientists have assured us repeatedly that the vaccines are effective. By now, everyone who wishes to be protected by a vaccine can get one. As such, 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 hospitals from reaching capacity and overrunning our healthcare system. No such threat exists today. Instead, our ruling classes—with Governor Gavin Newsom as their poster boy—have repeatedly imposed mandates and moved the goalposts—which they themselves think they’re above—and shut down our businesses and inflicted unnecessary pain on ordinary Californians.

Gavin Newsom’s Spending Spree

Temporary relief during the worst pandemic in a century was certainly reasonable and desirable, but Gavin Newsom’s spending spree is not. As former Governor Jerry Brown said in a recent interview, “Money doesn’t grow on trees… It’s not sustainable.” Unlike his successor, Brown knows that throwing big chunks of cash at people is bad policy and predicted “fiscal stress” for the state within two years.

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 generous state and federal pandemic subsidies than from driving. Stores and restaurants can’t find employees for the same reason. We should keep in mind that hard work is noble. Our current governor wants to keep our dynamic workforce at home indebted to him, but his money play is just that, it’s not real. We must get California back to work! A state that does not work falls behind. We can and must restart the robust California economic engine we once knew.

I am struck by how Newsom’s COVID-19 policies have hurt the most vulnerable—such as hourly workers who cannot transition to telecommuting and poor families with children at home because Newsom closed the schools. He is an elitist who lives in a different world—with taxpayer-supported security, so crime does not affect him; with a home and lifestyle where he can’t identify with the homeless. And the French Laundry debacle was a symbol of his alienation from the public. The real issue is not rent relief or small-business grants, it’s that his COVID-19 policies hurt the very people whom he claims to champion while further enriching the mega-wealthy and special interests that comprise his campaign donors.

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.

The current governor has pledged to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025—it was one of his campaign promises. But where are the houses? Supply and demand do not bend to his wishful thinking. Though we have builders eager to build for the large 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.

In-School Learning

Children need the option for in-school learning, period. As soon as the science made it clear that children were not at grave risk from Covid 19 they should have had the choice to go back to class. I would have provided parents with that choice.

That is far from what we saw in California. We had a governor who is shamelessly beholden to the teacher’s unions. A governor who sent home millions of public school children while his own children received elite in-person instruction at a private school. Gavin Newsom was a petty tyrant more concerned with shoring up support from his powerful allies than he was with the well-being of California’s children. In fact, the California Teacher’s Union gave Newsom $1.8 million dollars for his recall campaign with their national counterpart, the American Federation of Teachers giving $250,000. That’s over $2 million prioritizing teachers over parents and cronyism over children.

Even now, when vaccines are available to all adults who want one, Newsom is waffling on reopening schools. This is outrageous. I think Californians can see that these mandates, and shutdowns, are not about “following the science” but about power and control. And in the case of primary and secondary education, that abuse of power damaging our children during their critical years—we can only shudder to think.

As governor, I would be a big proponent of school choice. It is simple, the money follows the child, not the other way around. Studies have shown that school choice improves education in the suburbs and in the inner cities alike. Positive competition improves the product. Education is a 21st-century civil rights issue. It’s not right to force parents to send their children to an under-performing school. We need to empower parents and students. California deserves better.

Growing the 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.

Wildfire and Drought

The current governor has admitted that our forests are in need of brush clearance and improved management. He then proceeded to mislead the public about precisely this: He cut funding and scaled back fire-prevention work. This is unacceptable. Not only will I allocate the adequate resources to firefighting and prevention across the state—especially during drought years—I will also ensure proper and responsible care for much of the Sierras through a combined effort with the federal government.

As for our current water needs, all options should be on the table: desalination, reforming regulatory barriers in water trading, and an actual functional pricing system so that markets can properly allocate resources to those in need. But upgrading our water infrastructure system will be most important. Much like the freeways that are unable to support the vast numbers of California drivers (we’ve all sat in horrendous traffic), our water infrastructure has not kept pace. It was built to support a population half the size of what California has today! Before we waste any more money, let’s invest in that.

Additionally, drought is not inevitable. Just four years ago, in 2017, we had overflowing dams and reservoirs, flood evacuations, and a massive snowpack that lasted late into the summer in the mountains. In times of surplus, we need to store more water. We cannot afford to miss such an opportunity. Politicians in Sacramento have been asleep at the wheel prioritizing bullet trains and releasing criminals. I will refocus our efforts where it matters.

EDD Fraud

It is a disgrace that Gavin Newsom’s draconian coronavirus restrictions forced Californians out of their jobs and homes, while the EDD paid up to $31 billion to fraudsters and criminals.

I would have implemented better safeguards at the EDD against fraud. The agency suspended determinations of eligibility for most claimants, not surprisingly sending money to those who should not have received it. While other states all faced a similar challenge of releasing funds quickly to residents who were hurting from the COVID lockdown, California under Gavin Newsom has distinguished itself by the magnitude of the fraud perpetrated on its taxpayers.

As governor, I would revamp the EDD’s antiquated technology, which created an unprecedented backlog and the absurdity of the agency not being able to automatically process some half of its claims online at the height of the pandemic. Gavin Newsom wants to simply throw more money at the problem. I will implement structural reforms to remove roadblocks to efficiency in the EDD’s IT system and across the state government. That means promoting public-private partnerships and overhauling the state government’s cumbersome procurement process, which currently favors Sacramento insiders over easy access to innovation.

I would also fundamentally change the culture of government bureaucracy, where bad service and incompetence are accepted as the norm not just at the EDD but across our state government. Californians should have never have had to put up with long waits on the phone with EDD representatives simply to be hung up on or not have their questions addressed; yet that was an all-too-common complaint.


Soft-on-crime approaches have been a disaster for California. The Sacramento elite—led by Governor Gavin Newsom and his attorney cohorts’—not only enable criminals by allowing them to avoid conviction and incarceration, but hurt law-abiding Californians, especially blacks and minorities in tough areas like where I grew up. There is nothing compassionate about “early release” for prisoners when it is well known that most will re-offend. Where is Newsom’s concern for their past and future victims?

Proposition 47 is terrible too. For all intents and purposes, it gives free reign for theft up to $950. We’ve all seen shocking videos of criminals casually walking out of stores with armfuls of stolen goods. This is outrageous! Law-abiding store owners are forced to bear the brunt of this lawlessness. Small businesses are hurt the most as many are closing their shops early, hoping to help stem the crime sprees. Many are leaving the state altogether. And to those who think these are “harmless”, “low level” crimes, I’d ask you to tell that to the family of the Rite Aid employee who was shot dead trying to stop two men who were looting cases of beer.

The lawlessness doesn’t stop there. Newsom himself was the victim of assault at the hands of an aggressive homeless man. Barbara Boxer was assaulted and robbed in broad daylight. And all of this is compounded by the fact that our police have been made out to be more the enemy than our protector.

I will never sacrifice public safety just to appease a corrupt minority that chants “defund the police” who falsely accuses police officers of “systemic racism.” That’s defamatory. I will support the police in their work, and by doing so, aid the 81% of blacks who disagree and want as much or more police protection in their neighborhoods.

Also, I will never surrender the safety of the streets to the insanity of “no cash bail.” I will work for a fair and firm bail policy. When you reduce the chances of a criminal being caught, convicted, and incarcerated—Guess what? Crime goes up. I will promote and support the repeal of Prop 47 as well as the recall of disastrous district attorneys such as Boudin and Gascon.

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