State Capitol – Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) on Governor Gavin Newsom’s State of the State address:
“On the Border – The Governor rightly claimed that illegal border crossings are at a historic low. But instead of simply saying thank you to our federal government, he ratchets up the political rhetoric making a show of recalling our California National Guard and claiming that the federal administration is engaged in ‘theater’ for a ‘manufactured crisis.’ This is not a ‘manufactured crisis.’ This is a real crisis, and he admits this by only recalling a fraction of the soldiers. Fully two thirds of the California National Guard will remain focused on border-related issues and for two specific reasons: First, to deal with drug and human trafficking at the border that for many is all too real; and secondly, to deal with the drug cartels who have moved upstate to northern California to continue their illegal marijuana grows and the crime they bring with them.
“High Speed Rail (HSR) – My Republican colleagues and I all are heartened that after a decade of evidence, finally one Democrat in Sacramento has publicly admitted that the so-called HSR has been a complete failure. Thank you, Governor Newsom for admitting that fact. But to then suggest that California taxpayers should continue the project for a Central Valley commuter train from Merced to Bakersfield is only further proof that the Democratic majority and our new governor really don’t know or care about the Central Valley. Those billions of dollars would be better spent upgrading Highway 99 and Amtrak along with building the Temperance Flat reservoir to provide water and flood prevention for the farmworkers, farmers, and others in the Valley.
“Twin Tunnels – Governor Newsom wants to cut it down to one tunnel. And that will certainly help some interests in the south, but it is an incomplete commitment when we need major transfer, storage, and regional facilities built. I do agree with him that “our approach can’t be ‘either/or.’ It must be ‘yes/and.’
“Homelessness – Homelessness and related mental health are critical issues that do in fact ‘tear at the fabric of our communities,’ and it has gotten increasingly worse throughout California for years now. I will do my best to work with the new commissioner. We need supportive housing now. Anyone who has been to downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento – and all parts in between – has witnessed this.
“Affordable Housing – While I support the Governor’s housing incentives and modest commitment to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, we need additional deregulation, including litigation and rent control reforms: ‘Rent stabilization’ is accomplished by building more rental housing. Lastly, the State must do this right and fairly – No community should either be singled out (as Huntington Beach has) or given a pass (as Marin County has) for failing to meet housing goals in the current environment by the heavy hand of the state.
“I do appreciate the Governor’s attempt to address other problems not prioritized by the last Governor, such as a plan for Alzheimer’s, lower drug prices, and CEQA exemptions for more than just billionaire sports team owners and millionaire players. I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues to help move our state forward.”