Ask for Something, Offer Nothing: California's Way of Struggling Out of the Bag It Has Put Itself Into

By Dan Cadman on January 28, 2020

This is how defines the word "Hutzpah":

(Yiddish) unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity

Synonyms: chutzpa, chutzpah

Type of: cheekiness, crust, freshness, gall, impertinence, impudence, insolence

the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties

That's the word I thought of when I saw this incredible January 22 headline from Reuters: "California governor seeks free surplus federal land to help house homeless".

Other recent articles have centered on the fact that California's homeless and housing crises are pretty much out of control. And much of the fault can be centered on the last couple of feckless governors and California's equally feckless legislature and top state officials such as Xavier Becerra, the state's attorney general and a former member of Congress.

They have enacted such a muddled web of laws, rules, and regulations impeding housing development and growth that it is exceedingly difficult to construct homes south of $1 million — and not very many people have that kind of money, despite the hype of places like Silicon Valley.

And so homelessness has reached epic proportions. How have California and municipalities reacted? By creating policies guaranteed to act as a magnet to the homeless nationwide, and then decreeing that they will not enforce laws on the books related to public urination and defecation, the dropping of needles on curbs all over city streets, and on and on. It is no wonder that major health issues are cropping up all over the state.

It's also no wonder that California is bleeding its middle class into other states so quickly that it's likely to lose a congressional seat as a result of the next census-driven apportionment. (One readily imagines some California leaders saying, "No problem! We'll replace the population loss with illegal aliens!")

Which leads me to the point. This is an immigration-related blog, so let's focus there.

The nation's most-populous state has done virtually everything it can to stymie federal immigration enforcement, by:

  • Declaring itself a sanctuary;
  • Permitting illegal aliens to attend state schools at in-state rates, in preference over U.S. citizens who happen to hail from some other state, such as Nevada next door;
  • Enacting the Safe Act to prevent cops from cooperating with ICE and CBP agents;
  • Filing lawsuits at every opportunity to seek injunctions against immigration enforcement and benefits policies (the border barrier, the "travel ban", the public charge rule, the revised rules on when and where one may seek asylum, ad infinitum); and even
  • Enacting state laws that trample on federal supremacy over immigration matters by attempting to prevent private employers from cooperating with ICE agents under the threat of hefty fines or jail, and legislating prohibitions on the use of private jails to detain illegal aliens.

So now the state — which wants to substitute its wisdom for that of the federal government in so many areas despite ample evidence it can't handle problems within its own borders — is asking the federal government for a free handout?

Governor Newsom is quoted as saying in a letter to Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, "You could match our commitment by similarly providing free surplus federal land to local governments across the state so they can build housing for the homeless. ... Emergency shelter solves sleep, and we agree this is an urgent priority. ... But only housing and services solve homelessness."

What commitment?

I find myself spinning this request out a little bit to try to envision it. Does anyone doubt that illegal aliens hiding in the state's sanctuary borders would be among the happy recipients of any state plan to deal with the homeless? And it's a sure bet that there wouldn't be a quid pro quo: "give us free land and we'll cooperate with your agents and officers."

It's also doubtful that California's plans would be anything but haphazard once the land grab has taken place. The ham-handed legislature hasn't shown itself effective at doing anything worthwhile yet; no reason to put much faith in them now. And would such land in fact ever end up being used for its avowed purposes? Or would California's progressive and woke politicians act like politicians everywhere and find a way instead to hand the land over to well-connected individuals and corporate entitles who would in turn fill their campaign chest coffers? I'd put money on that scenario.

But if by some miracle state bureaucracies were left to do something with the land according to their own plans, how would that likely turn out? Like large tent camps of exactly the kind that Californian pols called "concentration camps" when undertaken by the federal government to house the tidal wave of humans flowing across our southern border, in no small measure because of states like California?

"Hutzpah": unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity.