Patterico's Pontifications


AB 5 Sponsor Makes Tone Deaf Comment About Californians And Evictions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:24 pm

[guest post by Dana & JVW]

Treading on JVW’s turf, given the excellent coverage of California politics he provides readers, but I’m jumping in anyway. [Note from JVW: Dana invited me to help finish this post, so I have made some very minor contributions here and there.]

You may recall that back in December, we were reminded of California’s propensity toward passing laws that result in unintended and disastrous consequences for state residents. Specifically, Assembly Bill 5, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez out of San Diego. In part:

None of this should be surprising to anyone who has the faintest clue as to how the economy works, which of course rules out virtually all legislative Democrats in this state. Assembly Bill 5, shepherded through that body by former labor organizer Lorena Gonzales of San Diego, was controversial from the very beginning. Supporters, namely organized labor and other left-wing groups, insisted that it would prevent workers from being exploited by wealthy tech companies like Uber and Lyft who use independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay benefits such as health and retirement. The companies for their part insisted that it would force them to either limit the hours contractors are allowed to work or else turn them into full employees thus eliminating the ability of workers to schedule their own hours and determine their own flexible workday, which is one of the major benefits of the gig economy.

About AB 5, briefly:

Doctors, real estate agents and hairdressers can keep their independent contractor status. But not truckers, commercial janitors, nail salon workers, physical therapists and — significantly — gig economy workers, who will gain the rights and benefits of employees in California under sweeping workplace legislation passed Wednesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has committed to signing the bill, which cleared the Assembly 56-15 in a challenge both to the longstanding trend toward outsourcing labor and to the business model of companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, who have threatened a $90 million fight at the ballot box.

Once signed, AB 5 would upend longstanding employment practices that have seeped into the Democratic presidential debate about how workers should be treated, particularly in today’s gig economy.

“With one clear test across our state labor laws, we will raise the standards for millions of workers and ensure they gain access to critical rights and benefits,” said Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who presented the bill in the Senate on Tuesday night. “We can make California the global leader in protections for gig workers, janitors, construction workers and so many working people who can’t even pay their rent.”

This month, California released a new report revealing that unemployment benefits during pandemic are nearing $60 billion in the Golden State:

Unemployment benefits for out-of-work Californians since this historic pandemic began now total $59.8 billion to support families and communities struggling during this economic crisis. Over the same timeframe, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has processed more than 9.7 million claims for benefits between the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, extensions, and separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Just last week, the EDD paid an average of $792 million a day in unemployment benefits. That amount is a 1,033% increase over the $70 million in average daily benefits paid during a similar week at the height of the Great Recession (week ending July 31, 2010).

In the run-up to this Friday deadline, Assemblywoman Gonzalez had been tweeting about the righteousness of the legislation and the malevolence of the ride share companies, but she first set her twitter account so that the dirty unwashed public was not able to comment, only people whose account she follows. It’s a neat little feature Twitter rolled out so that intellectually lazy journalists and Hollywood nincompoops don’t have to be confronted with their flabby arguments. When challenged on her attempt to stifle dissent, she unsurprisingly went into full victim mode and sent out a typically tone-deaf message:

This lawmaker doesn’t has the slightest clue about how much negative impact AB 5 has had on the working people of Californians, and how it has played a part in Californians losing their jobs, and even lead to them facing eviction. Let’s take a look at a few personal stories about AB 5 has adversely impacted residents of the state:

David Nassau: I’m an actor and songwriter. I’m also a freelance translator/interpreter in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German. To say AB5 is a recipe for economic collapse is an understatement. Since the suicidal law went into effect , I’ve applied for 160 jobs and got about 10 interviews. Finding a job, let alone holding on to one, is not a trivial feat. My freelance gigs provided me the chance to get practical experience. Now to stay on, I have to fill out a TON of paperwork. That includes a city license, proof that I own a business or LLC, a W-2 form, a business card, a Website or LinkedIn page and Proof of advertising. All that just to keep doing what I love? It’s bad enough that at least 1 million Californians are thrown out of work, but what makes it worse: Nobody will want to hire ANYONE from California because of AB5. If this is not repealed, I may have to move out. I fear living on the streets. Bottom line: This law is a recipe for economic and social collapse. It shall make the homeless crisis even worse. It’ll cause people of all economic strata to leave the state. Business will close up shop. The amount of paperwork makes this law environmentally unfriendly. It’ll cause diseases of all kinds to spread because of a shortage of nurses. Farms will cut production or fold completely. Artists will think twice before performing in the Golden State.

Environmental Engineers
Cynthia Gabaldon: Environmental inspectors, building inspectors, draftsman, technicians. If you get a chance please let these elected know there are many more people really affected. I know of many building, environmental and other types of inspectors. We move from building to building…working for multiple companies at the same time. There are also many who are retired but work a day here or there. Lastly, what about those who do this just occasionally…for extra money. All building inspectors were told to either join a company before 1.1.20 or they wouldn’t have a job. When we work for one company that means we can’t work full time. We are not allowed the flexibility to fill in our time so we can have a full week. Please reach out concerning all workers affected by this terrible legislation.

Family Caregivers
Elizabeth M. Adger: AB5 is why I had to pack up my very ill husband with stage 4 cancer and autistic son and leave the state. There is no way I can take care of our family and work a “traditional” type job I have always worked for myself and paid my taxes. I was terrified of becoming homeless.

Forensic Nurses
Anonymous: There are many forensic RNs who work on a 1099 basis for private nursing companies and hospitals providing sexual assault forensic medical evidentiary examinations. All of this work is at risk due to AB5. Patients who have been sexually assaulted will suffer long wait times and may receive substandard forensic medical exams if provided by untrained medical personnel in an emergency department. It is not feasible for many hospitals to have a forensic nurse on duty 24/7 so they contract with us to come in when needed. We are paid per exam, and receive a 1099. The forensic nurses are free to sign up for work around their other jobs or family commitments. We also have patients who were assaulted in skilled nursing and adult care group homes. We have worked very hard to increase the number of forensic nurses in California. I also do consulting and training on best practices for forensic nursing. Vicarious trauma among forensic nurses is a huge issue in this work.”

Nurse Practitioners
Taqialdeen Zamil: This is frustrating. I lost my side job today, because of AB5.
I work as a nurse practitioner and the nature of our work in the private sector and small clinics makes it impossible to be an employee. You get paid a percentage of the revenue you generate and you pay for your malpractice insurance, benefits, and other expenses.
This law is killing our opportunity of making a living in California.

Kira Davis: I’m an editor and was set to hire a new cartoonist for our national blog. She got a letter from the parent company at the beginning of December welcoming her to the team. 12/31 she got a letter from our NY-based parent company that she can no longer be hired as she is in California, and AB5 makes doing business with contractors here too dangerous. Bye bye job. Some people have theories and legal opinions about this bill. Some of us have real life experiences. Guess who’s is worth more?

And on and on it goes.

It’s as if Gonzalez has no understanding of the unintended consequences that have devastated any number of Californians. Even as we endure lockdowns, quarantines, and the closure of businesses. Does she not understand that Californians are being evicted, in part, because of the effects of her bill? Which is easier to believe: that Lorena Gonzalez is so completely ignorant of market economics that she is unable to draw a line between cause and effect, or that she knows what she has done, but her fealty to union bosses make hundreds of thousands of California workers merely collateral damage?

A threat by both Uber and Lyft to cease operations in California at midnight yesterday was averted when, as often happens in these matters, the courts intervened and gave everyone a few more months to figure it all out. Next up is a court hearing scheduled for October 13, then comes election day in which Californians will consider a ballot initiative sponsored by the ride share companies that would void AB 5 from existence. Should that fail, the companies will have a short window of time to negotiate with the legislature and governor before the court renders its decision. Or, this all goes to the Supreme Court and we get to see how Chief Justice Roberts feels about it on that given day.

Innovative and disruptive businesses should think twice about setting up shop in one-party California in this day and age.

– Dana & JVW

Trump Vows To Send In Law Enforcement Officers To Polling Sites On Election Day

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

Unsurprising that he would say this, given that he has repeatedly attempted to undermine the integrity of the election and issued warnings about a “rigged election,” fraudulent mail-in voting, and voter fraud:

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would send law enforcement officials to polling locations to guard against voter fraud in November’s election, although it’s not clear he has the authority to do so.

“We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to have, hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody and attorney generals (sic),” Trump said during an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Trump’s comments come as his campaign works to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers for what Republican officials have said could be their largest poll-watching operation. Even before Trump’s comments, his party’s plans to monitor the polls have sparked charges from Democrats and voting-rights groups that Republicans are gearing up to suppress voting in key states.

In typical Trump fashion, the President has made a claim without first doing his homework, as law professor Steve Vladeck points out:

Federal law expressly prohibits any federal officer from sending “troops or armed men” to any polling place “unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemies of the United States.”

So what Trump is proposing is not just offensive; it’s also illegal.

Vladek references 18 U.S. Code § 592:

Troops at polls U.S. Code

Whoever, being an officer of the Army or Navy, or other person in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, orders, brings, keeps, or has under his authority or control any troops or armed men at any place where a general or special election is held, unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemies of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both; and be disqualified from holding any office of honor, profit, or trust under the United States.

This section shall not prevent any officer or member of the armed forces of the United States from exercising the right of suffrage in any election district to which he may belong, if otherwise qualified according to the laws of the State in which he offers to vote.

If Trump deployed law enforcement officers to polling sites around the country, how would it not result in legal action from Democrats and how would it not be seen as a direct effort to inhibit, intimidate, and suppress voters?

With that, the White House continues to fortify its position in a pre-emptive strike of casting doubt on the integrity of election if Trump loses:

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not commit President Trump to accepting the results of the presidential election, saying the president has been clear that he will “see what happens” in November.

Her comment in a White House news conference came after the president cast doubt on the election results on Monday, when he said, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”

On Wednesday, McEnany was asked if that comment means the president will not accept the election results if he loses.

“Is the president saying if he doesn’t win this election that he will not accept the results, unless he wins?” an ABC News journalist asked.

“The president has always said he’ll see what happens, and make a determination in the aftermath. It’s the same thing he said last November. He wants a free election, a fair election, and he wants confidence in the results of the election,” McEnany responded, before criticizing states with mass mail-in voting.

The president did indeed give a similar answer in a recent interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who asked the president if he would commit to accepting the election results.

“I have to see. Look, you — I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say ‘yes.’ I’m not going to say no and I didn’t last time either,” the president said during the interview.

Lining up his ducks, given there are only 74 days until the election.


Chicago Mayor: “I Have A Right To Make Sure That My Home Is Secure”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:39 am

[guest post by Dana]

This isn’t just being tone-deaf. This is a self-serving elected official essentially telling city residents that her family has more value than theirs, and they can just eat cake:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended the Chicago Police Department’s ban on protesters being able to demonstrate on the block where she lives, telling reporters Thursday that she and her family at times require heightened security because of threats she receives daily.

Lightfoot refused to elaborate on the specific threats, but said she receives them daily against herself, her wife and her home. Comparisons to how the Police Department has protected previous mayors’ homes, such as Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood residence, are unfair because “this is a different time like no other,” Lightfoot told reporters.

“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot said.

…“I’m not going to make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats I have personally received, given the threats to my home and my family, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re protected,” Lightfoot said. “I make no apologies whatsoever for that.”

Lightfoot has been vocal in her support of protesters throughout the city but did condemn looters as they smashed windows and looted stores in tony Magnificent Mile. However, as far back as June, Chicago residents and city officials have been vocal in their complaints about a lack of protection during the protests and riots:

The arguments from Lightfoot and Brown did not appease a handful of aldermen, who argued Monday that Chicago needs 3,000 National Guardsmen — not the 375 summoned to Chicago by Gov. J.B. Pritzker — to protect neighborhoods under siege from looters.

Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th) and Ray Lopez (15th) made the request, arguing that deploying those National Guard troops to seal off the perimeter of the downtown area had left South and West side neighborhoods unprotected.

Brown countered 375 was an “adequate number.” Adding more than that could “cause more problems than solutions” and destroy the “fragile” trust that the Chicago Police Department is attempting to build with the African-American community, the superintendent said.

West Side Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, agreed “additional resources” are needed from the National Guard to restore order to Chicago neighborhoods.

“Totally closing off the Gold Coast and downtown to access — people in our communities felt as if they were not as important as downtown and the Gold Coast. That fueled a lot of the anger and a lot of the challenges and concerns that people have,” Ervin said.

“When the decision was made, it may have made some sense. But after the fact, it seems like it fueled peoples’ anger and angst about what was going on. This is one city. Everybody deserves the same level of protection as anybody else. Some people feel protected, and others don’t feel protected.”

Pressed on whether the city had a plan to protect Chicago neighborhoods, Ervin said, “I don’t know what they had. But whatever they had, it didn’t work.”


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