Newsom Suddenly Scraps California Crime Ballot Measure, One Day After Touting It

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jul 04, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom has suddenly scrapped a crime ballot measure that he had previously negotiated with California lawmakers. This quick abandonment comes just one day after the governor’s office touted it.

This sudden turnaround comes after Newsom meticulously tried to negotiate this measure with various Democratic factions in the California legislature.

A Crime Ballot Measure

This specific measure was intended to revamp the old Proposition 47 by tackling the ongoing fentanyl crisis in the Golden State, as well as property crime.

A view of cars on a street in California with stores all around.

Source: David Vives/Unsplash

Proposition 47, which was signed into law about 10 years ago, reclassified some crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. However, critics of the proposition have claimed that it has helped increase both retail theft and drug use in the state.


Negotiating With Different Factions

To better respond to some of Californians’ crime worries, Newsom worked to negotiate with the various different Democratic factions within the legislature.

A look up at the California State Capitol seen underneath a blue sky.

Source: Tszeiler1/Wikimedia Commons

However, along the way, he made both friends and enemies. For example, after siding with pro-business moderates, he angered progressives who worried about his agreement to some parts of this measure.

Creating the Crime Proposal

Through this negotiation process, Newsom’s office was able to seemingly work out what the crime proposal would consist of.

A close-up of a black gun near bullets.

Source: Tom Def/Unsplash

Newsom aligned with Democrat moderates who wanted tighter penalties for those who commit crimes such as repeat shoplifting.

Democrat Worries

However, this alignment with the moderates made some in the Democratic party — most notably the progressives — concerned.

A person holding a gun in a gun range.

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These progressives worried that racial disparities would be seen in both arrests and prosecutions. The governor didn’t seem to add any measure to the proposal to calm these concerns.

Why Newsom Scrapped the Measure

According to Newsom, he abandoned this anticipated crime measure because Democrats were “unable to meet the ballot deadline to secure necessary amendments to ensure this measure’s success.”

Gavin Newsom smiling outside.

Source: Bureau of Reclamation/Wikimedia Commons

Because they couldn’t meet this ballot deadline, the initiative had to be withdrawn. Now, it will not appear before voters in November on a ballot.


Other Crime Measures on the Ballot

Now, only a tougher crime measure pushed by the California District Attorneys Association will be on November’s ballot, allowing Californians to vote on it.

A close-up of a market seen at night in California.

Source: Ruben Valenzuela/Unsplash

In response to this Democrat scrapping, the head of the district attorneys group Greg Totten said, “We are pleased the governor and legislature have dropped their countermeasure and welcome them to join our campaign to responsibly amend Proposition 47 to deal with retail theft, the fentanyl crisis and homelessness.”


Newsom vs District Attorneys Association

Newsom has come out against this ballot measure that the district attorneys association is trying to push, as he thinks it reverts California back to unsuccessful policies.

Gavin Newsom speaking in front of a podium.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

He said that this association is supporting a measure “that would revive policies from the era of mass incarceration and the failed War on Drugs.”


A Busy Week for Newsom

Newsom completely scrapped this ballot measure right around the time he was preparing to head to Washington to meet with President Joe Biden and other Democratic governors, such as Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker.

Gavin Newsom smiling and hugging Joe Biden.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Biden is attempting to deal with the negative aftermath of his debate performance and seeking to talk with these high-up Democrat governors.


Newsom’s Departure From California

However, Newsom’s decision to leave California for Washington has met with some criticism in the state, particularly because so much is going on in the Golden State at the moment.

A view of trees in a forest on fire.

Source: Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash

Most notably, California’s fire season has begun. A fire near Oroville has forced 13,000 residents to evacuate. This fire has also resulted in power lines being shut down, as well as a hydroelectric power plant at the Oroville Dam being closed.


Newsom Stays in Touch With Fire Officials

Newsom’s spokesman has already come out to explain that the governor is staying up to date with all issues, particularly the ongoing fire worries.

Sunset seen amid a red sky during a California forest fire.

Source: Bruce Warrington/Unsplash

Before Newsom left the state to meet with Biden, his spokesman said, “The Governor’s been in around the clock conversations with the legislature, briefings, emergency management with wildfires and heat, reviewing paroles, reviewing memos, on calls, and in regular meetings.”


Newsom for President?

This scrapping of a crime measure also comes as Newsom has faced much attention in the limelight, thanks to some Democrats wanting him to jump into the presidential race and take over for Biden after the president’s debate performance.

Gavin Newsom and Joe Biden walking with two other ladies outside.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Newsom has hit back against these thoughts. “All this other talk… it’s unhelpful and unnecessary,” Newsom wrote in an email. “We aren’t going to turn our backs because of one performance. What kind of party does that?”