Monday, July 26, 2021







        Around California, bureaucrats on a large scale have not yet begun to recognize that the solution to the state’s housing crisis has been at hand from the moment the coronavirus pandemic struck.


        All it should take is for some of them to venture outside their ivory tower homes and offices to read the vacancy signs on countless office buildings where billions of square feet once occupied by cubicles and conference tables now sit derelict as many lessees reduce their rent payments while awaiting the end of their leases.


        In San Francisco, one-fifth of all office space now is vacant. That number will climb as white collar workers continue operating from homes enabled by computerized virtual “commutes.”


        The obvious use for the languishing square footage is housing. All it takes is knocking down some drywall, altering electricity and plumbing a bit and voila! California can have hundreds of thousands of new housing units in many sizes and price ranges without disrupting neighborhoods in ways that could prove ruinous to the investment of life savings by millions of homeowners now threatened by legislation that aims to end single family zoning.


        This appears inevitable, even while a few companies like Facebook and Salesforce call on some of their work-at-home employees to spend a day or two weekly in an office.


Empty office space means less income for landlords, who then attempt to lower the payments they make to banks and other mortgage holders. If this happens on a massive scale, it will create a financial crisis. It will also spell trouble for cities, counties and school districts dependent on property tax money.


        Lower income from commercial real estate translates to lower property values, which leads to less revenue for local and state governments.


        Change will come, if only because – as every survey of the last year has shown – about two-thirds of employees sent home to work enjoy life more without long daily commutes eating up hours of their non-office time. Most won’t be going back to offices fulltime, as recognized by companies like Twitter and many others that will keep allowing employees to work at home most of the time.


        This already translates to lower residential rents in a few big cities, and somewhat higher home prices in outlying areas. Most employees staying home have not migrated out of California, but many have moved to what they consider greener pastures.


        And yet, most local politicians are not ready to give up their traditional viewpoint that the only way out of the housing crisis is to build, build and build some more. This is partly driven by heavy donations from developers and building trades unions to local politicians.


        Example A might be the seemingly ultra-liberal city of Santa Monica, an enclave of about 93,000 persons surrounded on three sides by Los Angeles, with beaches and ocean on the fourth side.


        There, city staffers taking note of housing allocations assigned by the state through the normally toothless Southern California Association of Governments in March began considering how to create about 9,000 new housing units by late 2029.


        Like all recent housing plans in the city, this one endorses the build, build, build! motif. Similarly, San Francisco supervisors are now considering allowing all single-family homeowners to substitute two duplexes for each existing house.


        This completely ignores the rash of “for lease” signs displayed prominently on office buildings throughout both cities.


        The millions of vacant square feet in both cities might by themselves satisfy most of their state-mandated housing goals. But the staffs never mention this possibility to either their elected bosses or the voters who put them in office.


        Why not? Is it simple lack of vision, refusal to recognize the obvious reality staring all of California in the face? Or are they merely accustomed to doing the bidding of developers?


        It’s not like office-to-housing conversions are new: Several large ones are underway in San Francisco alone, including the former headquarters of the California State Automobile Assn. on busy Van Ness St.


        Which makes the housing problem more solvable now than ever before, so long as it’s viewed with open eyes and minds.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit






        The entire recall campaign targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom has been built for months on the presumption that many, if not most, Californians are unhappy with how things are going, dissatisfied with their own lives and losing hope for a solid future here. This, goes the premise, will make them leap to change leaders barely a year before the next regular election would give them the same option anyway.


Now come two university-level studies that bode very well for Newsom. Both conclude the mass “California Exodus” that this state’s Republican politicians steadily bemoan is largely a fiction and the vast majority of today’s residents still believes in the California “dream” and has strong hope for the future.


High rents and real estate prices have not dented this seriously, say the studies, one from the University of California at San Diego and the other from a compendium of scholars there and at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell and Stanford universities.


As the recall vote draws within just a few weeks, the studies agree that at least two-thirds of Californians believe optimistically their lives will improve if they stay in the state.


The studies do affirm there was population loss over the last year or so, but they also found much of it was caused by deaths from COVID-19, which has so far killed almost 64,000 Californians and infected about 4 million.


For many people, the pandemic induced strong aversions to close personal contacts, a factor that reduced the high birth rate which usually helps California grow.


        Among the vaccinated, both those factors are now gone, so the two studies agree that population losses will likely not continue.


        All these items are good signs for Newsom, who has been a mixed bag as governor. Despite a slow start, he orchestrated the most successful mass vaccine rollout any state ever saw, driving Covid rates in California far below the Southern Republican-led states that fuel most of the current surge caused by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.


        His length-of-pandemic rent and eviction controls, set by executive order and valid only until the current state of emergency ends, won him points with the state’s fastest-growing population sectors, Latinos and Asian-Americans.


        At the same time, he alienates others with his obvious hypocrisy in sometimes failing to obey the very rules he created.


        Newsom, in every poll, figures to lose almost all Republican votes on the recall, while the vast preponderance of Democrats favors keeping him for now.


        Those poll results do little to contradict findings of the two academic studies, which concluded less than 20 percent of urban Democrats want to leave California, while about 40 percent of Republicans would consider getting out.


        The UC San Diego study queried more than 3,000 Californians, 10 percent of them in Spanish. It found less than a quarter of all Californians seriously considering leaving the state, a slight decrease from the percentage so inclined in a 2019 UC Berkeley survey.


        But residents of the Central Valley and rural Northern California counties were significantly less inclined toward staying, with about 30 percent thinking about moving away. It may be no coincidence that those areas lean significantly more to the GOP than the rest of the state.


        This geography may have a major bearing on the recall, suggesting strongly that the most dissatisfied Californians reside in counties where the highest population percentages signed recall petitions while they were circulating.


        Both studies found middle-class Californians slightly less likely to believe in the California dream than either lower-income or wealthy compatriots.


        So the lower income brackets retain strong hopes of improving their lot, while the wealthy know they’re doing fine. The results among varying age groups: 18- to 24-year-olds are far more likely to believe in a good future here than those aged 50 or more.


        This is certainly not the picture of a grossly dissatisfied California painted by every Republican running to replace Newsom. The governor has not yet made that point. He needs to do it soon, and loudly.


        The bottom line: To beat the recall, Newsom must draw a turnout representative of all these population sectors. If he does, he can thrive. If not, he may be political toast.




    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


Monday, July 19, 2021






        In almost every aspect of the Sept. 14 recall election that is now mere weeks away, Gov. Gavin Newsom has had it his way.


        His most recent “victory” was in dissuading every other substantial (read: well financed) Democrat in California to stay off the list of candidates to replace him if the ‘yes’ side of the recall should win a majority vote.


        This was Newsom’s aim from the moment it became clear recall advocates would gather enough signatures to put the notion to a statewide vote. The tactic is designed to let Newsom use his massive and thus far largely untapped war chest to convince voters this contest is really between him and ex-President Donald Trump.


        If he can do that, enthusiasm among California Democrats to vote ‘no’ seems likely to rise enormously. Right now, polls show almost all the registered Democrats who outnumber Republicans in this state by nearly a 2-1 margin oppose the recall, but essentially yawn as they say so.


        Associate the recall with Trump, whom they despise to the extent of twice giving his election opponents margins above 3 million votes, and their determination to vote stands a chance of approaching the enthusiasm displayed by recall backers, who salivate at the prospect of throwing out Newsom (known to many of them as “Gov. Nuisance”).


        Can Newsom make the recall synonymous with Trump? He shouldn’t have too hard a time, as the most prominent of the 33 Republicans in the replacement field all have ties to the defeated President.


        San Diego area businessman John Cox, for example, was strongly endorsed by Trump when he ran against Newsom in 2018 and lost in a 62-38 percent landslide. Ex-San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer proudly says he voted for Trump last year and can be seen in Oval Office photos fawned over him. Reality TV star Caitlin Jenner has had ex-Trump operatives in her so-far ineffective campaign. And so on.


        So Newsom has an early election date and everything he said he wants and needs in order to defend himself, save one. A blunder attributed to his aides deprives him of the tag “Democrat” following his name in the recall question.


        But he has plenty of money and plenty of name recognition, with almost no Californian unaware that Newsom is in fact a Democrat, even if the ballot doesn’t say so. Among the funded, he has only Republican opponents. He has a state budget that will put significant Covid recovery checks in millions of mailboxes just before the vote.


        He has $5.2 billion to pay more than a year’s rent for almost all Californians who lost jobs to the pandemic. He has an electoral system that will furnish mail ballots to every registered voter, making it easier than ever for them to vote, even if they’re not feeling fired up about it.


        For most candidates, this looks like a dream world.

And yet, no poll so far shows great enthusiasm for keeping Newsom around.


        So there remains plenty of work for the governor to do if he really wants to stay in office and maybe later move on to either the Senate or the White House – or both.


        It’s a situation very different from what faced ex-Gov. Gray Davis, who was recalled within months of getting reelected in 2002, the only American governor ever to lose his office so ignominiously.


        But Davis faced an electorate that blamed him for a major energy crunch and a series of rolling blackouts. Plus he ran up against the Terminator, movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger, who emerged as the favorite to ignite the recall and replace Davis from the moment he declared himself a candidate.


        There is no one like that today. Newsom has been among the most effective governors in America at getting his state vaccinated and reducing pandemic damage. He has for the most part kept the lights on, even while he’s favored utility companies financially.


        So it would be a major upset if Newsom were to be dumped. But there’s still that huge enthusiasm advantage Republicans now have over Democrats. Which means we all must stay tuned.







     Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, go to






        While cowardly politicians run as fast as they can from the concept of requiring vaccine passports to enter most public spaces, the midsummer surge of COVID-19 spurred by the disease’s Delta variant here and around the nation strongly boosts the argument for such passports.


        Around largely reopened California, where masks until very recently were officially required only in a few places like hospitals and grocery stores, it’s impossible to tell just by looking who’s been fully vaccinated and who has not. People with medical cause for refusing vaccines find themselves flying blind, not knowing who might be a threat to them and who is not.


      While the willfully unvaccinated take advantage of renewed freedoms won by those who had their arms jabbed, they put thousands of others at risk of death and disease.


        The only way to be sure who is definitely not a contagion threat is a vaccine passport of some sort, either the small white card handed out at vaccination sites or something electronic available on smartphones.


        This is becoming ever more clear as the efficacy and safety of the three vaccines readily available in California – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – becomes more certain.


        The new surge involves almost no one fully dosed with any of the three vaccines. Less than 1 percent of hospitalizations involve the vaccinated. It’s been almost exclusively the unvaccinated driving new cases statewide back above 3,000 per day over the last week or two, a figure that had been breached only once in the previous two months.


        The same recalcitrant folks are increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations again, too. All this, while the average age of the hospitalized dropped from 72 last January to below 57 today.


        In short, because vaccinations of those over 65 became almost universal in this state within three months of the shots first being offered last winter, almost all the elderly are safe. Protection offered by the Covid vaccines also appears to be far more universal that what almost any other vaccine ever has given. While some immediate side effects are common, so far almost none last longer than a few days.


        But resistance to getting the shots remains adamant, especially among the young, Blacks and Latinx folks, for whom infection rates run far higher than with whites and Asian-Americans.


        “I’m not getting the shot,” insisted a husky, healthy (so far) 53-year-old African-American man the other day. “My vaccine is up there,” he added, pointing to the sky. “We just don’t know enough yet.”


        With seven months of vaccination experience, Americans know far more than they did early on, when blocks-long lines of cars waited at mass vaccination sites in the parking lots of places like Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and the Oakland Coliseum.


        We know getting the shot won’t make you some kind of robot, as some once feared. You also won’t become a clone of Bill Gates, that early shibboleth long ago debunked. Every far-fetched claim has been disproven. The main unknown now is whether the vaccine’s effects will run long enough to avoid the need for annual booster shots like those for flu vaccine.


        Right now, there’s a major need to assure safety for small children and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons in a state where they can’t see who is a threat and who is not, at a time when almost everyone scorns social distancing.


        There has to be a way to distinguish the vaccinated from the resistors. Which makes vaccine passports logical.


        From the start, one fear they’ve aroused is that such passports might set up class distinctions. Indeed they would. But two classes already exist: People who took the opportunity to free themselves from the tyranny of COVID-19 and those who declined that free offer, endorsed by President Biden, ex-President Donald Trump and every sane politician in between.


        The difference between this class distinction and others is that almost anyone in the disadvantaged class can join the advantaged one at will.


        Anyone who does not and then falls ill has no one but themselves to blame. Meanwhile, they continue sowing confusion, worry, masking and expense for the vaccinated and every health system.




      Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, go to

Monday, July 12, 2021





        There are few companies in today’s California so reviled as the three large privately-owned utilities that deliver electricity to most Californians. With good reason.


        The largest of them, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., convicted twice of killing its customers willy-nilly via preventable disasters in San Bruno and Paradise, now stands formally accused in 33 more felony counts of causing other losses and fatalities in Sonoma County fires.


        The other big private power companies, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric have also been found negligent and liable for billions of dollars of damage in huge wildfires covering thousands of acres in other parts of the state.


        And yet, these companies reap benefit after benefit for their malfeasance. Yes, there have been fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but to these huge companies, that’s a drop in the bucket, easily recouped in their next rate increase.



In 2019, while PG&E reeled in bankruptcy and there was serious discussion about breaking up the company and its regional monopoly, Gov. Gavin Newsom, state legislators and the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) responded with an unprecedented bailout.


Through a bill known as SB 1054, lawmakers created a state Wildfire Fund to compensate utilities for any liabilities they might incur by causing future wildfires. Electric customers are being dunned monthly today for that fund, to which they will eventually, unwillingly contribute $13.5 billion, paying for damages not yet done, harm no paying power customer will ever cause.


        But, as predicted in this column, the utilities are not satisfied. As usual, PG&E is the point company on the newest outrageous electric provider demand – an 18 percent general rate increase largely to help the company pay for wildfire mitigation expenses – otherwise known as routine maintenance of its transmission lines and transformers and their surroundings.


        If granted in full by the PUC, this increase would raise average costs of power and natural gas in PG&E territory from about $204 per month today to about $241.


        Whatever increase PG&E gets, its fellow private utilities will reap similar benefits when their next rate increase cases come up in the near future.


        Price hikes of this magnitude are not outrageous merely because customers are still paying into the Wildfire Fund, payments not due to stop until the 2030s. They’re also grossly unfair because customers paid the utilities about $65 billion for maintenance over the 60 years between 1955 and 2015, money that is largely untraced and unaccounted for but probably went for executive bonuses and the like.


        Those so-called maintenance funds were not used for that purpose, as proven by the sorry condition of power lines and other facilities today, when their status has often been the cause of so-called public safety power shutoffs, temporary blackouts at times of peak fire danger when utilities try to minimize the damage they might cause.


        But not to worry too much: PG&E knows it will not get the full 18 percent increase it has requested. That’s because in the Kabuki-like dance regularly engaged in by the utilities and the PUC in rate cases, the companies always ask for much more than they can reasonably expect.


        This lets the PUC cut down rate increase requests by as much as 50 percent and then brag to the public about how it has kept utility rates low. Low? California power prices today are the highest in the contiguous 48 states, trailing only Alaska and Hawaii nationally.


        The process is akin to a Japanese-style Kabuki dance because it’s so elaborate even though the outcome is completely predictable in advance.


        Rather than being enabled by all this, the utility executives behind electric providers’ key decisions should face personal criminal prosecution when their decisions about facilities and spending cost lives and property.


        But so far, not a single decision-making company official has spent even one night in jail despite the loss of hundreds of lives and the billions of dollars in damage they have caused.


        Merely calling this continuous favored treatment of California’s private utilities outrageous just might be the understatement of the century.

    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit






        Critical Ethnic Studies couldn’t get in the front door of California’s public schools, so now adherents of the historical perspective that’s considered by many to be both anti-white American and anti-Semitic are trying to enter through the rear.


Grappling with the prospect of developing new ethnic studies programs for middle and high schools, districts in many parts of California are hiring co-authors and backers of a rejected first version of the state’s new Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum as well-paid consultants.


        Such courses are not yet required to receive high school diplomas in this state, but soon will be if legislators pass a proposed law known as AB 101. That bill lets local school districts design their own ethnic studies programs and not use the state’s new, better-vetted curriculum.


        With few consultants available to help, several early adopters of ethnic studies appear to be influenced by Critical Ethnic Studies (CES) adherents, whose focus is largely on past persecution of minority groups which together today make up a majority of California’s populace.


        The strong CES focus on the roles of slavery and white supremacy in American history and the part colonialism played in world history was largely rejected in the state’s model curriculum. But many districts appear about to spend millions of dollars on their own curricula that would once again bring those factors to the fore, advancing themes rejected at the state level because they were factually incorrect and likely to spur ethnic discord.


        Some districts are using authors of the faulty first draft of the state curriculum to create their own programs. These would stay in force under AB 101 if it passes.


        The school board in Hayward’s unified district in the East Bay suburbs of San Francisco, for one example, last month voted to spend $40 million on a program designed by the for-profit Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute (LESMC), a consulting firm aiming to sell versions of the state’s rejected first draft, which featured overtly false anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist elements. That group’s website lists several contributors to the dumped draft as member consultants.


        The resoundingly rejected curriculum taught that virtually all whites historically backed racism and slavery, despite realities like these: About half the “Freedom Riders” during the civil rights movement of the 1960s were white and one-fourth were Jews. Northern whites and Jews established and funded schools to further education for freed slaves and their children during post-Civil War Reconstruction, when public education was denied them in the former Confederacy. Many more historical facts also contradict CES claims, which falsely hold that virtually all white immigrants to America quickly gave up their old identities in favor of new “white privilege.”


        San Diego’s district appears set to approve a $77 million plan to emphasize ethnic studies in all subjects taught from kindergarten to 12th grade. As conceived, its program would be largely written by an LESMC member who also helped write the dumped state draft.


        And the Jefferson Elementary School Board in Daly City approved a $40,000 consulting contract with another LESMC member.


        Plus, LESMC members consult for the state Board of Education and with Stanford University’s influential Instructional Leadership Corps.


This adds up to a picture of something like a taxpayer subsidized guerilla war waged on many fronts by CES advocates whose anti-white, anti-Semitic ideas could not win state approval even under a liberal Black state schools superintendent.


        It’s now up to local citizens to let their school boards know they won’t put up with this subversion of the new emphasis on ethnic studies.


        “The Jewish community alone does not have the bandwidth to oppose LESMC in each of the hundreds of school districts (in California),” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, which tracks anti-Semitism in education.


        That makes the new reality one of needed local activism: if parents and other citizens don’t act, Critical Ethnic Studies could soon become standard fare for many California schoolkids, unnecessarily breeding even more divisions than now plague this state and nation.


    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

Monday, July 5, 2021






        A state legislative bill that could have killed rooftop solar installation in California is now itself dead, but the issue that sparked it lives on, now left to be resolved by a state commission that has long been a utility company lapdog.


        That’s the reality today, after the demise of AB1139, a bill that would have broken promises made by the state to all California residents with rooftop solar panels providing energy for themselves and others.


        The remaining issue won’t be easy to resolve fairly, and the state Public Utility Commission’s habit of giving utilities whatever they want means this eventual “solution” will likely tilt neither toward rooftop solar owners nor other electric consumers who help subsidize them, but figures to favor companies like Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. That is what the PUC so far indicates.


        Here’s the issue, as summarized by the often ham handed Lorena Gonzalez, the Democratic assemblywoman who authored AB 1139, a measure that could have been almost as clumsy and destructive as her previous AB 5. That one attacked the state’s gig economy until it was mostly rescinded by her legislative colleagues.


        “Right now,” Gonzalez griped while her bill was still alive, “the way we’re subsidizing rooftop solar, the people who are bearing the brunt of it are the people who don’t have solar or will never have it.”


        She was correct, up to a point. Rooftop solar owners who produce more energy than they use can sell that power to the overall grid in their region, with the ever-increasing price of that juice paid by all other consumers.


        What Gonzalez ignores, of course, is that if electricity consumers weren’t buying power from rooftop solar owners, the companies that serve them would have to buy it elsewhere. And the same consumers would pay – very likely more than they now pay to rooftop solar owners.


        This wouldn’t bother the utility companies a bit. They love big solar thermal power farms located in the sunniest parts of the state – the far reaches of California’s deserts. The utilities generally don’t own those solar farms, but they do own the transmission lines that bring their energy to cities they serve. For every dollar they spend building those lines (with customer money), the utilities get between 10 percent and 14 percent profit, depending on the PUC’s whim.


        Essentially, Gonzalez sought to cut what rooftop solar owners are paid in order to let other electric users’ rates drop a little. Except they would not drop, because cutting what rooftop owners get would remove much of the incentive for installing panels and lead the utilities to buy more from desert solar farms and build more transmission lines to handle the new supply. So consumers’ rates would actually rise if Gonzalez eventually gets her way, likely now via a PUC ruling that’s due sometime in the next year.


        What’s the equitable way to resolve this? Here’s one suggestion: Lower the excess power price paid to new rooftop owners, but not enough to remove the incentive to install. Don’t mess with what current rooftop owners are paid – that would be breaking promises made to them by the state.


     This kind of compromise would save other consumers a bit on their rates, while also not forcing them to subsidize as many new transmission lines and the huge profits they bring the utilities.


        Will anyone listen to this kind of reasoning?


        Probably not. For the labor union and utility lobbyists pushing for less rooftop energy and more new transmission lines want to remove all incentive to install panels. They usually don’t have to work very hard to get their way with the PUC.


        And if that’s the inclination of the PUC’s five commissioners, there won’t be much consumers can do about it. Many of those consumers successfully lobbied legislators to kill AB 1139, but the PUC is not subject to the same tactic because its members serve fixed six-year terms and are all but impossible to remove.


        Which means the death of the latest inept Gonzalez bill was likely only a Pyrrhic victory for consumers… they won the immediate battle but are quite likely to ultimately lose this war.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


Suggested pullout quote: “A compromise would resolve the current inequity.”







        From their first day of circulating petitions targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom, backers of the upcoming recall election attacked his credibility.


        They make some strong points, but those same organizers also suffer credibility problems of their own.


        Their favorite target all along has been Newsom’s notorious dinner party last fall with lobbyist pals at Yountville’s super-pricey, Michelin-starred French Laundry restaurant. It was largely indoors at a time when Newsom’s administration had banned inside restaurant dining, and the crowd was above the state-imposed limit also enforced by the governor.


        How credible was his professed concern over COVID-19, when he combined this event with sending his own children to in-person private school, while mandating closure of virtually all public schools?



        Then there were wildfires, which ravaged California last year and figure to be in full flame when the recall vote is held Sept. 14. Newsom trumpeted figures about fire mitigation efforts by the state that turned out to be exaggerated by a factor of about nine. A difference of more than 80,000 acres. The governor tried to let a state bureaucrat take the fall for that lie by admitting he gave Newsom wrong numbers.


        It didn’t matter…politicians are always responsible for the veracity of what emerges from their mouths.


        This most recent episode of non-credibility brought caustic comment even from some of the governor’s usual supporters.


        And yet…the other side has plenty of its own credibility problems. For one, while circulating the recall petitions, major backers blasted Newsom for mishandling the rollout of Covid vaccines. Many of the same folks spent years before the pandemic inveighing against mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren against often-fatal diseases like rubella, whooping cough and polio. Now they’re griping about a governor doing whatever he can to get every Californian protected from COVID-19 and its variants?


        There are credibility problems, too, among the Republicans working to oust and to replace Newsom. One big example came in late June, with word from something called the Election Integrity Project (EIP) that it has lined up as many as 30,000 poll watchers to “ensure the integrity” of the recall vote.


        This outfit turns out to be the creation of a former Tea Party leader for whom California government seems too liberal and too concerned with the welfare of minorities, now a large majority of the state populace when taken together.


        EIP previously failed in pursuing baseless claims of election fraud and improper registration, essentially following the model of ex-President Donald Trump and his false claims of actually having won last fall’s election.


        The group’s history suggests its real purpose – if it can actually turn out 30,000 poll watchers in September – will be to intimidate voters it thinks will go against the recall.


        That’s a big credibility problem for recall organizers.


        Then there are some of the positions taken by significant candidates to replace Newsom, all Republicans at this writing. Businessman John Cox, defeated by Newsom by a near-record margin in 2018, announced his plan for solving the homeless problem, one that would essentially force homeless individuals into counseling or therapy whether they like it or not. The trouble is, that tactic runs counter to both state law and a longstanding U.S. Supreme Court ruling.


        How credible is a candidate who advocates an illegal practice to solve one of California’s big problems?


        So there are no saints headed for this fall’s ballot as yet, and there is plenty to question about both the governor and his political enemies.


        The usual outcome of elections that pit negatives against each other is that voters choose the devil they know over the one they don’t.


        But there could be a wild card this year: So far, Newsom and state Democratic leaders have managed to dissuade all significant Democrats from entering the list of replacement candidates. But that list is far from complete right now.


        If a major Democrat who is relatively scandal-free – like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, for one example – were willing to risk becoming a party pariah for the rest of his life should he lose, the balance of credibility could change substantially.


        And then all bets would be off.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


        Suggested pullout quote: “There is plenty to question about both the governor and his political enemies.”