Monday, August 28, 2023






        Every poll shows most California adults favor the housing density laws that have emerged from the state Legislature with great regularity and fanfare over the last three years.


        Despite those findings, often showing 60 percent or more in favor, the rebellion against those laws has a decent chance of success.


        It’s a matter of what’s at stake and who will eventually vote on the potential landmark initiative to cancel out the new laws where they conflict with local land use ballot measures passed in many cities and counties.


        Polling on housing density laws has usually been done in general terms, with brief explanations of the new measures not mentioning the instability and constant variation in need estimates from state government.


        Those surveys often don't distinguish likely voters from residents who aren’t even registered to vote. Nor do they note whose life savings are invested in their homes and who is now renting. They also do not mention the changes already wrought by the new housing laws in many once-bucolic neighborhoods.


        But there’s a way to evaluate who might vote and how they’ll lean if the new initiative, which states simply that “local land use planning or zoning initiatives approved by voters shall not be nullified or superseded by state law,” makes the November 2024 ballot:


        Check out what their stake might be in its outcome.


        This is where things begin to look optimistic for the measure. A new study from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies reveals that the vast majority of California’s most regular voters have a large stake in matters of preserving neighborhood character and ambiance.


        Only 39 percent of registered voters have voted in at least five of the last seven elections, thus making them almost certain to vote next fall in the presidential election of which this initiative seeks to be part.


        Out of that 39 percent, seven of 10 are 50 or older and seven of 10 are also white. Fully 68 percent of this cohort own their homes and 55 percent are college graduates.


        Taken together, these facts indicate a very large percentage of those certain to vote will feel they have a large stake in defeating this measure.


        Yes, for some, laws like the 2021 SB 10, which allows as many as six dwelling units on virtually all lots that now hold just one home, represent a chance to sell out to a developer and get rich quickly, as their age and home ownership status often has provided them significant equity they can now cash out.


        But for the many who plan to stay put the rest of their active lives, neighborhood stability will be a major interest. The currently proposed initiative is an effort to assure such stability, even if some call the status quo racist and exclusionary.


        (The measure is now undergoing the state's normal title and summary process in the office of state Attorney General Rob Bonta, a firm advocate of the laws this measure could cancel. Time will reveal the fairness of his work on this and whether it encounters a legal challenge.)


        The Berkeley IGS study shows homeowners are more likely to vote in large numbers than any other single California grouping, regardless of race. Hundreds of thousands of Blacks and Mexican- and Asian-Americans own homes in California and want to preserve the character of places where they have invested.


        Add to this the utterly whimsical numbers game played by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), in charge of enforcing the new laws, which amounts to a one-size-fits-all plan for increasing California’s housing density in current cities while leaving outlying ex-urban lands largely vacant.


        Back in 2018, Gov. Newsom claimed the state needed to build 3.5 million new dwellings by 2030, or about 300,000 per year. Even during today’s housing boom, only a fraction of that much has been built each year since. Meanwhile, HCD has revised its estimated need, first to 1.8 million, and now to 2.5 million.


        All of which might leave voters scratching their heads, especially those who already doubt the wisdom of greater density. Put it all together, and this measure definitely has a chance.  


    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








        Think for a moment about a few political facts:


Here’s one: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is among President Biden’s most vociferous backers and it may now be too late for Biden to back out of next year’s campaign. Here’s another: Newsom’s second and final term as governor ends almost two years before the next presidential election.


So Newsom realized early on that if he ever wants to be president, he must establish himself as a major national Democratic figure independent of the office he now holds.


That’s the context of his putative upcoming debate with Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who by now also must be aware that he, too, will not be running for president at this time next year and that if he’s ever to be president, he also might need to survive as a major party figure independent of his current office.


        That’s the context of the Newsom-DeSantis debate conceived by the Californian and agreed to by the Floridian, with only a few relatively minor details yet to be worked out.


        Newsom wants the debate in a Fox TV studio with no audience. DeSantis wants a live crowd at the debate, with cheering allowed, even encouraged. Maybe he figures he might be more credible if his folks yell louder than Newsom’s. DeSantis wants short videos at the debate’s start; Newsom wants four-minute opening statements.


        These demands both might be mistakes by DeSantis, who has sometimes been prone to error when under significant pressure.


        But the disputes are mere nitpicking – if DeSantis does not try to use them to somehow back out of the debate he agreed to right after Newsom issued his challenge on July 28.


        Newsom, of course, was glad to make DeSantis a prop in his effort to become a Democratic symbol.


        So what might these men debate in their encounter, likely to occur in Georgia, the lone state on both men’s lists of desired locations?


        Likely to be first is both governors’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which Newsom faced by closing down most businesses across his state, while DeSantis left almost everything in Florida open. Newsom required masking in most public places, while DeSantis signed a bill that bans masking requirements.


        DeSantis will brag that Florida suffered few financial ill effects from the viral invader, while Newsom will claim Florida saw about 40,000 more Covid deaths than if it had followed his model. If those are their claims, both will be correct. The question will be how many viewers believe the extra Florida deaths were worth the money saved.


        Then there will be censorship. DeSantis moved strongly against the Walt Disney Co. – his state’s largest employer through Orlando’s Disney World – when the company vocally opposed Florida’s year-old law banning classroom discussion below the fourth grade of gays or alternative lifestyles. There is no such ban in California.


        Florida also bans some books from schools, while Newsom says he’ll crack down on a Southern California school district that's attempting to follow a Florida-like plan.


        Republicans like to say Democrats limit freedom of speech via the so-called “cancel culture,” which they say deprives audiences of viewpoints unlike what is considered politically correct. Democrats retort that Democratic states neither impose bans on teaching certain topics in public schools nor ban books, while Florida and some other Republican-led states are doing both.


        So this may devolve into a dispute along the lines of the culture wars that have deepened what was already a major split among Americans.


        If it does, Newsom will be voicing views that polls show resonate with Democratic voters nationally, while DeSantis will be doing the same for Republicans.


        It all means this debate promises to outdo Newsom’s repeated ad campaigns in Texas and Florida in raising his national party profile. Chances are it might do the same for DeSantis, who has not articulated his views ably in the early stages of this year’s presidential campaign.


        In short, this debate probably won't do much to shape next year’s election, but it may draw some lines for a 2028 election if it makes either or both men symbols of their partys’ futures.



    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

Sunday, August 20, 2023










        While California has a long, sad history of poorly thought-out laws often passed for reasons of ideology, there is no way state legislators can pretend after passage that they weren’t warned about the current SB 553, the brainchild of Silicon Valley state Sen. Dave Cortese, a Democrat.


        His measure, which had a committee hearing just three days after a flash mob of 30 or more men and women pulled a snatch-and-grab robbery of a Nordstrom store in the Westfield Topanga Mall in the Canoga Park section of Los Angeles, passed the Senate on a 29-8 vote as a worker safety measure.

            It aims to prohibit employers from requiring retail workers to confront active suspected shoplifters. Designated security personnel would be exempted, but most stores don't have security officers for reason of cost.


        The very minimal consequence of this proposed new law would be that retailers of all types will keep almost all goods of significant value behind locked glass panels, thus preventing shoppers from examining possible purchases except under supervision and preventing many customers in grocery and drug stores from scrutinizing ingredient lists. It promises to make shopping a stark, inauspicious experience.


        Cortese says his bill aims to protect retail employees from violence by relieving them of any responsibility to confront thieves.


        “With growing awareness of workplace violence,” he said, “California needs smarter guidelines to keep workers safe…” He notes all employers would be required to train every worker on how to react to active shoplifting. “Let’s take every step to prevent another workplace assault or shooting,” he added.


        But retailers say the real life consequence will amount to an open invitation for thieves to take whatever they like, just like the latest large flash mob, which stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry and designer goods from the Topanga Mall Nordstrom and then fled in a fleet of cars reportedly including multiple luxury BMW and Lexus vehicles.


        If they pass the Cortese bill, legislators won’t be able to shrug this off by saying they weren’t forewarned.


        For about 500 small business owners traveled to Sacramento from points like Fresno, Modesto and the North San Francisco Bay area to protest SB 553 and urge legislators to protect small businesses, not their predators.


        Said one demonstration organizer, “SB553 will create a field day for criminals to sue small business owners, giving criminals the double jackpot to steal from the business…and again by suing them in a shakedown lawsuit. All Californians will pay the price for billions of dollars lost to growing retail theft.”


        That statement is obviously correct on its very face. The fact the world’s most shoplifted Walgreen’s remains open in San Francisco is some kind of business miracle, and no one can be sure how long it will stay open. A former Westfield mall on that city’s busy Market Street became so vacant of stores because of theft and other business impediments that it was turned back over to the lender, with the lease holder not bothering to wait for foreclosure.


        The business owner demonstrators also asked why, when California has more worker safety measures in place than any other state, it needs more new rules.


        “(Legislators) should focus on protecting the public and businesses from violent criminals whose only intent is to steal merchandise,” the organizer added. “Let’s not do more to destroy the quality of life in our once-great state.”


        But just as police say last year’s SB 357, forbidding arrests for loitering to solicit sex, has created open season for pimps to further exploit prostitutes, so SB 553 figures to create an open season for thieves to ransack just about any store they please.


        Isn’t it about time legislators stepped back before knee-jerk voting for things that may look like mere do-gooder plans? If they did, they might actually realize their votes have real-world consequences.


    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










          Here’s a reality that needs to soak into the consciousness of California lawmakers, the governor and voters who put them in office: This state needs far better analysis and vetting of new laws if it’s to avoid negative unintended consequences.


          And when we get solid analysis and reliable predictions of some consequences, we need to pay heed, not ignore reality.


          These facts of life are perhaps best illustrated by the 2014 Proposition 47, which ended felony status for thefts and burglaries involving less than $950 worth of goods and reduced some other felonies, like stealing a gun, to misdemeanors.


          One unintended consequence has been closure of some stores, notably Walgreen’s and Whole Foods outlets that suffered constant shoplifting and no penalties for thieves caught red-handed. That’s an inconvenience making life more complex from San Francisco to San Diego.


          This was predicted right in the ballot arguments on Prop. 47 mailed to all voters. “Reducing penalties for theft, receiving stolen property and forgery could cost retailers and consumers millions of dollars,” wrote Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Assn. Whether many voters noticed his analysis is questionable, considering the initiative passed by a 59-41 percent margin.


          That’s just one example of a law supported by politicians – including then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who wanted to cut prison populations – having severe consequences. For Prop. 47, these also include a major contribution to inflation, as many stores now factor losses from frequent and brazen shoplifting into prices and store closure decisions.


          At the same time, increased rates of rape and human trafficking have followed the 2016 passage of Proposition 57, which allows early releases of rapists, child molesters, hostage takers and those convicted of hate crimes.


          So…hate crimes last year reached record levels in California, and there is every indication that trafficking of prostitutes is also more common than before. Ballot arguments against 57 predicted both increases, but the measure, also backed by Brown as a prison-clearing measure, passed by 64-36 percent.


          State legislators and the governors who sign their bills into law have been just as derelict as the voters.


          Take last year’s Senate Bill 357, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, currently angling for the congressional seat of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, if she retires. The openly gay Wiener’s bills often are expressly aimed to further his perception of an LGBTQ+ agenda.


          When SB 357 decriminalized loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, his aim was to let gay men and women hang out on street corners trying to entice one another. It’s too soon for statistics, but police around the state say that the moment Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure, old-fashioned pimp-driven prostitution increased markedly.


          “On social media, the pimps were saying, ‘You better get out there and work because the streets are ours,’” one Los Angeles vice detective told the magazine City Journal. The pimps were right, the detective reported: Once the bill was signed, cops ceased arresting virtually anyone for this former crime, even before the law took formal effect.


          Police also reported pimps became more visible, often standing on nearby side streets as their “girls” worked streets long known as hooker hot spots. “It took away an enforcement tool,” said one Oakland anti-trafficking activist.


          The reported near doubling in numbers of young women loitering in fish-net dresses over skimpy g-strings was surely not Wiener’s intention, but it’s reality, as drivers can see when passing through vice-ridden parts of California cities. It’s an unintended, very foreseeable, consequence that many feel outweighs new rights for seekers of gay partners.


          Wiener and his allies have also produced unintended consequences with housing density bills they’ve pushed through: California now sports myriad new apartment buildings, most carrying large “vacancy” signs because rents remain too high for large numbers of those who need housing most. Wiener and fellow density advocates like Newsom, state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta and state Senate President Toni Atkins didn’t intend that, but those thousands of signs are mute testimony to the emptiness within many new buildings.


          That’s another very predictable scene lawmakers didn’t notice ahead of time, and further evidence that rushed, minimally analyzed laws often work poorly.



    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, August 14, 2023







        By law, federal and state tax returns are confidential. Even some presidential candidates, most notably Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020, have managed to use this fact to hide their finances from voters.


        But now comes the latest bailout effort for California’s three largest electric utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.


        The three worked together in 2022, lobbying a bill through the Legislature to partially link utility rates with household incomes. They sold their plan as a way to bring equity to power rates, where low-income families now pay about as much as the rich per kilowatt hour used.


        In reality, if this plan comes to pass, it will be yet another consumer-financed bailout for utility companies, akin to the state Wildfire Fund and the “loan” soon to go to PG&E to help it keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station open an extra five years to help ease the state’s transition to renewables.


        While billed as advancing equity, the four-tiered fixed payment plan to be drawn up by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will really act to discourage new rooftop solar installations and protect the big companies from the burgeoning Community Choice Aggregation movement taking hold from Sonoma to San Diego, Placer County to Pico Rivera. CCAs offer both conventional and renewable energy at somewhat lower costs than the utilities charge.


        The latest plan depends completely on utility company knowledge of each customer’s income. The four tiers are designed to make consumers pay set fees for being hooked up to the state electric grid, ranging from a low of $15 per month up to $92 monthly. The companies say that will be accompanied by lower rates per kilowatt hour used, but anyone who knows the sordid history of electric rate making in California will understand lowered usage rates will soon rise right back to today’s levels or higher.


        None of this, however, can happen without the utilities knowing the incomes of families and businesses that are their customers.


        The Legislature assigned the PUC to decide how these huge companies get that information. That’s a form of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, considering the commission’s long history of corruption, scandal and favoritism of utilities over their customers.


        This is the agency that was caught conspiring with SoCal Edison to force consumers to pay the vast majority of the cost of dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station after an Edison blunder disabled it. It’s the same outfit that has never significantly punished PG&E for its manslaughter convictions in the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018 or hit hard at Edison for its part in igniting fires in Malibu and elsewhere. It’s the agency where a commissioner who formerly represented the Cruise driverless car company just voted for letting it operate limitless vehicles in San Francisco.


        The five PUC commissioners could mandate an honor system, asking each electric user their level of adjusted gross income. But anyone who knows human nature will understand that many customers would low-ball their incomes.


        They could ask the state Franchise Tax Board to provide income levels to the companies, despite laws assuring confidentiality. But even if the tax board could securely turn over the information, there’s no guarantee utility company employees won’t leak some folks’ information.


The PUC could demand consumers show copies of tax returns in order to start or maintain service, but that could also subject taxpayer confidentiality to the whims of utility workers.


        Any such tactic would certainly produce a blizzard of lawsuits protesting the obvious contradiction with privacy assurances.


        But without solid income information, there’s no way utility commissioners can assure anyone they’re even trying to equalize electric price burdens among various economic classes.


        So the PUC – so far completely mum on this key new responsibility handed it so blithely by the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom – has a problem.


        Whatever it does will cut into its already shaky credibility. Far better to scrap this idea and develop a completely different plan to assure electric equity, even if that would mean admitting a mistake and then starting afresh.



    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 assumption everywhere in America, especially in California, is that the coronavirus pandemic is over.


But as the old Walt Disney tune has long reminded us about presumptions: “It ain’t necessarily so.”


Go to any gym that was closed for a year or more at the height of the pandemic, where masking was required for many months after reopening, and it’s rare to see even one person in a protective mask.


Visit most restaurants, and far more diners are enjoying meals indoors than outside, as became the vogue when the pandemic began to ease a bit in 2021.


Go to a ballpark and try to find anyone in a mask. In fact, hospitals and other health care facilities are about the only places where masking is taken seriously. Even there, workers, patients and visitors all are about as concerned today about other diseases as over COVID-19.


        But what if the virus mutates again, for the seemingly umpteenth time, and takes a more threatening form than the last few iterations? In reality, new spinoffs of the Omicron variant appear about monthly in California, but so far existing vaccines and medications are handling them and hospitalization rates remain low.


        At the height of the pandemic, the state’s Public Health department and the health department of Los Angeles County, largest civic entity in the nation below the state level, often operated in tandem. What one decreed, the other followed, often on the same day.


        That’s why a new Covid response plan issued by that county probably gives a good idea of what might happen if public presumptions prove wrong and there’s a return to crowded Covid wards in hospitals and frenzied, sudden rule-making by public authorities. The basics of that plan: deploy boosters and other drugs.


        For one thing, even though they have all but disappeared from daily newspaper and television updates, both the state and county still keep careful and detailed statistics on Covid occurrence. A sudden spike would cause new edicts.


        But there is no sign any such dictates are imminent. For one thing, Los Angeles County sets levels of Covid incidence ranging from low hospital admissions (less than 10 cases per 100,000 population) to high admissions (more than 20 per 100,000). When the county issued its last update, there were still distinct COVID-19 treatment sections in some large hospitals, but not in most small to medium-sized ones.


        But the actual admission rate was running near three cases per 100,000 population – ultra low.


        This can be ascribed both to effectiveness of the new bivalent booster shots of the vaccines readily available to people over 60, which cover both original Covid and the pernicious Omicron, and the fact that the newest viral variations are not as harmful or deadly as the original or its early mutations.


        Out of hospital treatments also are now widely available, especially the oral Pfizer drug Paxlovid, which quickly eliminates symptoms in many patients. Without serious symptoms, hospitalization is generally unneeded.


        But state and local health authorities warn against growing lax in wariness of Covid.


        “Treatments (like Paxlovid) can prevent you from getting very sick,” trumpets a bulletin from Los Angeles County. “They have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of death or hospitalization from COVID-19.”


        But the state warns against letting people’s guard down completely and becoming complacent. “Treatment must be started early,” they note. “The oral medicines must be started within five days of when symptoms begin. Do not wait for symptoms to get worse.”


        Meanwhile, prescriptions are needed for the oral drugs, but booster shots can be had for the asking. And the health agencies point out citizenship and insurance status are not now factors in either drug or booster availability.


        That’s not very different from what’s available to deal with the flu and some other common ailments.


        One thing not mentioned anywhere any more: Closing schools or businesses. Those were the most controversial and politically contentious elements among the early methods of trying to contain Covid.


        All of which suggests that medical and pharmaceutical advances have created a situation like anti-vaccination activists always wish for: Treatments and preventives are available to anyone who wants them, but no one will compel compliance, even though vaccine and drug effectiveness becomes more obvious every day.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

Monday, August 7, 2023






        In a time of massive criticism of its business climate from both inside and outside the state, California steadily continues its many policies of corporate largesse – big handouts to private companies.


        Which outfits get the money depends a lot on what a particular company does and who owns it. That makes these gifts political, designed to push the agenda of whoever is governor at any moment.


        This is nothing unique. Other states do it all the time; in fact, government handouts in the forms of cash, tax breaks or free land are some of the driving forces behind California’s loss of about 1 percent of its populace over the last three years.


        When Toyota Motor Co.’s American headquarters and its more than 6,000 employees moved from the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance to Plano, Texas, free land and 10 years of tax breaks were at least as big a factor as the Dallas suburb’s more central location in the nation, even though the location was all Toyota talked about.


        Similar factors were at work when Nissan USA moved from Carson, south of Los Angeles, to Tennessee. Nevada’s growth also has been fueled by land and tax giveaways.


        But California gives plenty to businesses. There are minority-owned business grants, often amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars each. There are tens of millions of dollars in small business grants annually, even when the state runs a deficit. There have lately been thousands of Covid-related grants, many to outfits that retained employees despite vastly reduced profits during the pandemic. Not to mention tax benefits regularly given to film and TV producers, which have brought billions of dollars worth of production back to California from places like Georgia, British Columbia and North Carolina, which had used tax exemptions to wrest away a lot of California production.


        There is no sign of this phenomenon abating. Just take a look at the agenda of one recent meeting of the state Energy Commission, whose members serve at the governor’s pleasure.


        Under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, car dealers got tax breaks and the state Air Resources Board gave many millions to automakers trying to comply with California’s tough smog standards, which aim for zero emissions from new cars by 2035 and now will require new trucks sold after 2036 to be electric.


        New grants on the consent calendar (where staff-proposed ideas are usually adopted without discussion by commissioners at their formal meetings) in May were focused on getting rid of fossil fuels like natural gas in food production.


        It’s not that the Energy Commission is expert in food production. But the May 10 agenda included a $1.2 million grant to America’s Best Beverage Inc. for installation of electric coffee roasters to replace gas-powered ones at the company’s Oakland facility. The grant was specifically designed to be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, so no one will ever know if the new roasters are environmentally better or worse than the old ones.


        Not to be partial to one coffee producer over others, the commission also handed $600,000 to the somewhat smaller Red Bay Coffee Company, also in Oakland. Red Bay will also substitute electric roasters. Said the grant resolution: “The project is expected to provide benefits to priority populations through pollutant emission reductions.”


        Translation: This was intended to benefit the

health of the mostly-Black populace around the Red Bay



Then there was $890,000 for Pacific Coast Producers

to reuse waste steam condensation to cut energy consumption at a tomato processing plant in Woodland. This one was also intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a priority of Gov. Gavin Newsom, but not one likely to be funded by many Republican governors.


        Yet another grant, this one $500,000, went to the E&J Gallo winery for use in three facilities in the Central Valley, where aging and inefficient electric refrigerating systems will be replaced by newer ones using less power.


        These grants are very like the ones given to new hydrogen-fueling stations under ex-Gov. Jerry Brown, which neatly fit his priorities.


        So folks claiming California is anti-business have it wrong. This state is not anti-business, but rather is plenty friendly to businesses – so long as they’re the correct businesses.


Elias is author of the current book “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government's Campaign to Squelch It,” now available in an updated third edition. His email address is






        In a sign that it will go along with ex-President Donald Trump no matter how self-destructive he might want it to become, the California Republican Party has now changed its rules for next year’s primary election to make itself essentially irrelevant.


        Irrelevance, of course, is familiar for this party, which holds fewer than one-third of the seats in each house of California’s Legislature. That leaves it unable to block tax increases, keep state constitutional amendments it does not like off the statewide ballot or push successfully for any of its fiscally and socially conservative ideas. Essentially, the state GOP’s ineptitude leaves it at the legislative mercy of Democratic Party majorities that rule the state Assembly and Senate without restraints.


        Results have included loss of local control over land use and development, continuing lack of success in solving homelessness, a budget deficit after years of surpluses, needle exchanges for drug addicts whose habits are thus at least partially supported by taxpayers, no cash bail for almost all crimes short of the most vicious felonies, and much more.


        It looked for awhile like the GOP might regain some relevance in the presidential primary election next March, as the state party’s rules for the last few presidential cycles allowed delegates to the Republican National Convention to be chosen by congressional district. Since every congressional district in the state was to choose three delegates to help pick the GOP presidential candidate, there was the strong possibility that Republican candidates would turn up to campaign even in districts dominated by Democrats. For just one example, the three delegates from Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district would have as many convention votes as those from the Sierra Nevada Mountains foothill district of conservative Republican Tom McClintock.


        But that might have meant something less than total domination for Trump. And so, with Trump leading all polls of Republicans in this state by huge margins, the California GOP opted to kowtow to his campaign, which wants all 169 California convention delegates in Trump’s column, figuring this group might clinch the nomination for him.


        Now, rather than letting Republican voters in each congressional district make their own choices, all California’s delegates will go to any candidate who gets even one vote more than 50 percent of the state’s total. If no one wins a majority of the party vote, delegates to the convention will be distributed proportionately. There is no point anymore for Republicans like Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy or Tim Scott to campaign in places like Los Angeles or San Francisco or Sacramento, all with huge majorities of Democratic voters.


        Rather, any who campaign in California despite Trump’s dominating position in all polls – unaffected so far by any of his indictments and lawsuit losses – will stick to places where Republicans are at least somewhat competitive with Democrats, like Orange and San Diego counties and some parts of the Central Valley. Any Republican showing up elsewhere will be seeking campaign donations, not votes.


        Trump’s win here will likely now be easy, and no one else figures to be able to dent his control over the California delegation to the national convention in Milwaukee.


        This also means Democratic Party ideas will get no intellectual competition in districts where the party now holds sway or even in several of the paltry 10 districts the GOP now holds, out of California’s 52. Most Democratic voters will learn nothing about Republican ideas unless they deliberately seek out such information, a relative rare action.


        Yet, the state GOP’s chair, Jessica Millan Patterson, as usual portrays defeat as triumph. “(The) vote by the California Republican Party executive committee was a massive victory for California Republicans …eager to have a say in deciding who our party’s 2024 presidential nominee will be,” she said. Wrong.


        For if the vote were by congressional district, as before, even Republicans in strong Democratic areas could have had a voice and a presence. Now they will have none, if current polls are correct (and polls have generally understated Trump’s support in the past).


        The change, thus, virtually gives up any voice many California Republicans might have had, guaranteeing the party more years of irrelevancy.


Elias is author of the current book “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government's Campaign to Squelch It,” now available in an updated third edition. His email address is