Monday Morning Thoughts: Two Traditional Prosecutors Veer Hard Right on Social Media

Photo Courtesy of Yolo DA

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

For Yolo County DA Jeff Reisig, it was another swipe at linking the homeless problem with Prop. 47 (this time without explicitly mentioning it).  For Orange County DA Todd Spitzer, he linked to a Fox Investigative report on a new crime wave and proclaimed on Twitter, “Chilean Nationals are overrunning our neighborhoods.”

Both the DAs have veered to the hard right this weekend on social media.

Reisig declared that he took the family to dinner “downtown” —not explaining whether it was Woodland, Sacramento or somewhere else.

He said that they parked a block away and walked to the restaurant, when he immediately spotted “street tents and drug paraphernalia.”

He complained about a “seriously ill” or “high” homeless man who yelled at them, complained about the stench and someone asking for money.

He then complained that they spent “$120 for a family meal that would have cost at most $80 a few years ago.”

Reisig said the kids were “scared to walk out and see the ‘sick people’ who yelled at us.”  He went the other way, but found “it was the same walk of despair.

“This has become the new normal in California for so many of us near urban centers.  It’s not safe or enjoyable.  I’m sick of it and many people I know are too.  It’s part of the reason why thousands of businesses and millions of residents have left California in just the last few years.  This can be fixed.  Stay tuned.”

This has been an ongoing theme for a long time.

Reisig in 2018 blamed the homeless problem on Prop. 47:

Sunday Commentary: Reisig Blames the Homeless Problem on Prop. 47

He did likewise just last November:

Monday Morning Thoughts: Yolo DA Blames Prop 47 for the Homeless Problem, Experts and Data Suggest Otherwise

But Reisig continues to look at issues like homelessness driving out-migration from California and has looked to Prop. 47 and drug issues as driving the homeless problem, when most experts believe that the problem is actually the high cost of housing, which has destabilized already vulnerable populations.

Moreover, instead of acting with compassion toward people suffering from mental illness, substance use disorder, and living on the street, Reisig reacts with disgust.  His mentality clearly blames those less fortunate for their own plight and that ties into his philosophy as a prosecutor.

In November, Housing California noted, “Recent historic investments in homelessness, affordable housing, and tenant protections are ending homelessness for tens of thousands of Californians. In fact, local homeless response systems are housing more people than ever before. Yet, given the decades of disinvestment that preceded, these recent one-time investments are only a down payment on what must be ongoing and more significant funding for the solutions we know work to end homelessness: deeply affordable housing, supportive services, and targeted homelessness prevention to curb the tide of people entering our shelters and living on our sidewalks.”

They add, “Homelessness is increasing, not because State funding isn’t working, but because it’s just not enough to meet the scale of our need, especially in the face of systemic drivers like unprecedented rent increases, housing discrimination, and chronic workforce shortages largely driven by a long legacy of inconsistent public funding.”

They view the problem more holistically than the DA.

They argue that “we cannot expect local homeless response systems to make long-term, ambitious plans with only one-time state investments, and without addressing affordable housing, healthcare, tenants’ rights, re-entry from the criminal justice and other systems, and glaring gaps in existing safety net systems.”

They add, “People experiencing homelessness have been failed by multiple systems and deserve thoughtful, strategic, and inclusive policy solutions.”

In their view, the solution is simple: “permanent housing.”

The photo that Reisig used appears to be a crop from what was posted on the Yolo DA website in a previous press release.

In the meantime, in Orange County, DA Todd Spitzer reacted to a report on FOX NEWS by proclaiming, “Chilean Nationals are overrunning our neighborhoods.”

Fox News is blaming “visa waivers” for “gangs of Chilean criminals” committing “mass burglaries in SoCal.”

One Burbank owner, Fox reported, lost $450,000 in inventory overnight.

Tweeted Spitzer, “21 under arrest in OC alone. Sect. #Mayorkas must cut Chile off from on line no background check ESTA visa program. #saveourhomes.”

A Google search suggests there is nothing really new here.

In November 2019, Fox 11 in Los Angeles: “A FOX 11 investigation is exposing gangs of Chilean nationals who have been utilizing visa waivers to come to the United States for the sole purpose of burglarizing homes, businesses, and vehicles, and Southern California has become a top target for the criminals.”

Meanwhile, in March 2020, Fox News reported, “Long Island police say criminals from Chile are using a visa waiver program to enter the U.S. to burglarize affluent homes before flying back home.”

Fox added, “Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the suspects were part of a crime ring sent to the U.S. on 90-day ESTA visas to rob homes.”

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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