By David Giglio, Republican Candidate for Congress (CA13)
A little over a year ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream when I opened a sports card and collectibles shop in Clovis, California. Unfortunately, since my opening, I have already experienced being the victim of a burglary on two separate occasions. In both cases, despite having a near certain idea as to who committed the crimes, no one was held accountable. To make matters even worse, I was dropped by my insurance company as a result and, thus far, I have been unable to find a new provider willing to offer reasonably priced coverage.
I am not unique in my experience. Unfortunately, for business owners across the State of California as well as in major Democrat controlled cities around the nation, this has become all too common. While, in recent months, the media has highlighted some of the most egregious large-scale and coordinated smash-and-grab events that have hit the big box stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Best Buy, very little attention has been paid to the devastating effects that progressive crime reforms, such as Proposition 47 or cashless bail, have had on small businesses.
Most small business owners do not have the luxury of possessing the type of consistent cash-flow that larger corporations do. Even a loss of $950 dollars or less, which is now only a misdemeanor under California State law, can be devastating. Such a loss might be the difference between paying rent, paying an employee, keeping up with utilities, and even paying one’s own salary.
The first time my store was hit, over forty-thousand dollars in inventory was taken. Had it not been for my insurance company covering the loss, I may have been forced out of business within two months of my grand opening. But every insurance claim also carries a price. A few months after being reimbursed for my losses, I received notice from my provider that my policy would be terminated at the conclusion of the first twelve months.
Dismayed, I pleaded with the company to reconsider. I even told them about all the new preventive security measures I had taken to ensure that this type of loss would not happen again. I spent a few thousand dollars on a new security gate, upgraded my alarm system, and installed more security cameras. My pleas fell on deaf ears. It’s fair to wonder how long small business owners like me can continue to operate under these types of circumstances.
Only after recent strings of coordinated large-scale smash-and-grab robberies at upscale shopping centers were Governor Newsom and other progressives, like San Francisco Mayor Lond Breed, finally willing to publicly acknowledge that we have a major problem on our hands. Unfortunately, the solution they have proposed to restore order is all too predictable-- throw taxpayer dollars at the problem rather than taking the logical step of beginning to repeal laws that decriminalized a plethora of offenses.
Under Newsom’s plan, the state would issue $255 million through grants with the goal of aiding law enforcement agencies in addressing organized shoplifting attacks, and another $30 million to help fund prosecutors who wish to press charges. Here’s the problem. How can police or prosecutors put that money to any sort of use when the law characterizes the crimes not as felonies but as misdemeanors? Even if police arrested the culprits and district attorneys elected to press charges, the offenders would be released within hours and face little to no actual consequences.
This is one of the biggest problems with allowing the progressive left to take power. They are unwilling or unable to ever admit that their policies have failed to perform as promised. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they try to convince us that our eyes and ears are deceiving us. In the same press conference, Governor Newsom himself stood at the podium and defended Proposition 47. He argued that since its passage, robberies and crimes against property have decreased dramatically. Of course, they have! What the governor failed to mention is that it is not because these offenses don’t exist, it is because they are not being reported or prosecuted because both the citizenry and the police know their hands are tied by the system.
We cannot continue down this path much longer. The longer we allow lawlessness on our streets, the harder it will be to restore order. Business owners and citizens have a right to feel safe in their own communities. People should not have to fear being ambushed walking to their car after shopping and business owners should not be forced to live every day worrying about whether they will be the next victim.
It is time for the progressive left to accept reality. Their policies are not designed to work in real world situations. Government exists to protect our right to life, liberty, and property. Being able to open your own small business is a staple of the American Dream. To continue to ignore or downplay the plight of small business owners in their communities, Democrats are launching a de facto assault on that dream. It is time to restore law and order and make America safe again.
Being able to own your own small business is the epitome of the American Dream. And that dream is under attack. Most of our politicians live outside of reality. They are members of an elite class, shielded from the lawlessness and anarchy that their policies have unleashed. I am not one of them. I have seen firsthand the damage that progressives are causing with their reckless policies. Once elected, I will do more than blindly throw money at the problem. Many of the items being looted from stores ends up being sold through online outlets. I will push the FBI and Department of Justice to hunt down the perpetrators and try them in federal court using interstate commerce laws. I will also use my office as a bully-pulpit and pressure state lawmakers into repealing disastrous laws, such as Proposition 47, and to push statewide ballot initiatives aimed at restoring tough on crime laws like California’s “three-strikes” law. We must protect the American dream. To do so we must demand law and order. We must make American SAFE again.