California’s businesses are struggling to recover for prolonged pandemic shutdowns. Its citizens are battling the effects of wildfires and power outages.

Sensible state political leaders would take these extreme emergencies as an opportunity to look how other similarly sized states (e.g., Florida and Texas) are handling public health and land use issues, and revise their plans to include policies and procedures that actually work.

However, nobody who has followed California politics for any length of time will claim Governor Gavin Newsom is sensible about anything not involving the obtaining and retaining of power. He has just signed an executive order on Monday that aims to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine cars in the state by 2035.

The order directs the California Air Resources Board to develop a phase-out plan that would require 100 percent zero-emissions personal use and dryage vehicles by 2035 and as many medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicle applications deemed feasible by 2045.

“Pull away from the gas pumps,” Newsom said. “Let us no longer be victims of geopolitical dictators that manipulate global supply chains and global markets.”

California is both the largest new car market in the U.S., with 1.8 million vehicle sales in 2019, and also accounts for the most electric car purchases of any state.

Newsom’s order does not ban people from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market. It simply ends the sales of all new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state of nearly 40 million people (at least that’s the current number).

The automotive industry had been working to increase the market share of electric cars, and had not anticipated this doubling down on green justice policies from Newsom.

Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at the Edmunds.com auto pricing site, said Newsom’s announcement “does seem like this is a significant shot fired against” the internal combustion engine.

She expects the California announcement to trigger high-level meetings at all the auto companies which were moving toward electric vehicles but didn’t expect a zero-emissions mandate in 15 years. Automakers may have to rethink manufacturing and capital spending plans because of the mandate, she said.

Many Californians are pointing out both the poor timing and the poor policy.

Many Californians aren’t going to wait until 2035 to respond to the Governor’s latest decree.

A poll conducted late 2019 by the University of California at Berkeley found more than half of California voters have given ‘serious’ or ‘some’ consideration to leaving due to the high cost of housing, heavy taxation, or political culture.

According to Census data in 2018 more than 86,000 people left California for Texas, nearly 70,000 left for Arizona and about 55,000 left for Washington, according to NBC.

For those who don’t wish to move, perhaps the Recall Gavin Newsom effort might be their best hope.

A statewide campaign that’s underway to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office has an enthusiastic presence in Shasta and Siskiyou counties.

Two previous recall efforts weren’t successful but the regional manager in charge of collecting signatures in nine Northern California counties says the organization has better experience this time around.

 

 
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