GOP Blames California’s Coordinated Smash-and-Grab Retail Thefts on Seven-Year-Old Proposition 47

Allegedly coordinated on social media, last weekend’s wave of smash-and-grabs at high-end retail stores set the Bay Area on edge. But what officials describe as organized retail crime sprees aren’t the only orchestrated attacks taking place.

GOP politicians opened up the opportunist playbook and started their favorite attack: California is under siege and the left is to blame, partly because of Proposition 47, which voters approved in 2014. The initiative raised the dollar amount by which theft could be prosecuted as a felony from $400 to $950.

So what does a 7-year-old initiative have to do with allegedly coordinated retail thefts in the Bay Area? The right is using it as a smokescreen for a power grab, one that seeks to regress California to a Reagan-era police state. The first step is to take people’s rational fears about public safety and inflame them beyond reason.

State Republican leadership has been trying to do this by repeating the same two-dimensional messaging.

In a commentary this summer for the Daily Breeze newspaper in Los Angeles County’s South Bay region, failed conservative gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder opined that Prop. 47 “has given thugs free rein to calmly carry out whatever they want from any store.” In a Nov. 22 fundraising email, the party said Prop. 47 is one example of why Democrats “are the party behind crime and chaos, not law and order.” More recently, Republican Assembly Member Kevin Kiley of Rocklin (Placer County) described Prop. 47 as a “disaster from the start” on Twitter.

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SOURCE: SF Chronicle, Justin Phillips