The California Democratic Convention, held last weekend in San Francisco, was a highlight reel of the absolute disconnect from reality in which Democrat politicians reside.

Governor Gavin Newsom believes that being the anti- Donald Trump is the answer, with every issue framed through an anti-Trump lens.

During his speech Saturday morning kicking off the convention, the governor proclaimed that “California’s what happens when rights are respected. When work is rewarded. When nature is protected. When diversity is celebrated and free markets are fair markets. We are nothing less than the progressive answer to a transgressive president.”

Examined under the lens of reality, however, California has no water, crumbling infrastructure, environmental fanaticism crippling industry, rampant homelessness in urban centers and a staggering inequality between those who are connected and those who are not.

Juxtaposed with Newsom’s rosy view of The Golden State is the news that medieval diseases previously thought eradicated like typhus and bubonic plague are present in Los Angeles. The growing problem with homelessness in not just in Los Angeles (with a homeless population of over 60,000) and San Francisco, but up and down California and on the West Side. People who are living in unthinkable conditions, co-habitating with flea-infested rats, living among waste and refuse with zero sanitation or rodent control. In California. In 2019.

That is horrifying and disgraceful.

Instead of throwing lobs across the country to score political points and stay in the news, perhaps the Golden State governor should look to tending to his own grass on the West Coast. Last year, US News & World Report named California dead last in quality of life in the United States. The results were based on a series of surveys and statistical metrics, but center around a healthy environment and sense of community. Well, California is the land of the free, right? Where anything goes? Not anymore, at least according to the CATO Institute, which ranks California 48th on the state personal and economic freedom scale.

This is the state looking to lead the resistance as an example to the rest of the country. Where the progressive answer has lead us to the literal plague.

Is it any wonder those in most parts of the county practically roll their eyes whenever California raises it’s hand and says “look at me?”

Progressive stewardship starts to look more and more like third world socialism as it plays out to it’s inevitable conclusion.

The state is facing a multitude of issues in the long- and short-term, with a population that is increasingly very rich and very poor, and government is set to offer free healthcare to illegal immigrants, inducing more pressure on a system already past the breaking point.

If there are not enough doctors to handle the crisis happening right now, what will happen when hundreds of thousands more are demanding services in the future?

What are the answers? I know this problem cannot be solved with a singular solution. But mental hospitals are part of it. So is intervention - in the midst of crisis and over the long term - within our communities. Maybe it is halfway houses, or assisted living centers where life and job skill training are mentored, a community sharing worthwhile skills with someone who needs a hand up and a chance. Direct medical intervention, government saying it is not acceptable to live as though we have been transported to the middle ages in the midst of modernity, and enforcement of laws meant to keep society’s problems from reaching these kind of levels must be part of the equation.

The solution also must include programs that offer food, clothing, beds and grace to those who need those things the most.

You do not fix a problem with more money, doubling down on the same methods and solutions that have exacerbated the problems in the first place. Top-down approaches and one-size-fits-all solutions are inevitably destined to fail. Locally-centered solutions, where we are all accountable to our neighbors and friends, are part of the key to success.

Back at the Moscone Center (once the participants and speakers could navigate through the feces and needles littering much of the city due to it’s homeless crisis, but don’t worry, there’s an app for that!) the parade of 2020 candidates made the rounds with speeches and Q & A sessions, and of course more than a few protesters disrupting the candidates.

The convention audience roundly booed 2020 candidate John Hickenlooper for his lack of willingness to cede his liberal policy platform to the far left. Unfortunately Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado, had the temerity to voice his opinion that completely killing the private insurance market wasn’t a good idea - and that, gasp, socialism is not the answer to reach progressive goals. He offered those remarks to a room full of activists that would cheer nothing less than the full-blown rhetoric of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez conveniently tweeted that it was time for Hickenlooper to sashay out of the Democratic Party if he couldn’t get behind Medicare for All and the current far left push she represents. Apparently, tolerance is something to yell at political opponents, not something worth actually practicing for this wave of social justice Democrats.

There was a lot of talk from the candidates on their platforms and favored policies, but something they could all agree on was Joe Biden’s glaring absence from the California confab. Biden instead spoke at the Ohio Human Rights Commission’s annual dinner at Ohio State on LBGT rights.

Biden is playing the role of the front-runner, and looking to his strengths. Blue-collar workers in purple states. Time will tell if his brand of politics will be enough in the primaries. But, if the 2016 races were any indication, it really is anyone’s game at this point. Well, almost anyone’s—Eric Swallwell is still polling at zero.

Beyond the empty promises of a better life through government benevolence and largesse, the realities of more governmental control on offer from the Democrats portend a wonderful future for those who can afford to live behind the gates of a cultivated reality. Where the consequences of well-meaning laws can not enter, unless their name is on the list.

For everyone else, the reality is a bit different.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.