". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘They Had Their Turn. They Failed’: Blue Cities and States Reject Progressive Policies

March 7, 2024

While Super Tuesday may have been predictable on the presidential front, it held some surprises lower down the ballot. Deep-blue cities and states are rejecting leftist policies.

In San Francisco, voters backed ballot measures to strengthen the city’s police force and mandate drug tests for welfare recipients, prompting the San Francisco Chronicle to declare on its front page Wednesday morning, “Progressivism Is Out…” Voters also placed a host of moderates on the Democratic County Central Committee, which the Chronicle reported “could reshape who is elected in San Francisco for years.” Steven Buss, co-founder of the non-partisan organization Grow S.F., said of progressive politicians, “They had their turn. They failed. Now it’s time for the city to move on.”

Ballot Measure E bolsters the San Francisco Police Department by creating new policies for officers “to report use-of-force incidents,” allows the police to use drones and set up security cameras to reduce and prevent crime, and authorizes the police to use “new surveillance technology,” with a board of supervisors’ approval. The measure also reduces the amount of time officers spend on paperwork, “with the goal that patrol officers spend no more than 20% of their work time on administrative tasks.” The proposal passed with just shy of 60% of the vote.

The most controversial of the ballot measures approved on Tuesday was Measure F, which requires drug screening for welfare recipients. The policy requires single adults under 65 years old and with no dependents to submit to drug tests before being eligible to receive county welfare assistance. “When screening indicates a recipient may be dependent on illegal drugs, the City will provide a professional evaluation and may refer the recipient to an appropriate treatment program,” the Measure states.

The program would be paid for almost entirely with money that current welfare recipients are ineligible for, either due to illegal drug use or due to a refusal to submit to drug testing. City Controller Ben Rosenfield estimated that the program would cost between $500,000 and $1.4 million annually. “These costs would be offset by estimated annual savings of between $100,000 and $2 million from recipients who are no longer eligible to receive aid, with any additional savings available for treatment and other services for other program recipients,” he explained. Measure F passed with 63% of the vote.

Other measures passed in San Francisco on Tuesday include Measure G, which is aimed at improving education standards and math curricula, and Measure D, which cracks down on bribery and “quid pro quo” arrangements among city officials and employees, stiffens penalties for officials and employees who do not meet the new standards, and requires annual ethics courses for officials and employees. Measure G passed with nearly 84% of the vote, and Measure D passed with 88%.

The deep-blue state of Washington also approved a host of ballot initiatives on Tuesday, aimed at undoing left-wing policies and legislation enacted over the past few years. The state legislature on Tuesday approved three initiatives sent to the capitol by Washingtonians. Initiative 2081 established a “parents’ bill of rights,” which allows parents to review books in school libraries and remove books deemed sexually explicit; allows parents to opt their children out of sexual education courses or class sessions or assignments related to sex, gender ideology, politics, or religion; and pledges that students’ and families’ religious beliefs will be respected, among other items.

Initiative 2113 reversed Democrat-backed restrictions on police pursuits, which have resulted in an increase in suspects evading or escaping police. One suspect even called 911 to cite the progressive legislation and tell the police to stop chasing him. The new policy allows police pursuit if an officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that an individual has broken the law and “poses a threat to the safety of others.” Initiative 2111 ended state and local income tax. All three initiatives were approved by the state legislature, while three others were not addressed by the legislature and will appear on the state’s ballots in November. None of the three citizen-led measures approved by the legislature require the governor’s signature to become law.

Oregon also recently moved to undo disastrous progressive policies. Last week, legislators passed HB4002, re-criminalizing drugs three years after making fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine legal. The prior policy, adopted in 2020 with nearly 60% support from voters, imposed minor fines on possession of drugs. The legislation passed last week moves possession of drugs from a Class E violation — punishable by a maximum of a $100 fine — to a Class C misdemeanor — punishable by up to a month in jail and fines of up to $1,250.

Additionally, in the face of the worsening illegal immigration crisis and correlating increase in violent crime, self-declared “sanctuary cities” are now backing away from the label. The most visible example is New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams (D), who has called for changes to the Big Apple’s immigration policy, encouraging local authorities to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.