Environmentalist and author Michael Shellenberger is running as an Independent, with a campaign that focuses largely on what he describes as a humanitarian crisis facing California.
“I am heartbroken by the human tragedy that is unfolding every day on our streets, our sidewalks, and our parks,” Shellenberger told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s a gross mistreatment of people with mental illness and suffering substance use disorder to let people live in open-air drug scenes.”
“My daughter’s 16. A 16-year-old girl was just raped one block from Civic Center BART in San Francisco,” he said. “This is not something that civilized societies allow. In fact, there’s no other developed nation in the world that allows these open drug scenes to exist in the way they have.”
Everybody knows how to shut down California's deadly drug markets. Why, then, won't leaders do it? There's ignorance. There's victim ideology. But most of all there's a belief that the real victims are neither kids nor parents but rather drug dealers.https://t.co/EjTtj590uc
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) August 16, 2021
As California’s governor, Shellenberger wants to create a care system modeled after places like the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and France.
“I want to create a statewide psychiatric and addiction care system that is modeled after the best in the world,” he told the DCNF.
“And, that’s also a way to restore our cities,” Shellenberger said. “You need to have vibrant, livable, walkable cities that are safe for people to walk all times of day if you’re going to have a functioning civilization. We don’t have that now.”
Shellenberger stressed the only way to begin fixing the state’s other issues, whether it be the education system or its energy policies, was to first address the humanitarian crisis.
“After we can solve that problem, then we can deal with things like our totally failing educational system,” he said, and specifically “more parental choice, more charter schools, more opportunities for … for kids in underperforming schools to do better.”
“Kids need choice, but we should also have standards for schools. We shouldn’t just be funding any hippy-dippy school that people want to go to if the kids aren’t learning to read or write,” Shellenberger, who does not support teachers automatically getting tenure, said.
Saving the state’s electrical grid is also a top priority for Shellenberger. He labeled Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to shut down the state’s last nuclear plant as “completely insane at a time of the worst energy crisis in 50 years.”
“We’re burning more diesel than ever. We’re having blackouts … rolling blackouts,” he told the DCNF. “We don’t have enough energy. We import significant quantities of our energy.”
He also recognized the balance between the state’s climate commitments and the need for affordable, reliable energy.
“That’s why I favor expanded gas and nuclear,” he said.
“I think more broadly it’s to save our civilization. As grandiose as that sounds, what’s happening in our country and California is alarming to me,” Shellenberger said. “I see the extremism on both sides, and I’m trying to offer something where I think both reasonable conservatives and reasonable liberals can find a lot of agreement.”