— Ann Davis
A. Ann, first let me state what you probably know: California is a donor state to the federal government. We pay more in federal taxes than we ever get back from the federal Treasury. So, to target generous California because you do not like how we run — successfully — our state, is arrogant, un-American and, by the way, against the law.
Just because Donald Trump says it, doesn’t mean he can do it, even if he sits in the White House. As he’s learning, there are limits to the powers of the presidency.
As attorney general, I’m prepared to defend California and the U.S. Constitution against any cavalier attempt by Mr. Trump to impose punitive measures against our people. I’m confident we won’t have to take the route you propose, as tempting as it might be for some.
Q. Are there any circumstances arising out of Trump policies affecting California in which you can foresee state officials considering secession from the union as a viable alternative?
— Robert H. Badner
A. The Calexit movement is definitely growing. That’s understandable given that much of what Donald Trump proposes to do really is a vestige of the past, like when my father could not enter restaurants because of the signs that proclaimed “No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed.” But, remember, most of what Donald Trump says is just that: rhetoric.
Thankfully, the U.S. Constitution will make much of his rhetoric as difficult to implement as it is to secede from the Union. Crazy thought: If California were to secede, there could instantly be up to 280 million new people having to knock on the door and seek visas from the sixth largest economy and newest nation in the world!
Q. You believe it is O.K. for foreigners to break the law and enter the U.S. illegally and expect to be supported financially by taxpaying citizens and the State of California will assist this illegal activity?
— Ralph Duncan
A. Ralph, I don’t think it’s O.K. for anyone to break the law. But what you seem to be speaking about isn’t what’s happening, at least not in California. If you’re referring to undocumented immigrants, then you’re wrong about the overwhelming majority of them — or you would have cited plenty of real-life examples to prove your claim.
Please recognize: The majority of immigrants entering our nation today arrive through legal channels after years of applying to enter [Pew Research Center]. And undocumented workers actually pay billions of dollars in taxes, something only flat-earthers try to deny these days. (Read this nonpartisan study.) That’s why every analysis of a comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system reveals that our nation and our economy would benefit from bringing the undocumented out of the shadows.
We are stronger today because we are a nation of immigrants. And our immigrant brothers and sisters are among the hardest-working neighbors we have in America today. I can say that from firsthand knowledge — not hearsay or anecdote — as the son of immigrants. Whenever you’re ready, I can tell you how hard my mom and dad worked every day to help build our country.
So while our immigration system is broken in so many ways, it’s important to recognize the big picture here.
Q. You’ve said that providing clean drinking water will be a top priority. How will you use the power of the attorney general’s office to ensure all Californians have safe and affordable drinking water?
— Jenny Rempel
A. When I became congressman for my district in Los Angeles, the communities I represented had already been crisscrossed by numerous exhaust-polluting freeways. I had to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with these communities to defeat a proposal to construct a prison (another) and later a waste incineration plant near their homes and schools. I fought alongside these families to hold Exide Technologies responsible for its harmful lead contamination of thousands of their homes.
So when it comes to defending California’s rigorous standards for clean and safe drinking water, I’m ready. And I won’t wait until a catastrophe happens. If our state agencies which handle that oversight fall short, then I will consider using my independent authority under the California Constitution to investigate and prosecute violators of our clean water laws.
I remember my meetings with families in Flint, Mich., who still fear drinking the lead-contaminated water from their taps. In the 21st century, no American should fear serving their child the water from their home or school or any public place. That’s a priority and that’s my promise.
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