Written by Thomas Geiser
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is a genuinely unlikeable person. In authoring and pushing for her new AB 5 legislation, she willfully ignored the wishes of her constituents in order to push a personal agenda and further her own political career.
In a recent interview with KUSI News, Assemblywoman Gonzalez got visibly angry while claiming that there was no evidence that AB 5 has caused job loss as workers are transitioning from being independent contractors to employees. It’s one thing to be wrong, it’s another thing to be wrong and belligerent about the issue. She acts the same way behind closed doors while meeting with her critics. Michelle Mears, a freelance journalist, quoted Gonzalez as saying independent contractor jobs were “not good jobs to begin with.” This is not even mentioning her profanity-laden tweets responding to online criticism of her bill where she states that people should not need to have side jobs and that critics should stop complaining. Her attitude is both ignorant and condescending.
Entrepreneurial souls will pick up side jobs driving for companies like Uber or Lyft or make food deliveries to put some extra money in their pockets. These jobs are not inferior to full-time employee positions like Gonzalez implies. Mary Konstantinidou is, or was, a Greek translator in San Diego and an independent contractor. She voted for Assemblywoman Gonzalez, but now AB 5 has made her job impossible. In response to Konstantinidou’s criticism, Gonzalez responded, “I’m sorry and I feel that she does feel that way. But I don’t think it is true.” Whether or not Gonzalez ‘feels’ that the critique is true is irrelevant, when faced with evidence that her bill is hurting her constituents she turns her back on them.
AB 5 is already hurting California’s economy, and Gonzalez is simply ignoring the facts because they do not suit her narrative. Only the largest corporations like Uber might be able to survive and stay profitable while transitioning all of their independent contractors to employees. Smaller companies that contract out work like yard work or delivery services will be forced to cut ties with their contractors because they cannot afford to pay benefits to their new employees.
The California Trucking Association made a statement that AB 5 will cause the loss of roughly 70,000 trucking jobs in California. Some California truckers are already packing up their families and moving out of state to find new work. Freelance journalists are actually suing the state of California over AB 5 because as employees, their work would belong to their employers and they would no longer have control over the pieces that they write.
Back in December, Vox Media let go of 200 freelance writers in preparation for AB 5 going into effect on January 1. The bill also makes life more difficult for the workers that do make the transition to employee status. Many of these people work as independent contractors because they can make more money doing so or because they need a flexible schedule that they cannot maintain as full employees.
San Diego has the third-largest population of self-employed workers in the country, so Assemblywoman Gonzalez clearly does not care for her constituents. Her support for this bill is not about making her community better, but rather she is toeing the party line and trying to appease union lobbyists. Gonzalez, and California Democrats more broadly, apparently cannot see the bigger picture.
It’s a similar situation to the minimum wage increase that also went into effect on January 1. When the cost of keeping employees rises, companies cannot afford to keep as many employees and thus have to let them go. Democrats fail to realize that companies do not have endless reserves of money to draw from and these extraneous costs that the government piles on these businesses keep them from growing and stunt the economy. When Assemblywoman Lorena Gomez chose to support AB 5 she betrayed her constituents. She put her career over her community and now San Diego is suffering the consequences.