Opinion

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Defends AB 5’s Exacerbation of the Economic Crisis

Written by Michael Palomba

It is unfortunate when some officials in our government are so absorbed in their own agenda that they can’t conduct themselves apolitically—even during a crisis.

San Diego’s political power couple, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, used a COVID-19 press conference to make a political statement regarding Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 5.

The event was classified as “San Diego leaders to encourage immigrants and refugees to access COVID-19 resources to minimize spread of coronavirus,” but quickly turned into a group of local officials bashing the Trump Administration.

They began by saying that the administration calling COVID-19 the “China Virus” was stroking fear and putting the Asian community at risk. When Trump was asked about his use of the term, he provided an excellent response.

He made clear his “great love” for the people of China but said, in no uncertain terms, that the Chinese Community Party is trying to push blame for COVID-19 on United States soldiers, and he would not allow that propaganda to be spewed unchallenged. 

You would think that a Americans everywhere could be united over the fact that we did not cause this virus, however, Gonzalez and Fletcher would rather try to divide people based on ethnicity. The president was very clear that the term was about location, not ethnicity. 

Later in the conference, Gonzalez was asked, “with everybody out of work, will you help suspend AB 5?” This is a very valid question because AB 5 has made it difficult if not impossible for gig economy workers to find work. At a time when businesses are closing due to the coronavirus, you would think that we would allow people to work in any way they can. Gonzalez feels differently, however.

She responded by saying, “I think it is ludicrous to make this into a political issue when it is clear, clear as day, that what we were trying to do was right.” She continued by touting what she views as achievements of the bill and did not address the negative effects that are destroying the careers and lives of countless Californians.

Now, I don’t think the question was asked politically. It was a logical question which called for a logical, not political, answer. And the logic here is that people are losing their jobs and income because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump administration has indicated that they want to send checks directly to Americans to help them through these hard times. This is an extreme measure that is being taken specifically because of the loss of income to many Americans, so why wouldn’t Gonzalez want to do her part and suspend her bill? This would help many gig economy workers get on their feet and potentially have some real income coming in, at least for the time being. 

To me, it appears political. She says “I think it’s ludicrous to make this a political issue,” but she is doing exactly that. She’s saying that her economic experiment (AB 5) is more important than the ability of people to be able to go out and make an income. The question wasn’t asking if she would permanently repeal AB 5, it was simply asking if it would be suspended due to the extreme circumstances. And she didn’t even give it a thought.

To state the obvious, Fletcher and Gonzalez are not gig economy workers. Their jobs are secure and they will not struggle financially because of the coronavirus. They are ruling in typical “liberal elite” fashion and making rules that do not even apply to themselves, while ignoring those who are being negatively affected.

They should be acting in the best interest of their constituents and not the special interests who fund their campaigns. However, even during a crisis, their political agenda is more important than the careers of San Diegans.