Jamie Paige, Special to the Daily Press

With the Venice Boardwalk as his backdrop, Republican businessperson John Cox spoke about the homelessness crisis, crime and wildfires during a brief stop on his gubernatorial bus tour Tuesday.

Cox, an investment manager and accountant from north San Diego County, told reporters he’s running for office to “save the state.” Adding, “I’m not interested in ratings or getting new listeners.”

According to Cal Matters, Cox has spent many years on the campaign trail including an unsuccessful run for Congress, U.S. Senate, for president of the United States and for county recorder of deeds back in his native Illinois. In 2018 Cox ran as the GOP’s preferred candidate for governor, backed by the entire party’s state congressional delegation and then-President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Cox addressed many issues top of mind for California voters. Cox said California’s chronic homelessness problem is fundamentally a mental health and addiction issue. If elected as governor, he said would work to change state laws to make it easier to place people living on the street into conservatorships — an arrangement in which a person’s legal and financial affairs are entrusted to someone else.

“Compelling people to receive treatment and housing should be accompanied with stricter enforcement of anti-camping laws. They don’t have to live on the street,” he said of unhoused Californians. Adding, “allowing people to live on the street is not compassion.”

Cox said one solution to solving the homeless crisis is to strip down a state environmental quality law that is often used to block new development, and reducing delays and fees imposed on developers by local governments. But zoning, he said, should remain the purview of local government.

Cox also talked about public safety saying it is an essential issue that has been mismanaged by politicians and celebrities. “Decriminalizing and early release do not make this state safer,” Cox said. “Early release sends a wrong message to criminals and victims alike.”

Cox also talked wildfires. “Public safety goes beyond crime. It’s the government’s role to keep citizens safe from wildfires and natural disasters. Out of control fires have been one of Newsom’s greatest policy failures.”

Cox said his plan to fight wildfires is forestry management and bringing back the timber industry as well as quicker responses to contain fires when they occur by utilizing satellite technology and deploying a real air armada that is able to quickly mobilize and stop fires before they become raging infernos.

Cox also said he believes in fully funding the police and enforcing laws that are in the books. “Politicians need to take crime seriously in California. For far too long they haven’t.”

Cox said he stands behind restorative justice: “While decriminalizing and early release don’t work, restorative justice or victim reconciliation can.”

Cox spoke briefly about his background of being raised by a single mother who worked his way through college, then built a successful business from scratch. Cox said he believes in putting money and resources behind education and opportunity. “The long term plan to reduce crime is to increase education and opportunities for Californians.”

What to know about the recall

California voters face two questions on the ballot. The first is a “yes” or “no” on whether Gavin Newsom should be recalled. The second is who should replace Newsom if recalled.

Voters can pick a candidate on the second question even if they vote “no” on the first. Under California law, Newsom cannot run to replace himself and there are no other prominent Democrats running.

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Published in partnership with the Westside Current.