CA mayor warns crime, Democrat-led 'moral crisis' are 'coming home to the suburbs'

Vista Mayor John Franklin says colleagues think theft, shoplifting is acceptable ‘because people are in need’

A Republican California mayor is blaming Democratic policies for bringing theft and crime to neighborhoods and taking away many of his residents’ primary grocery store.

"We have 103,000 people here in Vista and now a third of our residents don't have a grocery store in their neighborhood. So these problems that are being created by state law and state lawmakers are coming home to the suburbs," Vista Mayor John Franklin said Wednesday on "Varney & Co."

The San Diego suburb’s Vons supermarket recently closed after homelessness, drug crimes and retail theft impacted operations, according to the mayor.

More specifically, Franklin pointed to Democrat-led state laws like the Prison Realignment Act and Proposition 47, which increased the felony theft minimum charge from $450 to $950.


"Shoplifting has become rampant. Of course, we've all seen on the news videos of people stealing, but now when I go to the drugstore, the customer in line in front of me walks out the door with all the merchandise. I've seen this myself," the mayor said. "Just an astonishment."

Vista mayor on retail crime and theft

The mayor of Vista, California, claimed shoplifting has become "rampant" in the San Diego suburb on Wednesday's "Varney & Co." (Fox News)

"You realize that when you step up to the cash register, you're the one paying," he continued. "And if you're not paying the premium, that store's not going to continue to serve your community."

The Golden State has a "moral crisis" when it comes to stealing and shoplifting, Franklin argued.

"The moral crisis is that low-income residents in my community no longer have a place to go buy their essentials. That's a moral problem," he said. "I have colleagues that sit on our council that talk about shoplifting as if it's okay because people are in need."

Prop 47 was supported by then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and co-authored by then-San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. The latter defended his support in a San Francisco Chronicle article in 2018, saying he was "proud" of the measures and argued that his state is "no longer warehousing those addicted to drugs in our jails and prisons."

A decade later, California finds itself mired in a situation in which crime is surging, violent criminals are released from prison early, and videos have gone viral on social media of looters brazenly walking out of stores with merchandise, leading to other prominent retail locations closing their doors across the state.


Mayor Franklin encouraged those in need of food or necessities assistance to search out food banks or local nonprofits.

"They have diapers, baby formula, fresh produce, beautiful things. And you can walk out with a full basket, you can come back next week," he said. "We have great resources in our community. I can tell you, I spent a lot of my time visiting those who serve, those who are in need. So the options are there. No one needs to steal for basic necessities."


Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report.