Where Is She Now?
Things turned sour for San Diego’s Lorena Gonzalez after she outlawed freelancing.
In September 2019, Ms. Gonzalez was a successful and admired California Assemblywoman with a powerful Appropriations Committee chair. As a former Teamsters Union attorney, she now controlled the flow of all legislation through the Assembly and decided its funding. She basked in upward opportunity, and was already organizing her campaign for California Secretary of State.
Ms. Gonzalez had just shepherded a big piece of labor legislation named AB5 through two chambers of the California Legislature, assuring legislators AB5 would help freelancers by earning them employee benefits, since “they’re not real jobs.” However, as the bill’s sponsor, she had explicitly designed AB5 to completely eliminate freelancing.
On September 18th, 2019, Ms. Gonzalez got AB5 signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, to go into effect January 1, 2020.
AB5 immediately started destroying California freelancers’ businesses in over 600 professions and occupations, including entertainers, analysts, designers and nurses. Clients all over the country started telling their self-employed consultants, advisors and creatives in California the new law prohibited their buying from Californians.
In defending her legislative vision of no freelancing, Ms. Gonzalez tangled with self-employed freelancers directly. Freelancers tackled her hard on social media with slogans, retweets, cartoons, videos of her personal explosions, and truth-telling waves of tweets, posts and emails to her fellow legislators. A freelancer’s widely circulated video recorded Ms. Gonzalez hurling scathing vulgarities at Tesla President Elon Musk, then a California employer.
While others resisted her, no group did as much destructive shelling of her as freelancers did, by highlighting her uncouthness, ethical short cuts, and cheap tactics.
As those punches landed Ms. Gonzalez’s reputation steadily declined. Her fellow legislators realized she had