Governor Candidate Gavin Newsom Address Truman Club in Sacramento

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On Friday afternoon, the Truman Club had a Luncheon in Sacramento that was supposed to feature the four major Democratic candidates for Governor.  But a strange thing happened along the way.  First, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did not come.  Second, Lt. Governor John Garamendi announced earlier this week that instead of running for Governor where he was trailing badly in the polls, he would run in the special election in the 10th Congressional District, where Ellen Tauscher had been appointed by President Obama as the undersecretary for arms control and international security. She has not yet faced confirmation hearings in the Senate.

That left two likely candidates for Governor, the announced candidate, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the presumptive front runner former Governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown.  However, around twenty minutes prior to the event, it was announced that Jerry Brown was a no-show and Yolo County Democratic Central Committee Chair Bob Schelen spoke briefly in his stead.

Then there was one.  Mayor Gavin Newsom would speak at the event, along with Lt. Governor Garamendi, and Assemblyman Dave Jone who is running for insurance commissioner.  Mayor Newsom addressed many of the issues we have dealing with in Davis and Yolo County whether it is the economy, the schools, or local environmental sustainability.  Same issues that we are grappling with in Davis on climate change and local policies, they have already implemented in San Francisco.

“I’ve been across the state and it’s the same exact issues that connect all of us across the state, and candidly are the issues that I’m most passionate about and connect all of us in this room here today.  It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the issue of the economy is the one thing that connects all of us.  People that have either lost their jobs or concerned about their existing jobs.  People have seen either their homes foreclosed upon or more likely people that have all seen their home values drop significantly… 

We are all concerned about whether we can afford to retire or have a friend or family member that can afford to retire.  We’re obviously concerned about the issue of our health care.  Even those with current health care that may not be able to afford the premiums or co-pays.  Or those that have lost their job and cannot afford that cobra and are really concerned about getting that new job that provides health care because those small businesses can’t afford to pay it.”

Mayor Newsom said he was up in Placer County and that while there were protesters there, most people were more concerned with the issues and how he would address their concerns.

He spoke about the new media and the fact that he pressed send last week to officially declare his candidacy.

“Using social media not just to organize a campaign but to organize a governing philosophy and a principle.  I don’t care who you elect as the next Governor of California, the fact is that he or she is not going to succeed without all of you…”

He continued that it was amazing that he could be on his way to his announcement event, hit one button and tell over a million people he was running for Governor using Twitter.

He told the crowd that

“Up and down the state, people are looking for a change but not rhetorically, but substantively.  They want someone who can deliver on those problems, not just deliver another speech.”

Along those lines he highlighted the fact that while everyone has talked about universal health care, they have actually implemented it for two years in San Francisco.

He said he did the same thing on education.

“It’s time for more than just a slogan on education.  Then we point the finger at “No Child Left Behind” that’s left behind billions of dollars…  We know what’s happening in California.  I remember the good ole days when we were only 46th in per pupil spending, now we’ve dropped to 47th, some would argue we’re already at 48, 49.  When all the new numbers come out, who knows where we’ll ultimately be.”

He said, well what are we going to do?

“It’s time to do more than just talk about it.”

He went on to talk about programs that have been cut out.

“In San Francisco, we’re the only city in the state doing universal preschool.  We value our kids education by realizing that we have to get serious about the achievement gap for African Americans and Latinos.  We have to get serious about the likelihood that somebody is going to graduate and decreasing the likelihood that they’ll drop out or they’ll be truant–you have to be serious about early childhood education.  So we’re fully funding it.  We stopped talking about it.  Rob Reiner’s initiative failed, we stepped up and stepped in.  Let’s move this state in that same direction.”

He talked about a comprehensive arts education program that they have implemented in San Francisco and wants to do in the state.  He talked about putting doctors and nurses in every school.

Wants to think of education in terms of K through 16 rather than K through 12, meaning that the state will push for all students to go to college.

Talked about climate change and global warming.

“I think some of you know about our work on the environment.  We have a local global climate action plan to roll back our CO2 emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, twice as far as the Kyoto Protocols.  And certainly a lot further than California.  I love the bar, it’s certainly low enough that we can lay claim to leading the nation in terms of environmental stewardship.  But the bar’s low, by 2020 we want to roll back our CO2 to 1990 levels?”

Said that already, and this has been certified so it’s not simply a “claim by a politician,” but the city of San Francisco has already reduced CO2 emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels.

“As our city population grew, as our economy grew, and it was easy.  Let’s disenthrall ourselves that this was particularly complex.  We have a lot of great plans but we haven’t implemented them in terms of environmental stewardship.  The next governor needs to implement them.”

In San Francisco they already have the most aggressive solar program in American and the most aggressive green building initiative.  He talked about plastic bags and plastic water bottles.

He said:

“Don’t forget Aquifina and Dasani is tap water from New York State, at least have some pride in your own state before you spend ten thousand times more than you would by turning on the tap.  You’re buying a bottle not the water.  And you’re buying a waste stream that includes a billion other bottles in California.”

He mentioned composting:

“You think gay marriage is controversial, try to require composting in the city.  I can assure you that is even more complex.”

He concluded:

“We need to move from talking about ideas to manifesting ideas.  You need someone who is willing to take risks, and I’ll conclude with this, you need someone to actually say publicly what they’re saying privately.  Meaning you need someone who’s not compelled by the decision by what public opinion is of the day, but someone willing to stand on principles and fight for those principles.  At least you know… where I stand on a lot of controversial issues and you know I’ll be a fighter for those things that I believe.  And I think those things should unite all of us around the state.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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9 Comments

  1. anonymous

    Perhaps the other candidates did not want to be on the same platform with Newsom who has a political history of unbridled ego and intemperate political pronouncements. They may have been fearful that he would take this opportunity to pitch his cause-celebre, same-sex marriage,namely, voters of California….”it’s going to happen,get used to it!!” No state-wide candidate wants to be publicly confronted with this issue now that it has been twice rejected by the CA voters and the CA Supreme Court appears poised to unanimously accept the validity of Prop 8.

  2. OBrien

    ****”Perhaps the other candidates did not want to be on the same platform with Newsom****

    So much so that they aren’t even running Garamendi has bowed out, Villaraigosa hasn’t announced and even Brown is telling people he’s not a candidate, he will be, but apparently not yet.

  3. Is This All There Is?

    Let’s see, Newsom loves Twitter, and is for: universal pre-school, a comprehensive art education program, doctors and nurses in every school, college for all students, composting; but is against bottled water. Newsome is also all about taking risks – taking risks with OTM (other people’s money). If this nitwit is elected governor of CA, I would say CA is in deep doodoo!

  4. David M. Greenwald

    “Is This All There Is?”: I don’t think that’s fair. You seem to be basing your assessment off of excerpts that I pulled out of a 10 minute speech. I do think we have much to learn in terms of environmental policies from San Francisco, although I suspect you would disagree with them, which is fine.

    Ironically about the time you had posted this message yesterday, I was about to walk into an hour long meeting with him along with some other bloggers. Had you actually had some questions I could have asked them.

    I came away from the meeting impressed with a few things about. First, he knows his policy stuff. Second, he has a passion. Third, he is upfront with what he believes.

    I also met with Garamendi also with a group of bloggers for about an hour and a half, I thought Cabaldon was knowledgeable on policy issues, Garamendi has him beat by a large margin. Truly impressive his knowledge of policy, history of legislation, etc. He has unfortunately never been able to translate that knowledge into higher elective office, but he is a smart man.

    You may disagree with Newsom, but the guy is by no means a nitwit, he was quite intelligent in his own right. We could do much worse.

  5. Rich Rifkin

    The governor of California has very little power. Mostly what he (or she) can do, if he does any good, is serve as a check on our legislature. It’s unfortunate the guv cannot serve as a check on referendum voters. Arnold Schwarzeneggar came in with good “check” rhetoric. However, his record on fiscal responsibility is now terrible, and Schwarzennegar, in my opinion, deserves a lot of the blame for the crisis the state is now in.

    I don’t know if Gavin Newsom is the right person to check our Democratic legislature, esp. to stand up to the labor unions which run the Democratic Party. I’d prefer to see Matt Rexroad or Sue Greenwald as our next governor.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    My view is let’s have accountability in government, that means we get rid of this 2/3rds vote, get rid of term limits, and open the process up. Let the party who wins, govern. I know it’s a novel concept. But let them do it. If we don’t like the way they govern, we get to throw them out in two years, or four years.

    What we’ve done in this state is make it impossible for the winners to govern and by the same token, it gives everyone cover, they can all point to the other guys with credibility because they are correct–it is precisely the other side’s fault because the system puts both in charge.

    I’m not sure most unions believe they run the Democratic party. But I don’t see that as the primary problem. The primary problem is that it is difficult to assign blame, and when you cannot assign blame, you cannot hold accountable.

    In Davis, we know who is in charge. If we like the way things are going we can vote to keep them there, if we don’t, we can vote them out. That’s how it should be at the state level and part of the problem.

    Even at the federal level, we have clear accountability. Don’t like what Obama has done, you can vote him and the Democrats out. The country didn’t like what Bush and the Republican had done, they’ve now voted them out and turned it over to Obama and the Democrats.

  7. earoberts

    “”Is This All There Is?”: I don’t think that’s fair. You seem to be basing your assessment off of excerpts that I pulled out of a 10 minute speech. I do think we have much to learn in terms of environmental policies from San Francisco, although I suspect you would disagree with them, which is fine.”

    A man has to live by his words. He said them. Case closed.

  8. The real question

    “A man has to live by his words. He said them. Case closed. “

    I don’t even know what you are talking about now–what words does he have to live by that has closed the case?

  9. earoberts

    “”A man has to live by his words. He said them. Case closed. ”

    I don’t even know what you are talking about now–what words does he have to live by that has closed the case?”

    Newsome said (these were his words) he loves Twitter, and is for: universal pre-school, a comprehensive art education program, doctors and nurses in every school, college for all students, composting; but is against bottled water. Anyone who would advocate for such a mixed bag of impossibles/trivialities is clueless and not someone who should be running for governor.

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