Eber: Where’s the “Beef” Gavin?

 

 

By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views,  

Admittedly, Gavin Newsom has not had much to do these last seven years plus as Lt. Governor of California. It is no secret that Jerry Brown has placed his second in command in a type of political time-out giving him the responsibilities often associated with a rent-a-cop.

During this exile, the former of mayor of San Francisco has likely set a Guinness world record of running for a State office for the longest number of days.  In his quest to fill Brown’s shoes, Newsom has sent out literally hundreds of emails to potential supporters asking for funds for his campaign/crusade.

To garner attention for becoming California’s next governor, Newsom has emphasized progressive accomplishments including:

  • Advocating more gun control and opposing the NRA at every turn
  • Being a pioneer in successfully pushing for gay marriage and transgender restroom choices
  • Supporting legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use
  • Pushing for Sanctuary State policies to oppose the Trump Administration’s immigration policies
  • Support for Single payer health insurance and free college tuition for low income students

So far things are going well. Newsom’s war chest has reached the 24 million threshold with more cash to follow after his likely first place finish in the June primary.  On paper he is at least a 3/2 favorite with Vegas odds makers expecting these figures to increase once the first round of voting is completed.

The only elephant in the closet for Newsom is how these progressive stands will translate to the General Election this November.  Will voters place an individual into the Governor’s mansion whose major accomplishment is his social agenda which runs to the left of Bernie Sanders?  Or to quote Clara Peller of Wendy’s advertising fame, “Where’s the beef”.

Nowhere in any of Newsom’s pronouncements is a clue of how all of his social justice reforms will be paid for. In advocating “cap and trade”, medical services for all, protecting the environment, building affordable housing, and a slew of other entitlements, who is going to foot the bill. Perhaps Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” will land on a flying saucer from cyberspace and pay for all of this stuff?

The fact is Gavin Newsom, aside from benefiting from the creation of high tech jobs which helped finance his ambitious social programs when mayor of San Francisco, has not shown voters on the State level that he has the ability to balance the books of government.  Not every city in California has the tax base and benefit of tourist dollars to support a successful socialistic agenda that he had.

Although the governor’s race is in its infancy, Newsom has low marks in the area of:

  1. Public employee pension reform. Maybe the reason for his silence on this subject is that major support for his political campaign has come from labor unions that represent these workers. Like most progressives he sees pension reform coming from a collective bargaining process that has constantly failed in the past and has led to the present perilous under funding of CalPERS.
  2. Newsom has constantly championed higher minimum wages and business taxes along with additional burdens to be placed on employers in the area of workers comp. He doesn’t apparently think these moves will result in higher paying jobs fleeing the State.  In Newsom’s mind the allure of doing business in California will outweigh all other considerations.
  1. Outside of promising to be Santa Claus with education, Newsom is uncharacteristically silent on reform of the present failing 1-12 system. Perhaps the reason for this is that he has virtually 100% backing by the powerful California Teachers Association (CTA).  It is a little kept secret that should he be elected Governor, school choice and support for Charters will be a thing of the past.  This might explain why the pro charter people are lining up behind former Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa’s
  1. It is no surprise that Newsom support the recent gas tax hike and supporting public transportation at every turn. He has taken a “we shall see” approach in the bullet train not wanting to associate himself with this unpopular program. During the campaign he has stayed petty neutral on this subject preferring to discuss social issues.
  1. In the area of Housing Newsom is a champion of helping the homeless and government incentives to build badly needed new inventory. He has also been in favor of rent control. With regards to the recently defeated SB-827, Newsom supported the principles of this legislation where the State would be the decision maker of imposing large housing developments on local communities in the vicinity of public transit hubs.  Going back to his days as mayor of San Francisco, he  has been a major player on pushing for the “Crony Capitalism” approach to alleviating the States housing shortage.
  1. Newsom is a strong supporter of the plan put forth by his strong supporters with the California Nurses Association in pushing for a One Payer Health Care system that would take care of everyone’s medical needs including undocumented residents living in the state. While such a fix might look good on paper, the problem crops up as who will pay? The answer for this and other programs on the progressive wish list is additional business and personal taxation.

The uncertainties of enacting the campaign platform of Gavin Newsom and his willingness to place the “Golden Goose” stature of California constantly at risk, are the major questions voters will have to answer this November. How closely his Swiss cheese approach is scrutinized will be determined by the second place finisher on the June primary.

If either of the Republican challengers Travis Allen or John Cox opposes Newsom, he will likely win in a landslide with PAC money and hatred for Donald Trump creating the energy for almost certain victory.  Unfortunately, neither of these guys have the charisma or cash available like Arnold’s successful campaigns had.

However if fellow Democrat Anthony Villaraigosa is the opponent, this could be a game changer for Newsom’s chances.  Even though the former Los Angeles mayor is considered to be very liberal, running more to the right will be an easy task for him.  Such a distinction could hurt Newsom with moderate Democrats, Republicans, and that allusive constituency of decline to State voters.

As we have learned in the past, nothing is certain in California politics. We should never forget the words of the late great Eugene Burdick in his epic novel The Ninth Wave, “Ignorance plus fear equals power.”  If this is not enough Hunter Thompson once quipped, “When the going get weird, the weird turn pro.”

Good luck to all this fall!


Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.


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One Response to Eber: Where’s the “Beef” Gavin?

  1. Robert Franks May 12, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Tolerance is not enough for Mr. Newsom. He wants to pressure many to celebrate the different choices of others regardless of what they really think. Conformity is not diversity.

    Reply

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