Just Who Is This Gavin Newsom Guy?
According to the Wikipedia bio for California governor Gavin Newsom, he seems to have been young when he began to aim for the White House. Only 55, he served six years as a San Francisco supervisor, eight years as San Francisco’s mayor, eight years as California’s lieutenant governor, and now he’s been governor for three-and-a-half years, including surviving a flawed recall attempt. If there was any doubt he’s focused on the presidency, his attack videos on Florida and Texas, along with his recent visit to the White House while Joe Biden was away (some say to “measure the curtains”) seem to confirm it.
Unlike many other politicos, he’s also a businessman. PlumpJack group, which he started in 1991 with investment from family friend Gordon Getty (yes, of those Gettys), includes wineries, restaurants, and hotels. Although he divested from local holdings when he became involved in San Francisco politics, he still has wineries in Napa Valley and an inn in Squaw Valley.
He’s married to actor/director Jennifer Siebel, and the father of four. Newsom’s first marriage, to Kimberly Guilfoyle, ended in a mutually agreed upon divorce.
Image: Gavin Newsom (edited). YouTube screen grab.
Superficially, Newsom seems like the ideal liberal candidate, until you look at the effects of his policies. His gubernatorial term has been universally disastrous for the state and his personal behavior less than exemplary. We all remember the controversial French Laundry dinner during the lockdown and, most recently, he vacationed in Montana, a state to which he prohibits government travel.
The best way to understand how a Newsom administration would work if he were to win the Presidency in 2024 is to look at how he’s governed California.
Let’s start with taxes: California has America’s highest state income tax, ranging up to 13.3% for high earners (and he wants to raise it further), plus a 1% “surcharge” tax for mental health services on those earning over $1 million. On top of this, we have a 7.25% state sales tax—again, the highest in America—to which are added local taxes. We also have America’s high gas tax, which is meant to fix our crumbling highways and streets. Yet these same highways and streets are crumbling just as fast as they were before, filled with potholes, teeming with garbage.
Despite the high tax rate and vast expenditures on education, California schools are failing. California ranks 44th of 50 states on education quality and outcome. Our K-12 curriculum is filled with Critical Race Theory doctrine. Before I retired, I hired a few public high school graduates and can attest to their poor basic reading and math skills.
Then there’s California’s homelessness, drugs, and rampant crime. There’s a laissez-faire attitude toward drug use in the state, despite ample evidence of the problems it causes. Virtually nothing seems to be getting done to stop the sale and use of hard drugs in our cities.
We’ve all seen the video showing school children forced to walk through sidewalks filled with drug-using homeless people. In one homeless encampment in Oakland, on property owned by Caltrans, there have been 200 fires in two years — and because it’s under a freeway, and near fuel storage tanks, the potential exists for a great deal of damage. After the last fire destroyed an unused railroad trestle and damaged the freeway overhead, the city and Caltrans finally decided to clear it but, of course, the action was stopped by a judge. Newsom allocated $4.7 million to relocate these people quite a while ago, but the city hadn’t received the money yet. He’s great at seeming to throw our money at a problem, but not at follow-up to make sure it’s received, or well used.
Crime is a huge problem in our state. We throw money at homelessness with abandon, but the police get short shrift and little support. My local news feed includes nightly shootings, some as near as a mile from my house. There is no leadership from our “leader” in dealing with crime—which, of course, is exacerbated by the rampant drug and homelessness problems. Oh, excuse me. They’re now the “unhoused.”
Then, there’s drought, a fact of life in California that could be remediated with desalination plants, increased storage and, perhaps, a water pipeline. We’ve already allocated the money, after all. A $7.5 billion water bond passed in 2014, $2.7 billion of it targeted at increasing water storage to mitigate drought. It has yielded zero results. Instead, we’ve released stored water to “help” the “endangered” Delta smelt—a 2-inch-long fish nobody’s ever seen. Farmers are getting nothing, even though our central valley farmers have fed much of the country for decades. They are having to destroy some of their orchards because they can’t water the trees. This, in a state that supposedly had a 5-year water reserve just two years ago. Newsom doesn’t seem to care.
Drought certainly increases fires, but we do nothing about those, either. The budget to clear brush and mitigate the problem of fires is small, and direction on how to proceed with it are minimal. Newsom foisted the job onto the Conservation Corps two years ago and, as far as I could tell when I researched for this article, they didn’t succeed in their efforts.
Fires rage uncontrollably every summer and fall. Newsom has ramped up the budget for mitigation, but if the recent fire near Yosemite is any indication, he has a long way to go. This fire threatened an old-growth redwood grove, and fighting it included a seemingly frantic effort to clear the undergrowth and brush around the trees, something that ought to have been a routine procedure, especially given the importance of this grove and its proximity to Yosemite, a national treasure.
We’re on to the next fire now, and there will be more, as surely as the sun will rise.
California’s energy policy is absurd, focused entirely on ending “our dependence on fossil fuels.” It’s not working out too well. Policies are never examined under the cold light of reality, and Newsom’s influence always leads in the wrong direction.
Special mandated fuel formulations cost more and, along with the gas tax, see California’s paying $1 a gallon more than anywhere else in America (something that has been a problem for years). California is moving to eliminate natural gas hook-ups in all new construction, leaving us reliant on electricity—generated, of course, by bird-killing solar and wind. This has led to rolling black-outs. If everyone has an electric stove, an electric car to charge, an electric heat pump set-up at home, we will never keep up with “clean” energy production. People will freeze in brown-outs in winter and swelter in the summer black-outs. Moreover, the solar panels are manufactured in China, electric cars are terrible polluters, and nobody (except the progressive elite, who probably never cook for themselves) wants an electric stove.
Finally, Newsom won’t let go of the emergency powers that forced us to stay shut up in our homes, closed the beaches and parks, kept our kids from school, kept us masked despite clear contraindications health-wise (something LA is trying to reinstitute, as is the BART system), and forced vaccination with an experimental and dangerous substance for every school-age child. Our legislature needs to vote this power ended!
For a man who has geared his entire career with an eye to the White House, our governor is one dumb cookie. Thinking he can run a state further into the ground (it was already halfway there when he took office) and then promise not do the same to the nation—that’s a leftist fantasy almost as disconnected as the Biden presidency.