CA governor Newsom: 'Sanctuary to all who seek it'
California's new governor, Gavin Newsom, gave notice in his inauguration speech yesterday that a bright new day was dawning for the state under his "progressive, principled leadership."
Even for a liberal, Newsom's laundry list of promises leaves one gasping for air.
"People's lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe – they all hang in the balance," Newsom, 51, told a crowd of hundreds packed into a tent outside the state Capitol.
He says children should not be "ripped away from their parents" at the border, and they also shouldn't be left hungry while Trump pledges to spend billions of dollars on "a wall that should never be built."
While he avoided referencing Trump by name, Newsom referred to the administration as corrupt and incompetent and promised California will "write America's future."
Even as he needled Trump, Newsom offered an overture to voters in rural California, millions of whom voted for Trump and John Cox, Newsom's Republican rival in November.
"I recognize that many in our rural communities believe that Sacramento doesn't care about them – doesn't even really see them," he said. "I see you. I care about you. And I will represent you with pride."
The new governor also promised "sanctuary for all who seek it." One audience member with press credentials begged to differ:
Newsom (D), accompanied on stage at the State Capitol in Sacramento by his wife and children, was about to be sworn in as California's 40th governor when a man in the crowd began yelling, "I object!"
The crowd began booing the man as he voiced his opposition to California's sanctuary state law and the lawmakers who support it.
"Corporal Ronil Singh's blood is on your hands! Shame on you! Shame on you!" the protester yelled as he was being walked out, referring to the California police officer who was gunned down last month, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had prior arrests.
Newsom never mentioned Donald Trump by name but clearly had him in mind during his entire speech.
"It is up to us to renew the California dream for a new generation. And now more than ever, it is up to us to defend it," Newsom said. "But there is an administration in Washington clearly hostile to California's values and California's interests."
The former San Francisco mayor painted a picture of California as a virtual "nation-state," one that will push beyond the strictures proposed by the GOP leaders in Washington toward a more progressive future.
Those "strictures" are constitutional in nature, but why let the law of the land stop you?
Newsom talked about the need for a range of programs to shore up California's safety net and deal with problems "that have been deferred too long" amid the state's growing prosperity, such as homelessness and chronic hunger.
"These aren't merely policy problems," he said. "They are moral imperatives. So long as they persist, each and every one of us is diminished."
Like all inaugural speeches, Newsom's talk was long on vision and short on specifics. He called for a "Marshall Plan" for affordable housing and fair pay for workers and said the state will "never waver in our pursuit of guaranteed health care for all Californians," but he was silent on exactly how the state will pay for those new initiatives.
A state that's building a high-speed rail system whose price tag has tripled since it was proposed shouldn't be asked about where the money is coming from.
With a supermajority of Democrats in the state legislature and the Republican opposition more concerned about trying to explain why voters don't like them than actually fighting for sanity, Newsom will be able to pass just about any weird, wild, cockamamie scheme he wants. The voters have become so used to "free" stuff that they won't care, either.
Eventually, people and businesses will vote with their feet and head off to live in some other liberal paradise where, after a couple of years, they will trash that state, too. But it's all for our own good. Just ask them.