Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration as California’s Governor

Photo Credit:

Hilbert Morales

Only in America’s does California protect the piping plover’s nesting sites by relocation of 28 feral cats from Jones Beach State Park. Also, the Monarch butterfly population in CA declined by 80% during 2018. Residents are advised to plant milkweed which is their preferred food. These items made the news.

This commentary is focused upon local CA public policy issues being faced which its residents may influence with a simple email or phone call. During this inauguration, Gavin’s youngest son distracted all by walking onstage with his pacifier in-mouth and ‘blankie’ on his shoulder. This reveals how family oriented (and people-oriented CA is today).

Newsom will face challenges presented by a projected CA Budget surplus of $14 Billion and its legislative chambers, CA Senate and CA Assembly, both have a Democratic Party supermajority.

Despite the distraction provided by sharing center stage with Dutch, his two-year-old son, Gavin Newsom launched his governorship with an ambitious CA State universal health care proposal in contrast to Republican attempts to curtail the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be expanded to include the undocumented. (Source: Politico’s Carla Marinucci, et al. Report dated 01.08.2019)

“Newsom is widely assumed to have future national ambitions. He highlighted his opposition to the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and his own support for parental leave and expanding higher education. All indicative of a generational shift that Newsom’s camp has been working hard to emphasize in recent days. Newsom, age 51, is the father of four young children with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and takes the reins from the outgoing four-term Jerry Brown, 81. Newsom leaned into the moment; he scooped up the boy, kissed him and kept railing against Trump’s immigration policies separating families and children.”    

“And before the sun had set they’d gotten another ambitious and expensive, Newsom policy proposal on top of his already-announced plans for early childhood education, free college and (expanded) paid family leave.”

“He’s what California needs now. I don’t think (many) appreciate how progressive CA is now compared to when I (served as governor). CA has moved a long ways to the left and I think he represents that progressive streak.” said former Gov. Gray Davis.

NEWSOM’S HEALTH PUSH: Universal health coverage has long been a lodestar for Newsom and his allies in the healthcare advocacy world and with single- payer deemed impossible under a Trump presidency, the focus has shifted to covering the undocumented. Newsom embraced that goal yesterday, launching a high-stakes battle with national implications.

A battle with the White House could be coming over the proposal to cut insurance premiums.

Attorney General XAVIER BECERRA’S BACK (will be covered. Newsom will lead an all-Democratic front of statewide officials who will function as allies in his administration’s battle against an antagonistic White House. Foremost among them is state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who comfortably won a four-year term after a combative initial stint that saw him file dozens of legal challenges against the Trump Administration. As Becerra was sworn into a new term in Sacramento, a San Francisco court was hearing California’s lawsuit seeking to block the Trump Administration from asking about citizenship on the 2020 Census. Without directly naming the president, Becerra vowed in his swearing-in speech to continue shielding California from that con man occupying the highest office in the land, adding that, “We’ve been a little busy keeping the dysfunction and insanity in Washington, D.C., from infecting California.”

Ricardo Lara, who served for two terms as a state senator, took the oath of office as California’s insurance commissioner, making him the first openly gay person to be elected to statewide office. Lara, who authored the 2015 bill that extended Medi-Cal to undocumented children and in 2017 was behind the single payer bill that failed to advance, addressed Newsom during his inaugural address, saying, just as the new governor announced plans to extend Medi-Cal to young adults, that he’s excited to be his partner in expanding access to, “every single Californian.”

The swearing in of Lt. Gov. Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis was packed to the rafters inside the elegant Tsakopoulos Library Galleria and drawing a crowd that may have been more loaded with elected officials than Newsom’s. The speakers’ list included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and a swearing in by Newsom himself. The list of sponsors encompassed big players like the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, as well as unions representing firefighters, teachers, laborers, metal workers, AFSCME, SEUI Locals 1000 and 2015 and more. The overall message of the day should be clear to state Controller Betty Yee, state Treasurer Fiona Ma and other women hoping to move up the electoral ladder: “A new sheriff’s in town.”

“SF Federal Judge Hears Challenge to Trump Census Citizenship Question” via CBS SF BayArea proclaimed, “Asking people whether they are U.S. citizens on the 2020 census would worsen the undercount of Latinos and non-citizens compared with other groups, an expert in surveys said Monday at the start of a trial in a San Francisco federal court over the Trump administration’s decision to include the question for the first time in 70 years.”

Additionally, “A Judge Has Blocked ICE From Conducting Raids On Cambodian Immigrants, For Now” by BuzzFeed News’ Salvador Hernandez pointed out, “The injunction is the latest turn in a legal fight against the Trump Administration’s effort to ramp up deportations to Cambodia. Many of those facing removal orders fled the country as war refugees or to escape the brutal Khmer Rouge and have not stepped foot in the country since they were children.”

“Kamala Harris Readies Her 2020 Rollout,” by Politico’s Christopher Cadelago mentioned, “The California senator is stepping onto the 2020 stage herself, beginning with a book tour and a flurry of largely friendly broadcast media appearances in advance of her own expected presidential announcement. It’s a chance for Harris to roll out her personal story while previewing the fundamental themes of her prospective campaign, drawn from her time as a career prosecutor and her ideas about reforming the criminal justice system.”

Money contributions are an interesting disjuncture to watch. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association is a former political juggernaut that has taken a reduced role in recent cycles, spent $2.8 million on Newsom’s election, apparently unfazed by Newsom saying he wanted to build on Gov. Jerry Brown’s embrace of more lenient sentencing. The CCPOA also reported yesterday dumping $2 million into the committee for an initiative on the 2020 ballot that would unravel reforms voters passed during Brown’s tenure.

Not mentioned nor discussed at all were those massive projects – High Speed Rail, WaterFix Project (former Delta Project) and EO’s recommendation to build a chain of solar powered desalinization facilities along CA’s Pacific Coast. There will be several opportunities to bring these projects up. The WaterFix Project funds ($28 billion) could be used to build desalinization capacity which would add potable water to that delivered by unreliable weather.

“Are California Schools Broke?” by Sac Bee’s Adam Ashton added, “Those stresses are driving education advocates to put forward proposals that would ask Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom to set aside more money for K-12 schools. A rush of new funding wouldn’t necessarily spare Sacramento City, but it could put off a reckoning for many other districts.”

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