What To Do with Governor Newsom

By Jeff Harding   |   September 9, 2021

The problem with Gov. Gavin Newsom is that he is not a leader. Like most politicians he follows the money to keep his office in a blue state. In California, that means the liberal-Progressive political leadership who control politics in the state.

The result has been a California that is on a downward slide.

To understand Newsom, you must understand his rise to power. His support from the billionaire Getty family and his relationship with the Pelosi family are what have taken this telegenic young man to the heights of Democratic politics. The Getty money will get you a long way in politics. San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, who was also a benefactor of Getty money, saw fit to kickstart Newsom’s political ambitions in the city.

I don’t question Newsom’s intelligence, but his rise certainly wasn’t due to his brilliance as a political thinker. I will give him credit for his apparently successful PlumpJack restaurants and related investments. But, again, they were funded by the very deep pockets of the Getty family.

Newsom’s basic flaw is his unquestioning adherence to Democratic policies. I probably agree with him on some issues, such as same-sex marriage, cannabis legalization, criminal justice reform, and capital punishment. But these aren’t the issues that concern California voters the most.

Californians are most concerned about homelessness, water security, crime, education, and housing affordability. I don’t see any leadership from Newsom on these issues. Policy leadership comes from our legislature, dominated by Democratic Progressives, not the governor.

Newsom and the Democrats have been captured by the unions — SEIU, teachers, correctional officers, trade unions, healthcare unions. In politics, money talks. That became significant with Newsom’s support of anti-competitive legislation aimed to kill Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and other app-based companies who hire independent contractors. These innovative businesses reinvented the gig economy and were overwhelmingly successful, supported by millions of willing consumers. Fortunately, voters easily saw through this union power grab and approved Proposition 22 which changed the law to save these companies from oblivion. The fight is not over. Recently a Superior Court judge ruled Prop 22 was unenforceable. Further litigation is pending.

Unions are only interested in maintaining their monopolistic advantages to the benefit of their members. They don’t care about us. Fighting innovation might explain the massive decline of union membership.

The latest polls put anti-recall supporters at 50.6%, this is startling in a very blue Democratic majority state. The margin is statistically too slim to give Newsom any comfort. His job is in jeopardy.

Newsom’s handling of the pandemic is why many Californians support his recall. Newsom’s Progressive supporters applaud his handling of the COVID pandemic reciting the mantra of “science” as justification of shutting down the state. I know this is controversial, but for the most part, science was the least thing our leader was following. Just so you know, I am vaccinated, and I urge you to get vaccinated.

The lockdown policy is a complicated issue. I have done a lot of research on this topic, and I follow scientists who are experts in medicine, virology, and public health. Like most panicked politicians, Newsom deferred to “experts” who advocated political solutions, not public health solutions. Even the CDC ignored its existing pandemic policies. The lockdown imposed by these opportunistic advocates of unfettered government resulted in immense damage to our economy and our social well-being. We can argue about this at a later date, but there is strong data supporting the idea that we didn’t need the lockdown.

But there’s more to it than that.

Under present Democratic leadership, California is on a downward slide. Voters sense this and see Newsom as emblematic of our leaders who keep flogging panaceas that either don’t work or make our problems worse. Ask yourself why we keep electing the same people to office who offer the same failed policies? Democrats have controlled California for more than 30 years. Should we reward them for these failures?

Just to refresh your memory on how things are going in the Golden State, here are some facts:

The latest Pre-K through 12 primary education ranking puts us at No. 40 out of 52 states. The ranking evaluates college readiness, high school graduation rates, and math and reading scores. Arkansas is ranked higher than California. Yet programs that actually are proven to work (school vouchers, private charter schools) are opposed by the teachers’ unions and little progress is made. A 2015 ranking put us at 35th so things are getting worse.

It’s not as if our politicians don’t have enough money. California has the highest income taxes in the U.S. The maximum tax bracket is 13.3%. New York’s highest rate (that bastion of Progressivism) is lower at 8.8%. Our corporate taxes are the eighth highest in the nation. If you add up the total local and state tax burden, we rank No. 8 (New York is No. 1).

With all the money they take in, why are California’s public institutions and infrastructure declining?  

— Our energy grid is ranked No. 39.

— Our transportation system (roads and bridges) is No. 45. 

— As to long-term fiscal stability we are ranked No. 30. 

— Our median home prices are the second highest among the states at $505,000 (Hawaii is No. 1).

— Our poverty rate ranks No. 20 among the states. 

I’ve saved the worst for last. In economic opportunity (upward mobility), California ranked last. Here’s what they measured: affordability at No. 49; economic opportunity at No. 22; equality at No. 35. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that California ranks No. 1 in the number of individual restrictions (laws, prohibitions) on the books. California has 395,503 individual restrictions surpassing No. 2, ultraliberal New York, by almost 90,000 restrictions.

It’s not that everything is bad in California if you can afford it. But these data points are not something to be proud of. It’s no wonder that 51% of Californians have considered leaving the state.

I haven’t heard any bold leadership proposals from Newsom to turn things around. The reason is that he can’t. He’s in the pocket of a powerful Democratic machine that maintains power by catering to special interests. And he has further political ambitions.

Things have to change. To have change we need to change our leaders. We need politicians who aren’t captured by unions and moneyed elites. We need leaders who are willing to examine what works and what doesn’t work. If we keep electing the same people who bring us the same failed ideas, California will continue its downward slide.

As governor, Gavin Newsom bears responsibility for California’s decline. His weak leadership is ignored by his supporters because they know he will continue those policies that keep them in power. But to support him is to ignore the reality that California faces. We need new leadership and that means we must vote to recall him and vote for someone who can turn California around. We need change.

Of course, the next question is: who should we vote for? There are 46 candidate who seek office. There are three candidates who I think would be good governors and advocates for change: John Cox, Kevin Faulconer, and Larry Elder. I give none of these candidates a 100% score, but when you compare them to Newsom or any of the other candidates, they are the best. And I don’t see them as stalking horses for Trump. I urge you to check out each of these candidates and make your own decision. Please vote for change.


You might also be interested in...

  • Woman holding phone

    Support the
    Santa Barbara non-profit transforming global healthcare through telehealth technology