Thursday :: Sep 2, 2021

Newsom Reborn?

by Steve

With the news that California governor Gavin Newsom may fend off his recall after all, may I suggest that the governor take advantage of his newfound political life to do several things?

Once he survives this, my hope is that he does a mad dash towards the 2022 reelection, built upon two things:

1. An above the surface public commitment to dealing with high-visibility, center-of-the-road issues like wildfires, water, crime, homelessness, and maybe even tax reform, while his team also

2. Embarks upon a beneath the surface campaign to root out the crowd behind this recall and drive them into the ground.

No prisoners should be taken in the second effort. Ties amongst the recall proponents to the Trump crowd or the insurrection/anti-vaxxer fringe need to be called out and shined a bright light upon in the months leading up to the 2022 election, if for no other reason than the California GOP needs to be driven into extinction after this. And Newsom should thank his lucky stars that California is not Texas or Florida.

It is not too late for Newsom to take advantage of this second life, and focus on several issues that can not only reelect him, but also make him a national player and someone who did things that Jerry Brown never did. Among these issues, let me humbly suggest the following.

Water - Jerry Brown had 16 years as governor and didn't do squat to deal with California's water challenges. If Newsom took some of the state's billion-dollar surplus and launched a state/water district partnership to build water desalination plants up and down the state, he could restock major watersheds and reservoirs with a constant supply of water, and the state's groundwater tables would gradually rise. He could start with a project to build north coast plants that could pump de-salted ocean water over the coast range into Shasta Lake, and keeping that lake full all year round, keeping the California Water Project full and providing water for all downstream needs including agriculture.

Fires - It's clear that climate change and drought have turned the central valley and the Sierra into an annual tinderbox, at a time when years of federal funding neglect by both parties of the US Forest Service has rendered them incapable of doing their job of effective forest management and fire suppression. Again, Newsom has billions to spend right now to have the state step in and have Cal Fire, working with members of Congress and local counties to invest millions in locating permanent fire camps in high-risk areas to provide better management and fire response. It would be a bipartisan issue that has great economic benefit as well, and would show that Newsom can work with red-county officials to solve a failing of the federal government.

Tax Reform - Newsom actually floated the need (paywalled) for fixing California's tax mix and equity back during the 2018 campaign, and is facing a new push on this from San Diego's Kevin Faulconer during the recall campaign. Without getting into a typical back-and-forth between Newsom's base, which of course wants to soak the wealthy and corporations more to fund nirvana, and the business community and GOP base, which wants lower taxes and to live behind their gated, Proposition 13 irresponsibility, Newsom could restart the dialogue. He could grab the tax reform issue for himself, and control the narrative during his reelection, thereby taking the issue off the table for what's left of the California GOP in next year's gubernatorial campaign, safe in the knowledge that he'd look willing to take on his own base while opening doors to a wary business community.

Tech - If the Congressional GOP wants to issue open threats against the tech sector in committing a pro-insurrection act of obstructing justice, Newsom should take advantage and reach out to national tech leaders and remind them that California, unlike Trumpworld Florida and Texas has always been a welcoming environment for the tech sector. He can remind the tech sector that while they have been moving jobs away from California to stash them in Texas and other neanderthal wastelands, those companies are now in hostile states, and Newsom can welcome them back with "We're not Texas" and the tax reform effort they can be a part of. Let Kevin McCarthy try and fundraise for the NRCC now for 2022 with that threat, while the DCCC and Newsom roll out the welcome mat.

Homelessness - Newsom has already signaled during the recall campaign a desire to grapple with the nuisance-level homelessness taking place on streets and in neighborhoods around the state, especially over the last 12 months. But before getting dragged into arguments among his activist base about the lack of affordable housing, Newsom can stake out a limit on his patience for what is happening now, where the homeless feel entitled to set up camps not only on parkways, public parks, and near rivers, but now also on public streets and intersections, and in neighborhoods and near businesses, to the point that many cities are now unlivable. Yes, Newsom should publicly focus on the unfairly evicted and rendered homeless, and the mentally ill, but he can also win points with the electorate by saying "enough is enough", and that there is no constitutional right for the homeless to be a public nuisance and to degrade neighborhoods and businesses. Neither of those were specifically in the Boise decision, and Newsom can signal that the state will not only put money towards county homeless programs, but also towards helping with the construction of temporary housing in underutilized areas of cities and counties to get the homeless off the streets and out of the neighborhoods. He needs to side here with voters, businesses, and families and not with advocates that will never be pleased no matter what he does.

Will Newsom do any of these things? Probably not, as he has shown periodic poor judgement to date, which along with GOP willingness to tear it all down has led to Newsom's current recall challenge. But there's is hope that Newsom will survive this month and use the ordeal to relaunch himself while tackling challenges and issues that his predecessor avoided.

Steve :: 4:01 PM :: Comments (0) :: Digg It!