Some might wonder why Gov. Gavin Newsom, who delivered the keynote remarks at the 2019 California Economic Summit on Nov. 8 in Fresno, brought up the 25th anniversary of Prop. 187 right at the beginning of his comments.
Newsom was clear: Because it needs to be acknowledged and reflected, especially with the current rhetoric at the federal level.
He said he woke up watching some of President Donald J. Trump’s press conference with the same rhetoric.
He said 25 years ago, in many ways is where are here today.
“2019 is a lot like 1994, in California,” he said, adding that there is an American journey and a California journey.
Newsom said many don’t use a lot the word pluralism, but California does practice pluralism.
“We are a universal state. We are the most diverse state in the world, the most diverse democracy and I don’t think that is an exaggeration at all,” he said, adding that the world looks at California on how to live and advance and prosper together across every conceivable difference.
“It’s what makes this state great. That we don’t tolerate that diversity as we once had. But we truly can look today and talk in terms of how we celebrate that diversity. And that is a remarkable thing,” Newsom said. “That is the foundation for everything else.”
He said the state has had the capacity to work out the biggest differences, adding that biggest issues today is division – left, right, rural, urban, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, us vs them.
But then when traveling the state visiting communities like Sanger, Ceres, and not just the big cities like – Fresno, Bakersfield, and Merced – you start to realize there is a universal true, Newsom said, “everybody want to be protected, everybody wants to be respected and everyone wants to be connected in somewhat shape or form.”
“That’s we all share no matter where we come from, any part of the state or this globe,” Newsom said, adding people love their children, most love their work, love their sense of place and community.
“There are many parts, but one body. And when one part suffers, we all suffer,” said Newsom who addressed hundreds of private, public, and civic leaders from across California’s diverse regions gathered to highlight regional approaches to growing the economy, improving environmental quality, and advancing equity.
Newsom said we are all bound together in this - 40 million strong, adding that in the last eight years unemployment in the state had decrease, the state is no longer in deficit and the state had economic grow, it has record surplus, etc.
“We actually outperformed the previous decade and made major capital investment in this decade, 51 percent of the nation’s investment coming to the state of California,” he said, adding we lead the nation in many areas not just in business investment but also in education the state’s university and community colleges system to mention a few.
Newsom acknowledges the state still have to work on tough issues like affordability and housing, homelessness, etc.
“No one is walking away from these tough fights,” he said, adding the state is investing money to address those issues. “We are doing it in a way that doesn’t tear people down.”
“We are not about redistribution. We are about pre-distribution, creating opportunities, ladders,” he said, adding that property eradication has to start in the beginning meaning investing prenatal care, focusing zero to 3, when the brain still developing with preschool education that would prepare those children for kindergarten, special education, etc.
“All by balancing out budget. All the same time living in our means, all with an eye in the future” he said, adding that no one wants to be naïve that the state will enjoy another 10 years of robust economy.
“I am proud of this state,” Newsom said. “I am proud of the energy and the vibrancy, the diversity and creativity that had played in the legislation.”
He said he has seen how republicans and democrats had work together for the constitutes.
Newsom said he would never threaten state funding to areas of the state just because they don’t like their politics like the president has done with California.
“We are all in this together,” he said.
The two-day Summit focused on important issues facing the state, including on housing, workforce development and higher education.
The governor also discussed initiatives to strengthen economic growth and inclusion across California communities, and his Administration’s commitment to inland regions through the work of his Regions Rise Together initiative.
Editorial board meeting
Later, in an hour and 40-minute editorial board meeting with The Fresno Bee, Newsom expressed his support for the DRIVE Intiative.
“I quite literally point to that as a nuanced, detailed specific blueprint … to answer the vision question for this region,” he said.
The state can’t provide the entire $4.2 billion, 10-year investment called for in the initiative, said Newsom, but it can help.
Among other issues.
▪ High speed rail: “We need to see the federal government contribute. The only way we’ll do that is proving ourselves, getting a real project done. Then test this technology, the first in the nation; and, began the economic development opportunities it presents. The federal government is going to be fundamental.”
▪ Working with cities and counties: “In order for us to get serious about this homeless issue, to get serious about the housing issue, to get serious about criminal justice, if we don’t have more tools or leverage, then we will fall short of your expectations, the public’s expectations and our own rhetoric.”
▪ Additional housing: “If local government can’t get it done, dammit, we’ll do everything in our power to get it done. We’ll leverage state resources if cities do not meet their housing elements and master plans. It’s carrots and sticks.”
▪ PG&E woes, drinking water: “It’s 2019 in America. Power’s being shut off, a million people don’t have water. And it’s 2019 in America, in California. Can’t make this stuff up. So, when we moralize other countries for not doing their job, we have a lot to own up to.”
▪ Agricultural Labor Relations Board: “I want people who are fair and objective. I don’t need ideologues. I recognize the need for balance, but I’m looking for character and integrity above all. That will be the predicament for re-appointments and filling out that final appointment.”
▪ Political divide: “I’m trying to demonstrate a willingness to engage. It’s not a political agenda. This is not a deep place for votes. We have to do justice to our state. As a Democrat, I’m a bit offended that my party has not addressed the issues of this part of the state because we lose our moral authority. Everything we claim to care about and preach and then we have this systemic poverty and under-investment, that happened under our watch.”