Happy Inauguration Day, California.
“Good job, honey. You are becoming a farmer.”—Anne Gust Brown to Jerry Brown, as told by The New York Times, after he started a fire in the fireplace of their Colusa County home.
Welcome aboard the new job
Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom on election night.
Gavin Newsom, who will be sworn in as California’s 40th governor today at noon, is offering a bold vision that includes health care for all, lifting people out of poverty, building 3.5 million more homes and much more.
- CALmatters staff compiled many of his biggest promises in this piece.
He has added more:
- The New York Times writes he envisions six months paid family leave for new parents,
- The L.A. Times writes he wants to spend nearly $2 billion on early childhood programs en route to universal preschool.
- Politico writes he wants to provide free community college.
Newsom will take the oath of office on the West Steps of the Capitol, symbolic because he intends to step into governor’s office that day and get to the task at hand.
Here’s what awaits him, as detailed by The San Francisco Chronicle:
“One of every 5 Californians lives in poverty, and 3 million don’t have health insurance. Skyrocketing prices are putting homeownership out of reach for many, and the homeless population is spreading from cities to small towns. The public school system is among the most poorly funded in the country. Increasingly lethal wildfires threaten broad swaths of the state.”
On the upside, Newsom inherits a robust economy, supermajorities in both houses, and, as we here at CALmatters noted, along with others, after the election, a big, fat surplus.
The L.A. Times: “It can’t get much better for Newsom, and it’s almost certain to get worse. An economic contraction, a natural disaster, a rebellion among Democratic lawmakers — all threaten the incoming governor’s footing.”
And those aren’t the only perils: On Friday, PG&E, the state’s largest privately owned utility, made known that it is considering a variety of restructuring options as it faces billions in liability from wildfires, leading to more speculation about bankruptcy.
- As Gov. Gray Davis—whose tenure was cut short by a recall—could tell Newsom, an electricity crisis, utility bankruptcy and rolling blackouts could also make a governor’s best laid plans go awry.
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Newsom's last day as Not-the-Governor
Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom in Old Sacramento on Sunday
Gavin Newsom, father of four, spent the better part of his final day as Not-the-Governor at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento with, as CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall reports, “tons and tons of kids.”
- He and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom were all over the kid-friendly museum. Children of state workers and staffers played with arts and crafts, robots, and musical instruments, though 6-year-old Eliana Rosenhall’s favorite was the multi-colored slime at the slime table. (Use your imagination about the slime.)
Later, at Golden 1 Center arena in downtown Sacramento, Newsom attended a concert featuring Common, Pitbull and other big names to benefit victims of recent wildfires, though it being a school night, far fewer kids showed up.
- Yes, the Newsom years will be very different from the past eight.
Newsom underscores a focus on jobs
Lenny Mendonca, right, at a recent political discussion in Half Moon Bay.
Incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom has plans, and his selections for labor secretary and chief economic business adviser indicate he intends to pay particular attention to workers’ rights while encouraging more business development.
- Newsom’s labor secretary, Julie Su, has been Gov. Jerry Brown’s labor commissioner, and recently published a report on trucking companies that have stiffed drivers.
Heading into the 2016 presidential election, word was that Hillary Clinton was going to appoint Su at U.S. labor secretary. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
Steve Smith of the California Labor Federation: “Julie is a tremendous advocate for all working people, especially low-wage workers who are most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.”
Moments after announcing Su’s selection on Friday, Newsom’ named Lenny Mendonca as his economic advisor and director of the Office of Business and Economic Development.
- Mendonca is senior partner-emeritus of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, co-chairs California Forward, lectures at Stanford, and regularly speaks out on inequality, most recently writing in Capitol Weekly about the need to use education to lift people out of poverty.
Having grown up on a Turlock dairy farm, he led a group that rescued the Half Moon Bay Review newspaper and co-owns Half Moon Bay Brewing Company (try Avo’s Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew) where he hosts regular public conversations on social and political topics, and where the photo above was taken.
Half Moon Bay Review: “Perhaps more important to Newsom, Mendonca is a well-known progressive thought leader and an expert in business management and the relationship between private and public sectors.”
For more on Newsom’s agenda as it develops, please click here.
Meet the new neighbors
The Governor's Mansion, where the Newsoms will now live.
Gavin and Jennifer Siebel Newsom and their family are moving from Marin County into the vintage 1877 Italianate Governor’s Mansion in downtown Sacramento.
- The state bought the mansion in 1903 from the father of journalist Lincoln Steffens. It served as the residence for 13 governors until 1967 when Nancy Reagan called it a fire trap and she and Gov. Ronald Reagan moved to East Sacramento.
- After a $4.1 million renovation, Gov. Jerry Brown and Anne Gust Brown moved in in 2015, clearly hoping to reestablish the tradition of governors living in the mansion.
It wasn’t clear that Newsom would follow Brown’s lead. The mansion is on busy downtown streets and the Newsom have four kids: Montana, 9, Hunter, 7, Brooklynn, 5, and Dutch, 2, plus a lab named Max, a pomsky named Bandit, and a rabbit named Tali.
- The Newsoms decided to move to the mansion “to best serve the people of California while also maximizing family time together,” spokesman Nathan Click said.
No word on whether Tali will Tweet.
Your best Jerry Brown anecdote
Gov. Jerry Brown in one of his final press scrums in Sacramento.
In this by no means final look at Jerry Brown, CALmatters staff gathered remembrances of the outgoing governor from past and present legislators, friends, biographers, consultants and others. Click here for the full bouquet.
Sen. Steve Glazer recalls a Brownism that, in Glazer’s mind, sums him up: “I know more than most, but only half of what I need to know.”
Here’s an added observation from The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial page editor John Diaz: “No one in American politics has been more nimble in realigning himself with the rhythms of changing times, leaving past not as prologue but as paradox.”
- And one from Willie Brown, also in The Chron, recalling the last night of Brown’s first term, as Brown sat in his office reminiscing with friends before the swearing in the next morning of George Deukmejian:
Willie Brown: “The clocked ticked to 12:03 a.m., and in walked a Deukmejian staffer, who informed them they had to leave. What, they asked, are you talking about? Deukmejian won’t be sworn in until tomorrow. ‘No, he was sworn in at 12:01 in Los Angeles,’ the staffer said. ‘And now it’s time for you to go.’”
Commentary at CALmatters
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Margita Thompson.
Margita Thompson, press secretary to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: There probably won’t be 440 press credentials issued for Gavin Newsom’s inaugural on Monday. But although the press corps in Sacramento has declined, it still matters. A relevant press corps can hold officials accountable and help drive positive public policy.
Dan Walters, CALmatters: As Gavin Newsom becomes governor of California, he’s writing a new chapter in the saga of four intertwined San Francisco families.
What mattered on Jan. 7, 1919
Gov. William Stephens.
A century ago to the day of Monday’s swearing in of incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Golden State wasn’t the world economic and environmental leader it is in this century, as California State Librarian Greg Lucas writes in a CALmatters commentary.
- In January 1919, California had 3.3 million people, of whom fewer than 600,000 lived in Los Angeles. And it had a Progressive governor in the person of William Stephens.
On Jan. 7, 1919, Gov. Stephens gave his inaugural speech, as Newsom will 100 years later. His words set the tone of his governorship.
Please click here for a slice of California history.
Please email or call with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected]
See you tomorrow.