In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Find yourself in the California Legislature—or not

By Matt Levin. Elizabeth Castillo and John Osborn

There are (still) more white men named James or Jim in the California Legislature than African-American and Asian-American women combined. Throw in some white Robs, Bobs and Roberts, and you have a pretty sizable “JimBob” caucus with a membership larger than the number of Republican women, openly gay or lesbian legislators, or women from any party under the age of 40. A data dive into diversity, or lack thereof.

Governor Dad: How Gavin Newsom’s kids are about to shape California

By Laurel Rosenhall

It’s been a while since California had a governor who is also a dad, and Gavin Newsom has made clear that his new job will be informed by his role at home.

10 takeaways from Gov. Newsom’s $209 billion budget

By Judy Lin

A huge surprise surplus, a big push on affordable housing, help for college students, working poor tax credits, credit cards at the DMV, kindergarten potties.

Newsom’s got an idea even Trump likes—will it lower California’s drug prices?

By Elizabeth Aguilera

In one of his first official actions, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed that state agencies, including the one that oversees Medi-Cal, negotiate as a block to demand prescription drug makers lower their prices. The move will make California the nation’s largest negotiator against pharmaceutical companies and could become a model for other states—if it works.

Newsom wants extra pension payments as retirement liability tops $256B

By Judy Lin

The governor proposes extra payments and offers to help school districts meet their pension obligations as retirement liabilities top $256 billion.

It’s a big deal: Newsom’s housing budget, explained

By Matt Levin

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal provides a good sense of his priorities to combat what he has called “the issue when it comes to California poverty”—affordable housing.

Gavin Newsom wants more bathrooms for kindergartners

By Judy Lin

Before Gavin Newsom can expand preschool, California will first have to get to full-day kindergarten by building classrooms with those little toilets attached.

Opening remarks: Gov. Gavin Newsom takes the reins of state government

By Ben Christopher

Gavin Newsom was inaugurated on the western steps of the capitol building this morning, closing out the Brown era of California politics and pointing towards a new, more assertively progressive politics out of Sacramento. This is what he said.

The heavies turn out for Eleni Kounalakis, the new ‘lite guv’

By Dan Morain

Governors and California’s independently elected lieutenant governors “don’t always see eye to eye,” Gov. Gavin Newsom noted as he prepared to swear in the new lieutenant governor, Eleni Kounalakis. “That’s about to change,” Newsom said. Exactly what duties Newsom might cede to Kounalakis remain to determined. There was no promise. But Kounalakis promises to make an impact.

Tony Thurmond sworn in as state schools superintendent

By Ricardo Cano

Tony Thurmond, who spent a childhood in the sort of poverty that mirrors the lives of many California school children, was sworn in on Monday as state superintendent of public instruction, becoming the second African American to hold the office. He will oversee the California Department of Education as the top education administrator in a state where majority of students come from low-income households.


My turn: The federal shutdown could have cost me my life

By Lauren Williams

Yosemite was a refuge where I could momentarily escape thoughts of petty politics and news of the day that typically consume most of my waking hours as a journalist. This time, though, a political stunt encroached into this natural refuge.

A cautious budget with a bold housing plan

By Dan Walters

Newly inaugurated Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes his first budget, takes cautious approach to spending and outlines assault on housing shortage.

My turn: Why we must expand California’s child care system

By Anna Rodriguez

As California looks to build the ramp that will help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds cross the opportunity gap, it is critically important that early educators fighting to give our kids a stronger future have a voice in building the system that best serves children and families. That’s why this year we at Service Employees International Union will continue our fight for legislation allowing us to form a union.

Dr. Newsom wants to cure state’s tech disease

By Dan Walters

California chronically fails in using technology to improve state government operations, but Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to fix it.

My turn: California’s other fiscal time bomb

By Marc Joffe

California’s state and local agencies have $187 billion in unfunded retiree health care and other benefit liabilities that threaten to crowd out public services, such as public safety and education, that Californians expect government to provide. Government must confront the debt.

Trump, Newsom share a similar problem

By Dan Walters

Donald Trump and Gavin Newsom have similar political problems in delivering on promises they made during their campaigns.

My turn: We must reduce fire risk. Here are steps California must take

By Brenda W. Davis

Some people say that climate change has made megafires inevitable. Others claim that forest thinning and fuel reduction treatments may actually increase fire intensity. Neither argument should be an excuse for inaction. So what can be done to reduce the chance of another Paradise type disaster? Here are a few steps:

My turn: Here’s a way to help California get moving again

By Jim Wunderman and Lucy Dunn

Public-private partnerships offer opportunities that share risk, save money and yield the best value for all—public agencies, users, and taxpayers. For the sake of commuters and our economy, California lawmakers should reauthorize public-private partnerships.

My turn: What mattered on Jan. 7, 1919

By Greg Lucas

On Jan. 7, 1919, Gov. William Stephens gave his inaugural speech, as Newsom will 100 years later, to the day. Many of the words he used to set the tone of his governorship echo to this day.

Brown leaves Newsom a managerial mess at DMV

By Dan Walters

Jerry Brown tends to shun responsibility for problems in state government and he’s leaving behind a doozy for successor Gavin Newsom – a managerial mess in the Department of Motor Vehicles.

My turn: Lessons from ‘The People’s Governor’ apply to Newsom

By Margita Thompson

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.

Gavin Newsom’s keeping it all in the family

By Dan Walters

As Gavin Newson becomes governor of California, he’s writing a new chapter in the saga of four intertwined San Francisco families.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact CalMatters with any commentary questions: