Newsom prefers to make big promises than follow through on them – Press Telegram
Governor Gavin Newsom finally saw something through.
Or maybe. We’ll have to wait until February to know for sure.
For the past several years, the theme of this column has been that nothing is being accomplished or improved under Newsom.
Newsom has spent his entire political career focused on running for higher office, so he’s only interested in the headlines, not the results, because he has no intention of being around when the score comes.
I don’t want to keep writing the same thing and every time I think this will be the last one for a while. But there is always fresh material.
So when I wrote on October 4th that “Newsom has consistently broken his campaign promises,” I was sure I wouldn’t be writing about Newsom again until at least November.
But then Newsom announced that he would end something: The COVID emergency would end in four months. It had a purpose; it existed to increase pandemic funding and give the governor more power to respond. At the time, in March 2020, it made sense, but that was a long time ago.
To be fair to Newsom, California isn’t the only state with a state of emergency, including, to Newsom’s dismay, Texas.
In a sense it is a mere formality. The pandemic as we knew it is over when it began — and I say this as someone who just got COVID for the first time with my wife and two-week-old baby — and many of Newsom’s pandemic-related executive orders are no longer tolerated.
But why a few more months? Newsom says a winter surge should be considered.
Newsom’s announcement came with the usual empty words we’ve come to expect from him, like “science” and “data.” However, there are many examples of his decisions not being guided by science or data. For the sake of time, I’ll give one example as evidence: his decision to close beaches, and only a few of them, even though science and data (and the state constitution) say it’s not a good idea.
But let’s take a closer look at the science and data. First, a new study by researchers at UCLA and the University of Chicago shows that “California’s wildfire emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent from 2020 are about twice the total reduction in California’s greenhouse gas emissions since 2003.” .
In other words, while the state has been busy regulating food scraps, carcasses and lawnmowers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, its complete disregard for integrated forest management has undermined two decades of environmental gains in one fire season.
Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher, whose district includes Paradise, the site of one of the country’s most tragic wildfires, has called for forest management measures for years, as have many rural lawmakers before him.
“There is a smarter, more effective approach to tackling climate change, and it starts with a greater focus on forest management and fuel reduction,” Gallagher said.
Seems reasonable enough. Long-term drought and the invasion of the bark beetle have turned a significant part of our state’s forests into tin boxes.
But instead of taking action and using the flagrant budget surplus to reduce wildfires and protect lives, CapRadio found a year ago that Newsom instead greatly exaggerated his administration’s forest management efforts.
If it’s science, the data doesn’t get much better. As in the example above, Newsom has a tendency to make bold statements that never come close to materializing.
Newsom’s claim in May that California community colleges would “completely close” the “equity gaps” in graduation rates by 2026 was always unlikely, and was simply his way of increasing the chancellor’s previous goal of closing the gap by 40% by this year, which was also unlikely.
And Calmatters’ reporting confirmed that none of the targets would be met.
At least Newsom is trying, I’m told. He sets high goals for himself and is not afraid to fail. GOOD. But then how should anyone measure its effectiveness? He’s the one who sets these goals that he can’t even come close to, not anyone else.
Take homelessness, for example. As mayor of San Francisco, he said he would end homelessness in 10 years. By the end of the decade it was as bad as ever, but that was someone else’s problem because he had already moved on to higher positions.
Then a year and a half ago, Newsom announced that his latest plan would “end family homelessness within five years.” That means he said it will be two and a half years since California’s family homelessness will be eliminated, but this month we learned that homelessness has increased by 13% since the last count, so it looks like it will be another failure.
Even more absurdly, Newsom recently won in education, winning a national award for innovation in education. Apparently his innovation has increased school funding, which I think is great. But it’s hard to argue that money is the solution when test results continue to point to a crisis. In Los Angeles Unified, for example, only 41% of students are reading at a proficient level.
All of this is framing Newsom’s shady campaign for the presidency, a position he says he’s not running for, but his actions suggest otherwise.
As has been the case throughout his political career, he makes bold statements and then leaves town for a higher position before actually being held accountable.
But hey, at least he can finally give up his COVID emergency powers.
Follow Matt on Twitter @FlemingWords