Column: Newsom has had numerous luck as governor. He’ll want it for his lengthy record of priorities



Every governor is exclusive. Gov. Gavin Newsom actually is completely different.

Jerry Brown was a narrowly centered political pragmatist after evolving from an bold younger insurgent rock star.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a stressed entertainer.

Grey Davis was risk-averse.

Pete Wilson was a scrapper.

George Deukmejian was a rock that might transfer.

Ronald Reagan: a real believer.

Pat Brown: builder.

Newsom? He’s the fortunate one. That’s his most vital trait to date.

He’s fortunate as a result of the state treasury retains overflowing with tax income. There’s ample cash to spend freely and nonetheless save. In contrast to his predecessors — notably Jerry Brown and Schwarzenegger — Newsom hasn’t had needed to whack well-liked state packages to stability the books, angering allies.

Newsom’s additionally fortunate as a result of each legislative homes are managed by supermajorities of fellow Democrats. They don’t want Republicans for something.

And since residents 10 years in the past lowered the legislative vote requirement for passing a finances from two-thirds to a easy majority, getting a state spending plan permitted is straightforward. Summerlong finances deadlocks that tarnished the photographs of all Sacramento politicians are an unpleasant historical past.

Newsom is fortunate as a result of he has no important political rivals. Republicans are too weak. Democrats don’t dare. He isn’t pressured politically — besides maybe to start positioning himself for a presidential run in 4 or eight years. The governor says he’s not . All of them say that at this stage.

The telegenic 52-year-old is beginning to present faint streaks of grey in his coiffured hair that might flip into a pleasing presidential look when the time comes.

However for the second, the governor’s focus have to be on the mundane matter of state budgeting.

Newsom carried out a outstanding briefing for reporters on his proposed $222.2-billion state budget Friday. He stood at a lectern for practically 100 minutes delivering a nonstop, uninterrupted monologue on particulars of his spending plan, overlaying a variety of topics and spewing out reams of numbers.

Then for the following 70 minutes he addressed each query any reporter had, though some queries weren’t truly answered.

The second-year governor was spectacular in his information of specifics and appeared to experience delving into the wonky weeds.

“Two hours and 51 minutes. YEA!,” Senate Majority Chief Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys declared in a written assertion. “For us coverage wonks, that is nearly as good because it will get.”

Sure, such gubernatorial enthusiasm for the nuts and bolts of governing and his willingness to publicly share his views are admirable.

That mentioned, Newsom have to be probably the most long-winded governor in California historical past and unquestionably within the fashionable period. You’d suppose a 100-minute monologue may very well be condensed right into a extra listener-friendly, efficient, message-driven abstract lasting a half-hour tops.

It was paying homage to Newsom’s time as San Francisco mayor in 2008. Moderately than delivering a customary State of the Metropolis speech, he positioned a 7½-hour eye-glazer on his YouTube channel. It bombed.

Newsom started his marathon monologue Friday by warning it was going to be lengthy, explaining: “I need you to know what my priorities are. I need you to know what issues to me.”

However, as chronicled by Times reporters Taryn Luna and Phil Willon, “no subject was too massive, no element too small: tampon taxes, a looming financial downturn, billion-dollar pension liabilities and the meals on faculty lunch trays.”

Moreover fortunate, Newsom is broadly centered — which may imply unfocused.

When there’s a lengthy record of priorities, nothing is an actual precedence.

Newsom spent 40 minutes speaking solely about training, together with preschools and little one care, as if he have been working for state superintendent of public instruction. He was passionate, notably about particular training, noting that as a toddler he battled dyslexia.

“It’s a miracle I’m right here,” he mentioned.

Newsom urged spending $84 billion of the $153-billion common fund on Okay-12 colleges and neighborhood schools. (Earlier Instances tales have spelled out exactly what Newsom proposed for education and different state packages.)

Discussing training for 40 minutes would counsel it’s a significant Newsom precedence. However it was not included among the many “three top priorities” for 2020 — “homelessness, healthcare affordability and wildfires” — introduced by a senior gubernatorial advisor earlier than the finances rollout.

The healthcare and homelessness priorities embody two revolutionary concepts that supply nice promise if Newsom can develop them as he envisions.

One is the governor’s proposal for California to turn out to be the primary state to sell its own brand of generic pharmaceuticals. The purpose is for the state to barter quantity offers and supply low cost costs for shoppers, thereby reducing drug price gouging.

However Newsom didn’t present particulars about which medication he has in thoughts. He mentioned the state is negotiating however wouldn’t say with whom.

On homelessness, Newsom desires to make use of the Medi-Cal program — California’s model of federal Medicaid healthcare for the poor — to assist home and deal with mentally sick folks residing on the road. That makes a lot sense and may have been accomplished years in the past.

“We consider there’s an incredible [funding] capability within the system as we speak that isn’t being utilized,” the governor mentioned.

However that may require federal approval as a result of main Medi-Cal funding comes from Washington. And it doesn’t assist that the Newsom and Trump administrations are continuously at one another’s throats.

“If we may transfer away from these tweets to accountable coverage making,” the governor mentioned, not ending the sentence.

Newsom is hoping for the final word luck: a change of presidents in November.