Here are Newsom’s pledges on 10 California campaign issues
While running for governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom pledged to tackle many of California’s biggest problems, offering an expansive vision of government as the solution. We’re watching his efforts to keep his campaign promises. Here is what he pledged to do on 10 issues as he campaigned for California’s highest office.
As San Francisco mayor, Newsom put tremendous effort into combating chronic homelessness, and he leaned on that experience in his guberna- torial campaign to highlight a statewide crisis: about 135,000 homeless people, a quarter of the nation’s total. He proposed creating a cabinetlevel position to lead a “regional approach” for addressing homelessness. Many cities and counties have abdicated their responsibility to help those in need, he said, shifting the burden onto communities like San Francisco that provide robust services. Newsom told The Bee in July that he wants to tie state funding to increased development of supportive housing, as an incentive for local governments. He also wants to help them enroll more homeless people in the federal disability program that provides a monthly stipend.
BUILD 3.5 MILLION NEW HOMES BY 2025
California’s housing affordability crisis was central to the gubernatorial campaign. Newsom pledged to confront the problem with an ambitious goal: 3.5 million new housing units by 2025. Reaching that figure, which the building industry says is necessary to meet projected population growth, would require the state to quintuple its current rate of production. To boost construction, Newsom has proposed increasing tax credits for affordable housing development, bringing back the anti-blight local redevelopment agencies and streamlining the process for approving land use. He also said he would hold cities accountable for failing to meet their housing quotas set by the state and revamp the tax code, which he believes encourages commercial development over building new homes.
STRENGTHEN TENANT PROTECTIONS
Newsom opposed a November ballot initiative to repeal a state law that severely limits rent control in cities across California. He said the measure, which would have given local governments broad authority to craft new rent restrictions, could discourage housing development. It ultimately failed, but Newsom pledged to immediately begin working on a deal that would nevertheless expand rent control.
PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
Newsom has publicly endorsed a single-payer health care system. “It’s about access. It’s about affordability. It’s about time, Democrats,” he told the California Democratic Party convention in February. But throughout the campaign, he also expressed skepticism about the obstacles to developing government-run, universal health coverage at the state level, such as the high price tag and the need for a federal waiver. He has suggested laying the groundwork with policies that rein in health care costs and guarantee access to insurance for all Californians. Ideas that have been floated include allowing undocumented immigrants to participate in the state’s health care program for the poor and increasing subsidies for those who cannot afford to buy their own insurance.
ESTABLISH UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL
Newsom closed his campaign emphasizing the need to expand early childhood education programs. As part of a broader focus on improving preparation and health outcomes during the first three years of a child’s life, he prioritized making preschool available to all kids. About half of California children eligible for the state’s public preschool programs are not enrolled due to a lack of space. During a campaign stop at a Sacramento preschool the week before the election, where he dressed as Batman and trick-or-treated with toddlers, Newsom told reporters, “We don’t have an achievement gap as it relates to education in this state, we have a readiness gap. People aren’t left behind, they start behind.”
EXTEND GUN CONTROL MEASURES
Just days after his election, Newsom was thrown into dealing with several crises in California, including a mass shooting at a country bar in Thousand Oaks. During his first press conference as governor-elect, Newsom called for “raising the bar” on gun control in the state. A staunch advocate of gun safety measures, such as banning high-capacity magazines and instituting background checks for ammunition, Newsom said he would revisit some of the bills that Gov. Jerry Brown previously rejected. That may include a measure broadening who can seek a gun violence restraining order. “There are a number of things he vetoed that I would not have vetoed, and there are a number of things that I want that haven’t been done,” Newsom told The Bee.
CREATE 500,000 APPRENTICESHIPS BY 2029
Campaigning in the Central Valley, where fewer residents have a college degree than other regions in the state, Newsom emphasized apprenticeships as a way to connect workers to good jobs in an economy rapidly adapting to technological changes. He proposed partnering with community college and businesses to create half a million apprenticeships over the next decade in growing fields like advanced manufacturing, health services and information technology. “The vast majority of us will not get a bache- lor’s degree in a fancy institution of higher learning, and we need an agenda to support those folks,” Newsom said in Fresno. He sees it as a possible area of collaboration with the federal government.
EXPAND THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT
One out of every five Californians lives in poverty – and by some measures it’s even more. Aiming to lift up some of those families, Newsom proposed expanding the state’s earned income tax credit, a recently-created refund for the working poor. About 1.3 million households received nearly $300 million in credits on their 2017 earnings, according to the Franchise Tax Board. Newsom could bolster the program by increasing the value of the credit, which maxes out at about $2,500 for a family of four, or by making more Californians eligible, including those who are out of work or are not living the country legally.
LIMIT WILDFIRE DAMAGE
The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history ignited shortly after Newsom’s election, intensifying pressure for his administration and other state officials to deal with a problem that has grown worse with climate change and rapid development in rural areas. As other deadly blazes burned this summer, Newsom told The Bee that California must rethink its land management strategies, remove dead trees, increase funding for fire departments, invest in a statewide weather monitoring system, install a network of early warning cameras and more aggressively reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
END THE USE OF PRIVATE PRISONS AND MONEY BAIL
Newsom pledged to remove the profit motive from California’s criminal justice system by eliminating two elements that he argues contribute to overincarceration: private prisons and money bail. California still contracts with private facilities both inside and outside of the state to hold about 6,600 inmates, according to state corrections officials, as it works to keep its overcrowded prisons below a court-mandated population cap. This summer, Brown signed a bill to replace cash bail, which critics contend is unfair to the poor, with a risk-based system of release. But the bail industry is challenging that law through a referendum that is expected to go before voters in 2020.
Gavin Newsom, then-Democratic candidate for California governor, celebrates his win at The Exchange on Nov. 6 in Los Angeles.