LOS ANGELES, California — California Gov. Gavin Newsom told Breitbart News in the spin room after Thursday night’s Democrat debate at Loyola Marymount University that California is a success story, despite recent challenges with power outages, homelessness, and urban sanitation.
Newsom, who said he thought former Vice President Joe Biden won the night, spoke to reporters as the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development prepared to release a report showing that the nation’s homeless population had risen 2.7% as of January 2019 — “caused ‘entirely’ by a 16.4% increase in California’s homeless population,” according to the Associated Press.
The first-year governor, who served as lieutenant governor for eight years, spoke to reporters, and Breitbart News confronted him with pressing questions about California’s ongoing service delivery struggles:
Breitbart News: What do you say to conservatives who look at California and say, “Hey, you guys can’t keep the lights on, you can’t keep the streets clean” — what’s the answer to conservatives who are skeptical of California’s model?
Gavin Newsom: I don’t know — California’s running 116 consecutive months of net job growth, 3.8% GDP growth, on average, over a five-year period; record [low] unemployment; 20% of America’s jobs; number one in innovation; number one in startups; number one in two-way trade; running historic — get this, for conservatives — surpluses; made up 100% of the debt we inherited from the Schwarzenegger administration — conservative, allegedly; and, finally, used $9 billion of our surplus to start paying down pension obligations. So what I would say is, our low-carbon, green growth is actually creating opportunity, and jobs, and inclusion, in the same breath. And that’s something I hope others will take a look at. As relates to the issue of homelessness: absolutely unacceptable crisis in California. I got here eleven months ago. The new numbers that came out today came out from the week I got sworn in. Everybody is right to point that out. It is an embarrassment, it is unacceptable. And we’ve got to own it, we’ve got to own up and solve it. And the affordability crisis on housing also needs to be resolved. It’s absolutely fair game to talk about regulation in that respect, and it’s fair game to talk about policies … but no, those are not reasons to short the great state of California.
Newsom did not answer the question about electricity shortages. Consumers and businesses throughout the sate — especially in the north — have been hit by recent power shortages as the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, a major power supplier, has begun cutting electricity transmission during periods of high winds to avoid accidental fires. The state has been criticized for not having a contingency plan.
The California primary has been moved up from June to early March to give the state an edge in selecting the Democratic Party’s political nominee. Newsom, whose endorsement is widely coveted, is expected to run for president himself in 2024.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.