Gavin Newsom Abandons California as Desperate Communities Remain Trapped in Snow

Gavin Newsom and Crestline (Jeff Chiu/AP and Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press
Jeff Chiu/AP and Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has left the state on “personal travel” as thousands of desperate residents remain trapped in snow-bound mountain communities where the National Guard failed to arrive as promised.

Newsom belatedly declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, March 1 — a week after a blizzard swept the state and stranded residents of Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and other towns in the San Bernardino mountains.

Crestline, CA – March 03: Crestline, CA – March 03: Residents in San Bernardino Mountain brave long lines for food at Goodwin & Son’s Market in Crestline on Friday, March 3, 2023, amidst a shortage caused by heavy snowfall and difficulties with delivery truck access on Highway 18. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images)

As of Saturday, three days later, the California National Guard had failed to arrive in Crestline. The Los Angeles Times reported:

On Saturday, desperate San Bernardino County residents were wondering when National Guard troops would arrive. Residents said hundreds of people have lined up for food, dog food and firewood in recent days at community distribution events. Many of them left empty-handed, according to residents who spoke to The Times.

Residents are running out of food and medicine. Some are still trapped in their homes, where snowdrifts several feet high are blocking access to driveways and doors. And people are starting to panic about rescue.

Desperate Crestline (Mario Tama / Getty)

CRESTLINE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 03: An aerial view of residents (L) waiting in line to receive donated food outside the local grocery store (R), which was severely damaged when its roof collapsed under the weight of several feet of snow, after a series of winter storms in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California on March 3, 2023 in Crestline, California. Some residents have been stranded in Crestline more than a week due to heavy snowfall while the grocery store was the main hub for food purchases in town. California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency due to winter storms for 13 counties including San Bernardino County and the California National Guard is assisting relief efforts in the mountains. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Residents of some mountain communities have been without power for a week, according to the Associated Press. And officials say that some residents may not be able to leave for a week. The AP described conditions:

Shelah Riggs said the street she lives on in Crestline hasn’t seen a snowplow in eight days, leaving people in about 80 homes along the roadway with nowhere to go. Typically, a plow comes every day or two when it snows, she said.

Devine Horvath, also of Crestline, said it took her and her son 30 minutes to walk down the street to check on a neighbor — a trek that normally takes just a few minutes.

Horvath said she was lucky to make it to the local grocery store before its roof collapsed several days earlier but hadn’t been able to leave her street since.

The Times noted that a volunteer helicopter relief effort was stopped by local authorities over safety concerns.

Meanwhile, Newsom himself left the state Thursday for undisclosed reasons to an unknown location.

Newsom remained active on social media, tweeting attacks on Republicans in other states for their socially conservative positions on issues like abortion.

Back home, desperate Californians ran out of food and medicine.

Crestline empty shelves (Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty)

Crestline, CA – March 03: Crestline, CA – March 03: Shoppers like Courtney Hebert face near-empty shelves at Hilltop Liquor in Crestline due to food shortages caused by heavy snowfall and delivery truck access challenges on Friday, March 3, 2023. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images)

The San Bernardino Sun reported:

Milika’a has breast cancer and was only two weeks into treatment when the blizzard hit her Running Springs home. While Milika’a is due for treatment Thursday, like many others in the San Bernardino Mountains, she’s snowed in and unable to leave except on foot.

She contacted the Sheriff’s Department who suggested she take a shuttle from a local shelter — which she’d have to walk to — but said it’s not feasible as a cancer patient.

In nearby Lake Arrowhead, Rebecca Arrowood’s diabetes supplies were due for delivery Saturday. But they never arrived.

County officials have been overwhelmed by the disaster, and many are criticizing them for failing to anticipate the scale of the snowstorms. Some residents called the state, in desperation. But help has often failed to arrive.

Newsom’s office tweeted about ongoing relief efforts that are being coordinated by state agencies, but these have not been enough — and Newsom himself is nowhere to be found.

Newsom likes to troll Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over social issues. But in Florida, the governor declares states of emergency days before a storm arrives — not a week later. And he dare not leave the state while citizens are still suffering.

The national media are largely absent, as Newsom prepares a potential presidential run — in 2024, or beyond.

Meanwhile, Californians themselves — including Democrats — tell pollsters they do not want to see him run.

Nevertheless, Newsom was easily reelected in 2022, after defeating a recall effort in 2021. The recall arose after Newsom was caught dining at the elite French Laundry restaurant with lobbyists after telling Californians not to eat out during the pandemic.

Last year, Newsom was also caught leaving the state for a vacation in Montana, despite a ban on state-funded travel to conservative states that had passed abortion or transgender restrictions.

The state saw more snow this weekend. Breitbart News reported that the snowpack is visibly impressive from the air, as recent storms have relieved California’s drought. But conditions on the ground remain dangerous.

Voters in mountain communities tend to support the state’s small Republican minority, which has been largely reduced to an afterthought, as Democrats control supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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