California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has sent a letter to the state legislature in lieu of delivering a “State of the State” address, as is typically done.
The five-page letter was sent Wednesday as a “reflect[ion]” on the governor’s recent tour of the state, during which he gave a series of campaign-style speeches on various policies.
The California state constitution does not require an in-person address. It merely states: “The Governor shall report to the Legislature each calendar year on the condition of the State and may make recommendations.”
(Likewise, the U.S. Constitution does not require an in-person address to Congress, and President Thomas Jefferson sent the “State of the Union” report as a letter, rather than delivering it as a speech — a practice that was only championed later by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has largely been followed since.)
Newsom’s letter stated, in part:
We are confronting extremes. From extreme politics around the country that threaten to roll back the progress we’ve made — and the rights revolution of the last 60 years — to contending with extreme weather that threatens our way of life with record droughts, increasingly horrific wildfires, and now storms and floods that devastate communities like Planada, Pajaro and the mountain towns of San Bernardino.
Newsom’s references to Pajaro and the mountain towns of San Bernardino may strike some as ironic, since he is being blasted by Pajaro residents for broken promises on flood relief, and left the state on a personal trip to Mexico while residents of the mountain towns were trapped in their homes during deadly blizzards.
The rest of the letter is somewhat short on specifics. Newsom mentions an executive order to lower the price of prescription drugs; criminal justice reform at San Quentin prison; and plans to “REBUILD” (original emphasis) the state’s “system of mental and behavioral health” as part of a response to homelessness.
Past “State of the State” addresses have proven controversial on occasion, as when Newsom canceled the state’s San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet train in 2019, saying it would ” cost too much and. .. would take too long.”
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.