Gov. Newsom reflects on first 100 days in office

Governor Gavin Newsom reflected on his first 100 days in office, which has been filled with proposals on everything from healthcare to housing, and some surprise announcements.

As the country is captivated with President Trump and the Mueller report, Newsom said his focus is on California and how Trump’s policies relate to our state when it comes to things like healthcare, immigration, and clean air and water. Despite their occasional back-and-forth on Twitter, Newsom has talked with Trump on the phone in an effort to establish a relationship with him.

“On an interpersonal relationship it’s easy, it’s just on the policy it’s almost impossible because you sit there bewildered by these tweets and comments,” Newsom said. “You wonder if he’s sincere or placating the base. Regardless, the politics is difficult and unlike President Trump I want to represent all people.”

President Trump recently tweeted about the possibility of sending undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities. On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr issued an order that could keep asylum seekers detained while they wait for their cases to be heard, instead of releasing some migrants on bail.
“These guys are zigging and zagging,” Newsom said. “They’re flailing. The Trump administration has been an abject failure at managing the border.”

Newsom recently traveled to El Salvador to examine the conditions that cause people to flee. He said California is home to the largest El Salvadoran population in the U.S. He also noted the current president-elect in that country campaigned in California.

“I learned an enormous amount just being down there and I felt it was the right thing to do,” he said. “If I’m going to be a governor for all people, I have to a governor that recognizes that I’m governing the most diverse state in America.”

The visit was a surprise decision in his first 100 days, as was his order to end the death penalty, and declare a wildfire emergency before any emergency had occurred in 2019. The governor is proposing $415 million to improve the health of forests and fight wildfires following the devastating fires in Paradise and the North Bay in the past two years.

“We looked at evacuation routes. We looked at communities that are most vulnerable and we currently have 35 high profile projects that are currently underway,” Newsom said. “We have so much more to do. It's not even close to where we need to be.”

The same can be said for creating affordable housing and addressing the homelessness crisis. The governor is proposing $2.5 billion for these issues, including holding cities accountable for meeting housing goals. He is also allocating $500 million for homeless programs, though he admits that is not nearly enough.

“It's what we can do. It's more than we've ever done, but we're hoping to amplify local,” he said. “We're hoping to amplify regional investment. All those dollars are predicated on regionalizing strategies. In San Francisco, the city alone can’t solve the issue. We have to regionalize strategies, including the City of Oakland.

On a side note, Newsom promised that people will finally be able to use their credit card at the DMV in the next few months. When asked if he thinks he’s done a good job in his first 100 days he said, “That’s up to other people, I feel like we’re attending to issues that need to be attended to in a very deliberate way.”