The State Of California: Governor Changing Approach To Win Support

KCBS Radio Afternoon News
June 05, 2020 - 5:28 pm
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    Gov. Gavin Newsom used his press conference Friday afternoon to speak out on racial issues in California, including making changes to law enforcement training in the state.

    Sonoma State Political Scientist David McCuan joined "The State Of California" to discuss.

    How does the governor’s role change? What challenges with he be facing going forward?

    I think that’s a great place to start and a great way to wrap up everyone we’ve heard from this week. The governor likes to have these big goals. He learned about them in business school. They call them “BHAGS," Big Hairy Audacious Goals. If you look at what’s happening out in the streets with these BHAGS, this is a huge moment and the governor is going to be challenged to move things through the legislature, whether that’s the budget, whether that’s law enforcement training and he’s going to need more friends. Right now, he’s been able to be kind of the rah-rah, he’s gotten many kudos for how he’s handled this crisis. Now, we’re in a different moment. There’s growing pressure to put your money where your mouth is. It’s not enough to just talk about thoughts and prayers, you’ve got to do more.

    Can we assume Gov. Newsom has support from the State Legislature on this front?

    That’s where it’s going to be a real challenge for him. As you look at these BHAGS, if you want to change the mindset of law enforcement, you’re going to have to change training. You’re going to have to eliminate and get out in front of bad cops, if you will. That’s going to require buy in from law enforcement, from the whole community, district attorneys. We’ve seen this in some ways by moving away from bail and the difficulties there. You’re going to have to give persons of color, communities of color and their leaders reasons to move just beyond rhetoric to see actual change. That’s going to require some thought and leadership from the legislature. The governor and his team like to dictate terms, not necessarily that back and forth and grow the coalition. That will be their challenge.

    How do all these issues shape the election in November?

    The legislature will put together a bare bones budget by the June 15 deadline, implementing that by early July. Then they’ll come back in the middle of July, and from the middle of July to the end of August, the legislature will be around the grapple with some of these things. What do you do with health care? What do you do with costs related to the pandemic? If you’re going to rely on Washington, D.C., how do you get that money back here? Then the legislature goes away and we’re in the midst of an election year where all of these issues are going to be challenging, not only for Democrats, but also for Republicans nationally. National politics are going to spill over and effect the dynamic here in California. That’s going to present some real problems for the budget moving forward and when the legislature comes back in the middle of summer, into that deep, deep, hot Sacramento summer.

    How does Gov. Newsom do this and gain support?

    He’s going to have to spend less time dictating from the podium what’s going on. He’s going to need buy in, so they’re going to have to change their model. That model is going to have to be one that informs the public and informs politicians, and really informs people at the local level. Really what this looks like is the response to the protests, in terms of response to the pandemic, those answers are going to come from counties, from cities and from local politicians. That’s going to be the real challenge moving forward is getting everyone on the same page in a timely fashion. Interest groups and thought leaders and people the community are learning about things from the podium that the governor is talking about, they’re not necessarily involved in the conversation. The whole dynamic of bargaining and what you’re doing is going to change moving forward.

    Hear "The State Of California" every weekday at 3:30 p.m.