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Mission Impossible: Governing California — State of the State Speech Newsom should have recorded
Dennis Wyatt 2022
Dennis Wyatt

Governor Gavin Newsom is getting a lot of flak for how he delivered this year’s State of the State address as well as its content.

The roughly 75,000 word operator’s manual for the Golden State known as the California Constitution requires the governor once a year to update the legislature “on the condition of the state.”

It doesn’t dictate when the dirty deed has to be done.

Nor does it say how or where it has to be done.

But to assert that somehow Newsom not delivering it in person in front of the 120 men and women who spent the last 18 months turning a $98 billion surplus into a $45 billion deficit is a sign of disrespect is delusional.

Real respect is earned.

Besides, you can make the case that what Newsom did was respectful given no one has to sit through his speech and politely applaud or appear civil.

It’s kind of bizarre anyway to put the hospital CEO on the spot to give his opinion of how the patient known as California is doing.

After all, it is the legislature that does the surgery and issues prescriptions in the form of laws with the supposed end game of making sure California is vibrant, healthy, and fiscally sound.

It takes 120 plus Newsom to tangle — OK, 95 given that the 25 token Republicans are superfluous when it comes to making decisions to run California.

Nowhere in the constitution does it say the governor needs to give a speech to the legislature.

The late Earl Warren started that tradition.

And Newsom ended it four years ago.

Good riddance judging by how such speeches by governors and presidents as of late have deteriorated into political posturing.

Newsom could have sent the legislature a letter outlining how California is doing as governors did during the first 90 years of the state’s existence.

But given the legislature has been known to pass bills that few of them apparently read themselves before voting, it is doubtful they would read a state of the state letter.

Instead, they would give it to their political consultant, district polling team, and office staff to tell them what it says and then offer a response designed to boost their political fortunes and not improve the fortunes of the 39.5 million Californians they are supposed to work with their colleagues and Newsom to lead.

That said, the following is the State of the State address Newsom should have given.

Instead of recording it, Newsom should have taken a page from his own playbook and invoked symbolism.

In 2021 at the height of the pandemic, he delivered the State of the State to an empty Dodgers Stadium so the vacant seats could remind everyone of the Californians lost to COVID.

Newsom should have presented his 2024 version at the Oakland Coliseum to draw attention to what happens when you let infrastructure deteriorate.

He could do so before the start of a regularly scheduled Oakland A’s game with the crowd of 2,100 or so symbolizing those who have not yet given up on a once storied baseball franchise.

“Good evening my fellow Californians who still are sticking with a team leadership that has all but moved out of state headed for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I mean the Las Vegas Strip.

“First things first.

“Jennifer and I have decided to move our family to Marin County.

“We don’t want to disrupt our children’s education given my forced retirement of governor is just a little over two years away.

“Our oldest daughter is about to start high school. That way she can stay in one high school for four years. It’s a great private school.”

“Enough about the state of public education in California. Let’s move on to more important matters such as what is happening in some of the other 49 states.

“You know the ones. They don’t sing the California Blues. They’re not doing a good job. Now let’s talk about our accomplishments.

“High speed rail is still a decade or so from even having one segment up and running. But I’m happy to report it has exceeded all expectations.

“Not only is a true high speed train ride between LA and San Francisco that was supposed to be done in 2020 likely to be in place closer to 2120, but we’ve blown the doors off the cost with it now expected to cost not $30 billion as originally promised in 2008 but will now be more like $135 billion.

“California once again proves it’s the can-do state that is delivering the future while establishing new standards for burning through money.

“I’m also proud to say as a green governor, my initiative to cause a major disruption of the Delta ecological system to make sure LA and corporate farmers don’t lose a drop of water is still moving forward.

“The myopic tunnel, make that the single tunnel, will funnel water more directly to Beverly Hills to keep expansion estates lush without it being spoiled by Delta fish.”

“Speaking of green initiatives, we’ve secured a California taxpayer guarantee in the budget deal to cover a $400 million loan PG&E needs to keep Diablo Canyon up and running for another five or so years so I don’t have to worry about the possibility of green replacement energy shortages in the state becoming an issue during the 2028 presidential race.”

“It’s part of my social justice initiatives to give criminals the benefit of the doubt. A company like PG&E that is already burdened with a felony rap sheet of 85 counts of manslaughter shouldn’t face the demeaning prospect of dipping into its meager annual profits of $2.2 billion.”

“As far as the homeless crisis, that is all on the cities. I have nothing to do with it. I inherited it from my predecessor who did nothing to try and solve it and who, out of respect, I’m not going to mention his name.”

“If you want to blame any governor blame Ronald Reagan and the spineless Democrats in the legislature at the time who were more worried about the social justice of mentally ill people than fighting crime.

“That’s 180 degrees from my position as being so tough on crime that I make The Terminator look like a girlie man.

“I could go on and say what I’ve done for those not in this country legally but I don’t want to brag. All I can say is we made sure they were taken care of in the budget deal even if it meant cutting back essential services for those who are legal residents of California.

“And since I’m not a braggart I’m not going to talk about how I’ve addressed pressing issues such as aging dams, insufficient school facilities, critical water storage, and conveyance systems, and such.

“Besides, that’s boring stuff.

“I’d rather dis other states than waste my breath telling you about the state you elected me to lead.

“Criticize me if you want, but you try running a state of 39.5 million people and still find time to make sure people in Arizona can have their doctors perform abortions in California and the multitude of other initiatives I’m pursuing in other states.

“Thank you for your patience and remember when you stop at a Jack-in-the-Box on the way home those sky high prices have nothing to do with my imposing $20 minimum hourly pay for fast food workers. It’s all the fault of greedy CEOs except, of course, those at PG&E and those who dine with me mask-less during pandemics at The French Laundry.”

PS. This YouTube recording will self-destruct in 5 seconds.