What will Gov. Gavin Newsom’s legacy be?

September 10, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom

OPINION by KEITH GURNEE

An open letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom

Just four days before the recall election, it’s looking like you will still be the governor of California keeping alive your dream of becoming president of the United States. But as we near the end of the worst legislative session in recent years that generated some of the most dystopian housing bills of all time, you have to be asking yourself, “What will my legacy be?”

If you let the bad housing bills like SB 9, SB 10, and SB 478 become law—with or without your signature–this is the sum total of what your legacy could be:

1. The governor who exposed far more people to wildfire danger. Contrary to the misleading report from the Berkeley-based Terner Center, SB 9 does nothing to prevent SB 9’s higher density housing in very high fire hazard zones.

With the Dixie and Caldor fires still raging and with more thunderstorms predicted for the Sierras, one would think that you would not be promoting increased densities for communities vulnerable to wildfires. Yet that’s precisely what you’d be doing by signing SB 9.

While the language of the bill gives the impression that its proposed density increases would not be allowed in very high fire danger areas, that’s not the case. SB 9 actually negates the exclusion of very high and high fire severity zones. Thus, by allowing SB 9 to become law, you would quadruple the allowable density in single-family neighborhoods in such locations as Paradise, South Lake Tahoe, Greenville, Santa Rosa, and other communities that have been recently ravaged or threatened by wildfires. Is that what you really want to do? Hope not!

2. The governor who destroyed the livability of established single-family neighborhoods. By calling for housing bills to unilaterally up-zone every single-family neighborhood in California, you’ve now been presented with SB 9 which would allow for a fourfold to eightfold increase in density where one home once existed. SB 10 would allow for a tenfold to a 14-fold increase in density where one home once existed.

What’s more, if that neighborhood is within a ½ mile walking distance of a bus stop, it would prohibit cities from requiring any parking whatsoever for these new housing units. I trust you know exactly what you’re doing, but do you really want to be the champion of destroying neighborhoods?

3. The governor who failed to produce affordable housing. We do not have a market rate housing crisis in California. We have a housing affordability crisis. Yet the incentives being granted under SB 9, SB 10, and SB 478 will not produce one single unit of affordable housing.

Do you really want to take credit for increasing housing production without issue addressing the dire need for truly affordable housing? That has a real hollow ring to it.

4. The governor who demonized California’s cities and counties. By declaring war on California’s cities and counties by blaming them for the housing crisis, these bills will nullify the ability of communities to plan their own destinies. These top-down, one-size-fits-all state mandates utterly ignore the unique characteristics and resources of every one of California’s 482 cities and 58 counties while refusing to help them with the infrastructure and natural resources they need to sustain them.

Instead of working with local governments, the state has chosen to alienate them. Do you really want to be known as the Governor who presided over the disenfranchisement and abuse of local government– that government which is closest to the people?

5. The governor who pushed the American dream of homeownership further away from younger Californians. Increasing the allowable density of every single-family home in California will only increase the soaring prices of housing.

These laws will spur rampant speculation, displacing existing affordable communities of color in favor of high-end market rate housing. That speculation will also serve to stifle the ability of younger Californians to achieve the American dream of homeownership. While surveys have shown that over 80% of Californians aspire to living in their own home, these laws would relegate more Californians to a renter generation.

Don’t be known as the governor who snuffed out the American dream.

Governor Newsom, if you don’t want to be known for these legacies, please have the courage to do the right thing and veto SB 9, SB 10, and SB 478 and resolve to work with (rather than against) local governments to get at real solutions that will work for all.

You may have prevailed over this recall, but you’ll have to run again in 2022. When voters like me cast their ballots then, we’ll never forget what you did with this dysfunctional legislation.


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Ugluk

Hair gel and the French Laundry.

Pretty much sums up his legacy….


malovato

I totally agree with Keith, “It looks like you (Newsome) will still be governor of California”. While some of Keith’s reasons to boot him out may be valid to some voters, the alternative choices to replace Newsome are horrible. That alone is enough for me to vote NO on the recall at this time.

But what REALLY concerns me and what SHOULD concern most true Patriots and American Voters, is the fact that Larry Elder and Donald Trump are ALREADY insinuating that the California Recall Election is ALREADY rigged!? Really? Already whining? Will this be the new normal? If “your” candidate, Republican or Democrat loses an election, automatically something nefarious happened.

I’m serious here. God help our Democracy if America starts going down this rabbit hole.


AllAboutTheBenjamins

Would love to vote for the greater of two goods instead of the lesser of two evils. Lifelong republican who voted no.


Wildrnes

It’s so cute :) when Karen Gurnee rages in the “Dear Abby” column.


shelworth

On the plus side he has a great future as a used car salesman…


mazin

Keith, sounds like you have a single family residential project you would like to get approved.


TKG

Nope. Just a single family neighborhood to protect…


mazin

Got it. Think you have a point with regards to poorly thought out high density housing impacting local neighborhoods, and unrealistic transportation ideas.


mazin

56% Keep to 41% Remove according to the latest polls.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/california-recall-polls/

Too bad the replacement is “reparations for slave owners” and anti-masker Elder. The GOP needs to become something other than the party of lunatics.


commonsenseguy

Ditto for Progressive Socialist you support.


Wildrnes

“Progressive Socialist”? Cliche Fox News jargon. Anything original?


mazin

Campaigns are already working on “how the election was stolen” narrative.

This recall show will probably serve to reelect Newsome in 2022, out of sympathy, and no real change will occur.


commonsenseguy

Sorry to burst your false narrative and blinded leftist ideology but I don’t watch Fox news. Keep drinking the destructive koolaid of the left.


mazin

Agreed that the Democratic Party needs to be much much broader than just “Progressives” (whatever they are).

Socialist … hmm … ALL are big money wasters … both parties are spendthrifts. There is no fiscally responsible “side”.


commonsenseguy

They’re all worthless including this narcissist Newsom. Time to clean all the houses at all levels of government and start over with people of good morals,values, integrity, character, honesty, and truth who are Godly men and women from the start. The leaders of this country are complete embarrassment. I’m ashamed of who we are. What a complete joke they are.


mazin

Elder would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, you know the laws that desegregated our country, allowed ALL people to use the same drinking fountain, restrooms, restaurants, housing …

“In the extent those laws mandate any kind of interference in the private sector, yes, I would have voted against it”.


Robert1

Just to name a few,

Massive taxes

Wide open borders

Highest tax rate in the country along with housing

Massive and largest homeless population in the country

Massive illegal transfer of gas taxes to pet democrat programs

Largest amount of fleeing people and businesses in history from Cali

Massive illegal aliens receiving American tax dollars while Vet’s are left on our streets

We have the worst roads in America even know we have the 5th largest economy in the world


Rambunctious

Rules for thee but not for me….


Jorge Estrada

Locally, a role model for Heidi Harmon and likely his favorite dish will be “recall well done”.