SACRAMENTO — In many ways, Gov. Gavin Newsom played to his base of Democrats who dominate both houses of the legislature during his first State of the State address.
He once again ridiculed President Donald Trump for his immigration policies in recalling California National Guard troops from the border. He has reassigned them to stop drug and gun smuggling along existing checkpoints.
“The wall that stretches thousands and thousands of miles through wilderness does nothing to stop this threat,” Newsom said. “So the answer to the White House, with all due respect, no more division, no more xenophobia, no more nativism. We’ve suffered enough.”
Along with a pledge of more support for local homeless housing programs, he promised to crack down on 47 cities that haven’t met their state requirements to build more housing during a severe shortage.
“I do not intend to file suit against all 47 but I’m not going to preside over neglect and denial any longer,” Newsom said.
He got his biggest applause when promising CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, which can delay building projects.
Republicans did not feel continuing a feud with the president was productive.
“I doesn’t do either one, meaning the president nor the governor, help to just take shots at each other,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. “That’s not helpful.”
Republicans did see some potential for common ground.
“We need to do a lot of rebuilding in Paradise in the Butte County region, 50,000 people have been displaced. Let’s focus in on the real problem, it’s CEQA,” said Assemblyman Jim Gallagher, R-Nicholas. “It’s constantly being abused, it’s stopping housing projects from getting built. And we know that we need whole a lot more throughout this state, so I agree with him on that. Let’s focus on those things that we can agree upon.”
The governor got praise for addressing key problem areas for the state. But Republicans still have some reservations about the details of how much it will cost to achieve his agenda.