Gavin Newsom, current lieutenant governor of California, is running for governor in the 2018 state elections. He spoke to a crowd of over 100 on Dec. 9 at the Santa Cruz Police Department. After his speech, Newsom answered questions from the attendees and City on a Hill Press, touching on topics ranging from houselessness to protection for DACA students.

Photo by Laretta Johnson



On Houselessness

“[Houselessness] is the ultimate manifestation of our failures in our society — our inability to help the folks out in the streets.  […] The state of California is nowhere to be found supporting your efforts here locally or regionally to end chronic homelessness and address the growing crisis of families that are a paycheck away from being out in the streets and sidewalks and in our shelters. The state of California is the only state in the United States of America that does not have an interagency council to end chronic homelessness. […] We will get that agency, interagency council on homelessness, we will set audacious goals. […] I don’t want to belabor it but we’ve laid out the details, including our behavioral health strategy, including our strategies to address the issues of the opioid crisis, all of these things, including criminal justice reform, which is a big part of this conversation. Prerelease, not just postrelease, strategies, to make sure people who are in and out of the criminal justice system don’t end up right back out on the streets and sidewalks. ”

On Transportation

“The simple conversation, five years ago, was we need to invest more in our infrastructure, we need to regionalize our transit strategies, I believe in bus rapid transit and pipe rail and we need to capture our sales tax increment, front load that investment. All those things are wonderful and all those things I have subscribed to and all those things are important, but I think something bigger is happening  and that will allow us to frame a new conversation.”



CHP: My first question is about the letters that have recently been delivered from the DOJ to sanctuary cities, and I’m wondering what your opinion is on if the DOJ has the right to revoke law enforcement spending?

G.N.: No I don’t and I think there’s been judges that have adjudicated accordingly. They have pushed back on the federal courts, pushed back, for example San Francisco led an effort preemptively on the DOJ’s actions to hold hostage federal money having jurisdictions to change policy. And so I think we’re on firm footing as it relates to our efforts. That said, we have to be vigilant and we have to also recognize that the UC system, CSU, the community college system, has a role and responsibility to protect our Dreamers, our DACA recipients to protect diverse communities on campus and promote an inviting climate for people who are looking over their shoulder in fear of deportation. And that’s why I believe, long-windedly, in sanctuary campuses.

CHP: Do you have any specific plans on how to protect DACA students?

G.N.: Well, we’re providing legal resources, justice grants, we’re providing counseling services and support for those that may fear deportation or have family members that fear or have been deported. And we are opening centers, as you know, in many of the campuses for our diverse communities to come and collaborate and counsel one another so that we can be there to protect and make sure that we push back against these policies.

CHP: With the UC audit results and the investigative results, do you think that there’s any reform that needs to happen?

G.N.: There better be.

CHP: Do you think that Janet Napolitano should resign?

GN: I was three, four hours in that closed session meeting, you may have seen I was one of the dissents, we thought the sanctions should have been a little harsher, respectfully. And I felt it was a real black eye to the system and it better reform or we’re going to have to radically change the leadership, and that includes me and my colleagues. We’re all in this together. I take some account as well and we have other regents. I got to step things up as well, but that audit was unacceptable and two people were scapegoated. They may have been complicit, it may be inappropriate that they were, but I think it seemed very limited, those that ultimately were sanctioned versus those that weren’t.