California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the state capitol in Sacramento Wednesday.
“It was just over four weeks ago that I stood in front of this capitol and pledged to defend not just the California constitution by the California dream,” Newsom said. “Today, I want to talk about how we can do that together.”
One of his announcements was the reversal of the high-speed rail project that began under Gov. Jerry Brown. The California High-Speed Rail has been a project in the making since 1998, when the California High-Speed Rail Authority was established to begin formal planning in preparation of a ballot measure. In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a measure to construct the initial segment of the network.
“Let’s level about high-speed rail,” Newsom said. “I have nothing but respect for Gov. Brown’s and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.”
Newsom suggested building a bullet train between Merced and Bakersfield to remedy this issue.
“Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield and communities in between are more dynamic than many realize,” Newsom said. “At the end of the day, transportation and economic development must go hand in hand.”
During his address, Newsom announced Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University professor emeritus, as president of the California State Board of Education.
“We need a new president for the state Board of Education to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students,” Newsom said.
The California State Board of Education is an 11-person board that plays a key role in formulating and overseeing implementation of multiple education policies and reforms.
Californians overwhelmingly supported Newsom’s recent proposals to increase funding for all levels of education, a new poll found.
According to the poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan research group, 70 percent of Californian adults favor Newsom’s budget ideas in general. Support for Newsom’s extra education spending was even higher, with 78 percent for his proposals to add higher education funding.
In his first budget proposal, Newsom allocated up to $562 million in permanent and one-time funds for the California State system, compared to the $97 million allocated 12 months ago by the the previous governor, Jerry Brown.
Newsom also addressed the California housing crisis.
“California should never be a place where only the well-off can lead to good life,” Newsom said.
Newsom pointed out that 61 percent of young adults in California said they can’t afford to live in the state and housing is “perhaps our most overwhelming challenge right now.”
In order to address this issue, Newsom plans to allocate $750 million for local governments and communities to update their housing plans in order to combat homelessness.
Long Beach City Council passed a motion for the purchase of a property that will be repurposed as a new, year-round homeless shelter in Long Beach on Feb. 5.