On KPFA, Gavin Newsom ducks the tough ones

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SF Examiner file photo

Gavin Newsom sat down for an hour with Brian Edwards-Tiekert of KPFA's Up Front, and the show is remarkable. Brian was a little less harsh than Steven Colbert, who (properly) said the Gavster's new book, Citizenville, needs "a bullshit detector" and that "everything in there could be carved on a stone and put in someone's garden," but he did a great job putting Newsom's book in the context of state and local politics and he tried valiently to pin the lite guv down -- on anything.

Up Front is on at 7 am, and that's a little early to start on the bourbon (even by my standards), but I was so tempted to do the Gavin Newsom Platitude Drinking Game ... and fortunately, I linked to the recorded archive above to so you do it yourself tonight. Every time Newsom says "engagement," take a shot. Everytime he says "robust," take two. Don't worry -- when he talks about fracking, you'll need to throw up anyway.

Newsom's basic argument is that the public needs to get more involved in government, and that the generation just coming of political age is used to crowd-sourcing and peer-to-peer communication, and that technology can allow politicians to have "a real conversation with the public." (Oh, and he talks about "transparency," although his mayor administration was openly hostile to sunshine and public records.)

Whatever; that's all fine, as far as it goes. Holding virtual "town hall" meetings is a nice idea; asking the public how to solve city and state problems makes good sense. Some people in office already do that.

But the notion that we can fix what he calls a "broken system" entirely by adopting private-sector models and using digital devices ignores (as Brian pointed out repeatedly) the reality of American politics. "Most of society's problems," the KPFA host noted, "are rooted in who has the power."

There are tough issues that require not more "conversation" but real leadership -- and strong stands. If Newsom had "crowdsourced" his decision on same-sex marriage back in 2004, it never would have happened.

Same goes for Prop. 13, prisons v. education, the state's tax system -- and the dramatic divide between the rich and the poor. That and the fact that the state doesn't raise enough revenue in taxes on big business and the wealthy to provide decent services.

Brian notes that the state cut dental care for poor people; "either the money is there for dental care or it isn't." Newsom countered that there's enough volunteer and private-sector help out there to solve all these sorts of problems that the government can't pay for. He's just wrong; there isn't. You cut dental care and people's teeth get worse and worse and some of them get very sick.

His response to the need for more state money? Growth. Same as what the Republicans say. No wonder Newt Gingrich loves the book so much.

Then after ducking questions about Prop. 13, oil severance taxes, and tax policy in general (excpet to say that we need to expand sales taxes -- the most regressive of all -- to cover "services" -- he got to fracking.

Brian asked him about the expansion of hydrofracking in California, and Newsom refused to come out against it. All he said was that "we're not going to do anything that's not done right." Huh? There's a "right" way to do fracking?

You want to throw up what's left of your Newsom Platitude Drinking Game consumption at the very end, when he talks about the Twitter tax break and the cost of housing in San Francisco. His basic message? Bummer that it costs so much to live here. Not much we can do. "It's a challenge," he says, "that's the burden of success."

Success for some. Challenge for others.

Party on.



 

Comments

Just so you know, Steven Colbert plays a character on TV. He portrays a highly ideologically driven 'journalist' who is extremely predictable and often appears foolish because of a complete dedication to finding a vindication of his own ideology in any scenario, even if the exact opposite is easily apparent to any rational viewer. It gets a lot of laughs.

Just like...oh, never mind. Just keep up the good work.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

Yes even though Steven Colbert (SC) is playing the tv character in the interviews, some of us are able to tell when SC is trying to get at a point or make one or explore one in those interviews (actually I think 99% of viewers including you get the pt he's trying to make in a particular intervw though some, like you, will claim that's impossible since he's still in character - that's an absurd argument to anyone who's seen those intervws so if you have, no need for you to continue to play stupid since other ppl have seen them).

When the tv SC implied Newsom's book was a bunch of lite fluff since Newsom couldn't really say anything of substance to Colbert (about what was in the book) that had any meat on it, Colbert was just making a fair observation of what he had just shown everybody watching the show. How did he show this? By asking for Newsom to supply some meat to his book and Newsom couldn't supply any.

He's the only interview I've seen or heard that had the proper response to it (haven't heard the KPFA one yet). The rest of them have played the proper role in Newsom's eyes of making Newsom come off like he's some intellectual when he's nothing more than an ambitious politician.

I had to chuckle when a couple of days ago I read in the Chron how Newsom criticized Gov. Brown for putting $10 M towards online education - something that would be right in step with the "aint digital great" theme of his book. Apparently he hasn't gotten around to reading his own book.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

You, sir, are a very handsome man.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2013 @ 7:44 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 10:25 am

That's the slap down that Colbert back handed hair gel boy with when he finished spewing meaningless garden stone jargon about Citizenville, it applies to you all. Lights on, nobody home. Nice lawn.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

He's a master of that sort of put down, isn't he. Droll!

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

Damning with faint praise.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

Yes. Brian couldn't seem to stop saying how thrilled he was that this was the first time ever that an official elected at the state level had agreed to talk to KPFA. That seemed to be the main point of the interview, that KPFA, or at least Upfront, could actually get a state level official on the air.

At one of KPFA's nadirs, Jerry Brown was allowed to revive his political career on KPFA with a show called "We the People," aka "Wee wee on the People." However, after advancing to become CA Attorney General, he has refused invitations to speak to the KPFA audience with moderation that he himself does not control. The Green Party's Laura Wells was the only candidate we heard in 2010.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 9:11 am

and later when he moved to a Sac-town area AM station.

I've commented previously of how during a period when I had time to volunteer I called Jerry Brown's "We The People" office and was intentionally treated to the sounds of Jerry *excoriating* his secretary in the most unflattering tones, but the real epiphany struck when he became Oakland's mayor and I saw him invite the U.S. military to do joint amphibious urban warfare games in his city -- *exactly* what he'd previously derided on his program as a sign of oncoming fascism in the U.S.A.

That said, with Gag'em Nuke'em as Lt., I hope he remains healthy.

Tiekert and most of the KPFA moring crew have long struck me as totally non-radical to say the least.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 10:29 am

Yes. Brian couldn't seem to stop saying how thrilled he was that this was the first time ever that an official elected at the state level had agreed to talk to KPFA. That seemed to be the main point of the interview, that KPFA, or at least Upfront, could actually get a state level official on the air.

At one of KPFA's nadirs, Jerry Brown was allowed to revive his political career on KPFA with a show called "We the People," aka "Wee wee on the People." However, after advancing to become CA Attorney General, he has refused invitations to speak to the KPFA audience with moderation that he himself does not control. The Green Party's Laura Wells was the only candidate we heard in 2010.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 9:14 am

I am quite familiar with Steven Colbert. Also with the fact that his comedy is designed to make a political point. As he did here. What -- you don't think the line about the garden stones was funny? Did you read "Citizenville?" Do you disagree?

Lighten up, Troll.

Posted by tim on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

The fact is that Gavin Newsom's mayoral administration was the precise opposite of Citizenville, it was Technocratville.

City staff dealt the hand and held its cards close to the vest, only allowing those who agreed to play by hose rules and allow the house to win to participate.

The word here is "Chutzpah," when you kill both of your parents and throw yourself oh the mercy of the court as an orphan.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2013 @ 7:47 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

The LooGuv has little power, and I would have thought you were happy that he is no longer pissing on your popstand.

But I have to say that, given the choice between his idea of more high-tech public involvement directly in the governmental process and your idea of endless class warfare predicated on the politics of envy, then the Gavster gets my nod.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

He may have little power now but the whole pt of that joke bk is for him to get a whole lot more power (missed that eh?).

As for you eagerly endorsing his “choice” of “more high-tech public involvement” – you'd do well to realize that that is really just the evolution of technology that is taking place independent of him, his fluff “get me elected governor” book, or his mentioning “Twitter” as often as he can in interviews. Lincoln said it well: you can fool some of the people all of the time and Newsom's fooled you (but not Colbert or Tim).

As for class warfare, it's going on - mostly by the tiny % of the pop with almost all this country's wealth who want to keep their ridiculous high % of the wealth via buying politicians and the majority of the congress (that's how they "invest" that money).

You imply you and the 1%-ers aren't fighting the class war when in truth you and your allies are fighting many times harder than your opponents (the 80% of the US population) are.

Your allies main weapon at the moment is owning the majority of the corrupt Supreme Court who say it is unconstitutional to outlaw the bribing of politicians - hence their corruptness (they should have been the target of the Occupy movement).

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2013 @ 12:09 am

which is epanturs these days. but I can certainly confirm that I am not fighting a war with anyone. Nor am I trying tot ake money away from other people who I deem to be "wrong" or "bad" and therefore unworthy to have their money.

Others are waging war predicated on envy. I most certainly do not, and in fact most of the affluent people I know are decent, honest and generous people - something you will never elarn if you get all your information here.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2013 @ 6:00 am

LOL - KPFA asking a liberal "tough" questions? Please, their complaint is typical, Newsom isn't liberal enough. I also demand the state tax itself into prosperity, NOW!!!!!

Posted by alex on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

Brown also emphasized sales tax over other taxes since it affects business, and therefore jobs, the least.

That, together with some very necessary spending cuts, have helped turn the State's finances around.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

of two power groups locked in eternal combat. You are part of the union/activist power bloc who represents one extreme, while the wealthy/corporate interests represent the other.

This convenient and self-serving dichotomy benefits both sides while sidelining the silent majority who are too busy getting on with their lives to want to spend time politicizing. That majority rely on just their votes to serve them, but the two power blocs diminish that ability.

Gav wants to bypass the entrenched power blocs and give the power and decision-making back to the people thru direct involvement - something technology now enables.

And of course you do not like that, as it weakens your own agenda, which is predicated on endless struggle between your group and the corporate group.

You have no track record of asking the people what they want. Rather, you tell people what they should want. You cannot and do not speak for the people.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

It's remarkable that you can claim "the fact that the state doesn't raise enough revenue in taxes on big business and the wealthy to provide decent services" is really an issue. We have the highest tax rate of any state in the country. Even Bill Maher announced this week that the taxes in this state are "ridiculous."

His words: “You know what? Rich people — I’m sure you’d agree with this — actually do pay the freight in this country.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/18/bill-maher-threatens-lea...

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

obligation to actually fund services or deal with the outcomes from punitive rates of taxation. He has the luxury of looking at taxes not from the point of view of how much money is needed but rather entirely from the point of view of taxes as an engine for redistributing wealth.

In other words, Tim's priority is a form of class warfare. He would rather make the tax take "fairer" than make it larger. He is more obsessed with the fact that some people make a lot of money than he is about the difficult of balancing a budget.

Indeed, it would be logical for Tim to support more progressive taxation even if he knew the result from that was less revenues. It would not matter to him because all he cares about is punishing those who are more successful than he is.

So yes, you're right, of course, that CA's taxes are already at an insane level. And that any further increase in that is intolerable. But Tim doesn't care. He'd support a 20% CA income tax rate and a total repeal of Prop 13, even though that would send CA into a terminal decline, just to stick it to the wealthy.

That is what hate and envy can do to a man.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

In a recent interview with Huff Post, the greasy one stated, "I'm past my sell by date in many respects in politics". Let's hope this is prophetic and he realises that he has hit his political plastic ceiling, and we make sure Weiner hits the same one before he is voted or termed out. Just my 2c.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

it is not a mayor who won election with a landslide or the most effective supervisor currently on the board?

Oh wait, no, that is exactly WHY you hate them so much. Got it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 6:57 pm
DUH

NO RESPONSE TO TROLLS

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 10:12 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 11:06 am

This type's habit is bold effrontery from beginning to end.

First, the bold effrontery of dressing up wildly inaccurate suppositions as "questions" and then later, to engage in further effrontery when the -- "questions" quite properly -- go unanswered.

This type of trollery is a window on the psyche of the reactionary right.

These people -- to make what is *at* *least* an eminently useful and viable generalization! -- are *not* decent people.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 11:53 am

cleaning your clock in a debate. The cowardly tactic is well known here.

Monk was caught out dishing out shit on others but, when called out on it, ran away.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

Trolling is conduct. You are trolling. You are a troll.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

You think any moderate who posts here is "trolling". Doesn't make it so, and many would argue that you are the biggest troll here.

"Troll" is usually a word used by someone who is effectively admitting that they are losing the debate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

First of all, even if the troll(s) *were* truly moderate, their incessant commenting here would qualify as trollery in any case, since SFBG is *not* a "moderate" news outlet.

But there's even more to it.

Just *one* example among many troll habits in evidence here is the constant lies pretending to have "won" some argument -- arguments which typically *can't* *even* *be* *shown* *to* *exist.*

Then with no basis in fact or justification, the troll makes personal insults against one of the more thoughtful commenters here. Troll is as troll does.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

It's true that "progressives" think this way, right winger parading as nut case lefty lilli scored.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 23, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

having the (possibly inadvertant) honesty to admit that he sues allegations of trollery, and other ad hominem tactics, to seek to discredit those who disagree with him every time he is losing a debate, which is pretty much every time he engages in a debate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 9:23 am

Lilli. As you, and many others who have been commenting here for years know, there's nothing I like more than 'getting into it', I've had many a 'heated' interchange. I'm now trying to avoid responding directly unless I at least have the illusion that I know who I'm conversing with, tired of casting my pearls before nameless swine. This used to be an excellent forum for the discussion and exchange of ideas, and yes it has always been primarily a 'progressive' voice. I think it's kinda sad that these reactionary worms with their sophomoric regurgitations are lowering the tone of discourse. But then that's the price of free speech. Shun and ignore the pesky little varmints.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 10:54 am

of commentary here. And that in turn shows how flimsy the "progressive" movement is, if it cannot tolerate any dissent or disagreement or diversity of thought.

Dismissing criticism as trolling is symptomatic of a bigger underlying problem.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 5:51 am

No, really, tell me more about libertarian capitalism.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 9:15 am

which forms of capitalism are acceptable to small-minded people.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 9:46 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 10:08 am

So what you're saying is "Lose weight now, ask me how?"

Posted by marcos on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 10:10 am

of being deceptive regarding who I truly am; my actual identity would have no more revelatory significance since I am an unknown/political nobody.

I have posted under this same name on this sort of forum pretty much for the great majority of the time I have been participating in them -- except for when I post under what I think are obvious anagrams of it. Typically unless I'm posting under one of those anagrammatic versions, I am writing what I think not what I want you to think I think.

I think hate speech and racism should not be tolerated here.

Anyhow, it has struck me in the past that you like to "get into it" with others, and I'm pretty sure that's when I tried to make it clear to you that I'd prefer it if only trolls were to refer to me as "lilli," etc.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 7:17 am

Do not compound your sin by denying it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2013 @ 9:41 am

No problem with that. Of course I know that anyone can post under any name they chose, i just find it laughable when 'anonymous guests' whine and whimper about others not being willing to 'discuss' and that somehow means they have 'won the argument'. If someone chooses a nom de guerre, and remains consistent in it's use, you can at least operate under the illusion that you are engaged in an ongoing dialog. Don't know that it would make any difference, or even sense, but it might be reassuring to think that SFBG required all comments be associated with a valid email address; kinda like that annoying CAPCHA: but then maybe they do, and then I'm not sure what the point would be, and then I imagine anyone with any computer savvy could backtrack........naaahh.....WTF.......I'll just carry on not responding directly to 'trolls and troglodytes'.
GO GIANTS.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 9:52 am
Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 10:21 am

Monk: "Of course I know that anyone can post under any name they chose"

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 11:16 am

service here. Monk claims that using a consistent handle here adds to cedibility but that is refuted by the ease with which he can be me and I can be him.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 11:28 am

And since I think it is just possible that the troll might actually be software, I think it would be well to try going to a CAPTCHA with every interaction here at SFBG. (Might these CAPTCHAs even be engineered to be more like fun games ala rebus puzzles? Just thinking out loud here... such puzzles might even be made difficult enough to eliminate even the particularly dull-witted humans among us....)

As for the trolls who post as Guest, of their number is one who has the most amusing/irritating habit of claiming to have said some thing or long have held some opinion or succeeded in some great feat of prognostication. Because they are posting as "Guest," they obviously cannot substantiate such claims; they are useless space-occupying posts signifying nothing. That is, of course, the goal of trolls.

They attack this forum because it has the potential to facilitate non-corporatist interchange of ideas and memes; anathema to these small-minded intellectual vandals.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 10:22 am

most bizarrely entertaining is the idea that corporations are paying people to post here, as if a few freaks, cranks and whack jobs jibbering left-wing nonsense is a threat to our capitalist system.

You have delusions of relevance.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 10:35 am

trivially easy to generate multiple email addresses. I have a program that can employ a different email address for every post or message.

Likewise, IP addresses will not work because they vary by location, and/or posters simply employ a proxy server.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 10:46 am

This was heady listening!

I almost upchucked my coffee.

Brian was absolutely abject and pathetic!

Posted by Richard on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

Abject and pathetic indeed. Gavin Newsom is a warmongering plutocrat. He should not be invited to advance his career and his dumb ass book by posing as a progressive environmentalist on KPFA.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

he effortlessly went on to become the second most powerful man in the State.

And you are, er . . .?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 8:13 pm