Newsletter: Newsom is ready to be governor. Cox, not even close

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to members of the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team on Oct. 20.
(Josh Edelson / For the Times)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 6 election in California is Monday, Oct. 22 — click here for more information. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Here’s a quiz that proves just how hopeless the GOP is in California: Try to think of the last time a Republican not named Arnold Schwarzenegger (who’s been in the news lately more for admonishing his party than supporting it) ran for governor and was qualified for the job or actually had a real chance of winning. With the benefit of hindsight, we’d probably have to go all the way back to Pete Wilson.

With Republican businessman and six-year California resident John Cox up against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — who might very well have been the current outgoing governor if Jerry Brown hadn’t decided eight years ago that he wanted his old job back — the trend of perfunctory statewide GOP candidates running against Democratic shoo-ins has only intensified. In its endorsement of Newsom for governor, The Times’ Editorial Board noted the wide gap of experience and readiness for the job between the two candidates:

One of the two candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot is more than ready; the other almost comically unqualified.

In this case, the experienced and prepared candidate is Gavin Newsom. The Democratic lieutenant governor has spent more than 20 years in public office, starting with his first, unglamorous gig on the San Francisco Parking and Traffic Commission in 1996. Although he had (and no doubt used) certain political connections through his father, Newsom climbed the political ladder the old-fashioned way. He started at the bottom, learning the business and working his way up through San Francisco city politics, becoming a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and ultimately the city’s mayor in 2004. Currently, Newsom is serving the final months of his second term as lieutenant governor.

The other guy? That’s Republican businessman John Cox, whose political resume is limited to waging a number of unsuccessful campaigns (including a brief foray into the 2008 Republican presidential primary and several efforts to win office in Illinois, where he was born and lived before moving to California in 2011). Not only are a couple of long-shot campaigns an inadequate substitute for public service, but Cox doesn’t seem to have used his time between them to develop concrete ideas about governing. His platform consists mainly of cataloging and overstating the state’s ills and offering vague promises that “help is on the way.” (That’s actually his campaign slogan.)

But he offers few specifics. Instead, he flogs the usual conservative themes: high taxes, over-regulation and the perils of immigration.

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Our letter writers have a different take on Newsom. Here’s a representative sample: “The secret to quality is hiring the most qualified people — and in this regard, Cox has proved his worth. Newsom, on the other hand, spouts that he has worked for 20 years in public office, and looking at all the waste in government, how can one even consider voting for him?” L.A. Times

L.A. diners are rude. And slow. And cheap. And demanding. Next time you’re out for dinner, know that the person waiting on you has an opinion on your behavior and — if you’re really lucky — might be Natalie Gregory, the server who took to The Times’ op-ed page to give a lesson in manners to her customers: “After I’ve dropped off your food, don’t make me take five trips to get hot sauce, aioli and all your other condiments.” L.A. Times

Trump needs to stop coddling the Saudis. “The Trump administration continues to send disturbingly mixed signals about whether it will hold Saudi Arabia’s rulers accountable if it’s proved that they’re responsible for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” says The Times Editorial Board. That’s an opinion echoed by our letter writers.

California is starting to look like one big climate-change preview. We’ve got hellish wildfires in our mountains, increasingly unreliable precipitation patterns, and now, communities threatened by rising sea levels. In coastal San Diego County, Imperial Beach — a small community surrounded on three sides by water — has decided to do something considered radical: It’s retreating. The Atlantic

The Olympics are coming to L.A.; this groups wants to stop that. Judging by this piece, the people most happy about Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Summer Games aren’t Angelenos: “For members of NOlympics LA … hosting the games is a dangerous proposition — one that will ultimately damage and displace the city's most vulnerable populations. ‘Will there be water in 2028? What will rents be like?’ asks Jonny Coleman, a NOlympics organizer.” Pacific Standard

Voting on Nov. 6? I hope so. Here’s a list of The Times Editorial Board’s endorsements:

Governor: Gavin Newsom

U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein

Lieutenant governor: Ed Hernandez

Attorney general: Xavier Becerra

Secretary of state: Alex Padilla

Controller: Betty Yee

Treasurer: Fiona Ma

Insurance commissioner: Steve Poizner

Proposition 1 (affordable housing): Yes

Proposition 2 (mentally ill housing): Yes

Proposition 3 (water bond): No

Proposition 4 (children’s hospitals): Yes

Proposition 5 (property taxes): No

Proposition 6 (motorist taxes): No

Proposition 7 (daylight saving time): Yes

Proposition 8 (dialysis centers): No

Proposition 10 (rent control): Yes

Proposition 11 (EMT pay): Yes

Proposition 12 (chicken cages): Yes

California Supreme Court and 2nd District Court of Appeal: Yes to all judges

L.A. Charter Amendment B (public bank): No

L.A. County sheriff: Jim McDonnell