Letters to the Editor: Gavin Newsom’s briefings are reassuring, even if they’re filled with jargon

Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during his daily coronavirus briefing on April 21.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: George Skelton is one of the better political writers around, but sometimes journalists forget that while they are used to news conferences that are aimed at the media, there may be a purpose for a different kind of briefing. (“Give Newsom credit. He’s trying it all to fight coronavirus and California’s economic collapse,” column, April 23)

Skelton said that while Newsom is doing an admirable job guiding California through the COVID-19 pandemic, he is no FDR (I would agree), and he is “long-winded, repetitive and jargon-prone.”

I don’t usually watch news conferences, but I have been watching the governor’s briefings every afternoon because they give me a certain level of comfort that I think appeals to those of us who are not jaded journalists. Newsom has done an amazing job keeping us informed and has filled a leadership role that I wish I saw from Washington.


Perhaps Newsom is trying to speak to the people and not members of the media like Skelton.

John Oppenheim, Long Beach


To the editor: I am appalled by Skelton’s matter-of-fact statement that FDR was the greatest president of the 20th century. You might agree if your only historical reference is the movie “Pearl Harbor.”

I would encourage Skelton to read “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” by Amity Shlaes, or “Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage” by Joseph Persico.

Roosevelt was a good speech maker but a bumbling president who prolonged the Great Depression by constantly changing regulations and scaring away business investment. His historical reputation was effectively bailed out by World War II; otherwise the economic disaster would have likely continued longer than it did.

I can think of four or five presidents from the 20th century that I prefer over Roosevelt, including his immediate successor, Harry Truman.

Scott Zambon, Santa Ana