Newsom busy; artichokes, avocados elevated in Jerry Brown’s absence

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom jokes about his actions as acting governor during a speech at the state Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who served as acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown was off on a week-long trade mission to China, used his newfound authority to deputize the artichoke and avocado as California’s official vegetable and fruit, respectively.

But Newsom didn’t stop there. He used his broad powers to declare the almond as the state nut and rice as California’s official grain.

Somewhere in the Central Valley, there’s an angry quinoa lobby plotting its revenge.


Newsom poked fun at his inherited powers during the state Democratic Party convention in Sacramento while Brown was gone. “I’m thrilled to be here … on the sixth day of the Newsom administration,” he told the crowd almost a week into his term as acting governor. “This is the right time and the appropriate time to reflect on our cornucopia of landmark accomplishments over these magical six days.”

The former San Francisco mayor, also known for his liberal use of hair product, joked that he had created hundreds of new jobs “notably in the now-booming hair-gel industry.”

Previous lieutenant governors to serve under Brown were less benign in using their gubernatorial powers while Brown was out of state. When Brown, who also served as governor from 1975-1983, was off touring the country during his 1980 presidential run, Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Curb caused all kinds of political heartburn for the traveling governor.

Curb, who served as acting governor in Brown’s absence, vetoed bills, issued executive orders and even made appointments while the governor was out of the state.


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