Newsom channels Brown to boost ‘moderate’ profile – Orange County Register

SACRAMENTO — During Jerry Brown’s tenure as governor, policy pundits and lawmakers always waited anxiously to see what bills he would sign and veto. Brown is of course a liberal Democrat, but his decisions could be unpredictable. He seemed motivated by principles that were sometimes difficult to discern, but rooted in his Jesuit training and his intellectual reflections.

He often invoked the term subsidiarity, which “is the idea that a central authority should perform only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level,” Brown said in a state address. of State. He too often expanded state authority, but sometimes used this concept to veto bills that limited local decision-making.

Brown has often disappointed — largely because we thought he knew better when he signed an impermissible union giveaway. But it could also pleasantly surprise us. “If people can’t even smoke on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown wrote in a veto on the smoking ban. “There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”

Brown probably had presidential ambitions, but time ran out. Brown’s 54-year-old successor, Governor Gavin Newsom, is harboring his own White House hopes. It’s no surprise that Newsom is turning to Brown’s playbook to boost his national chances by positioning himself as a moderate on certain issues and turning the end-of-session signing and veto watch into a guessing game. .

Previously, Newsom had signed virtually every progressive measure. Even Republicans saw Brown as the last adult in Sacramento — someone who served as a safety net against the craziest bills. Under Newsom, if a bad bill came to her desk, you could bet she’d get her signature.

The media is atwitter on Newsom’s pivot. After Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 57, which created certain supervised drug injection sites, the Mercury News reported that his action left “critics and some supporters wondering if the proud progressive governor had suddenly begun to weigh how his decisions in Sacramento would pan out with more moderate voters in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

On these pages, Will Swaim of the California Policy Center highlighted Newsom’s decision to delay the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant to prevent blackouts and announced a water plan that included the construction of major new infrastructure. .

Alas, Newsom couldn’t help himself and signed Assembly Bill 257 into law. It creates a European-style “industry bargaining” model for fast-food restaurants – shifting compensation and benefits decisions from business owners to a state-created 10-person panel. Swaim saw his then-imminent decision as a test of Newsom’s intentions – a decision he later failed to make.

The result will be a $22 hourly wage, fewer entry-level jobs, and a host of unintended consequences that will hurt low-income workers. It’s this year’s equivalent of Assembly Bill 5 – the Newsom-signed, union-concocted ban on freelance contracts that has wiped out ordinary people’s livelihoods and caused vast economic damage. .

Nonetheless, Newsom recently engaged in a remarkable fight with President Joe Biden over a farmworker unionization bill (Assembly Bill 2183) that would destroy farmworkers’ use of private ballots. during union elections. As Western Growers told Politico, “This essentially amounts to a forced union submission, because even the mail-in ballot provision allows the representative of the union organization to fill out the ballot.”

It’s an appalling follow-up to a past dispute between United Farm Workers and Gerawan Farming in Fresno. The union had organized the farm in 1990 and then, according to workers and farm officials, had largely disappeared from the scene until two decades later when it demanded the state recognize it as the legitimate representative agricultural workers.

The workers held elections, but the union-friendly California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) — formed by Brown in 1975 to “ensure justice for all farm workers” — refused to count the ballots (apparently thinking that they had voted to decertify the UFW) and instead tried to force a collective bargaining agreement on them.

The courts eventually reprimanded the ALRB, which then counted the votes. The workers had rejected the union by a margin of five to one. This bill would eliminate that problem by tipping the balance massively in favor of the union leaders. Newsom is on the right side of this problem.

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