Oct 5, 2020

Gavin Newsom October 5 Press Conference on COVID & California Wildfires

Gavin Newsom October 5 Press Conference on COVID & California Wildfires
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsGavin Newsom October 5 Press Conference on COVID & California Wildfires

On October 5, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference with updates on the coronavirus & the wildfires currently affecting California. He also nominated Judge Martin Jenkins to California’s Supreme Court, who will be the first openly gay man on the court if confirmed. Read the full transcript of his remarks here.

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Gov. Newsom: (04:43)
Good afternoon. Of the duties granted to governors by our state constitution, fewer more consequential than nominating a new justice to the state Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court is the good and great guardian, not just our laws and constitution, but our state’s deeply embedded and unwavering dedication to the principle of equal justice under the law. Today, I’m honored to add another distinguished name to that long legacy of jurisprudence. Judge Martin Jenkins is both a product and a protector of the California dream. The son of a Coit Tower janitor and a nurse, Judge Jenkins spend a lifetime overcoming odds, breaking down barriers and blazing new trails. A former NFL player, he excelled on the football field before smartly deciding there might be more career longevity on the field of law. As a lawyer and a judge he’s built an irreproachable reputation as a person of fortitude and fairness, man of inner strength, grace and compassion, who knows that despite what the declaration says, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not simply inalienable. They must be relentlessly protected and defended.

Gov. Newsom: (05:59)
Over a distinguished career that spans more than four decades, Judge Jenkins has worked at every level of our vaunted legal system, a civil rights attorney, a county prosecutor, a municipal, superior and federal court judge and appointed by president, Bill Clinton. Somehow we were able to lure him out of a well-deserved retirement at the beginning of my administration to serve as judicial appointments secretary, where he’s helped me elevate some of the most able and diverse legal minds ever assembled to the California bench. And now his career culminates in a seat on the California Supreme Court.

Gov. Newsom: (06:36)
In the spirit of Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, “The life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time.” Judge Martin Jenkins has the right experience at the right time in our state’s history. He’ll also be making history as only the third Black man to serve on our highest court and the first openly gay Supreme Court justice. And trust me, as someone who understands firsthand the role of the court in determining marriage equality to be a fundamental right, I can’t tell you how important it is to have someone on the bench who’s a living, breathing example of the idea that love means love. He hasn’t just learned the power of the law to protect our human rights, Martin Jenkins has lived it. Justice Martin Jenkins is a person of highest principles and I’m honored today to nominate him to California’s highest court. Justice Jenkins?

Justice Jenkins: (07:52)
On a day like today, the only emotion that I can think of to express is one of sincere gratitude to you, Governor, on behalf of me and my family for the honor that you accord our family today. In the short time I have, there are far too many people to thank for the road that has led me to this place, this juncture at this time. A few simple thank yous and acknowledgements will have to suffice.

Justice Jenkins: (08:28)
I want to start by thanking you, Governor Newsom. I couldn’t have known little less than two years ago when I accepted your offer to serve as your judicial appointments secretary that I would stand here today as a nominee for the California Supreme Court. And you couldn’t have known when you took the oath of office two years ago of the challenges that you would face, the untold challenges you have faced with wildfires on one hand and a pandemic on the other. And I have had the pleasure of watching you for the last two years deal with those challenges straight-forward and upright, leading from the front. And I have watched you always to try to fashion policy and initiatives that reflect your deepest values, equality and inclusion of all, protecting the least in California, along with Californians in general. And I’ve been inspired by your work. And I want you to know, I will take the lessons I’ve learned in working with you to my new responsibilities on the California Supreme Court. Thank you so much, Governor.

Justice Jenkins: (09:58)
I also want to acknowledge the member of the Supreme Court that I will replace in this new responsibility, Justice Ming Chin, who’s been a friend and he has also led me through support to the place I stand here today. 25 years of tremendous service to the citizens of California and I want to acknowledge his service. I Would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge and I heard you say Governor, that I am the third African American man ever to serve on this court, but my career spans the first two. I remember well when Wiley Manuel was appointed in 1977 to the California Supreme Court to be followed by Allen Broussard. I understand that it’s been 29 years since an African American man has served on the high court and I would not be here today without the support and mentorship of both of those men and others, Judge Judy Ford, Judge Thelton Henderson, all of whom blaze the trail so that I could stand here today and accept your nomination, Governor.

Justice Jenkins: (11:21)
Closer to home, my parents are no longer with us, but I know they know what is transpiring in this moment. I can’t imagine that my parents could have imagined that I would stand in this place today or that they could see that I would be a nominee to the California Supreme Court. What I do know is that they knew what I would need to be in a position to qualify for this kind of opportunity. They gave all of their kids a fine education. They taught us respect for others. And as importantly, they taught us the value of serving others, public service, which my father modeled as a janitor at Coit Tower for well over 25 years. Those are the values my sisters and brothers have. Those are the same values that I saw in my partner, [Sidney Shan 00:12:26], that caused me to fall in love with him and while my parents aren’t here today, he is. And I thank him for my support.

Justice Jenkins: (12:41)
I think in closing, I want to say something about being a first. There have been firsts and they will continue to be firsts. There’s a significant responsibility that goes with being first that I think can be best dispatched in doing the work at the highest level I possibly can.

Justice Jenkins: (13:01)
[inaudible 00:13:00] I possibly can. But I want to say to some young person who may be out there today, who is struggling with their identity, anyone who knows me knows my identity has been, as a gay man, perhaps the greatest challenge of my life and it has not been easy. But I want to say today to those young people who may be watching, and those who may hear about what has transpired here, that I am not here in spite of the struggle, I’m here because of the struggle. It is deep in my character afforded me sensibilities about the world and about people who are not so willing to accept that people can love differently than they do, but nevertheless love sincerely and genuinely and effectively.

Justice Jenkins: (14:05)
I want these young people to know that living a life of authenticity is the greatest gift you can give yourself. And if you do that, you too will find yourself in a position where people see you. They really see you and who you are. Your authentic self and the extraordinary opportunity I’m being offered today, I thank you, Governor Newsom for seeing me, and I will promise to do my best to dispatch the enormous responsibilities that incumbent with this great office. Thank you, Governor Newsom.

Gov. Newsom: (14:53)
Well, now you know why I just nominated Judge Jenkins and what an honor, a man of decency, character, faith and devotion to the law, but an extraordinary live experience that he’ll bring to bear on this court. We couldn’t be more proud of this moment and more proud of Justice Jenkins. And so I just wanted to dispense with that from top of today’s presentation because of the magnitude and importance we place upon these selections to the California State Supreme Court. We certainly look forward to an expedited process through what we refer to as Jenny and hopefully seeing Justice Jenkins on the court as early as next month. With that, let me update everybody on COVID-19 and our emergency preparedness response. And I’ll begin with the slide here of the top 20 largest California wildfires that date back to 1932. This slide is very telling it’s also very alarming.

Gov. Newsom: (15:59)
If you take a look at the slide, you’ll see a very large red part of the pie representing the August complex, which is now the largest in California’s history. You can see it makes up more than all of the fires that occurred between 1932 and 1999. You can see the blue, what has occurred since 2000, just in a decade, the number of fires. And of course this year with the unprecedented number of wildfires here in the state of California, if that’s not proof point testament to climate change, I don’t know what is. Forest management has long been an issue, vegetation management is certainly an issue in this state and in this nation, but just consider what has occurred since 1999 here in the state of California and put it in perspective as it relates to the challenges we face here in California. 4 million now acres have been burned year to date 23 major wildfire complex is still raging here in the state of California.

Gov. Newsom: (17:08)
31 people have lost their lives close to 9,000 structures now have been destroyed in the state of California and that’s 8,687 structures destroyed, and counting as we get back in repopulate areas, that number and variably will grow. As it relates to the number of wildfires here in the state of California, we also have a number of challenges with a number people coming from all across the country mutual aid system, that continues to be challenging, including by the way, this presentation. And so in just a moment, I’ll get back as we get this presentation up, because I want to make sure that we are providing all of the information in an accurate manner. Just one moment. [inaudible 00:17:54] All right, well, just like the virus and the fire spread, so does our resolve to get this technology back up and running as I was just noting, we’ve had over 16,600 firefighters working on these fires, mutual aid from at least six states across this country, including the National Guard, men and women all throughout the United States that have been helping support our efforts as it relates to the some of the largest active fires here in the state of California. The one that’s top of mind continues to be is a Glass fire up in and around Napa and Sonoma Counties. Last week, I presented to you that we were 0% contained on that fire. 11,000 acres have burned. You’ll see a substantial increase in the total number of acres burned now 65,000. Some progress on containment, 30%, which is encouraging. What’s also encouraging is more favorable weather conditions, more seasonable weather now later in this week, not the above average temperatures that have occurred. We also were able to withstand some larger wind events over the course of the last number of days. And that’s primarily one of the reasons you’ll see the large spread and total number of acreage, but progress being made nonetheless on the glass fire remains one of our top priorities to mitigate the spread, and suppress that fire, the Zogg fire as well. The new fire complex that we announced last week, was 7,000 acres. See today, real progress has been made on Zogg, 76% containment, some growth, 56,000 acres, but nonetheless, real containment in this space. I mentioned a moment ago, the August complex 45% contained in some 878,000 acres last week bird now breaking 1 million acres unprecedented in California’s history. This is simply the largest active wildfire in the state’s history. Again, you looked at that previous chart going back to 1932. This predates even records prior to 1932. Progress, stubborn. 54% containment on this complex. Speaking of complexes, the Northern Complex in around Plumas and Lassen County, 78% contained last week, a little over 300,000 acres, we were able to keep the containment on the acreage to 318,000, 83% contained. The Creek fire, large federal fire though under a joint incident command with the state California Cal Fire and the US forest service and around the Fresno, Madera region of the state, 39% contained last week, 306,000 acres. Again, remember this fire is in that heavily impacted a region of the state that was impacted disproportionately by the drought, impacted by quite literally over a hundred million trees just in this specific area that fell due to that historic drought between 2011 and 2017 and 39% contained last week. Making progress, 48% containment, but you’re seeing the acreage we’re getting under control in that fire. Speaking of other fires have generated a lot of energy and anxiety and concern the LA County Bobcat fire last week, we made some real progress.

Gov. Newsom: (21:50)
62% containment, a little over 100,000 acres, more containment now, this week almost 88%. In fact, 88%, to be exact containment on that fire. And you could see the total number of acres burned, holding very, very steady. So, again, favorable wind conditions, favorable weather conditions, broadly taking shape over the state. A number of other complexes that we’ve been highlighting over the course of the last number of months that we did not include in these slides because we’ve made substantial progress and that is encouraging. And so what has been historic since you recall August 15th, and the 72 extraordinary hours over 11,000 lightning strikes in that unprecedented short period of time, putting enormous pressure on the state. We’re finally getting our arms around it, real progress being made, but still 23 stubborn fires that we’re working aggressively to contain, again, hats off to the men and women in uniform, Cal Fire, and to get all the mutual aid all across this country for their outstanding work.

Gov. Newsom: (22:54)
Speaking of work, we continue to have a lot of work to do on COVID-19 transmission and rates of this pandemic and disease. As you can see, we have made progress here in the state of California with stable case rates. I’ll highlight those in just a moment, but you’re starting to see an increase in COVID-19 cases all across the country. In fact, as of this morning, 21 states have seen an increase in transmission rates of COVID-19, we’re seeing this by the way, not just across the country, you’re seeing this increasingly around the world, take a look at the headlines in France out of Paris today, what’s happening in the United Kingdom, what’s been happening in Israel. What Germany is projecting and concerned about. And this is the second wave that many had predicted based upon our closest approximate frame. And that’s what occurred in 1918 and 1919. And that was a, I think very well instructive example of what can happen if we let our guard down here across not only the United States, but around the rest of the world.

Gov. Newsom: (24:08)
The prospect of a second wave, potentially being as impactful, or more impactful, that certainly was the case with Spanish Flu in 1918 into the fall. And that’s why we have to be very vigilant. And that’s why we have to be very sober about what is going on. And I’ll remind you when you can see this here on the slide that it takes about 20 to 30 days to see upticks and hospitalizations, and in the ICU’s. You’ll see that the numbers continue to trend down in the state. But if we start seeing an increased number of cases in variably, you’ll start seeing an increase in the hospitalization, and the pressure in our ICU’s. This slide by the way, will be very helpful. It’s a case trend slide over the last two weeks, all across the United States can be deceiving. Again, the green shows that California’s fared fairly well over the last 14 days compared to other states relates to the transmission of COVID-19. You could see in those orange areas where you’re starting to see an uptake stabilization or increase in rates of cases and positivity across the country.

Gov. Newsom: (25:16)
And so again, let us maintain our vigilance, let us not take down our guard, let us continue to take very seriously this pandemic, this disease. Here are the case numbers update from yesterday 3055 comes very close to the 3074 seven day average. By the way, seven day average of cases in the state is slightly better than what this slide represents. Remember, the total test versus positivity rate is over a 14 day period on this slide, 2.8% positivity rate over 14 day. The case rate over seven day periods slightly better at 2.6%. Our average number of daily tests are starting to increase. This weekend we had 160,000 tests, 140,000 tests, 130,000 tests-

Gov. Newsom: (26:03)
… [inaudible 00:26:00] thousand tests, 140,000 tests, 130,000 tests in the last three days. So we’re starting to see a growth in the total number of daily tests. The average tests getting back up again, impacted substantially by the wildfires over the course of the last six or so weeks. So more tests, positivity rate that’s holding steady at 2.6% over seven days here reflected on this slide, 2.8% over a 14 day period.

Gov. Newsom: (26:28)
The hospitalization numbers, as you can see, continuing to trend down, 13% decrease over the last 14 days. That decrease is beginning to plateau a little bit. The rate of decrease is slowing not only on hospitalizations, the rate of decrease is slowing as it relates to ICU admissions here in the state represented by a 15% decrease in admission decline over the last two weeks. You’ll recall in previous slides going back the last number of weeks we’ve seen decreases, 14 day trending decreases, of closer to 20%. So again, beginning to see a plateauing, a reduction in the rate of decrease in total number of cases. And again, we’re seeing increases in at least 21 states across this country, just a sober, sober reminder of the work that we have in front of us.

Gov. Newsom: (27:25)
And speaking of work to do, we want to get as many people or rather counties, as it relates to our county tiered status represented here in this slide, off that purple bar and get into ultimately out of yellow. We’ll update these tiers we hope by the end of the calendar year. It’s an iterative process. But we’re using this tiered status to get us through the next number of weeks, and we continue to see more and more progress with purple counties becoming red counties, red to orange, orange to yellow. Tomorrow, Dr. Ghaly will update you as he does every Tuesday with a status list.

Gov. Newsom: (28:05)
There’ll be a number of new counties moving into yellow, a number of new counties moving into red and orange. Again, progress in the county tiered status continues. I know it’s stubborn for some, and I know some counties want to see it move more quickly and we do as well, but that’s determined not by whims, it’s determined by data. It’s determined by information that’s garnered on the basis of case rates and positivity rates and the framework we put out now a number of months ago. And again, we’re making progress, but we’re doing it in a slow, steady and methodical way as we move tier to tier.

Gov. Newsom: (28:45)
Speaking of methodical, but not slow, we have just released or rather we have just sent out to every active, registered voter in the state of California, active, registered voter in the state of California, ballots and they dropped in the mail and voting starts today. And I want to remind people the importance, the imperative of voting, encourage people to do so early to the extent possible this unprecedented number of mail-in ballots will require an unprecedented effort to safely and responsibly make sure every single vote is counted. I’ll remind you, you can track where your ballot is. There’s a bar code. There’s a very sophisticated process to make sure that we are keeping safe the integrity of our election system here in the state of California. Encourage you to either go to the Secretary of State’s website or as always, you’ll see prompts on some of our other state websites including the covid19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov. That’s a default for all the information that we provide you in these updates. But starting today, voting can occur in the state of California.

Gov. Newsom: (30:10)
As always, I’ll end with our admonation to everybody to continue to wear a mask, continue to do the good work you’ve done on a practicing physical distancing and social distancing, minimizing mixing to the extent possible and practicing appropriate hygiene, washing your hands and the like to mitigate the spread and transmission of this virus.

Gov. Newsom: (30:32)
As we open up more sectors of our economy, as we begin to open up our schools here in the state of California, invariably, we have to step up our efforts and our vigilance in terms of the actions individually we take and collectively we take to mitigate the spread of this disease. I’ll remind each and every one of you that we absolutely look forward to moving past this pandemic and doing so in a way where people can get back to work, where businesses can reopen and people can get the kind of quality in-person education they deserve and every family, trust me, is desperately looking forward to. The best way to do that, the best way to advance that collective cause is taking a look at this list and considering your individual actions in that context. It will be the individual actions, the sum total of which will determine our fate and future and how quickly we can modify and reopen our economy until we have an immunization.

Gov. Newsom: (31:38)
And so it is absolutely incumbent upon all of us, particularly this vulnerable period of time, where more and more counties moving out of purple into red, into orange and yellow tiers, more and more activity, more and more mixing, that we do so in a safe and responsible manner. And so forgive me for the redundancy, forgive me for repeating so often this mandate, rather our collective mission, as it relates to some of the mandates we put out in terms of mask wearing, but it’s about protecting you and protecting your loved ones and helping us safely reopen this economy and get our kids back into school. With that, now that we’ve got our technology back up and operational, look forward to answering any questions.

Speaker 1: (32:27)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.

Alexei Koseff: (32:33)
Hi Governor. We’re about 10 days out from the deadline that you and lawmakers set in the budget for reversing about $11 billion in cuts. And Congress is not close yet to reaching a deal on another stimulus package that you would need to do that. So if we reach that October 15th deadline without a federal bailout, what happens next for the state and was this the wrong strategy to take for dealing with that budget shortcoming?

Gov. Newsom: (33:05)
Well, we’ve got to balance our budgets. We don’t have a printing press unlike the federal government. So we have responsibility, accountability, legal obligation to balance our budget. And we did so with hope and expectation that the federal government would support additional stimulus. And we’re still hopeful that they may occur. Accordingly, you may have seen over the weekend, last few days, the president himself encouraging Congress to get back to work on a stimulus effort. That said, you’re correct. On October 15th, we had stipulated that the cuts that we put into place already on July 1st, that they could be reversed if indeed that stimulus was taking shape. Looks at the moment at least that that may not occur before the 15th, though we’ll see. And so those cuts will remain in effect.

Gov. Newsom: (33:56)
I believe the strategy was a prudent one. I believe the strategy was one broadly shared by both the Senate and by the Assembly leaders. And I believe the strategy is still one that will bear fruit as it relates to efforts of the federal government to do more to support American citizens across this country, including cities and states that support our frontline employees, men and women in uniform, our teachers and others that are on the front lines of this pandemic.

Speaker 1: (34:33)
Melanie Woodrow, ABC7.

Melanie Woodrow: (34:37)
Thank you very much, Governor. Sean Monterrosa was shot and killed by Vallejo Police on June 2nd. The Solano County district attorney has recused herself from the case and the attorney general has declined to investigate. The AG’s office is investigating the destruction of evidence by police in this case, on Friday, Monterrosa’s sisters were part of a peaceful protest outside of your home. 17 people, including them, were arrested for failing to disperse. They say they’ve reached out to your office several times with no response. Would you be willing to speak with Sean Monterrosa’s family?

Gov. Newsom: (35:14)
Yeah, I’m committed to the broader cause of justice and as an effort to advance that cause in more than rhetorical terms, was very proud last week to sign an historic package of legislation to codify that. And what I mean is one of the things that we are now committed to doing beginning January of the upcoming year is providing the support of the attorney general’s office by providing more resources so the attorney general can begin to investigate officer involved shootings with unarmed individuals that lead to death. The state is advancing that cause, a cause I’ve long believed in and long supported. And I look forward to getting the resources into the AG’s office to do just that accordingly. We have been working very aggressively, not just this year in response to the Floyd tragedy, but previous year where we advanced some of our nation’s most aggressive police use of force measures and making sure that we’re looking at patterns of practices and making sure that we are continuing to evolve in our training and our approach to more equitable law enforcement, including issues of implicit bias, deescalation and the like. As it relates to the merits of the specific case, as governor, I’ll take a look at that. In fact, I’ve asked my staff to take a much more detailed look at exactly why the attorney general chose not to move forward in terms of the criminal investigation. Though I’m very pleased and grateful to the attorney general for moving forward as it relates to police practices in that jurisdiction. And so we’ll have more to say hopefully very shortly.

Speaker 1: (36:58)
Brody Levesque, LA Blade.

Brody Levesque: (37:02)
Good afternoon, Governor Newsom. Before I ask my question, I’d like to address Justice Jenkins and just simply, congratulations Your Honor. Governor, looking at the situation on the ground with Disney and some of the other larger corporations that are having these massive layoffs, Disney in particular, have you guys made any allowances at all whatsoever for the aftermath to help these folks out, either through diverting state resources into, say, helping local jurisdictions out? I’m talking beyond unemployment insurance. I’m talking about kind of a restructure because the longer this thing goes on, the more likelihood these jobs are simply going to evaporate. On top of that, we’re having the same situation in Los Angeles County, where we’ve got a tremendous amount of small businesses that have just completely disappeared and there’s no likelihood of them ever coming back. And I was wondering, have you looked at refocusing efforts moving forward even as we’re still combating this horrible disease? Thank you.

Gov. Newsom: (38:06)
You’ve just made the strongest case for more federal stimulus. The reality is even the nation, rather the world’s fifth largest economy is in need of support. And in that respect, we’ve been very strong, very forceful, very active working with speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the case anew as we’ve made the case for many, many months about the essential nature and the critical imperative of advancing a new stimulus to help support the cause that you rightfully acknowledged needs to be advanced. And that is supporting cities, supporting counties and supporting frontline workers, including small businesses that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic-induced recession here in the state of California. So that cause continues and that cause is clear. And we have not only been forthright, we’ve also been very prescriptive in terms of what we’re looking for in order to…

Gov. Newsom: (39:03)
… in terms of what we’re looking for in order to provide an architecture of advancing recovery here in the state of California and supporting working families, working poor and putting those that may have fallen through the cracks are not getting the support of unemployment insurance or the PUA support and that may be more permanently harmed by this pandemic as it relates to their employability going forward. So on all fronts, we’re putting together next year’s budget. We have an economic framework moving forward. We signed number of bills and advanced a number of economic and workforce development efforts in our budget. We’ll continue to do more of that and we’ll continue to re-enforce the imperative of getting more federal supports including PPP for our businessmen and women, including extending unemployment and POA insurance, including more direct workforce training supports to get people the skills that they need to get back into the economy as quickly as they possibly can.

Speaker 2: (40:10)
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.

Elex Michaelson: (40:10)
Thank you, governor. And congratulations on the appointment today. I have a question about coronavirus. You’ve been pretty clear from the beginning of this crisis about the seriousness of COVID-19. The president this afternoon, tweeting out that he’s going to be leading Walter Reed and saying, “Feeling really good. Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We’ve developed, under the Trump administration, some really good drugs and knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago.” Do you agree with that sort of messaging about COVID? And do you think that could be dangerous for people?

Gov. Newsom: (40:43)
It’s a political season so it doesn’t surprise me or anybody. But certainly has impacted the president’s life quite directly and quite significantly. He’s been in the hospital the last number of days. 200 plus thousand people have lost their lives, lost a loved one. I watched today Mayor Garcia of Long Beach on a national show, reminding us that he lost both of his parents to COVID-19. How deadly this disease remains and continues to be. I reminded you a moment ago and I’ll do it again. 21 States are seeing an increase in the transmission rates. Other countries are experiencing what was predicted a second wave. To minimize, to negate, to dismiss this pandemic is anything but what it is, a deadly pandemic, a deadly disease that’s impacting lives, destroying families, as well as our economy. I don’t think advances the collective cause of bringing this country back together.

Speaker 2: (41:40)
[inaudible 00:41:40] KCBS.

Speaker 3: (41:45)
Hi governor. Thanks. It was only a decade ago that a lot of people would describe California as ungovernable. And now a growing number say it’s unlivable. I personally know several people who have decided to move to other states. They’ve just had enough of worsening wildfires and rolling blackouts and smoky days when their kids can’t go outside. And they’re ads airing on our radio station now for a company serving people who want to leave the Bay Area. What do you say to the people who are ready to give up on California?

Gov. Newsom: (42:14)
I’ve lived here, in half a century I’ve heard this pretty much every decade. You referenced a decade ago. And in this last decade we’ve been enjoying economic prosperity the likes of which few states have enjoyed. Last five years, 3.8% average GDP growth. 120 consecutive months of net job creation, record surpluses, record reserves, record level of business startups, innovation, more scientists, more researchers, more Nobel laureates in this state than any other state in this nation. All of that remains. Finest system of higher education anywhere in the world. The balance sheet of the state is extraordinary. Our competitiveness is second to none. The international status that we enjoy as a brand and our capacity to compete also is best of class. And so I’m very long in this state, very confident in our ability to continue to prosper well into the future.

Gov. Newsom: (43:07)
And I would encourage you and many others just to look back as an example, a proof point, a point of reference to a edition of Time Magazine that was done in 1994. The entire special edition was saying California’s best days are behind it. They talked about the mass Exodus. They talked about wildfires in this state and they talked about other things that were rather curious as it relates to the diversity of our state at the time and some of the xenophobia and nativism that was alive and well. We recovered as a state. We worked through that as we always do. I saw today, there was a happiness index put out, California remaining one of the happiest states for individuals to live in, in the United States of America. So we’re challenged at this time as every state in this country, challenged at this time. And states that haven’t had to struggle through this pandemic and the economic consequences are beginning to struggle through this pandemic and its economic consequences.

Gov. Newsom: (44:04)
I was on the phone the other day and listening in to the governor of Colorado. They were talking about historic wildfires in their majestic state. And it’s not unique to California and the West coast of the United States of being impacted by these challenges, by these conditions. But as I always say, and forgive me, I’ll say it yet again, it’s our decisions, not conditions that determine our fate and future. And I have confidence in our capacity to compete, to thrive, not just survive the next number of years. And I would just encourage folks that are leaving to consider the fact that this state six, seven months ago was dominating in so many different sectors. And those core tenants of this state remain still as alive and enlivened as they ever have been despite some of these situational challenges that we face.

Speaker 2: (44:58)
Adam Beam, AP.

Adam Beam: (44:59)
Thank you, governor. I have two questions. First of all, what’s the latest on the reopening plan for Disneyland and other theme parks? And secondly, when it relates to this new equity metric, some county officials have voiced concern that this metric might hold them back from reopening businesses or schools at a time when reopening could bring an economic boost to their communities. So I’m just curious why your administration is introducing this metric at this time and are you concerned at all that it could slow economic recovery?

Gov. Newsom: (45:34)
Well, we introduced the construct of the metric when we put out the tiered status. In fact, it was part of the original presentation, the original announcement. So it’s not particularly new. But I would just say this, if you believe in growth and you don’t believe in inclusion, then we’re going to leave a lot of people behind. And one of the things we value as a state is inclusion. And we believe that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. Leaving communities behind in order to gain your testing and your case rates, I don’t think is right. And so our approach is about making sure that we are doing justice to our diverse communities and that we’re not just gaming a system to paint a much more rosy picture that may be for some but not all members of a community, particularly a specific county.

Gov. Newsom: (46:22)
Now, as it relates to your specific frame, that some counties are concerned, you’ll hear tomorrow. Dr. Ghaly will come out with the new updates on the tiered status and the movement. And our broad strokes belief thing looks to be in this frame. Meaning the equity measure, interestingly, may help advance the cause of reopening in some states because some counties are actually doing more in that respect and that’s being counted in to their capacity to move more expeditiously through the tier. So in fact, it may be something that advantages an economic opening, but does so in a way that brings more people to light and more inclusion to bear. And so we believe that at core value and we believe this framework is an appropriate one.

Speaker 2: (47:13)
Jeremy White, POLITICO.

Jeremy White: (47:16)
Hey governor, thanks for taking my question. Going to ask the thing that I think is on everyone’s mind which is who you are picking to get to the World Series this year? Just kidding. As you noted, ballots have gone out around state today. I know you’ve been busy with bill signings and budget stuff. But I’m curious to know, can we expect to see you hitting the trail for ballot initiatives you’ve endorsed or for congressional candidates or the president in the coming weeks?

Gov. Newsom: (47:40)
While I appreciate that question and it’s one that a number of people have asked me and we just haven’t made the determination. So I think you framed it and I appreciate you framing it as you did, as it relates to what we’ve had to address in terms of bill signing. Some of these wildfires addressing, trying to get the stability, addressing the issues related to transmission of COVID. So campaigning, politics is not been top of my mind. That said, now that the ballots have dropped, now that we are moving into this final sprint in this last month, I recognize the imperative and importance of that. We’ll make some assessment and determination. But my fundamental responsibility, my top priority is my job governing the state of California, not campaigning for others, to the extent campaigning for causes that impact and benefit the state of California. We certainly look forward to doing more and saying more in that space.

Speaker 2: (48:41)
Final question. Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Hart: (48:46)
Thank you, governor. The president’s positive COVID test has raised some questions about your own COVID testing. Just wanted to ask you, so previously on a few occasions, you’ve said that you did not want to get tested to preserve those tests and then later you were tested which turned out negative. So how many times have you been tested in total and what were the results? Are you regularly tested? And I’m also wondering if you are planning on perhaps changing your thinking about this approach given the president’s positive test?

Gov. Newsom: (49:18)
Yeah, no. We continue to practice what we preach in terms of mask wearing and relating to issues of highly vulnerable events in communities be it visiting prisons or meeting with president himself a few weeks back. Those were appropriate places to be tested, protocols well-established. So we’ll continue to maintain our vigilance. We’ll continue not to send mixed messages as it relates to importance and the imperative of wearing masks or minimize the impact of this disease on people’s health and lives that are lost. And we’ll continue to update people as it relates to the health of our state and the health of this economy. And as it relates to my health, we’ve been tested on multiple occasions, tested negative. And if I was tested positive, I would have the responsibility and you would have the right to know. and that would be forthcoming.

Gov. Newsom: (50:18)
Well with that, let me thank all of you for your responsiveness to this pandemic and the good work that all of you have done. 40 million of us strong that have once again, moved this transmission rates down. I should just note, in closing, that the 2.6%, seven day positivity rate is the lowest we have recorded in this state since April. That’s very encouraging. But again, we’re seeing a plateauing of the rate of decline and we’re seeing parts of the state that continue to struggle are effective and as it relates to the transmission of this disease. And that’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us to be vigilant and maintain the status. All the hard work that you have advanced to continue it so we can get through this, get to a vaccine. Take care everybody.