A letter from the Gavster

Newsom is running to the left, his fundraising email shows -- but there's nothing about economic justice

I don’t know why I am on the Gavin Newsom for Governor fundraising email list, but I am, and it’s kind of fun.

Last week, he sent out a “survey,” of sorts, the kind of thing politicians do when they want to pretend that they care what their constituents think. Mostly, they’re a fundraising ploy: Get people to think you really want their opinion, and they might send you some money.  I used to get these surveys in the mail from Rep. Nancy Pelosi; I filled them out, honestly, and sent them back, and then after a while they stopped coming. Probably because I never enclosed a check.

Gavin Newsom seems to be running to the left. Imagine that. Photo by Steve Rhodes

I’ve been a political reporter for more than 35 years. I don’t give money to candidates for elected office.

But the Gavster has my email, which is lovely, and here are some of the questions he asked me:

Which are most important to you (select all that apply)

Making health care accessible to everybody

Investing in infrastructure

Defending women’s rights and supporting Planned Parenthood

Allowing education to be affordable for all

Protecting our planet from the effects of climate change

Keeping families together, not tearing them apart in cruel raids

Social mobility, creating good jobs, and building our economy

Supporting queer, trans and gender non-conforming communities across California

There’s a box for “other.” I added: “Taxing the rich to reduce economic inequality and pay for the services necessary to do all of the above.”


CA is invested in creating sanctuary cities, protecting families, and keeping our promise to DREAMers. But what do you think we can be doing to make California even better for immigrants – either documented or undocumented?

I wrote: Tax the rich to create affordable housing so that immigrants will be able to stay in our communities


Everybody deserves access to a great education, and our team is working every day to make that a reality. Universal pre-K, two years of free community college through the California College Promise program – we can do it all. What do you want me to know about improving our education system in CA?

I wrote: Tax the rich and reform Prop. 13 to pay for quality education for all.


Every single health care plan that Republicans in Congress came up with was a disgrace. At best they were trying to strip 16 million people of their coverage – at worst 32 million. All so the wealthy can receive a tax break. Health care should not be a corporate commodity, but a basic human right. What do you think CA should do to ensure everyone has access to affordable health care?

I wrote: Raise taxes on the richest Californians to pay for a single-payer system.


I’m excited to head into the next phase of this campaign and want to make sure I represent everybody who’s part of this team. If I could only focus on one issue, what would you want it to be?

I wrote: Economic justice, which means income and wealth redistribution and a tax system that doesn’t allow a few people to have billions while others are homeless in the streets. Do the opposite of what you did with Care Not Cash and create a guaranteed annual income.

Then he asked me for $5. Sorry, Gav.

What does all of this mean? For starters, Newsom is focusing on raising money from liberal Democrats (or at least, he is in this email). Maybe there’s another set of “survey” questions sent to more moderate voters. But since the June race is a primary, and after being a relatively conservative, pro-corporate mayor of San Francisco, he is now trying to run to the left.

He may be testing which messages work best.

But I don’t think he is going to either respond to  any of my comments.