California voters deserve a real debate between gubernatorial candidates

The state of California is in constant crisis. Whether it’s crime, homelessness, skyrocketing gas prices, fires (wild & homeless), water shortages, the cost of living, clogged and crumbling freeways, or our failed ‘”public” (government) education system, we have a lot of problems that our next governor will, in theory, need to work out.

Which is why it’s so fitting and pathetic that state voters won’t get to see the two competing agendas debated in a forum where people can actually evaluate the arguments.

Get this, California Governor Gavin Newsom has agreed to only one debate with his underdog opponent, Republican nominee and State Senator Brian Dahle — on a public radio station in San Francisco, at one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, at the same time as Major League Baseball play-offs and NFL football.

The only way to get a smaller audience for this debate would be to hold it at a Beto O’Rourke rally…unless, of course, the NFL game were to feature the Detroit Lions.  Nobody wants to watch that.

Newsom had a plan for this debate to get even fewer viewers and listeners, but then CNN+ got canceled.

Paradoxically and coincidentally, at the same time Newsom’s saying that one debate in the witness protection program is all he has time for – when it comes to indulging California voters, he’s challenging Florida Gov. Ron Desantis to a debate….on CNN. Huh?

Newsom tweeted, “Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted and busy playing politics with people’s lives. Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up to debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day @CNN.”

In addition, Newsom has run ads excoriating GOP governors in Florida and Texas, and purchased billboards in seven states advertising that abortion services are available in California.

I guess he figures people aren’t leaving the state fast enough, so let’s go after the unborn.

That’s quite a way to brand a state.

The truth is that Newsom isn’t giving California voters the attention we deserve because he thinks he’s bigger than state politics, and is entirely focused on becoming President of the United States.

It’s not beneficial for him to be seen on camera answering questions from a local reporter who nobody has ever heard of, about the countless problems in California that he hasn’t fixed…or, for that matter, arguing with a farmer from Bieber over water policy.

That makes him look small.

He wants to be on a big network, with professional hair and make-up, slick sets, dynamic lighting, a celebrity moderator and an A-List opponent that will build enough drama to make the event must-see TV.

Basically, Newsom wants a glitzy, big-budget, prime-time audience for his next TV appearance, with all the dignity a presidential campaign requires.

Like NBC’s “The Masked Singer.”

At this point, how can he even attempt to deny his presidential ambitions and keep a straight face?

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Rumor has it, Newsom wanted the debate held in the friendly confines of his own home turf; but the French Laundry is booked for a wedding that day.

Once again, California’s problems will be willfully (and maliciously) ignored by the very people in position to fix them.

I guess if we really want to know what California leaders think about public policy in the Golden State, we’ll have to wait until they have a private meeting at the offices of the LA County Federation of Labor, too.

Until then, we’re on our own.

In Gavin Newsom’s mind, after he survived the recall, a star was born….and he has the ego to prove it.

John Phillips can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. on “The John Phillips Show” on KABC/AM 790.

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