Nearly anyone who has watched Governor Gavin Newsom would agree he’s a good public speaker. He often talks about California’s great economy and diversity, and eloquently conveys the bold ideas he believes the state should embrace. He speaks of dreamers, doers and courageous risk-takers.

Sadly, there is a dichotomy between what Gov. Newsom says and what he actually does. 

Looking across that divide, we see that Gavin Newsom’s first year as governor was a disastrous one for far too many Californians.

In summary of his first year – “On the Record with Governor Newsom: One Year of California for All” – he mentions repealing the sales-and-use tax on diapers. What he failed to mention was that he misled the bill’s authors on an important detail he buried inside the bill. 

He originally promised a permanent repeal of the tax, only to change his commitment later to a five-year repeal. The bill’s authors sucked up that change only to find out later that Newsom—without consulting them first—walked things back even further by shortening the tax relief period to only two years.

Words versus actions.

In another example of the governor’s talk-versus-actions issue, his column touted investing $2.75 billion to confront California’s homeless crisis. He says homelessness is a housing problem and that he wants to build more homes. However, he hasn’t acted to fix one of the main problems causing homebuilding in California to be so expensive – the morass of state and local mandates and regulations that builders have to slog through to build anything. Without plugging that sinkhole, you end up with outcomes such as  a 72-unit apartment building for the homeless in Los Angeles that cost a shocking $690,692 per unit to build.

At that cost per unit, the governor’s $2.75 billion would build about 4,000 apartments, and that would be only if every penny goes toward building and nothing else. California has the nation’s highest homeless population; over 130,000; 4,000 apartments won’t even come close to solving homelessness.

Newsom also failed to mention that during his campaign he promised to appoint a cabinet-level “homeless czar” to solve the homeless crisis in California. But after his swearing-in he backed away from the idea and instead chose to create  another committee filled with elected officials. 

And now he’s announced the hiring of Matthew Doherty—a Washington, D.C. based consultant—as a part-time advisor on homelessness. Solving homelessness in California is clearly a job with full-time needs and responsibilities. So, even as Gov. Newsom is writing that he’s “working nonstop to confront the statewide crisis of homelessness,” he’s hiring as part-time consultant as the point man on the issue  who will at the same time juggle a bunch of other clients and responsibilities from over 2,700 miles away.

Nice words, lack of meaningful action.

Additionally, Gov. Newsom has played fast and loose with California’s gas tax dollars. He’s been caught trying to divert gas tax money away from fixing roads and highways and toward building more bike lanes. So much for that lockbox we were all promised. Under Gov. Newsom’s leadership, Californians now pay the highest gas taxes and fuel prices in the nation, higher even than in Hawaii, which has to import gas halfway across the Pacific Ocean.

His column sung of California having its largest rainy day fund in history, yet failed to mention that even with a $22 billion revenue surplus he and his fellow Democrats still felt it necessary to increase the taxes and fees Californians pay. We have one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, the state has a surplus, and still Newsom and his fellow Democrats chose to take actions that increase the cost of living and make California even more unaffordable.

Governor Newsom wrote of “pursuing solutions that work.” Like his decision to limit – and in some cases eliminate – permitting for California’s in-state oil and gas production. Not only are California jobs being jeopardized, but it also means California will have to buy more petroleum from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Latin America and import to California. Is that a solution that works?

Our California governor, who claims to have your back in Sacramento, is the same guy who deceived the public about something so mundane as where he was going to live, approved spending millions of tax dollars for dog parks and garden sculptures, and who signed into law AB 5, which blocks many independent contractors from earning a living in this state. He’s the governor who failed to advance the undergrounding of electrical lines to reduce the risk of wildfires, increased taxes on cell phones, and added tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of building homes.

Gov. Newsom’s column is positive and aspirational. He speaks a good game and talks pretty, but pretty words are not reality – actions are, and his are hurting many Californians.