Capitol Alert

Gavin Newsom meets with Capitol press, makes no news

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom takes a moment after speaking at the California delegation breakfast in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom takes a moment after speaking at the California delegation breakfast in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom often advertises that he favors candor over coyness.

Meeting with reporters Wednesday in Sacramento, he was upfront about his motives: “My goal today is to make absolutely no news.”

He largely succeeded.

Newsom used his prepared remarks to the Sacramento Press Club luncheon to pitch his initiatives, gun control and marijuana legalization.

He didn’t diverge from his previous skepticism over high-speed rail funding, though he did give more deference to Gov. Jerry Brown if the state can come up with the money. Newsom also retained his neutrality toward the governor’s proposed $15.5 billion pair of massive tunnels under the Delta.

He promised to soon unveil a plan that would double spending on roads and infrastructure, but refused to weigh in on fellow gubernatorial candidate John Chiang, the state treasurer, as well as the potential bids of billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Newsom, who polls have shown is the best known of the group, said he still has a ways to go to introduce himself to voters.

After a wonky Q&A, Newsom was asked about the only two statewide measures out of 17 that he has not taken a position on, Proposition 60, which requires condoms to be worn on pornography shoots, and Proposition 61, which deals with prescription drug pricing. Both are sponsored by Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation led by Michael Weinstein.

“I haven’t focused on them,” Newsom said, adding, “I can tell you about plastic bags and the death penalty. At least I have a position on 15 things, right?”

Did he want to weigh in on word that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León was briefly considered as Hillary Clinton’s running mate?

No.

He did, however, have a message for the Sutter Brown, the governor’s cancer-stricken pooch.

“Ruff,” said Newsom, who has four dogs in his family. “That was ‘Get well soon.’”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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