Capitol Alert

Newsom praises ‘extraordinary’ evacuation effort

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, visiting the evacuation center at the Yolo County Fairgrounds on Monday, praised the cooperation of residents forced from their homes Sunday night.

“I have not experienced something of this magnitude, in terms of the evacuation orders,” Newsom said, as he visited with about 300 evacuees at the center. “Whole towns are evacuated…the preliminary analysis that we got says 85 to 90 percent of the people asked to evacuate actually did. That’s extraordinary.”

Newsom, a candidate for governor in 2018, called on the Trump administration to step up infrastructure repair efforts to assist Californians. He also said state agencies and the Legislature must address longstanding infrastructure needs — a backlog that includes state highways, water systems and bridges.

“The warnings were here as far back as 2005,” Newsom said, speaking of the risk of the Oroville Dam failure. “The Bush Administration rejected the concerns…but state agencies are also culpable.”

Newsom said he has not discussed the Oroville Dam disaster with Gov. Jerry Brown, but he has been in close coordination with the governor’s staff. He said the problems provide California an opportunity to address other infrastructure needs.

“We have been debating how to pay for this stuff for far too long,” he said. “The cost of neglect is too high…elected officials need to be held to account. The people of California demand better from their elected officials…so it’s time we demand results.”

Related stories from Sacramento Bee