By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
TORRANCE — As part of his bus tour in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi at his Torrance campaign headquarters on Sept. 11.
Both Democrats are on the November ballot. Newsom is vying with Republican businessman John Cox to succeed Jerry Brown as governor, while Muratsuchi’s re-election bid is being challenged by Republican Frank Scotto, a former mayor of Torrance.
Newsom, accompanied by his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, was traveling the state last week aboard his “Blue California” bus, campaigning with six Democratic challengers in top “red-to-blue” congressional districts who are part of the fight to win back the House and 15 candidates in close Assembly and State Senate races.
His itinerary that day also included appearances in Seal Beach with Assembly candidate Josh Lowenthal and State Senate candidate Tom Umberg, and in Costa Mesa with Assembly candidate Cottie Petrie-Norris.
Muratsuchi began by commemorating the anniversary of 9/11, “when our country changed. I just want to take a quick moment to remember all the lives that were lost 17 years ago, remembering and honoring all of our first responders … our police, our firefighters who went into harm’s way to save lives. And we want to also remember how our country came together after 9/11 to unite, to heal and to rebuild as Americans.
“We all came together as Americans 17 years ago … and that’s what we need to do. That’s why we are all gathered here today, to come together, not just to heal, not just rebuild, but to take our country back.”
Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, acknowledged the South Bay government officials present. “Mayors are in the ‘how’ business, right? A lot of us are in the ‘what’ and ‘why’ business, but the practical application is always felt locally, so the city council members, the mayors … assemblymembers, state senators, school board members are where those ideals manifest through the application and implementation. And at the end of the day, it’s the way that I see the world — not top-down but bottom-up …
“Remarkable things are happening at the local level all throughout not just this state, but I would argue all throughout the rest of the country.”
Local officials in attendance included Torrance Mayor Pat Furey, Torrance City Councilmember Tim Goodrich, Torrance Unified School District Board of Education member Terry Ragins, Lomita Mayor Mike Savidan, Redondo Beach Councilmembers Christian Horvath and John Gran, Manhattan Beach Councilmembers Amy Howorth and Nancy Hersman, Palos Verdes Estates Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Kao, Palos Verdes Library District Trustee Kay Cooperman Jue, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Vice Chair Sergio Carillo, and California Democratic Party API Caucus Chair Melissa Ramoso.
Newsom said of Southern California, “We are standing in one of the most diverse regions in the most diverse state. California in the world’s most diverse democracy, the United States of America, and it’s a point of pride and a point of privilege that the world looks to us … It’s possible to live together, advance together and more importantly right now, prosper together across every conceivable and imaginable difference. What makes us great here in Southern California is that at our best, we don’t tolerate that diversity. At our best, we celebrate that diversity.”
Stressing the importance of addressing homelessness, Newsom said, “We’ve been all over the state … spending a lot of time on one issue, disproportionately. That’s the issue of homelessness, the ultimate manifestation of our failure — 134,000 people on the streets and sidewalks in the state of California, a quarter of the nation’s homeless …
“I say this lovingly and not to indict, but just to enlighten. It’s happening on our watch. We own that. We all own that. Someone said to me the other day, ‘I’m stuck in traffic.’ I said, ‘You’re not stuck in traffic. You are traffic’ … We are part of our broken system, but we’re also the antidote to that, and that’s the spirit and emphasis that I want to focus on.”
Muratsuchi is “someone who rises up, gets knocked down, rises back up,” Newsom said, referring to the fact that the assemblyman was elected, lost his seat and won it back in the last three elections. “That’s determination, that’s heart, that’s leadership. Someone who doesn’t give up, doesn’t turn his back on folks. Someone who has been a champion, not just to this district, but this state. Someone who cares deeply about the fate and future not just of California but the rest of the country because he recognizes … that we have a responsibility in this state to lead a new conversation across America, not just to resist Trump and Trumpism — though we will resist.”
Newsom praised Muratsuchi for opposing offshore drilling and supporting California’s push for renewable energy.
On the latter point, Newsom said, “I like audacious goals … Folks said California could never get to 20 percent renewables, let alone 33. Then they said we can’t get to 50 percent. Now they’re all saying you’ll never get to 100 percent … How often do we have to prove folks wrong? …
“I love to say to my kids, once a mind is stretched, it never goes back to its original form. That’s California, its limitless notion of possibility, a state of dreamers and doers, entrepreneurs and innovators … priding ourselves on being on the cutting edge of new ideas. So I’m here in that spirit … to make sure we continue the extraordinary progress of the last few years.”
Muratsuchi is a co-author of SB 100, a bill that would require all retail electricity to be generated from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources by 2045.
“California is leading the way,” Muratsuchi said. “We are not only growing the economy and creating jobs faster than the rest of the country, but we’re doing it while we’re leading the fight against climate change. Yes, President Trump, it can be done.”
Newsom described Muratsuchi as a legislator who has “gone to Sacramento with that sense of idealism, but also hard-headed pragmatism … We have to celebrate and invest in leaders like this, and that’s why I’m here. Fifty-six days out before the election, not just for governor, but for the future of the state as it relates to leaders in the Assembly, leaders in our State Senate and congressional leaders as well …
“It’s critical that he comes back. It’s critical that he continues to do the good work that he’s been doing. It’s critical that he continues to advance the cause … Thank you for supporting him, thank you for investing in him, thank you for investing in your state, and … thanks for investing in yourself. I don’t think you’d be here unless you recognized … what he represents to you as a conduit, as someone who will represent your interests and be there when you need him the most.”
Newsom closed with a warning: “Don’t run the 90-yard dash. You got him this far. He’s this close. Don’t take the next 56 days for granted. Don’t wake up the day after the election, turn on your smartphone, read the morning headlines and go ‘Jeez, if I’d just knocked on one more door … I only sent to folks out on my Twitter feed. I should have sent to my friends on Facebook’ … Don’t dream of regretting …
“I know we say it’s the most important election of our lifetime even when it’s not, but this **is** the most important election of our lifetime. So let’s win this thing.”
Muratsuchi echoed that sentiment: “Now is the time for all of us to get off the couch and get out of our homes and start working. We can’t stand on the sidelines while we see the insanity that’s happening in our country right now. We need to stand up …
“I want to keep on fighting for the South Bay, to keep fighting for California values, to fight back against Trump and to save our planet Earth.”