How To Differentiate California’s Gubernatorial Candidates

John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa are running to succeed Governor Jerry Brown. Little separates them on the environment, LGBTQ rights, immigration and Trump. Four other matters are likely to separate them, with big consequences for citizens. Before contributing, donors should learn what really differentiates the candidates.

  1. K-12. California’s K-12 system is a state-operated enterprise with six million students, 300,000 teachers, and $90 billion in annual spending. The governor and legislature write the statutes governing teacher tenure and dismissal, accountability, charters and more. Every candidate will say they support public schools but donors should look for clues as to what they’ll really do. Learn about the candidate’s relationship with the government employee unions that capture most of that $90 billion per year, where the candidate stood on the Vergara case, and whether he or she endorsed pro- or anti- education reform candidates for the legislature.

2. Healthcare. Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid) is a single-payer system that will pay healthcare providers $103 billion this year. Now covering 14 million Californians, Medi-Cal service is spotty and slow, accountability is rare, and fast spending growth is crowding out UC, CSU and more. Learn if candidates are backed by the hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, doctors and nurses collecting that $103 billion.

3. The governor negotiates compensation with >200,000 employees. State employees will collect $18 billion in salary this year. Corrections employees alone will capture nearly $5 billion in salary, $1.5 billion more than UC or CSU. Find out about the candidate’s relationship with the employees collecting that compensation.

4. The governor proposes spending on UC, CSU, parks, social services and courts. Every candidate will say they support UC, CSU, parks, social services (DSS) and courts but spending on those programs is being crowded out by fast-growing spending on government employees and healthcare corporations. Keep an eye out for candidates supported by the corporations, associations and unions benefiting from that fast-growing spending.

Political philanthropists have a duty to be informed.

While most political philanthropists may not send their own kids to public schools, colleges or universities, use public health services, ride public transportation or rely on wages derived from California’s in-state economic growth, the vast majority of their fellow Californians do. Governors have an enormous impact on their lives. Political philanthropists have a duty to be informed before contributing to candidates.