Newsom relied on Dodgers, donor-driven foundation for splashy state speech

California Governor Gavin Newsom will hold his address for the state at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. | Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

OAKLAND – Governor Gavin Newsom drew on $ 80,000 from a donor-affiliated foundation and free use of Dodger Stadium to deliver a lively state of the state speech this week that defended against an increasing recall.

The Democratic governor resigned from the convention by delivering his annual address not to elected officials in the state capitol but in an empty Dodger Stadium under the light. A Newsom representative said the Dodgers provided the venue – a contribution in kind, the value of which has not yet been established – and that the cost of production was paid for by the California State Protocol Foundation.

The California State Protocol Foundation has previously paid for various official functions for California governors beyond what taxpayers might consider appropriate state spending. It has covered foreign travel for both of them Newsom and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example.

“The Protocol Foundation has long paid for government official functions and ceremonies, such as dignitaries’ receptions, the annual tree lighting ceremony and bill signing,” Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon said in an email.

Newsom’s own charter fund has contributed $ 3.1 million to the foundation as of 2019. The founding fund itself originally relied on substantial contributions from stakeholders. The largest donors each donated $ 200,000, including the California Teachers Association, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, the Pechanga Band of the Luiseño Indians, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and former owner of San Diego Padres, Jennifer Moores.

Blue Shield of California, recently hired by the Newsom Department of Health to oversee vaccine rollouts in California, gave $ 100,000. So do large unions and other tribes.

Newsom’s speech on the state of the state was for many more of a political speech than a policy-specific vision, with high production values ​​including video footage illustrating its topics of conversation. It was widely viewed as the de facto start of Newsom’s efforts to fight back a recall campaign. The governor defended his record on the coronavirus pandemic and forecast better times in the future to preview possible campaign themes.

The governor strengthened this interpretation on Friday tweeted a skillfully produced video showing his speech. “We know this year has not been easy. But hope is there,” wrote Newsom.

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