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Opinion: The Emperor Has No Vaccines!



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Governor Newsom showed up Wednesday for a dog-and-pony show at the Fresno Fairgrounds. In his entourage was a gaggle of sycophants gathered under the twin banners of increasing vaccination and “unity.”

Serving as props for the governor’s photo-op were elected leaders who took turns bemoaning the lack of vaccines and otherwise striving to appear mentally engaged while standing at attention for the entire duration of Jim Costa’s introduction of the governor. This wasn’t especially easy because the congressman’s intro was replete with all of the great things he has done since the beginning of time and also a few of the governor’s.

Steven Brandau


Also gathered were the press and protesters. The press began by asking tough questions which were quickly dismissed with slight puffs of hot air and the waving of hands from the governor. Next the press moved seamlessly into line for a potential “selfie” with the Governor.

The protesters yelling “Recall Newsom” were harder to dismiss as they were loud enough to filter into the live feed. The yelling in the background added a touch of comic relief to Mayor Dyer’s call for unity. Of course, the Fresno City Council is exempt from any such call as one cannot think of a more divisive body in all the earth.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula is another who gave an eye-roll to Dyer’s call for unity. In the spring of last year the assemblyman repeatedly threw bombs at the Board of Supervisors for six weeks before abruptly going on an eight-month vacation with the rest of the state Legislature. Finally back, he talked openly Wednesday about being a single raindrop in a sea of raindrops. Two hundred yards away the sea of raindrops in line for vaccines were unimpressed.

Working from a Script

The local leaders taking place in the press conference wandered arm in arm over to the podium where they promptly remembered social distancing. The only one speaking directly from the heart was Supervisor Pacheco, who lauded the county’s pilot program for vaccinations of farm labor. Everybody else played their role in the governor’s Save-My-Job campaign and received an elbow bump and generous smile from the governor.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Jerry Dyer elbow-bump after Wednesday’s news conference. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

This could have gone much better for the people of Fresno County and state if the governor had it within himself to say, “I’m sorry I botched the vaccine rollout. I’ve created a problem that we are scrambling to fix.”

That level of sincerity is what is needed in order to gain support moving forward. Without it you only have the people on your payroll or those whom believe you are saving the world like that Scandinavian kid who put his finger in the hole of a dam.

Oh … and the selfie-seekers. You still have them. When you surround yourself with butt-kissers and wild-eyed thirty-somethings, well, the game is quite over before it starts.

The governor might have come into town and shown us he understood. The first question the press asked was whether the 19,000 vaccines pledged Tuesday were something we could count on or if it was just a part of the press conference props?

The governor relaxed, obfuscated, answered a different question of his own creation and repeated himself like a man talking to small children. He could have been straight with us. But there has really been nothing remotely transparent from the beginning of the pandemic.

Topics Governor Should Have Covered

I could go on about the pandemic ad-infinitum but instead let me offer a couple subjects the governor might have broached in his hour and a half at the fairgrounds. He could have also talked about affordable housing for a moment. Currently he has ordered 3.5 million new homes with a speech from the left corner of his mouth while creating policy with the right corner that makes it entirely impossible to build a smidgeon of that number. This includes a Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) component that adds thousands to the cost and therefore price of each home.

In Fresno County’s 6,000 square miles it is ludicrous to think that people are going to live next door to their work and should be beaten if they don’t. Newsom seems dense as we try to tell him over and over that we aren’t San Francisco. The human flight from San Francisco alone should tell its former mayor that people don’t want to be in mass transit and get on elevators.

Homelessness is also another largely California-centric failure that has been the result of too many focus groups. There seems to be a belief among the governor’s intelligentsia that money either grows on trees or can be eternally squeezed from hard-working people. The staggering annual amounts spent on feel-good programs for the homeless might be bearable if they seemed to work.

What about taking people off the 45-degree incline on the side of the freeway and placing them in mental facilities where these poor souls could be overseen by professionals and taken care of properly? I’ve heard this solution offered by small children.

As darkness fell I parked in front of Walmart to grab some spinach leaves and chicken breast. Walking in I paused at the Recall Newsom table and saw the ink-filled paper. Did I sign the petition? What do YOU think?