Monday, October 8, 2018

John Cox and Gavin Newsom Debate, Disagree on ... Pretty Much Everything

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 4:58 PM

click to enlarge John Cox (left) and Gavin Newsom. - BEN CHRISTOPHER
  • Ben Christopher
  • John Cox (left) and Gavin Newsom.
The two men competing to be the next governor of California met for their first (and, alas, probably only) one-on-one stand-off today.

If you didn’t see it, that’s because the showdown—which was structured more as a spirited conversation than your standard dueling podiums-style debate—was on the radio, hosted by political reporter Scott Shafer, out of the San Francisco-based station KQED.

And if you didn’t hear it, that’s because it was on a Monday.

At 10 a.m.

On a federal holiday.

It’s a low-profile treatment for what may be the sole opportunity many voters have to evaluate the two candidates vying to become the next leader of the fifth largest economy on earth. But then again, few voters will have a difficult time distinguishing Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a liberal Democrat and former mayor of San Francisco, from John Cox, a conservative Republican with the backing of President Trump.

On housing, both candidates agreed that a shortage of production was to blame, but they offered very different solutions. Newsom argued that local governments often exert too much influence blocking production. "There's a certain point where the state of California needs to intervene."

Cox disagreed, arguing that the focus needs to be on reducing the cost of adding new units by cutting state environmental regulations.

The debate over housing quickly turned feisty as Newsom pointed to a number of his proposed solutions, including boosting the state's low-income housing tax credit and allowing local governments to skim property tax revenue for affordable housing, and said that his opponent, Cox, offers only “an illusory strategy where he criticizes and identifies problems” but offers no substantive fixes.

Cox countered that all of Newsom’s solutions rely on “more government.”

Despite Cox's best efforts to keep the conversation focused on bread-and-butter economic issues and his history of "fighting against the establishment," Shafer asked about his views on gay marriage. In 2007, Cox said that allowing same-sex couples to marry would "open the floodgates to polygamy and bestiality."

“I’ve evolved on those issues … just like Barack Obama,” said Cox.

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