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Newsom: State out of synch with tech

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POSTED May 10, 2015 8:32 p.m.

CORONADO  — Technology has changed the world significantly and quickly in recent years but the state and national governments are unable to adapt to the ramifications of this revolution, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told a gathering of California newspaper executives Friday.

“What world are we living in? That is the question that we don’t answer in Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” Newsom said.

Speaking at the annual conference of the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association to representatives of an industry that has been jolted by technological change for more than a decade, Newsom said that Sacramento’s short-term interests have gotten in the way of long-term interests for the state.

He said that state officials have done a good job of coming to terms with California’s financial problems but lack a “plan for greatness” to meet the future.

Newsom, who announced plans earlier this year to run for governor in 2018, said the state offers “industrial age” solutions to new problems.

“The industrial economy has run out of gas,” Newsom said. He cited the fact that the most successful businesses today such as Facebook, Uber driver service or Airbnb lodging company are concept-driven businesses that don’t own any products. He referred to it as “platform thinking” rather than “machine thinking.” These types of businesses have caused disruption throughout traditional industries in the economy, he said.

Newsom lamented that California has lost its economic clout in the country as a whole going from 3.7 percent of all job creation in the U.S. from 1950-1980 to 1.1 percent from 1980-2010.

“We have to step up our game,” he said.

Openness and transparency in government is crucial to meet challenges as the world and economy changes, he added.

Many good ideas are coming at the local level, Newsom said.

“It’s not Sacramento selling its vision, it’s the regions rising together,” he said.

In a question and answer session with the newspaper executives, Newsom reiterated his opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s high-speed rail plan.

“I can’t in good conscience support it,” he said adding that the state has other more important infrastructure needs to attend to.

Newsom said that the high-speed rail plan that was originally proposed is now more costly with slower train speeds planned and lower ridership expected.

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