Governor Newsom Slammed for Bragging About Tourism As State Crises Loom

By: Alex Trent | Published: May 08, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom seems to be unable to escape criticism for the state’s problems no matter what he posts on social media.

After making a post on X celebrating record California tourism, he was bombarded with pushback from residents bringing up the recent influx of migrants into the state and other problems that have also been setting records.

Newsom’s Post

Newsom recorded a short video standing on top of the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday to share the news of California’s tourism numbers.

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Gavin Newsom stands on top of the Golden Gate Bridge while wearing sunglasses.

Source: Gavin Newsom/X

“We couldn’t be more proud to announce today record-breaking tourism numbers in the state of California, over $150 billion on tourism spent, unprecedented in our state’s history,” Newsom said with the full view of the bridge below him.

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Boosting the Economy

Newsom’s office also released a statement on Sunday touting the attractiveness of the Golden State and boasting about record numbers.

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Governor Gavin Newsom dressed in a blue suit with a white shirt, smiling and looking to the side, with a blurred background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“From our world-renowned coastline, to the world’s tallest trees, to our iconic cities and theme parks, California is the nation’s coming attraction. Visitors from all over the world are coming here to experience the wonder of the Golden State, boosting our economy and creating good-paying jobs for years to come,” Newsom said.

Disagreeing on the Math

Senate Minority Leader for California Brian Jones disagreed with how the math is being calculated for these tourism numbers.

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Sunset view of a coastal resort with palm trees, a series of beachfront buildings, and a rugged cliff overlooking a serene beach

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Newsom touts a record-breaking $150.4 billion in tourism spending for 2023, supposedly surpassing the pre-pandemic figure of $144.9 billion in 2019. However, when adjusted for inflation, tourism spending would have to be a staggering $173 billion to beat the 2019 number,” Jones said.

Are They Tourists?

In response to the video from Newsom, many commenters brought up the recent influx of migrants, questioning if these tourism numbers are actually helping California.

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The Golden Gate bridge in California.

Pixabay/Pexels

“Hate to break it to you Gavin, but all those illegal aliens sneaking into California right now aren’t tourists!” one X user wrote.

Gas Prices

Several users also brought up recent gas price surges observed in some areas.

A Chevron gas station displaying a price for regular gas at $7.29 per gallon.

Source: @scottbudman/X

“Other things are hitting all time highs,” one user wrote while also posting a picture of a Menlo Park Chevron gas station that showed the regular price of gas as $7.09 per gallon. Chevron made viral rounds on social media after a post showed a price spike of $7.29 per gallon.

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Homeless Encampments

Newsom was hit from every side and with the ongoing crises many residents are frustrated about.

A homeless camp seen in San Jose, California.

Source: Викидим/Wikimedia

“@GavinNewsom  is so proud of California tourism. Be sure to stop and visit beautiful Los Angeles,” wrote another user as they posted a video of homeless encampments and fires burning on the street.

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Too Expensive

Other users focused their criticism on a perceived rise of prices  in the state.

A person pulling out American dollars from their wallet

Source: Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

“i would think california tourism would go something like this 1) omg i’ve heard california is so amazing let’s go 2) oh wow actually this place is stupidly expensive and seems to be run by incompetent idiots and there’s so many bums in every major city what an overrated dump,” said an X user.

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Prices Increasing in California

According to a March report from Calmatters, this attitude about California prices is not unfounded.

A modern McDonald’s building with a car parked out front seen in California.

Source: TaurusEmerald/Wikimedia Commons

The LAO estimates that prices have grown about 20% since 2020, a number which is based on the consumer price index. The report also found that inflation is slowing down, but prices in California have still been rising more than the country on average.

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Drug Tourism

X user Mark Fabela attributes the rise in tourism to people coming to seek drugs.

Vials containing blood for drug testing.

Source: Testalize Me/Unsplash

To make his point, he posted an Axios data map that shows California leading the US in the percentage of unsheltered homeless people. In March, the Los Angeles Times reported that nearly half of San Francisco drug users in the city are visitors not native to the area.

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California Leading Homelessness

In December, the Guardian reported that California is leading the country in youth homelessness, with the largest number of unaccompanied youth in the United States.

A homeless person's tent on the street in downtown Los Angeles.

Source: Levi Meir Clancy/Unsplash

Debate rages over the causes of California having so many unhoused people, with some blaming the affordability of housing, while others looking at the influx of migrants into the state taking up space in shelters.

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Migrant Surge

After tougher border security went up on the Texas part of the US southern border, many migrants switched their plans to route their journey towards California’s border.

A view from behind a group of migrants walking through a corridor, carrying various bags and personal items

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Recently, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors in San Diego County Nora Vargas said that 80,000 migrants have arrived through San Diego County alone since May 2023.

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