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California Today: A Finance Man in the Race for Governor – The … – New York Times


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John Chiang, California’s treasurer, is running for governor.

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Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Good morning.

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John Chiang, California’s bespectacled treasurer, is a finance man.

His two decades in public office have been all taxes, budgets, bonds and pensions.

It’s a resume that Mr. Chiang, a Democrat, hopes will persuade voters that he is the governor California needs as it wrestles with a housing crisis and gaping income equality.

He’ll need to outshine two bold-name rivals in the 2018 race: Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor, and Antonio Villaraigosa, a former mayor of Los Angeles.

Mr. Chiang, 55, grew up in a suburb of Chicago, the son of immigrants from Taiwan.

He studied finance at the University of South Florida and law at Georgetown University, before relocating to the Los Angeles area in 1987, where he lives today.

Since then, he has climbed methodically up the ranks of state politics, from political staffer to tax official to controller to treasurer.

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Still, Mr. Chiang is not widely known. (On that note, it’s pronounced Chung).

To remedy that he embarked this summer, camper in tow, on a yearlong tour of all 58 California counties.

We caught up with Mr. Chiang by phone. Some excerpts:

Q. How do you see California’s role under the Trump administration?

A. Well, California will have to continue to lead. One of my campaign themes is that we will take a different road. We’re not going to take a road to the past. We’re not going to go back to the divisions, the arguments about who is important. We recognize that our diversity is part of our fabric.

What distinguishes you Newsom and Villaraigosa?

If you look at the record, who’s getting it done. We get the job done.

During the last financial crisis, I was the Democrat who challenged the governor, who challenged the Legislature when they were passing unbalanced budgets.

Or today, challenging President Trump when he talks about reducing access to health care. We supported budget change language so that we could protect community clinics that serve one in every seven Californians.

Are Asian-Americans underrepresented in California politics?

I think in a lot of local communities they are. Part of this is like the maturation of many communities. Individuals come to this country and at the beginning they’re trying to build stability in their lives. So I think the focus is on “How do I get to work?” or “How do I even get work?”

How do you describe your style?

Friendly and effective.

What’s your biggest professional regret?

Can I give a personal regret?

Sure.

My dad did all the right things. He was an immigrant, and I wish before he passed away that he didn’t have to undergo all the stress that he did, whether it’s bigotry, whether it’s health issues, whether it’s economic issues. Good, hard-working middle class people just face life’s struggles. So when you have good people, you just wish that life could be easier.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

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A homeless man in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood.

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Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

• As San Diego grapples with a hepatitis A outbreak, the mayor announced a plan to house the homeless in large industrial tents. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Anaheim declared a public health and safety emergency over its growing homeless crisis. [Orange County Register]

• Five Marines were in critical condition after an amphibious assault vehicle caught fire at Camp Pendleton. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Ben Shapiro speaking at an event in Pasadena in August.

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Colin Young-Wolff/Invision, via Associated Press

• U.C. Berkeley is bracing for a speech by Ben Shapiro. He supports small government, religious liberty and free-market economics. That makes him a “fascist.” [Opinion | The New York Times]

• Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen K. Bannon are also set to visit Berkeley. Faculty members are calling for a boycott of classes. [Daily Californian]

• The Los Angeles school board president was charged with multiple felonies in connection with donations to his campaign. [Los Angeles Times]

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“I’m beginning to learn to live with imperfection,” said Todd Marinovich, who entered the national spotlight as a high school standout and later encountered addiction problems.

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Michael Ares for The New York Times

Todd Marinovich, the former U.S.C. star, is playing football again — at age 48. This month, he played his first game since age 15 that he claims was not in the midst of drug or alcohol use. [The New York Times]

• After decades of trying to move out of their dilapidated stadium, the Oakland Athletics announced plans for a new one near a community college. Now they have to convince the neighborhood. [East Bay Times]

• “I never expect to be the one that everybody understands or likes,” Angelina Jolie said. “And that’s O.K., because I know who I am, and the kids know who I am.” [The New York Times]

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Festival goers commonly get around by bike at Burning Man, held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

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Jim Urquhart/Reuters

• One of Burning Man’s principles is “leave no trace.” Yet thousands of bicycles were abandoned after the arts festival in the Nevada desert. [SF Weekly]

• “The house I bought for $130,000 in 1983 is now worth a fortune, and that’s a big problem for California.” [Opinion | Los Angeles Times]

• A house in Sunnyvale sold for $782,000 more than the asking price. [The Mercury News]

And Finally …

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The marquee at Town & Country Hotel in San Diego has been turned over to whimsy.

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Haley Asturias

The Town & Country Hotel in San Diego has been using its marquee lately for messages that have nothing to do with selling rooms.

They’ve included:

• “Welcome archery conference. Free ear piercing.”

• “There’s no way everybody was kung fu fighting.”

• “Cat puns freak meowt. I am not kitten.”

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Credit
Haley Asturias

Stephanie Hinckley, the hotel’s marketing director, said they adopted the whimsical approach back in the spring.

“We had used that marquee for years as just, ‘Hey, we’ve got this great special in the restaurant,’ or ‘We’ve got this excellent room rate.’” she said. “And we thought, ‘We’re kind of missing the boat and we’re not having much fun as we could.’”

The marquee, visible from nearby Interstate 8, has presumably been eliciting chuckles from passing motorists. Pictures of the messages have been popping up on social media.

The latest actually sounds like fun: “Hokey pokey convention. Come in and turn yourself around.”

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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California Today: A Finance Man in the Race for Governor – The … – New York Times}

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