Bloomberg sees Calif. as model on climate change

Source: By Michael R. Blood, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Michael Bloomberg’s plan for California: Export it.

The Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City mayor likes a lot of what he sees in the Golden State and thinks its efforts on climate change, gun control and criminal justice reform set a benchmark for other states to emulate.

“I think that California can serve as a great example for the rest of this country,” Bloomberg told supporters at the opening of his Los Angeles campaign office.

Yes, there are problems, including homelessness; struggling public schools; and scarce, costly housing. But California “is something the rest of the country looks up to,” Bloomberg said. “California has been a leader in an awful lot of things.”

His comments marked a sharp departure from the views of President Trump, whose administration has been in a long-running feud with the nation’s most populous state over issues from environmental protection to homelessness.

Bloomberg’s visit came as part of a swing through a state that he sees as central to his hopes of winning the White House. After a late entry into the race, Bloomberg is bypassing the first four primary and caucus states and is anchoring his strategy to California and other Super Tuesday states on March 3.

His TV ads have been appearing routinely on television, attempting to connect with voters who might know little or nothing about the billionaire businessman.

With more delegates than any other state, California “has a lot of power in the nominating process,” Bloomberg noted.

His remarks veered from occasional jokes — he lamented that LA has two strong basketball teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, while the hapless New York Knicks have struggled for decades — to searing attacks on Trump’s leadership style and decisionmaking.

Among the crowd was LA investor Mike Connolly, who said he feared the Democratic Party was drifting too far to the political left and was drawn to Bloomberg’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal blueprint.

“He’s got the right policies” for most Americans on critical issues like gun violence and climate change, said Connolly, an independent who voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Campaign offices are typically drab affairs located in old storefronts or shopworn, budget-rate offices. But Bloomberg’s virtually unlimited budget was on display — his cavernous office was in trendy downtown, its interior accented with industrial chic decor and lush plantings.