California Governor Gavin Newsom pointed to a recent flood of tech IPOs and Google’s forthcoming development project in San Jose as examples of a California comeback, as a recall campaign and complaints from departing residents draw attention to the state’s troubles. Google chief legal officer and global affairs SVP Kent Walker joined local and state officials, including Newsom, as he signed California bill SB7 at an event in San Jose.
The law changes zoning to allow denser housing and speeds up the state’s environmental review process for construction projects, which would include Google’s proposed mega campus in San Jose.
Newsom and officials thanked Walker several times during the event. “Kent, thank you for highlighting this — this bill is about the investment in the state of California,” Newsom said in a press conference in San Jose Thursday. “This bill is about our comeback. This bill is about our renewal.”
“To be here with Google and the incredible private sector investment and the faith and devotion to the future of this city and this region and this state is exactly where we want to be and it’s why we are here,” Newsom said, adding that he opted to “celebrate” in-person instead of with a Zoom call originally scheduled for Friday.
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The law comes as critics say the state is losing its grip on tech thanks to high housing costs and poor governance, which were exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic. The state has also seen an increasingly hostile climate with wildfires and drought. A recall effort against Newsom recently collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the voter ballot.
When the press asked him about Californians migrating out of state, Newsom pointed to the tech industry, IPOs, Google, and the high density of engineers, researchers, and scientists.