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Gov. Newsom’s DMV Strike Team Struck Out; DMV System Crashes During Gov’s Press Conference

‘Gov. dressed up the old failing DMV in new clothes and tried to convince us it was new’

By Katy Grimes, July 23, 2019 3:59 pm

Click play for audio version of this story

‘Customers have not been altogether satisfied.’ ~Steve Gordon, new California DMV director

 

“Governor Newsom dressed up the old failing DMV in new clothes and tried to convince us it was new,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said in an interview Tuesday. “The Governor’s DMV strike team struck out!”

At a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “Today marks an important step forward for the DMV. This is about deep systems change and creating a DMV culture that puts customer experience first.” However, while Gov. Newsom was speaking about making changes for the better, the entire DMV system crashed. Again.

Understatement of the Year

“Customers have not been altogether satisfied,” said Steve Gordon, Newsom’s new DMV director, at the press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

“After all of the hoopla and hype, what did the Governor really say today?” Patterson asked. “He said it’s going to get worse, and there’s not a lot we can do about the failing DMV right now.” Any serious change to the DMV will take place in five years, Patterson said of the Governor’s statement. “The Governor is making excuses for the old DMV instead of reimagining a new one,” Patterson said. “I was hoping he’d eave behind the smug smirking politician and tap into his entrepreneurial and business side.”

Patterson was critical of California’s ruling Party. “California’s politicians, particularly the ruling Party, like to pat themselves on the back and say ‘we are leading the way,'” Patterson said. “We are home to Silicon Valley, and are the fifth largest economy in the world. And while the governor was at that presser, the DMV system crashed!”

Gov. Newsom’s strike team provided a  report which Newsom said “outlines significant progress that has already been made at the DMV.” First on the list was, “Overall wait times for DMV customers have decreased by 58 minutes from August 2018 to May 2019 in the DMV’s largest offices.”

Last August, I wrote, “News outlets throughout the state have written about 4, 6, and even 8+ hour waits since the January implementation of the DMV’s Real ID program.” A 58 minute wait-time reduction is a start, but nothing to get excited about when people are waiting six and eight hours to renew a drivers license.

Patterson has been behind the huge push to authorize the California State Auditor Elaine Howle to dig into the DMV, expose what is wrong with the decrepit agency, and provide a roadmap to efficiency. However, at every turn, Patterson and those supportive of a state audit, say they’e been thwarted by the SEIU labor union. For two years in a row, his bipartisan audit request was voted down by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

California State lawmakers appear more and more like members of the Stalinist-era political elite in Eastern Europe, which enjoyed a gratuitous level of luxury, power and privilege. Our lawmakers certainly are, as they snub requests for any government accountability. There is a tiny, unmarked DMV office buried deep inside of the Legislative Office Building across the street from the Capitol, devoted to serving the Legislature and its staff. And it is not open to the public.

In January we learned that DMV and county voter registrars told the California Secretary of State last year the motor Voter program was not ready. Motor Voter automatically registers voters when they renew or obtain a drivers license. The DMV and registrars asked Secretary of State Alex Padilla to hold off on the roll-out. California moved forward anyway.

Remember the massive DMV computer programming error, which resulted in thousands of customers who renewed their licenses as soon as they received a notice in the mail, actually received no license at all? customers impacted had already paid their driver’s license renewal fees online or by mail between November 2018 and January 2019, their checks were cashed, yet they never received their license. Some customers, after being accused of forging DMV receipts, even made duplicate payments hoping to get their license.

Patterson said he sent Gov. Newsom three suggestions with respect to the “strike team” Newsom created in January to deal with the DMV issues:

  1. Technology: Patterson again said the DMV technology needs to be “Amazon-like” in its customer service focus, and attention to quickly fixing problems.
  2. The culture of customer service, or lack thereof
  3. Decentralization: Patterson said DMV services need to be at many locations, the way AAA offers at its locations.

Instead, at his press conference today, Gov. Newsom told California drivers to “get used to it,” and that it would be five years before any serious changes take place at the DMV.

Last year when the audit request hearing failed after two hours of debate, “Democratic Sens. Ben Allen of Santa Monica, Jim Beall of San Jose and Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens failed to support the request,” VC Star reported. “Beall said after the hearing that the audit would be burdensome and unnecessary.”

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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5 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom’s DMV Strike Team Struck Out; DMV System Crashes During Gov’s Press Conference

  1. The near by state I moved to recently to escape kalyfornia has excellent DMV services.. it took about 73 minutes.. all together, for me to take my drivers’ test, get the plates & registration and be out the door. What a difference from the Kaly DMV disaster.. 6 hr’s and I had to come back the next day with another piece of paper. The DMV here, holds your place in line if you can be back in under 30 minutes Pretty Boy is a walking disaster for kaly’s..

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