One meal certainly is not an offense worthy of being removed from office as opposed to, for instance, inciting an insurrection.
People who signed petitions to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom can still come to their senses and withdraw their signatures. More than 1.6 million verified Californians have put pen to petition paper, but a recall is not yet on the calendar. During a 30-day period, which ends on June 8, people may have their signatures removed. If enough people take the time before that date to think and realize this exercise is an unnecessary waste of California’s resources, they can stop the recall election by withdrawing their signatures on the recall petitions.
Why should Californians who signed consider withdrawing their signatures from the recall petition? One reason is the cost. This election is predicted to cost $400 million, although there is no consensus on whether the counties or state will have to foot the bill. If you signed the petition to recall the governor, please take some time to consider what you believe California needs to improve and if your goals can actually be achieved by spending $400 million to remove the governor and replace him with one of the potential candidates?
Also, the effort to recall Newsom is not popular with most Californians. According to a recent poll, 49% of Californians oppose the recall while only 36% support this costly election. So what are the reasons that proponents (mostly Republicans) have for wanting to spend an exorbitant amount of money in an unpopular attempt to replace Newsom?
Many business owners objected to the early, lengthy lockdowns. There is no denying that many small businesses suffered from being forced to close for extended periods of time without compensation, while large businesses unfairly snatched up COVID relief funds. And there is no denying that the stay-at-home orders saved lives. Covid-19 surges in California, with overflowing hospitals and increasing deaths can, in part, be traced to the relaxing of these orders. But as usual, the right prioritizes dollars over lives.
Another motivator for the recall effort is Newsom’s infamous unmasked dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant the French Laundry at a time when California restaurants were closed and mask rules were strictly in place. Newsom admits it was a tone-deaf mistake, but c’mon, this is a state where people, many of whom probably signed the recall petition, keep electing a representative who sued a fake cow. One meal certainly is not an offense worthy of being removed from office as opposed to, for instance, inciting an insurrection.
A more convincing reason to recall Newsom was the delay in reopening schools. Rena Korb discussed this a few weeks ago in her op-ed “California Schools and the Elephant in the Classroom.” However, on Friday, May 14, the governor revealed that his budget is based on schools reopening full time in person for the next school year. Any additional funding to mitigate the effects of the pandemic will be tied to that. It seems that a delay in reopening schools is no longer a reason to support the recall.
California did have early issues with the vaccine rollout, including a supply shortage and the lack of available qualified people to put shots in arms. Problems also arose due to the size of and decentralized nature of the state’s local health departments. These matters were quickly and thoroughly resolved, and as of May 15, over 34 million Californians have been vaccinated. Further, under Newsom, the state instituted a policy that made sure underprivileged areas received a fair share of the available vaccine.
Let’s take a look at the potential candidates. If the state actually does have a recall election the ballot will actually include two separate parts. The first will ask voters to say “yes” or “no” to recalling Newsom. If the majority votes “yes” then the second part will give voters an opportunity to choose the new governor.
We have a veritable circus sideshow of candidates. Probably the best known is Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star, Caitlyn Jenner, who claims not to have voted in the 2020 presidential election. During an interview with Dana Bash of CNN, Jenner expressed her support for a path to citizenship and said the situation at the border led her to run. But earlier she had been quoted as saying “My friends are leaving California, Actually, my [airplane] hangar — the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’” Jenner is clearly out of touch with reality when it comes to poverty in our state, unlike the current administration which has prioritized vaccinating poor and homeless people.
Also in the race is businessman John Cox, who ran against Newsom as the Republican nominee in 2018 and lost in a landslide. This time Cox’s campaign theme is “Beauty and the Beast,” one he promotes by bringing a live bear to campaign appearances. Various animal rights activists have been up in arms about possible animal abuse.
Among the field of gubernatorial candidates are former adult film star Mary Carey and Angelyne who is famous for driving a pink Corvette and appearing in a series of Los Angeles billboards in 1984. Carey, who also ran in the recall election in 2003 has retired from films and says she plans to focus on improving California, stating in a press release on April 12, “Last time I ran I was young, dumb and full of fun. This time I have more experience and will not be taking this position laying down. I am ready to be on top.” Angelyne, the honorary mayor of West Hollywood, explained her candidacy by saying, “When I was little, I wanted to rule the universe, but I wanted to make sure everybody was happy. Who wants to be the ruler of a bunch of sad sacks?”
There are also a couple of experienced politicians in the running. Former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has zero name recognition in the rest of the state, is considered a frontrunner. In February the AP noted that one problem for Faulconer is his endorsement of Donald Trump in 2020. The former president remains wildly unpopular in California. Other candidates have announced, but those discussed here are the GOP’s best hope for breaking out from the pack.
So now that you’ve thought about it and decided you don’t really think any of these reasons or candidates are worth spending $400 million of taxpayer dollars on something most Californians oppose, what do you need to do to withdraw your signature? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as signing a petition on your way out of the supermarket.
According to the California Secretary of State you must submit a written request to the county elections official where you lived when you originally signed the petition. There is no specific format required, but you must include the following information:
- Voter’s name
- Voter’s residence address at the time of signing the petition
- Voter’s signature
You can find your county’s elections official’s name and mailing address address here.
So to summarize, Californians who signed the petition to recall Newsom have until June 8 to decide if taxpayers should be forced to pay around $400 million for a recall election that most of us don’t want. If there is a recall election and by some bizarre fluke the vote goes against Newsom, the options to replace him include a reality TV star, a businessman who is campaigning with a bear to show what a beast he is, an adult film star, a former billboard model whose platform is apparently making people happy and an actual experienced politician who almost no one knows. So the next time someone makes a crack about flaky Californians, be sure to tell them that’s mostly the state’s Republicans.
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