Gary Smith: Here’s why Gov. Newsom should be recalled
What would it take for you to stop supporting a failed leader of your political party?
Does there need to be criminal behavior or maybe just poor job performance?
America today has become so entrenched in party politics that supporters will turn a blind eye to problems that would have sunk politicians 20 years ago. When party politics is more important than individual accountability, our government is doomed.
Every election now is “the most important of our lifetime” and victory critical because the other party is not just wrong anymore, but evil.
It is amazing to see the support that leaders like ex-President Donald Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom still enjoy. But it wasn’t always like this.
President Nixon’s final push out of office in 1974 came from his own party. California Gov. Gray Davis lost Democratic support in his 2003 recall election for fewer missteps than our present governor.
What would it take for Democrats to stop supporting the leader of the California Democratic Party, Gov. Newsom?
Would it take incompetence? Newsom has demonstrated that in abundance. Just one example is his mismanagement of the Employment Development Department, which delivers unemployment insurance.
The unemployment tsunami in March 2020 caused an immediate backlog of claims approaching 1 million and their phone system broke down. Desperate claimants couldn’t get paid or find out why.
Finally in July 2020, Newsom formed the Employment Development Department “Strike Team” to solve the problems — they solved nothing. The backlog of cases was still over 200,000 in July 2021.
The federal government advised the Employment Development Department about fraud, and the department ignored their advice. Massive fraud was detected in September 2020, with losses of about $30 billion. Criminal gangs were using the money for guns and drugs. But in 2016 the department had fraud detection software; the contract was canceled, saving $2 million a year.
Would it take a lack of ethics? Gov. Newsom checks this box off. He took over $200,000 of campaign cash from convicted felon PG&E. The Public Utilities Commission oversees all public utilities, including PG&E. PUC President Marybel Batjerwhich, appointed by Newsom, fired whistleblower PUC Executive Director Alice Stebbins. Stebbins had found that California utilities owed the state hundreds of millions in fees and fines through lax accounting practices.
First partner Jennifer Newsom runs a nonprofit film project, collecting millions in salary. Their corporate donor list is loaded with companies that lobby California government, including PG&E. Sounds like President Clinton taught the Newsoms how to run a charity.
Would it take an arrogant attitude? Again Newsom has this covered by breaking his own rules for COVID-19 lockdown by dining at the posh French Laundry Restaurant.
A personal favorite is not filling out his paperwork correctly for the recall election. He forgot to list his party in a required recall document, negating his party showing on the recall ballot. His hand-picked secretary of state could not fix his mistake. Newsom unsuccessfully sued to overturn the recently passed law about recall documents, a law he signed into existence. You can’t make this stuff up.
My top favorite miscue came two months after taking office. On March 13, 2019, Newsom signed Executive Order N-09-19 stopping the execution of death row inmates. Just two years before in November 2016, California voters reaffirmed our support for the death penalty with the defeat of Proposition 62.
Newsom never mentioned his plan to halt executions during his 2018 campaign. He alone negated the democratic will of 7.2 million voters. I am not a death penalty advocate, but if that isn’t our leader giving us the middle finger, then I don’t know what is.
Are you satisfied with Newsom’s performance dealing with crime, COVID-19, our homeless problem, wildfire mitigation? How about his seemingly weekly scandals? Our California Constitution gives us a remedy for a failed governor — the recall election on Sept. 14.
Our new governor would only be in office for 15 months. How much worse could they perform compared to the present leadership?
I hope I convinced some moderate Democrats to replace their party leader in the upcoming recall election. The recall petition signature party breakdown contained 10% of Democratic voters wanting an immediate change. Newsom bullied fellow Democrats not to run, yet there are nine Democrats out of the 46 candidates. Pick one to vote for.
Accountability is never a waste of money. Giving $30 billion to criminals is.
Gary Smith lives in Grass Valley.
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