Gary Smith: Three strikes, Newsom
With baseball season approaching I was thinking of our Gov. Gavin Newsom as a hitter at the plate.
His first strike came early in his term on March 13, 2019, when he signed Executive order N-09-19 halting the execution of death row inmates. Just two short years before, in November 2016, California voters yet again reaffirmed our support for the death penalty with the failure of Proposition 62, removing the death penalty.
Gov. Newsom never mentioned his plan to halt executions during his 2018 campaign for governor. In true dictator fashion, he alone negated the democratic will of 7.2 million voters, making Trump green with envy. Process matters. It shows integrity.
Strike two came with his handling of PG&E’s bankruptcy and his acceptance of campaign cash totaling over $200,000 from convicted felon PG&E. He has refused to return the donation and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to assure their survival from their latest bankruptcy.
The Public Utilities Commission, which oversees PG&E and other utilities, got a new president appointed by Gov. Newsom: Marybel Batjer. I believe she promptly got whistleblower PUC Executive Director Alice Stebbins fired on trumped-up charges. Stebbins had found that California utilities owed the state $200 million in fees and fines through lax accounting practices. Remember this when PG&E turns off the power when a grasshopper in Idaho has flatulence.
Strike three has to be the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. These are tough calls a governor has to make, and Newsom repeatedly has shown not being up to the task. Space restrictions only allows me to highlight a few issues.
The unemployment mess started in March and has no chance of being cleaned up in the near future. Gov. Newsom appointed a strike team, a new director, and still citizens have been waiting since March to collect. Fraudulent unemployment claims by prisoners and crime syndicates are $11 billion-plus.
Who can forget the posh French Laundry restaurant scandal where he ignored his own rules to dine with friends at $400 a head? He has refused to call the Legislature into special session during this crisis when they were adjourned so he could keep cranking out executive orders in dictator fashion.
The latest slap in our face is his refusal not to allow the methodology used to calculate ICU capacity for his recent stay-at-home order to become public. The excuse is “that it would be to confusing for the public to understand.” Translation, we are too stupid to understand.
The California auditor found Newsom’s Department of Finance has shortchanged federal coronavirus relief money from rural counties like ours, while big cities and counties, where Newsom’s support is the strongest, have received double.
Strike three — you are out!
While our kids are struggling in public schools with distance learning, his kids are attending in-person learning at private school, driven there by the CHP.
For a democracy to function, there must be accountability and this governor must be held accountable.
There is much deserved criticism at Republican elected officials for not standing up to President Trump when he was wrong. Will California Democrats ever stand up to Gov. Newsom?
Fortunately, we citizens don’t have to wait. The California Constitution’s recall option allows us to replace a failing governor. We used it on Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 for less failure than this governor.
There is a recall petition you can download at http://www.recallgavin2020.com. Download and follow the instructions exactly and send yours in today. There are places to sign locally, but I am not connected with the recall campaign, so I hesitate to direct you.
We can’t wait for the next election to have accountability. The stakes are too high with this pandemic. A recall election would be money well spent and maybe save us money in the long run.
Newsom’s replacement would probably be a Democrat, which is fine if they get the message. We need someone now who is a good administrator and listens to the people, no matter which party.
I recall when Gavin Newsom got elected, thinking someday we would long for the days of Jerry Brown. Yikes!
Gary Smith lives in Grass Valley.
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