Governor On Anti-Recall Hustings In San Bernardino

In his whirlwind tour of the Golden State to stave off next month’s effort to recall him from office, Governor Gavin Newsom came to San Bernardino today to provide those in the impoverished county seat the lowdown on his accomplishments during his 21 months in office at the pinnacle of political power in California.
Newsom is the son of William Alfred Newsom III, an attorney for Getty Oil, administrator of the Getty Family Trust and a Superior Court judge and later appeals court judge. In his early twenties, Gavin Newsom used money provided to him by J. Paul Getty’s son, Gordon Getty, to start ten different businesses, one of which, PlumpJack Winery, became successful. In 1998, at the age of 31, he ran successfully for a position on the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. In 2003, he was elected mayor of San Francisco. He retained that position until he was elected California’s lieutenant governor in 2011.
In 2018, by which point he was a mainstay of California’s Democratic establishment, he was elected governor. Newsom has embraced a bevy of progressive measures both prior to and during his tenure as governor, including abolishing capital punishment in California; categorizing a significant number of non-violent offenses previously designated as felonies as misdemeanors; championing free community college education; promoting government subsidization of technological innovation in the private sector; imposing a moratorium on any newly initiated hydraulic fracturing and steam-injected oil drilling in the state until the permits for those projects are reviewed by an independent team of scientists; seeking accountability and prosecution relating to provable instances of police brutality and excessive use of force; promoting water-sharing and water conservation among the state’s agricultural interests, its urban, metropolitan and municipal entities and environmentalists seeking to preserve rivers and lakes as habitat for endangered fish; decriminalizing the use of marijuana; meaningfully addressing the homelessness crisis; reducing the state’s energy reliance on the use of fossil fuels; and reducing the cost of healthcare.
Along the way he has garnered some degree of controversy as when he defied state law as mayor of San Francisco in 2004 by directing the San Francisco city/county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples, in violation of state law at the time, which precipitated a California Supreme Court ruling later that year which annulled the marriages. He also skirted the law when he encouraged major corporations such as AT&T, Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas & Electric and United Airlines to make donations to the Representation Project, a nonprofit run by his wife, the actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The millions of dollars the Representation Project has received from donors who have an interest in state legislation and policy has provided Siebel Newsom not only with the capital she needs to produce movies and documentaries, but more than $2.4 million in salary since the Representation Project was founded in 2011.
Gavin Newsom has continued to back the completion of the California High Speed Rail Project, which is already under construction and is intended to connect the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center in Orange County and Union Station in Los Angeles with the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. While the project’s sponsors and advocates as well as some others have touted the project as a farsighted undertaking which will provide benefits to the regions in California it will service and will represent a relative environmental improvement as it will lessen the use of vehicles transiting between Southern California and the Bay Area, there have been substantive questions about the economic cost and viability of the system as a transportation mode, given that it will have relatively few embarkation locations and limited destinations. The estimated cost of the project, originally pegged at $40 billion in 2008, has gone to $98 billion at present and is likely to triple to $300 billion by its projected 2033 completion. Even the most confident projections with regard to the system’s ridership levels upon completion hold that the system will not generate enough money in fares to sustain its operations going forward, let alone cover the cost of right-of-way acquisition and construction.
With 46.3 percent of California’s voters registered as Democrats and 24 percent affiliated with the Republican Party, Newsom seemed secure as the resident of the Governor’s Mansion at 1526 H Street in Sacramento at least until January 7, 2023, when his first term as governor was set to end, and perhaps until 2027, at the end of what would be the second and last term he could serve as governor under California’s term limits. The advent of the COVID-19 crisis, which provoked stern measures from the government to check the advance of the disease, let loose mounting disaffection on the part of the public with the precautionary measures being taken. A highly vocal and energized minority of the public adhered to a belief that the virus was no danger at all or was being used by liberals in control of the so-called Deep State to further assist in the government’s enslavement of the public and to erode the rights of Americans, while simultaneously increasing the authority and power of government. An even larger segment of the population, though less inclined to assign malicious intent to the part of the government, nevertheless grew weary, restless and disenchanted with the imposition of the precautions, which involved stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing mandates, business closures and other bothersome measures which Newsom had imposed through executive orders.
As the crisis wore on and businesses affected by the closures were driven into failure or their owners forced into bankruptcy, anger toward the government mounted. Opportunistically, Newsom’s opponents, primarily Republicans whose control in the Golden State had elapsed more than a decade ago at the close of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second term as California governor, rose up and sought to convince their fellow citizens that Newsom was not fit to serve as governor and should be removed from office. They began a petition drive toward that end. Efforts by the state government to push residents to consent to being vaccinated against the coronavirus malady, even though the vaccines in use had not been certified as fully safe by the Food and Drug Administration, prompted even more more residents to support the recall drive as that effort neared its deadline. Well before the signature gathering effort drew to a close in April, recall proponents were able to garner more than the 1,495,000 signatures needed statewide to force Newsom into a special election in which his longevity in office was to be the main question on the ballot, accompanied by a vote as to who should succeed him.
That recall election, the second one in two decades, the last being the successful effort to remove then-Governor Grey Davis, likewise a Democrat, in 2003, stands as a mortal threat to Newsom’s political career. The recall election is to take place on September 14, what is to be Gavin Newsom’s moment of truth.
The proponents of Newsom’s recall say he practically violated the law with his plan, in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, to provide mail-in ballots to every registered active voter for all elections. They suggest this is a silent conspiracy by Newsom and Democrats to allow illegal aliens to vote.
Newsom was responsible for $1 billion in unemployment checks going to prisoners and felons while those legitimately deserving of such assistance were ignored, his opponents state. They blame him for squandering $80 million on a billboard campaign to instruct people to social distance in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Newsom is soft on crime and has granted clemency to vicious criminals, according to those favoring the recall. He has taken a stand against gun owners and the Second Amendment, recall advocates say. Newsom is responsible for California’s homeless problem, his political enemies insist, and he is in favor of rent control. He has provided sanctuary in California for illegal aliens, according to those who want him removed from office, and he has allowed those in the country illegally to participate on state governmental boards and has provided state-sponsored medical insurance to unregistered aliens, along with welfare and food stamps, while simultaneously providing $50 million to subsidize illegal alien-owned businesses. Newsom is a tax and spend liberal who oversees a state with the highest income tax in the nation, those who want him removed from office say, and he has ruled like a tyrant, carrying out his depredations on the backs of the taxpayers who are staggering under a 7.25 percent state sales tax. He is working to layer into the tax code higher property taxes, the recall advocates warn, and they decry California’s vehicle registration tax as the highest in the United States. Newsom is a cop-hater who has hamstrung law enforcement agencies in their mission to collar criminals, they maintain. He has been both too easy and too hard on Pacific Gas & Electric, recall proponents say. His mandates that state residents wear masks is unconstitutional, his critics charge. Under his watch, the state purchased inferior masks from Chinese vendors rather than Americans. Under his management, the state’s debt has skyrocketed to $1.3 trillion, his rivals hasten to point out. Newsom is alleged to be a hypocrite who does not wear a mask when he is in social circumstances and who has skipped out on paying his property tax. As governor, he is driving farmers in the Central Valley into bankruptcy and ruin by his water rationing, his political enemies say. He is a tool of the public employee unions, according to the recall advocates. He has overstated the COVID-19 danger, his detractors say, and was responsible for too many people in the state’s nursing homes dying from COVID-19. He overstepped his authority by signing an executive order to phase out gasoline powered cars by 2035, it is alleged.
While Newsom doubtless has his detractors, his performance as governor has fallen within the standard realm of deviation of what President William Harding referred to as normalcy. No intractable scandal has befallen him and no indictable behavior that would qualify him for prosecution let alone conviction has surfaced. At the same time, he, like virtually all successful politicians, has engaged in fundraising efforts to endow his political war chest with money in ways that come across as being short of ethical. His opponents have condemned him for a host of attitudes, actions, non-actions and managerial faux-pas they perceive as being direct consequences of his arrogance. Much of that criticism is contradictory, as when he is blamed for a homeless crisis that has been burgeoning for a generation, while he is simultaneously excoriated for advocating rent control.
To be sure, like the rest of the Democratic Party, Newsom continues to advocate a welfare state that carries with it a price tag he and his political supporters have no realistic means of defraying, even as the state’s burdensome taxing structure is pushing more and more businesses, which represent the heavy lifters who are carrying the welfare state upon their backs, toward leaving California.
In the main, the primary grounds cited against Newsom to justify his removal as governor relate to the COVID-19 crisis.
In that regard, the record would appear to vindicate the governor. He has been charged with overreaction to a non-crisis and overstepping governmental authority and the bounds that should be applied in terms of governmental imposition of its authority. It is said he has overreached with his executive orders and mandates. And indeed, Newsom was bold in this regard, just as the Republicans maintain. Nevertheless statistics compiled by the National Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta show that as of August 4, 2021, of all of the major population states in the United States, with a single exception, California had the lowest COVID-19 related death rate among its citizens, making it a safer place than Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois Ohio, Georgia and Michigan. The Golden State, with 163 deaths per 100,000 population, fared better than Ohio, with 176 deaths per 100,000; Florida with 182 deaths per 100,000; Texas, with 184 deaths per 100,000; Illinois with 204 deaths per 100,000; Georgia, with 205 deaths per 100,000; Michigan with 212 deaths per 100,000; Pennsylvania with 218 deaths per 100,000; and New York with 276 deaths per 100,000.
Indeed, the only one of the ten states with a population of over 10 million residents that had a lower COVID-19 death rate than California was North Carolina, with 130 deaths per 100,000.
Whether or not those subject to his rule as governor appreciated it or respected his decision-making and the considerations that went into how he has governed in specific regard to the most immediate health threat to his constituents, the reality is that Newsom implemented a policy that protected the residents of his state more effectively than did the governors of eight of the nine largest states in the nation other than California, and that he did so in the face of fierce resistance and in spite of the potential political cost to himself, as the ongoing recall effort attests. Newsom’s profile is thus one, according to his supporters, in courage.
Having emerged from the woodwork are a number of opportunists – 46 to be exact – who are looking to replace Newsom as governor if the recall succeeds. Among those are former Republican Congressman Doug Ose; former Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley; Libertarian Jeff Hewitt, a Riverside county supervisor; Republican Ted Gaines, a former assemblyman and state senator; Republican Kevin Faulcanor, San Diego mayor; Republican Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender former Olympian and television personality; Republican Larry Elder, a conservative talk show host; Republican John Cox, a businessman who lost to Newsom in 2018; Democrat Kevin Paffrath, a real estate and stock investor who is advocating the construction of a canal from the Mississippi River to California; Republican Leo S. Zacky, one of the owners of Zacky Farms; Republican Anthony D. Trimino, an advertising executive; California National Party member Michael A. Loebs, a secessionist intent on having California de-annex from the United States to become its own sovereign nation.
For those seeking Newsom’s recall, the hope is that virtually all of the state’s Republicans will turn out to vote for his removal from office, that they will be joined by large numbers of the state’s voters who have no political affiliation or are aligned with the more obscure political parties as well as by a fair number of disaffected Democrats, while a good number of the state’s Democrats, who generally have much poorer voter turnout at election time than Republicans, will be even less attentive than they normally are and will not turn out to keep Newsom in office.
Meanwhile, Newsom is out there on the hustings, seeking to energize the majority of the state’s voters who elected him lieutenant governor in 2010, reelected him to that post in 2014, and made him governor a little more than two-and-a-half years ago.
This morning, he was in San Bernardino, seeking to remind voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic city that he is their strongest advocate in Sacramento. In his speech, he said the state and its residents need to pull together to overcome the resurgence of COVID-19 in its so-called Delta variant through an even fuller vaccination of the population than the state has already achieved and through maintaining the discipline of using masks in public. Also featured in his presentation was promoting his Comeback Initiative, a $123.9 billion economic recovery program which contains money to boost California’s public K-12 education system, as it moves into reopening classrooms after a year of classes being conducted remotely and on-line.
Prior to making his speech, Newsom made an appearance at Juanita B. Jones Elementary School in San Bernardino. This week, on Monday, Juanita B. Jones began conducting classes for the first time since the school was shut down as a safety measure in reaction to the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.
During the photo op, Newsom interacted with a class of first graders.
Notably, Newsom, who is dyslexic and reads at a fifth grade level, did not participate in any of the class’s reading lessons. Instead, he took off his suit coat and, sitting on a chair in front of the students while they sat cross-legged on a mat in the classroom, participated in a listening circle.
Newsom dialogued with the kids and asked them about their attitude with regard to returning to class.
“We’re done with Zoom school,” said Newsom.
“Yeah!” responded one of the students.
“Are you over that?” Newsom asked.
“Yeah,” shouted one of the kids.
“I’m over it, too,” said Newsom.
The education portion of his Comeback Initiative, Newsom said, will “transform schools into gateways to opportunity.” He said public schools in low-income neighborhoods can “fundamentally transform into the kind of complete campus every parent would want for their child – with before- and after-school instruction, sports and arts, personalized tutoring, nurses and counselors and nutrition for every kid in California.”
-Mark Gutglueck

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