Petition to Recall Gov. Newsom Hits Staggering Number of Signatures, Could Reach Goal of 1.5M
The recall effort against Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom has collected 1.2 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed ahead of a March 17 deadline, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rescue California, the group leading the recall, is aiming for at least 2 million signatures because the office of California’s secretary of state has said that only about 84 percent of the signatures on the petition appear valid, KUSI-TV reported.
Rescue California has raised $1.7 million to reach its goal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Californians are hurting, and we’ve had a dramatic failure of leadership from the governor,” former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said, according to the Examiner.
If 1.5 million signatures are collected in the recall effort by March 17, the issue will head to California residents for a vote.
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, succeeded four-term Gov. Jerry Brown by defeating Republican businessman John Cox with 62 percent of the vote in November 2018.
Newsom inherited a $7 billion surplus and a $22 billion rainy-day fund, according to Courthouse News. But wildfires, rising crime and the pandemic have plunged the state into a budget deficit of at least $54 billion, and probably much higher.
In November, photographs emerged of Newsom dining with lobbyist friends at the swank French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley without facemasks during the shutdowns he ordered. This was after Newsom had urged citizens not to gather in churches or with family, and to wear masks at restaurants “in between bites.”
French Laundry, which received more than $2 million in Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to KGO-TV, is “famous for its daily offerings of two distinct nine-course tasting menus,” author Ashwi Mahajan wrote in TheFoodXP.
“It is one of the most expensive restaurants in California. Diners usually pay over $300 per person” – not including drinks and tip.
The tasting menu includes oysters, sashimi, king salmon, Ballotine De Poularde, gougere, beef cheek, persimmon pudding and more.
Pop Quiz: In California, $350 is equal to:
(?) one week’s unemployment check for millions of California workers
(?) the cost of Gavin Newsom’s dinner at Napa’s French Laundry restaurant
(?) both of the above.
— Sen. Shannon Grove (@ShannonGroveCA) November 18, 2020
The governor’s night out had a “Marie Antoinette feel to it,” complained Republican lawyer Harmeet Dhillon. “Let them eat cake,” Fox News reported.
“Eating with a bunch of lobbyists at an expensive restaurant, this is at the same time that you’ve put half of California out of work,” Dhillon continued. “Add up drinks and appetizers — their meal per person was more than the monthly unemployment check.”
The following night, San Francisco Mayor London Breed also dined there, according to a New York Intelligencer article titled “Rules for Thee, but Not for Me.”
“I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that,” Newsom said after getting caught, according to the Examiner. “We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes.”
“His kids can learn in person,” Faulconer tweeted. “But yours can’t. He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one of California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t. Can you believe this? I can’t.”
His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t.
He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t.
He can dine on a $350 meal at one California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t.
Can you believe this? I can’t. https://t.co/lmRBWh9rpS
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) November 13, 2020
Newsom, elected on a “progressive” agenda of environmental activism and social justice, also has dissatisfied some in his base.
The governor holds an approval rating of 57 percent, according to the Public Policy Institute of California via The Hill.
“It’s been two years since Gavin Newsom was elected California’s governor,” author Alexandra Nagy wrote in Knock LA, “and the Golden State’s outlook on climate and the environment has never been grimmer.”
Rescue California and others also have raised questions about other Newsom actions. They include alleged “dark money” donated to him, the reported “gifting” of Newsom’s $3.7 million estate on the American River, bipartisan concerns about a $1 billion deal to buy masks from a Chinese manufacturer, and a judge ruling some of his pandemic orders unconstitutional.
One of Newsom’s orders kept the county (Madera) that contained his winery open while other counties had to shut down. Newsom earned $600,000 in income from the winery in 2018 alone, KMPH-TV reported.
Plumpjack Group, the parent company, also received nearly $3 million in PPP loans, KGO-TV reported.
Last week, the state admitted that as much as $31 billion of $114 billion paid in unemployment benefits since March 2020 had gone to fraudsters and organized crime rings around the world, according to the Examiner.
“There is no sugar-coating the reality,” said Julie Su, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “California did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud.”
After months of heavy coronavirus restrictions, Newsom lifted California’s stay-at-home order Monday but denied the recall effort was a motivation.
“Complete utter nonsense,” he said, according to the Examiner, citing data suggesting an improving public health situation.
Newsom also wrote a letter to incoming President Joe Biden endorsing his economic plan, according to The Sacramento Bee.
California has recalled only one governor in its history. In 2003, voters recalled once-popular Gray Davis, a Democrat, after the Enron-caused energy crisis triggered rolling blackouts across the Golden State and the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas & Electric.
Politico, meanwhile, has quoted several political insiders on the recall effort of Newsom.
“It’s really taken off,” Dave Gilliard, a Republican who worked on the Davis recall and now is advising Newsom, said, attributing the recall rise on the “French Laundry surge.”
“It’s all fallen apart,” said Joe Rodota, former aide to Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.
Davis said: “Nobody has been dealt a tougher hand than Gavin Newsom. Nobody, no living governor, has had to experience as many crises as him.”
“People are really pissed off,” said anti-tax activist Ted Costa. “Things can get hot quick, and I don’t know if Newsom realizes what happens when a groundswell hits.”
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