Orange County citizens will begin to receive their ballots for the California Recall election which will take place on Election Day, September 14.
The Recall process, along with the initiative and referendum, were adopted in 1914 as tools of “direct democracy.”
Instead they have empowered minority political interests, needing only 12 percent of voters in the last election (fewer than 1.5 million voters in this case) to initiate the Recall process.
As columnist Michael Hiltzik points out in the LA Times, “these reforms are powerful instruments in the hands of the cynical and moneyed.”
The unfortunate office holder that proponents of the Recall are attempting to remove from office is Governor Gavin Newsom, who defeated one of the Recall candidates, John Cox, by 62 percent to 38 percent.
Several leading candidates who want to Recall Newsom are using his handling of the pandemic as their chief complaint, saying recently that they would do away with mask and vaccination mandates. That is ironic because for most Newsom proponents, it is his pandemic record that has endeared him to many Californians.
When the federal government wanted to rid itself of the responsibility of the pandemic, Governor Newsom was the first Governor to take on the challenge, moving quickly to secure equipment and energize the medical personnel needed to fight it. Other governors, particularly on the west coast, were inspired by his leadership.
However, some local leaders from the beginning of the pandemic resented that Newsom made the critical choice to focus on saving lives rather than to focus on money.
The question now concerning the pandemic, which is again surging with the Delta variant, is whether to mandate masks and vaccinations. While Newsom is now leaving that question up to local counties and health leaders, Governors in Texas and Florida are raving against mandates of any kind and are leading all other states with their extremely large number of infections due to the Delta variant.
Local leader Rep. Michelle Steel, who represents the 48th district in Congress, was on the Orange County Board of Supervisors and was a critic of Governor Newsom’s initial handling of the pandemic. But rather than talk about issues related to the health and mortality of her constituents, her “forever” focus is on the economy, saying in an email statement that Newsom has pushed “an agenda of reckless spending and high taxes that is crushing California families.” Many of her constituents in her predominantly conservative district agree with her.
Another local leader, State Sen. Dave Min, who represents District 37 which includes Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, says that the recall is an example of partisan politics, and “a total abuse of the recall process.”
Lynn Lorenz / Newport Beach