Tarnished Dreams: California's 2020 Fails, Newsom's Disasters...
In case you haven't noticed there is currently an effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. Like shut-down, the recall effort has dragged on longer than we thought it would... in fact a judge granted an extension to the recall effort because shut-down meant the typical gatherings where signature gatherers gather --county fairs, local events, etc.-- had been cancelled. We don't have a window into the psyche of Gavin Newsom. But we do know that although the recall effort isn't exactly "new" news it became "hot" news in mid January 2021. Mainly because it looks like the recall effort may succeed in gathering enough signatures to put it over the top and give voters a chance to decide what they REALLY think of Gavin Newsom after nine-ish months of shutdown and so much hypocrisy we aren't really shocked anymore.
At MarinGOP we realized "recall" had gotten serious because we started getting a --tiny handful-- of anti-recall trolls on our social media. (If you don't know what a "troll" is... a troll is basically a social media heckler.) Personally I've developed a real fascination with the hivemind of political trolls. Weirdly, if you start getting verbally attacked by keyboard warriors hammering out the same phrases it usually means you are doing something right. Especially if the online trolls are FAR outnumbered by REAL LIFE people marching in to the MarinGOP offices asking to sign the recall petition. News flash... They WERE NOT all registered Republicans. (Although one signor also re-registered as a REPUBLICAN. Yes! There are people, even in Marin, even in January of 2021, who decide they WANT to go on record as joining the Republican Party. And we welcome them. All of them. I'm an ex-Democrat. Lots of Republicans used to be something else. What unites us is our commitment to the Constitution of the United States of America and our belief that average Americans are actually pretty good at figuring out things by themselves.)
The Recall campaign is getting serious because the situation in California is getting intolerable. The promise of the Golden State has been tarnished for years. In any given year California has more poverty and more homelessness than any other state in the Union. In fact... back in 2018 and 2019 --so pre Covid and pre shut down-- California had a poverty rate of 18%. Our poverty rate is higher than that of the state of Mississippi. (You can read the rather odd article detailing California's statistical poverty here. As usual the Sacramento Bee is attempting to see the silver lining in an 18% poverty rate by focusing on the fact that 18% isn't as bad as 20%.) In fact... the only place in the continental United States with a higher poverty rate was the District of Columbia... yes, our nation's capitol --which is a district rather than a state-- has a poverty rate that is a fraction of a percentage higher than the Golden State.
Poverty is real and horribly obvious in California. Politicians say California's poverty is a result of the high cost of living... but the Progressive politicians who have ruled California for longer than I have been alive have pursued policies that have RAISED the cost of living for years. The California middle class has evaporated. If, like me, you are a Millennial and have friends who DON'T live in California you know that in a place like Texas people like you are earning a middle class wage and buying houses, getting married, going on vacation. Meanwhile newsfeeds are littered with stories like this Yahoo puff piece celebrating the new trend of "ninety thousand dollar a year" middle class San Francisco workers living in dormitories or with multiple roommates. The media coverage of this trend suggests it is psychological... maybe there are people with such vacant social lives that they long to live with multiple roommates long after their college days are over. In reality, anyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area knows this trend is because rent on an apartment --let alone a mortgage on a modest condo-- is just too much for the merely middle class.
To my way of thinking California's golden dream has been tarnished for decades. The modern day disaster of California has been decades in the making. Last year, Covid-19 and shut-down and Gavin Newsom's highly hypocritical behavior, made the train wreck of California too obvious to ignore. 2020 just made all of our problems so so obvious.
Gavin Newsom is NOT single handedly responsible for the disasters facing us. He isn't old enough. But as Governor he has been, at best, a woke talking head. Recalling Gavin Newsom will not solve all of our problems, but it is a start at confronting the looming disasters that face California.
In case you have forgotten we have put together a list of some of the tragic fails that typify Governor Newsom's "leadership" over the last year or so...
1) Where's the Money? State Coronavirus Un-Employment Benefits Misappropriated: This is a wonky story... but it isn't just about money, it is about REAL Californians suffering. Shut-down put a lot of Californians out of work in 2020. This past summer the news was filled with stories about regular people newly unemployed attempting to file for benefits and facing endless waits. Turns out that people serving hard time in prison were successfully working the system to FRAUDULENTLY claim benefits. So... the system is a mess and oddly the Governor doesn't seem to care. You can read about it here: Murderers Charged With Stealing Unemployment Claims.
2) Blame the Software! Technical Fails in California's Vaccine Roll-Out: California is famous for being the home of the tech revolution... but apparently Gavin Newsom's inner circle is incapable of finding a decent piece of software to "co-ordinate" the vaccine roll out. Apparently California actually DOES have vaccines available... but on a statewide basis being considered "eligible" for a vaccine is left to the software. Even the San Francisco Chronicle --usually a newspaper that cuts Newsom a lot of slack-- thinks there is something a little questionable about blaming the software. You can read about it here: Embarrassing Vaccine Roll-Out.
3) More Crime! The Do-Nothing Approach to Putting Killers Back on the Streets: These days it is fashionable to talk about "prison population reduction"... however, sometimes we need to confront the INDIVIDUAL and sometimes TRULY AWFUL crimes some prisoners have been convicted of. In California the Governor --or his office-- has the ability to step in and halt the early release of some prisoners... In a case involving a gang member who tortured, sexually molested and murdered a teenager in Tulare County back in 2001 the Governor decided to allow the early release of the prisoner in question in January of 2021. Throughout 2020 the Tulare prosecutor's office was advocating on behalf of the victim... (you can read about that here) but in January of 2021 the Governor's office decided not to block the release of the convicted killer. (You can read about it here... ) Maybe California residents will get lucky and ICE will be allowed to deport the killer. But he may be back on a California street in your neighborhood some day soon.
4) Social Distancing Hypocrisy! Gavin Dined out with Lobbyists at the French Laundry: At MarinGOP we don't believe in "restaurant shaming"... in normal times we wouldn't pick on a politician for dining out with his current wife and long term lobbyists at a fancy French-themed restaurant. But... 2020 was NOT a normal year. Gavin Newsom's rolling color coded county shut-down orders drove thousands of small California restaurants out of business. Gavin Newsom's spokespeople chided ordinary Californians who wanted to have Thanksgiving Dinner with their relatives. And then he went out to dinner at the French Laundry with people "not of the same household".... A classic example of different rules for me and thee... You can read about it here and see the photographic proof.
5) Power Grabs! Has the California State Legislature Been Cancelled? Legally there is no such thing as a "fuzzy" separation of powers between the Governor and the Legislature... but Gavin Newsom spent much of 2020 negating the power of the California State Legislature and doing things that are outside of his brief. Finally a judge stepped in. You can read about it here.
6) Gavin Pays Himself and Blames "Administrative Errors" When He Gets Caught: Back in early 2020 Gavin Newsom pledged to take a "voluntary" pay cut and share the pain of all the many Californians whose incomes had been cut by Covid-19 and shut-down. A couple of months later we found out Governor Newsom was still receiving full pay... Guess he was hoping no one would find out? Or maybe he was hoping no one would care? Guess what, hypocrisy matters. You can read about it here.
7) PlumpJack is Essential! (Winery Double Standards): Newsom's hypocrisy is endless.... Remember the first months of shut-down? March, April, May, June.... Businesses deemed "un-essential" were closed by order of the governor. Well... Governor Newsom owns a winery called "PlumpJack"... It turns out that "PlumpJack" is an "essential" business.... so when OTHER small family owned vineyards were ordered to close their tasting rooms Governor Newsom's PlumpJack tasting room was still open. You can read about it here. PlumpJack Stays Open.
We could continue.... but really... hasn't this been enough? Doesn't California deserve better? It is time to Recall Newsom.