Author Archives: Zane Lowe

Newsome Overcomes Recall effort

Gov. Gavin Newsom overcomes recall effort with 7,910,379 voting “No” to remove him. Relying on unions and community organizations to pull a massive voter turnout to win 62% of the vote.

“It’s not a persuasion campaign,” Newsom told reporters earlier in September. “I mean, you’ll still find people that may be on the fence, but it’s really about turnout. Labor knows how to turn out.”

The Governor acknowledged the support in the final days of the election, using the humbling moment as a warning sign and a jumping off point to prepare for his coming election in 2022.

Newsome at a Stop the recall rally.

“I am humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who exercised their fundamental right to vote, and expressed themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, cynicism, and negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years,”.

Newsom’s “Stop the Recall ” campaign scrambled early and ahead with a 10 week coordinated plan and a fund of over 71$ million. Tremendously outnumbering any of the GOP opponents raised funds. Still retaining 24$ million for his reelection campaign.

The Campaign was built from receiving more than 600,000 small dollar donations(any amount less than $100 dollars); 90% percent of which were from California.

Newsom partnered with over 90 community organizations. The head of Newsom’s ground game operation told CNN they have had “real conversations” with about 1.5 million voters over the course of about seven weeks – noting that’s “at a scale bigger than most of the presidential campaigns.”

In Los Angeles county alone, the entire affiliation of labor unions through the AFL-CIO called more than 1 million phone numbers and knocked on over 130,000 doors, according to the organization’s spokesperson Christian Castro. In total, the federation spent over $2.1 million on the recall effort and coordinated a total of 3,265 volunteer shifts.

They had walkers in 15 counties going door-to-door reminding folks to turn in their ballots. They’ve been averaging 600,000 attempts to reach voters each day via phone, messaging, and in person. Reaching out in 7 different languages: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

“The goal is to hit two million door knocks by the end of the day. We tried to create a surround sound,” the adviser said.

“A multi-layered approach that meets voters wherever they are. I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state,” Newsom said, “We said yes to science, to vaccines, to ending this pandemic, to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression, to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body and her fate and future, diversity, inclusion, pluralism, to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and I would argue as Americans. Economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice. Our values, where California’s made so much progress. All of those things were on the ballot this evening…Thank you all very much, and thank you to 40 million Americans, 40 million Californians, and thank you for rejecting this recall,”.

Recall Election

In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Law enforcement officials are investigating escalating threats of death and violence against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, his family and the the wineries, shops and other businesses he founded. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

In recent polls across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has dropped in approval rating. Since winning 62% of the vote in 2018 by 24 points, Newsom has had a consistent approval rating, but according to UC Berkeley’s latest poll released Feb 2, 2021, his approval has dropped below 50%. 

This notice comes as signatures mount up at the end of the sixth petition to recall Newsom, where supporters have until Mar 17, 2021, to collect the 1,495,709 signatures needed to trigger a recall election. 

Newsom has suffered a string of bad press in the last year. Like most states, any problems before were accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. No exception for the Governor of California as the homelessness rate increased, wildfires ravaged the state, sanctuary city policy was disputed, water rationing was fought by farmers, affordable housing fell behind and inflation of real estate continues on the up. 

The mishandling of the pandemic lockdowns has led to the massive increase of disapprovals and signatures for the petition. As lockdowns would set in, Newsom could not stop the morbidity rate from rising. “It’s like all that education has caused him to look past the simple solutions, while they take their time all us small folk are suffering,” Bay Area community leader Phillip Martinez.

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom bumps elbows with a teacher as he tours the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021 in Alameda, California. Gov. Newsom is traveling throughout California to highlight the state’s efforts to reopen schools and businesses as he faces the threat of recall. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Considering, families are hurting financially and emotionally from the rippling effects of the virus. Already branded as elitist and privileged, it did not help Newsom’s image when seen at the French Laundry restaurant for a birthday party.

Newsom’s children are still able to be privately home schooled, all while many are awaiting public schools’ reopening. The Governor displays corruption and the separation of privilege in the state. 

Randy Economy, a longtime California political strategist who is advising the recall effort, spoke to CNN.”That changed everything in such a powerful manner,” Economy said. People looked at the pictures and asked, ” ‘Why can’t I do that?’ ” he said.

“It will go down in his political obituary,” Economy argued, “because that’s the day he lost all sense of reality — that’s the day every person in California saw through their own eyes exactly who this man was.”

Newsom said in his apology that he’d made a “bad mistake.” Upon realizing the group was larger than anticipated, he said he should have “stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove out to my [his] house.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy Sunnyvale campus on March 28, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

In the wake of the polls reaching headlines, several Republicans, entrepreneurs, and business owners have taken the chance to be on the offensive in California blue politics announcing their candidacy. Calling out a recall or not, they plan on running against the Democratic governor. 

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a moderate Republican, officially launched his campaign in front of an elementary school that he says “Should be filled with students,” drawing attention to Newsom’s pandemic response. Faulconer plans on running from his response to San Diego’s homeless community and the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 and spread to hundreds. However, Newsom has criticized him for being ineffective, neglectful, and dependent on law enforcement to clean up the streets. 

Faulconer rebuts, “I did not allow tents on the sidewalk in San Diego because I believe if you allow someone to live in a tent on a sidewalk, you’re condemning them to die on that sidewalk.”

Faulconer declared, “sending unemployment checks to convicted murderers isn’t progressive, letting people live on the streets isn’t compassion, partying with lobbyists during a lockdown isn’t leadership, the Governor’s actions have made this pandemic so much worse.”

Republican businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, says he’ll run for governor a second time if a recall election is held, “I’m a businessman, not a politician, let’s lower housing costs and get people back to work … It’s time for a fresh start,” Cox says in his ad. 

In the past, Cox began as a Democrat before switching to the Republican party, losing twice in Illinois, once for Congress, and once for a Senate seat before trying his bid in California. His focus is on improving the economy, trying to spark the similarities between Faulconer and Newsom as incompetent politicians. 

The number of petition signatures has reached about 1.3 million and still needs to be verified. Recall officials are placing a goal at 2 million knowing some signatures will be invalid. The recall election would be held this summer if passed through California’s multistep process of recall.

The Republican Party can then pursue a recall at any time. What is necessary for success is 12% of voter turnout from the previous election. This explains the 1,495,709 signatures needed. The state gives 160 days to gather all the signatures. Due to the pandemic and the trouble with conducting in-person signature collecting. The courts extended the deadline to collect and turn in signatures until Mar. 17, 2021.

The recall pursuers then have 30 days to have the signatures verified. If the signatures checkout, there is then a waiting period for people to withdraw signatures. If they hold up the recall is on. The Lt. Governor will schedule a date within 60-80 days. For Newsom, this would be during the summer or early fall. 

In the election, the voters will be asked two questions on the ballot. First, voters will be asked if they want to vote yes for a recall or no, against a recall. If more than 50% of voters vote no, then the current governor remains.

In the second part, the voter is asked to pick a replacement for the Governor, where they can pick whoever they choose. Once votes are certified by the Secretary of State, the candidate with the most votes becomes the Governor. Demonstrating how a Hollywood action star and Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor. 

Those who remember Gov.  Gray Davis’s recall in 2003 will remember that truly anyone can jump into the fray. “Schwarzenegger. We had Gary Coleman. We had Arianna Huffington … a porn star. It was all over the place,” Spivak Joshua Spivak, author of “The Recall Elections Blog,” told ABC News.

Major businesses have yet to pull endorsement of Newsom, telling there’s no need to fear too much over the recall petition or polls dropping. “I would say still at this point, big business is not participating in the recall,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chair of Rescue California, one of the committees driving the recall. “Honestly, I think big business is willing to continue to play the game of trying to get along with the governor, or they’re leaving the state,”

Veteran California Democratic strategist Bill Carrick pointed out that “Democrats now outnumber Republicans 2-1 and Public Policy Institute of California surveys have consistently shown that the state’s independent voters lean Democratic. With that built-in advantage, Newsom’s current numbers don’t show him to be in dangerous political territory yet.”

“There’s been a whole bunch of issues that have been very tough to solve,” Carrick said. “Things are going to get better because the vaccine is going to get more universally available to people. And so that’s going to change a lot of people’s attitudes.”

Gov. Davis said, “There will come a point … where the light bulb goes on in everyone’s mind, and they realize this is going to end, and we can finally get back to not exactly normal but pretty close to normal,” Davis told Newsweek.”He still has decent favorability ratings, and with good news happening in [2021] I would bet on him more than anyone else.” This was said after Davis saw Newsom weather the storm of bad times at a 58 approval rating in November. 

Contreras, a correctional officer and Republican from Modesto says “I don’t see Newsom compromising or in alignment with my values. I also don’t see him being recalled. They (Democrats) are changing the principles our nation was founded on. Newsom is a part of that movement away from what we have. Newsom isn’t the enemy but if we can get someone else in office. Then I’ll sign the petition.” 

California has been a proving ground for credibility and experience because of demographics and sheer size. Names will continue to come out of the woodwork for some of the recognition given to candidates in California. Not as conservative as Texas or Florida but it was not long ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor replacing Gray Davis in 2003 during the first recall election in California history. If the recall effort is successful, Newsom would be the second California governor recalled.

Bay Bridge connecting Treasure Island to San Francisco

$1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

On March 11, this year, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. The Biden Administration’s primary ambition was to restabilize the economy. The nation is on the verge of emerging again to normalcy as vaccines roll out and COVID deaths drop.

But Americans across the U.S. are still under strain from the lasting effects of COVID’s hit on the economy. According to CNBC, over 20 million people are on some form of assistance for unemployment benefits. The bill features several aspects aiming to reallocate direct funds to businesses and people. One of the most expensive parts of the bill is the payments of up to $1,400 to almost every American citizen, as most are undergoing financial strain.

Caroline Huntsman, a local resident and employed in the bay, says, “I’ve had a job almost all of my life. I’ve waited tables, worked the bar, been a cashier, but once I lost my position from the pandemic. I struggled with money and spent most of my savings to stay afloat. It has been so tough to find work and now reliable hours are hard to come by.” Ms. Huntsman also said she “is fortunate to have a job … but I can feel myself slipping under still and into more debt as things pick back up slowly,”.

With millions of households struggling to afford food and housing, Democrats say the bill will decrease family and child poverty. It will send more than $120 billion to K-12 schools across the nation.

They are also increasing the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 15% through September. While nearly $30 billion will go toward restaurants seeking aid, expanding tax credits will help businesses keep employees on the payroll as well. The legislation will also boost provisions to make health care more affordable.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said to CNBC before signing the legislation. “And giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance.

The Bill includes a full $1,400 check for adults who earned $75,000 or less, married couples who earned $150,000 or less, and heads of household who earned $112,500 or less.

People eligible for a reduced check are adults who earned between $75,000 and $80,000, married couples who earned between $150,000 and $160,000, and heads of household who earned between $112,500 and $120,000.

Adults who earned more than $80,000, married couples who earned more than $160,000, and heads of households who earned more than $120,00 are ineligible.

The Democrats were able to pass the relief bill through reconciliation. Usually, a simple majority of 60 votes are needed to pass legislation and hurdle the filibuster. But the Senate is split 50-50, Republican to Democrat caucus members, requiring Vice President Kamala Harris to vote and disappointing Republican Senate members as they felt bypassed during what they thought would be a bipartisan bill.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R) Utah told reporters inside the Capitol, “If some Republican amendments got into the bill, some of his colleagues may support it … But my guess is it’s not likely that many of our amendments will get any Democrat support, so I think it’s very unlikely that any Republicans will support the final bill.”

Since the campaign trail, the Biden Administration has been promoting their “reach across the aisle” mantra. But major Senate members have critiqued the Democrat’s ability and willingness to meet them with closer compromises.

Rumors from the Capitol say Democrats are not “picking up their phone calls,” As both Senate Republicans’ infrastructure projects were dropped from the relief bill following deliberations with key Senate officials.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said, “the bill’s funding for an expansion of the BART, a subway system serving the San Francisco Bay Area, was struck from the bill because it was “part of a pilot project.”

Despite the omissions from Democrats, the Republicans from the Senate feel the bill features many infrastructure and economic breaks. The tax credit is one piece Republicans saw as not relevant to COVID relief.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) Florida said the Democrats’ proposal would turn the credit into “welfare,” adding the benefit should be tied to employment. Rubio, and some other Republican senators, have proposed their own changes to the child tax credit and stand against the permanent expansion of the credit.

In the same aisle, Republicans plead the relief bill, although passed, is unnecessary as the economy begins to rise on its own as people get back out and businesses open back up.

“They want to send wheelbarrows of cash to state and local bureaucrats to bail out mismanagement from before the pandemic,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky told CNN. “They’re changing the previous bipartisan funding formula in ways that will especially bias the money toward big blue states.”

Republicans believe the revenue decline to be from a history of budget mismanagement. There is also the truth that blue states have higher unemployment and steep revenue losses from policies to shut down businesses during the pandemic. Marissa Payne of The Gazette analyzed the claim of a bailout for blue states, and blue states do benefit more when all dollars are added up.

According to the review from the Tax Foundation, a think tank in Washington D.C. studying Federal and State tax policy, $121.4 billion are being allocated to the state legislature and the governor’s seat of 23 Republican-run states. $130.1 billion will be allocated to 15 Democratic-run states, including D.C. The last 11 states with split control will receive $6.4 billion.

If Reevaluated for population, the analysis shows blue states would get more aid in the amount of $1,278 per capita. While on average red states receive $1,017 per capita, and split states receive $1,041.

In 2020 10 blue states, including D.C. and 13 red states, as well as four split states, all lost revenue in the fight to handle COVID. What hasn’t been said is the bill would send aid to all states, whether or not they lost revenue.

But the “formula for allocating funding takes into account each state’s share of the nation’s unemployed workers. The average unemployment rate is 5.03 percent for red states, 7.61 percent for blue states and Washington and 6.09 percent for split states, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.”

When Marissa Payne, a fact-checker for the Gazette, was asked in blunt terms if this was a bailout for blue states once the data is put through the formula?

She said, “On average, these (blue) governments lost less revenue but have higher unemployment rates, and do benefit the most on many accounts.”

She did leave the caveat that “these (blue) states encompass the nation’s largest and most populous cities, like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, where there is typically a much higher cost of living than in rural areas. Urban counties are also more racially and ethnically diverse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges minorities are more likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it.”

California’s State of State Address

Gov. Newsome and his wife before the address at the LA Dodger Stadium.

Hesitancy was not on the agenda as Gov. Newsom delivered his second State of the State address to California, alluding immediately to the COVID pandemic, more specifically its impact on Californian’s.

Newsom made this evident as he stood firmly, thanking health care and essential workers for their sacrifice and courage during these more than trying times.

He then signaled for a moment of acknowledgment for the 54,395 Californian’s we have now lossed, almost the number of empty seats in Dodger Stadium. Where Newsom gave the address alone on stage.

He was looking to rally his state as revenue losses from the pandemic shutdowns startled the economy and a recall election awaiting him in the summer.

“Too many Forever goodbyes with over 200 million in mourning”, Newsome said “Even as we grieve, dream of brighter days ahead… We won’t be defined by this moment, we will be defined by what we do because after all; we are Californian’s. We go first and we go boldly,”.

Newsome references the progessive leaps in legislation of gay, civil, and gun rights. He then went on to praise California for trusting science and data, amongst having the most robust vaccination system in the country.

“This is certainly a fight for California’s future… We will not crawl back, we will roar back… We will write the next chapter of California’s story,”.

The Governor prides the decision to admit stay at home orders first in the nation. But according to recent polls from Berkeley University, one of the most significant factors into Newsom’s recall is the mandated stay at home orders.

People saw as “threatening their liberties” and costly to California’s leading economy including Patrick Stevens, who signed the petition before Newsom gave his address.

Newsom laid out an expansive vision for California including massive funding for schools k-12 with some of the 15 billion surplus, homeless programs such as project roomkey; setting up over 45,000 homeless with rooms, as well as 10 million into an infrastructure plan affecting equity and affordability across the state.

He promised more funding for food banks, diapers, and farmers. Proposed free community college tuition for 2 years and the largest small business grant,2.5 billion$, and the Golden State stimulus of 600$ to every adult Californian.

Newsom says “listen to the experts and build blocks guided by evidence, leading the way out of the pandemic…lives were saved because of stay at home orders as Fauci said it was necessary… safely reopen, moving fast, being mindful not letting down our guard guided by equity principles.”

Remote learning and child education became the subject as Newsom said “It is only widening the gap…equitable vaccination, economic support, and kids back to school. We are designing our system around that.”

Not a simple task as he reminds the streaming audience, there are over 11,000 schools and 7,000 districts that lie among the 58 counties.

California Governor Gavin Newsom delivers his third State of the State Address from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Without discouragement Newsom told the crowd “routine Covid testing to low income, PPE to all schools, and committing 6.6 million to learning loss. Starting with lower grades and working our way up from there”.

The widening gaps of income inequality are still a problem in California. Reminding Californians of why he started his political career,

Newsom says “Why I ran for Governor to fix these disparities like climate change…risk taking is in our DNA prosperity is sheer force of will. We are not naïve, we are staying mindful. California isn’t the world’s best by birth rights. We have to earn it everyday… faith over fear, optimism over pessimism, power truly is in our hands. This is our moment to create and extend the dream of prosperity, equity, and progress. This is our moment to create the California we all wanna live in to continue to lead the world into the future once more”.