California Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to undercut his credibility regarding claims he made about an aggressive new wildfire prevention program. He declared that the state’s approach fundamentally has to change and that “everybody has had enough.” As usual, there was a huge difference between what he promised and what was actually achieved.
According to the wildlife report, Newsom overstated the number of acres they would prioritize to protect by %690%. He claimed that 35 priority projects were carried out as a result of his executive order on fire prevention to work on 90,000 acres, but the data reveals that the project only worked on about 11,399 acres. These numbers were reported as the state faces another destructive fire season and Newsom faces a recall election.
The recall election was triggered by a number of reasons including Newsom’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, high tax rates, rising homelessness, crime rates, and government-imposed restrictions on small businesses. Newsom repeatedly claimed progress on COVID-19 and would lift certain restrictions and then reimpose them when infections spiked.
Newsom particularly received a ton of backlash in November 2020 when he was caught dining with lobbyists at one of the most expensive restaurants in the state. This was during the time that Newsom was ordering Californians to stay home and wear masks, while he was out dining maskless with a dozen other people.
A petition was started to recall Newsom in April and reached 1,719,900 verified signatures, passing the 1.5 million signatures threshold to trigger a recall election. Only 43 signatures were officially withdrawn. He will be the second governor in California’s history to face a recall election.
Despite all of these things, Gov. Newsom continues to push the claim that the recall election has been triggered by “Trump-supporting Republicans” and that this is a political attack. He has continued to push the claim that Republicans are pushing for more power in the state, even though Democrats hold a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature.
In the past, Democrats have tried to alter the laws of the recall process to slow things down. But this time around, California Democrats are trying to speed up the process of the recall to take advantage of what they see as “favorable conditions” for Newsom. Some said that the longer they wait until voters cast their ballots, the more “risk of problems arising” for Newsom.
Political science professor Jack Citrin pointed out that changing the calendar proves that politicians will do whatever they can to stay in power. He said that California state officials are trying to create a situation that is “most favorable” for the partisan outcome they favor. Joshua Spivak, a recall elections expert, said that it’s common for officials to fiddle with election laws after the election is done, but that it is not usually done before or during. He said that they are “playing with fire” by doing so.
The Democrats have proposed bypassing the legislative review process as long as lawmakers set aside money to pay for election costs. The Department of Finance has already planned to approve $215 million for the local expense. While state legislators are expected to vote on the new recall rule changes on Monday, it could advance the recall to September and allow Democrats to take advantage of his rebound in the polls.
If Democrats put the same amount of time and energy into recall laws as they would with the Newsom administration, then they wouldn’t have had a recall in the first place. California has some of the highest taxes and regulations in the nation, no water infrastructure in nearly four decades, no forest management strategies, gas tax increases, and holds 25% of the nation’s homeless. The list goes on and on. This is what Democratic leadership has done.
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