By Meghan Imperio
In mid-November 2020, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, was photographed attending an indoor dinner with multiple guests despite closing indoor dining to control the novel coronavirus.
This upset both the Republican and Democrat parties, who were quick to point out that Newsom should be following the restrictions he put into place.
This scandal refueled an ongoing effort to recall Newsome, a movement that began for the second time in early 2020. According to Ballotpedia, In order to require a recall election for the Governor of California, the supporters of this petition must collect 1,495,709 signatures by March 17, 2021.
The home base for the recall petition, recallgavin2020.com, funded by the California Patriot Coalition, lists the numerous reasons for the petition to recall the governor, including opposition to Newsom’s coronavirus response, an overreach of executive orders, among many other grievances.
While the petition began during the height of closures due to Covid-19, His response to the ongoing pandemic is just one of many reasons that his approval rating has gone down, and support for the recall has surged.
The document “Reasons to Recall Gavin Newsom: What Are Your Whys” lists Newsom’s spending on programs such as unemployment, claiming that some funds were poorly allocated and unregulated during the pandemic. This refers to many instances, such as the widespread unemployment fraud in which, according to Los Angeles Times’ Patrick McGreevy and Jennifer Haberkorn, was worth “$11 billion in state unemployment claims.”
In a joint letter by the 11 California Republican members of the house in light of the fraud, they explain that they believe California had the resources to prevent widespread fraud, but Newsom has failed to put accountability measures in place to do so and to recover these fraudulent payments.
As Rep. Michelle Steel states in the joint letter, they fear that this will lead to a “continued decline in taxpayers’ faith in California’s ability to administer other critical pandemic relief programs, such as vaccine distribution.”
Early on in the pandemic, “Reasons to Recall Gavin Newsom: What Are Your Whys” critiques Newsom’s response and the effects that these actions may have on the economy.
The list includes a critique on the mandate to wear masks and the closure of schools, restaurants, and other shutdowns leading to the loss of jobs and small businesses. The article declares that these mandates are unlawful, harmful to the economy as well as an overreach of the state government.
Despite Governor Newsom’s coronavirus response serving as a catalyst for the petition to recall the governor, supporters of the petition also believe that Newsom’s legislation throughout his term has infringed upon their natural rights, such as the 1st Amendment and 2nd Amendment rights. Further, they express that his policies in regards to undocumented immigrants are too costly and give undocumented individuals too many liberties.
During his term, Newsom has instituted more laws that regulate the buying and selling of guns and ammunition. Many conservatives in California argue that these policies have infringed on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Newsom has signed about 15 gun control bills, which limit a person from buying a number of lethal weapons at one time, among other measures, but these measures are thought to be too restricting and therefore unconstitutional.
In addition to the sentiment that Newsom has restricted the freedoms granted by the 2nd amendment, the shutdowns of churches added fuel to this fire by further infringing on Americans’ natural rights.
In an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19, churches have largely been closed since the original stay at home order. However, as described in the list of reasons to recall the governor, this restricts the freedom of religion that Americans are guaranteed by preventing them from attending worship services.
While there are many reasons that the movement to recall the California Governor, the most prevalent complaints are critiques of his tax policies, spending transparency and reliability, as well as overreach, but it appears that Californians were driven by the hypocrisy and inadequate response to the current pandemic and the regulations that he has put in place.
Overall, there is an agreement that Newsom’s policies and actions lack the accountability that people such as the Recall Gavin Newsom movement expect from the governor. Many conservatives are critiquing his use of executive orders, tax spending, and other legislation, both liberals and conservatives have voiced that they feel the governor’s response to the novel coronavirus lacked accountability and structure.
While the movement to recall Governor Newsom began as a conservative act against his progressive policies and overuse of executive orders, his response to the ongoing pandemic garnered more support from both sides in favor of a recall.
According to CalMatters.org, the organizers of the recall have collected most of the signatures needed to require a California election with a fast-approaching deadline. Now, with growing support from both sides in favor of a recall, the petition has met over 70% of the signatures required before the fast-approaching March deadline.
Meghan Imperio is a writer for the LA Vanguard’s social justice desk. She is an English major at UCLA, originally from Glendale, CA.
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