Merced County Times Newspaper
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‘Recall Gov. Newsom’ effort meets minimum threshold — 1.5 million signatures


After one year of massive volunteer efforts, Recall Gavin 2020 reached a milestone on Feb. 11 — 1.5 million signatures attached to recall petitions which is the minimum threshold to trigger a special election.

Will the recall effort be successful?

“We’re operational in every county,” said Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager of Rescue California, an auxiliary organization supporting the statewide effort. “Recall Gavin 2020 is the original Petitioner, and they turn in the signatures weekly to each county’s Registrar of Voters. It started a year ago. We’re at 1.5 million signatures [as of Feb. 11], and we need 1.8 million at a minimum because at least 1.5 million have to be 100 percent valid.

“We have until March 17 to do it.

“We’ll probably have them turned in a week before that.

“Our goal is 2 million because that way, we’ll be sure to get at least 1.5 million valid signatures.

“There are issues like there could be duplicates; you have to be a registered voter; if you don’t sign in blue or black ink, it’s not valid; and if you put a different address than your address as a registered voter, it’s not valid.

“We need to overshoot the goal to make sure we can get 1.5 million signatures with none of these issues, or any others.”

Local efforts picking up steam

Volunteers in the Merced area are holding “Recall Governor Gavin Newsom” signature-gathering events every Tuesday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Merced.

At a table set up in the Walgreens parking lot at the corner of G Street and Olive Avenue in Merced, volunteers handed out a two-page list of the reasons why people wish to recall Governor Newsom.

On the list were things such as mandatory mail-in voting, ongoing shutdowns, loss of small businesses, loss of jobs, highest homeless rate in our nation, highest poverty rate in the nation, countless gun and ammo laws, teachers can no longer discipline disruptive students, government overreach, forced lockdowns preventing the right to worship and sing in church, fighting to stop Central Valley farmers from getting the water they need, highest state income tax in our nation, and many more.

Many investors relocating from Silicon Valley are moving to states that don’t tax personal income, like Florida, Texas and Washington.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced in December 2020 it was moving its headquarters to Houston, following in the footsteps of Oracle and Tesla, which are moving some operations to Austin. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed he had personally moved to Texas after becoming disillusioned with California.

Vicki Graham, a key local volunteer, greeted citizens interested in signing the recall petition.

She told the Times, “We have been doing this since July, but not steadily. My top reasons for the recall are Governor Newsom has driven businesses out of the state due to regulations and high taxes, and he has killed jobs when the businesses left the state and the workers had no jobs.

“This is a citizen thing, not a party thing.”

“We have gotten about 2,000 signatures in all. March 10 is the last day we can turn in the recall petitions to the county. The county verifies the signatures and sends in the count to the California Secretary of State.

“There has to be a signature that the county can verify.  You have to sign your name just as you do as a registered voter.”


How did the recall effort start?

Dunsmore informed the Times, “It started with Governor Newsom’s support for issues that didn’t really reflect the views of the voters, such as closing 20 prisons and letting prisoners out while the crime rates are going up. He limited Thanksgiving celebrations to no more than two households under one roof and said you should wear your masks between bites, and then there were pictures of Gavin Newsom eating dinner at the French Laundry in Napa shoulder to shoulder with a group of people, wearing no masks; he basically said he was outside, and then another person took pictures and he was not outside.  He got caught in his hypocrisy.

“The jobless rates, homeless rates and vaccine roll out are the worst in the country.  This isn’t acceptable for the governor of the 10th largest economy in the world and the largest state in the country.

“Taking on a recall is a big job, especially of the governor. This is the third effort; the first two did not do well, but they learned a lot.  A lot of the people who are running the show now are veterans of the first two efforts, and they put together an impressive operation with volunteers.  It will probably go down in history as the largest volunteer signature gathering effort in the history of the United States.

“They’re getting bullied and profiled, but the movement has 2 million signers and there’s no label you can wrap around all of them.

“The people doing this are a broad spectrum of folks.

“They might have lost their jobs, their taxes were too high, and a number of things fueled the fire, and there are a massive number of people who care very much about these things and are not going to take it any more.

“A number of retired people wanted to be near their children, and they’re going to have to uproot and move to Arizona.

“You have a governor saying your home burned down because of climate issues, but he didn’t engage in forest management.  Don’t tell me the largest wildfires in history are because of climate change.

“He does not know what the citizens of this State are suffering through.  He is completely out of touch with it.  By throwing political rhetoric on it, it’s like throwing salt on an open wound.

“One thing that happened is $31 billion out of $155 billion of job benefits for 2021 were absorbed by fraudulent claims, which is 20 percent.  This money was lost last year.  There were crime rings that started in prison, and $1,700 of claims were paid to people at the same address.”


Who will run for governor of California if the recall is successful?

“Candidates have already been declared.  There are going to be two things on the ballot, the re-call and the replacement.  So far, those on the ballot are Kevin Faulconer, Republican, former mayor of San Francisco, and John Cox, the Republican candidate in the election that Newsom won.”

Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in California since 2006 when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected.  

Local volunteer Vicki Graham greets residents interested in signing a ‘Recall Gavin Newsom’ petition at a booth set up in the Walgreens parking lot at the corner of G and Olive in Merced. Signatures are collected Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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