The Coast Report Editorial Board opposes replacing California Governor Gavin Newsom in Tuesday’s recall election.
It’s understandable to have criticisms of government leaders, including Newsom. It might even be expected in what has been a very difficult two years for just about everyone. However, in considering all that Newsom has been doing for the state before and during the pandemic, we conclude that recalling the governor would be a mistake.
Rescue California, an organization leading the Newsom recall, put out an indictment charging the governor with mishandling homelessness, wildfires and public safety, among other things. We should all be concerned about these issues, but it is hard to pin blame solely on Newsom. In fact, he has largely worked to address the issues during his time in office, maybe just not in the way that some would like, and not with the success that everyone would hope for.
Consider homelessness, an issue that California has faced since the 1980s. Newsom has allocated unprecedented resources for housing in local communities, including “roughly $12 billion over two years to tackle the homelessness crisis” and “$5.2 billion to help low-income renters and landlords” in his California Comeback Plan.
California has experienced devastating fires during Newsom’s time as governor, especially in 2020. However, California Professional Firefighters, who endorsed the governor during his 2018 campaign, continue to support Newsom in the recall.
“No other governor has done more to address wildfires and make the needed investments than Gavin Newsom,” CPF said in a press release.
Public safety is a significant concern these days. Rescue California cites statewide increases in homicide rates, property crime and vehicle theft. According to the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice’s research report, all of these increases were related to the pandemic, and they mirrored crime rates of U.S. cities in other states. The CJCJ also reports that California urban crime overall actually decreased in 2020.
Perhaps the biggest mistake from Rescue California and the recall petitioners is that they are ignoring Newsom’s response to COVID-19, an issue that has been arguably the most significant threat to public safety in recent years. A possible explanation for this is that recall efforts might gain more support if criticisms of Newsom are limited to ongoing California issues, rather than the effective but inconvenient measures to address the pandemic.
“California has administered more vaccines than any other state, with 75% of those eligible having gotten at least one dose, and we were weeks ahead of meeting President Biden’s 70% goal,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary.
Newsom’s efforts to stop the virus have been commendable, while still allowing a little wiggle room for those who absolutely remain opposed to the vaccine.
Furthermore, in an interview with ABC 10 San Diego, Newsom said that California has “also outperformed economically. We're running at an $80 billion operating surplus.”
The governor also signed public health legislation not directly related to the pandemic, to encourage preventative healthcare for California citizens. In July 2021, Newsom expanded “full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income adults 50 years of age or older, regardless of immigration status,” according to the California governor’s website. Newsom explained that the expansion protects “thousands of older undocumented Californians, many of whom have been serving on the front lines of the pandemic.” The expansion also provides support for young adults, including those who are undocumented or homeless.
California has been through a lot in the last several months. Citizens are right to point out our states’ shortcomings, but it is inaccurate to blame the governor for the issues California is facing. Gavin Newsom has helped California with some of its most significant challenges, and led the state well during a taxing pandemic. For these reasons, the Coast Report Editorial Board opposes replacing Governor Newsom in the 2021 recall election.