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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Campaign to recall Gov. Newsom hits Sonoma County


    California State Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a growing campaign that demands he be removed from office before the conclusion of his term. The “Recall Gavin Newsom” campaign alleges that Newsom has handled the COVID-19 pandemic in a dissatisfactory manner, as well as mishandled lockdowns, homelessness, restrictions on small businesses, illegal immigration, water rationing in cities, and a wide variety of other issues, both related to the pandemic and not.

    The campaign began this Feb., amid months of growing unease from some Californians, particularly conservative voters. In Nov. 2020, Newsom attended an indoor, multi-household birthday party at the French Laundry restaurant in local Napa County that violated his own COVID-19 restrictions for the state, inciting outrage from citizens who felt that his dismissal of regulations that he previously endorsed was “elitist,” according to business owner D’Lee Daleo, who spoke to the Associated Press. 

    Daleo has been open about her frustration with Newsom’s administration, and also told the Associated Press, “ [Small businesses] just feel like we’re being unfairly targeted.”

    Newsom has since publicly apologized for the birthday party incident, expressing that he, “made a bad mistake.”

    “The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” he said, “I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”

    Apart from concerns about COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine administration, businesses in Sonoma and Napa counties that have dubbed themselves, “The Wine Country Coalition,” opened a lawsuit last month against Newsom for closing outdoor dining. 

    This lawsuit includes specific claims and testimonials from wineries and restaurants that allege COVID-19 restrictions are going to put them out of business, and they claim that their outdoor dining has not led to an increase in COVID-19 exposures, therefore they should be permitted to reopen. 

    Other sources, however, argue that any public gatherings can be dangerous to people’s health, even, “medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart,” according to CDC data from Jan.

    “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze,” the official CDC website warns. Therefore, when people gather in groups of any size, they risk spreading infectious particles to each other simply by speaking.

    While groups like the “Recall Governor Newsom” campaign are vocal about their disapproval of Newsom, others feel that the campaign may be a result of broader political divisions between Democrats and Republicans. 

    “There are many different ways that people respond and cope with [pandemic-related changes] and one of those ways is the expression of anger and the need to direct the blame somewhere,” said Elizabeth Escalante, president of the Wine Country Young Democrats. “Governor Newsom would be their target as that head decision maker of how the state will handle the pandemic.”

    Escalante believes that, while Newsom has made mistakes during his term, such as, “[going] against [his] own orders of sheltering in place [at French Laundry],” he is “doing what he can within his limits.” However, Escalante added that not all of her coworkers agree with her. 

    “As a public school teacher, I have colleagues who have expressed their dissatisfaction with Newsom’s push to reopen public schools without much forethought of how teacher’s unions would respond and the overall safety of reopening schools for all school staff and students,” she said. 

    Newsom is not the only target for citizens’ frustration. Outside of the Coddingtown Target in Santa Rosa a young man was collecting signatures for both the “Recall Governor Newsom” campaign and a local signature campaign to recall Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch. With the total number of signatures for recalling Gov. Newsom now surpassing the 1.5 million needed to get on the ballot, the man was focusing his efforts on collecting signatures from shoppers for the Ravitch ballot campaign. 

    The man, who chose to remain anonymous because he did not want his employer finding out he spoke to the media, said that they had gathered over 20,000 signatures so far. According to Ballotpedia, in order to get a local recall on the ballot you need to obtain 30,000 signatures in 160 days. 

    The recall campaign was launched in late October by local real estate developer Bill Gallaher and his daughter, meaning the campaign has until early March to secure signatures. 

    On the official recall petition, the Gallahers wrote that, “Pressing issues of inequality, injustice and fire safety failures have been ignored or inflamed by Ravitch” and “Ravitch has unethically and repeatedly abused her powers to pursue personal vendettas.”

    One of the personal vendettas the Gallahers reference in the petition may have been a settlement that Ravitch and the California Attorney General’s office pursued that resulted in the Gallaher’s Windsor based ‘Oakmont Senior Living’ company paying $500,000 for the abandonment of elderly residents at two of their senior living facilities during the 2017 Tubbs fire. 

    The anonymous man collecting signatures at Target corroborated the official message of the campaign. He said, “We felt there could have been more done on her part [to hold corporations accountable] but instead she waited for people to personally sue PG&E after the Tubbs fire. She has been possibly silenced and bought off- it isn’t impossible to think of a politician in power for so long not doing her part.”

    As for the “Recall Governor Newsom” campaign, California will have to wait and see what the petitioners will do with the 1.5 million signatures their petition has amassed, all of which are still pending verification. Upon successful verification, the recall election could take place in the coming summer, according to 10 News San Diego.

    “In the meantime,” Escalante said, “we have to work together to keep each other safe. It’s as simple as wearing your mask, avoiding large gatherings, limiting contact with more individuals, etc. I believe that if we start heading toward that direction, the closer we are to ending this pandemic and resolving the issues that have come from it.”

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