RECALL FAILS, INITIATIVES AHEAD
Gov. Gavin Newsom survived an effort to remove him from office as more than 60% of California voters cast their ballots for “No” on the recall.
The outcome of that question made the choice of a replacement candidate irrelevant. However, among voters who expressed a preference on question 2, the top two candidates were Republican Larry Elder, with nearly 50% of the vote, and Democrat Kevin Paffrath at about 10%.
Newsom’s campaign raised in excess of $70 million to fight off the effort to oust him. The governor’s anti-recall committee was able to raise unlimited contributions from supporters because, under the state’s campaign finance laws, a recall is a ballot question, different from a candidate’s campaign for office. The replacement candidates’ campaigns were subject to campaign finance limits.
Despite this and other advantages held by an officeholder facing a recall election in California, some lawmakers are supporting changes to the state constitution to make it more difficult for voters to exercise the power of recall, which state voters have had since 1911.
Assembly Member Marc Berman, D-Silicon Valley, and Senator Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, announced even before all the votes were counted in the September 14 election that they would seek legislation to weaken the people’s power of recall.
HJTA President Jon Coupal noted the irony of today’s progressive politicians attempting to tear down reforms that were the work of the true Progressives of the early 1900s, especially California Governor Hiram Johnson. “This includes efforts to weaken the powers of direct democracy,” Coupal said, “which Johnson recognized as an indispensable tool to bypass an indolent, unresponsive and corrupt political system.”
The powers of direct democracy will make their presence felt in the November 2022 election, judging by the number of initiatives filed with the attorney general’s office. In addition to HJTA’s Repeal the Death Tax Act (No. 21-0015), voters may see two school choice initiatives (No. 21-0011 and No. 21-0006A1) and three initiatives legalizing sports betting (No. 19-0029A1, No. 21-0009A1 and No. 21-0017). The “Local Land Use” initiative (No. 21-0016) would reverse edicts from Sacramento that have ended single-family zoning. The “Water Infrastructure Funding Act” (No. 21-0014) would earmark a percentage of the state’s General Fund revenue for water projects.
These and other initiatives may be appearing soon on a folding table near you, but they can be viewed now on the website of the state attorney general at this link: https://www.oag.ca.gov/initiatives/active-measures