Unions Working Hard To Defeat Newsom Recall Effort

Newsom's subservience to the unions is the best reason to recall him.


Analysis of the recall effort of Gov. Gavin Newsom has shifted from questions about whether this special election will take place to when it will happen. Recall supporters seem to have gathered plenty (2.1 million) of signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, so Democratic Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis will soon get to select a date.

As The Mercury News explained, the state Department of Finance now has 30 days to estimate the costs of the election and then a legislative budget committee has 30 days to review that estimate. But Democratic leaders needn't wait the full 60 days to proceed and, as the newspaper noted, many of them believe that sooner is better than later.

Political observers had expected a fall election, but this one might take place in August, when Californians are surfing and vacationing rather than stewing about politics. It's easy to understand why Newsom's supporters want to quickly dispense with this annoyance. The state is re-opening, the governor is spending an unexpectedly large budget surplus, and his poll numbers are high.

Even more daunting for Newsom's opponents, the state's politically dominant public-sector unions are pulling out the stops to save the governor. "California educators stand in strong opposition to the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom," said California Teachers' Association president E. Toby Boyd in a recent statement. Who can blame the CTA?

Newsom pushed the public schools to reopen earlier than they had wanted (hey, why open up when you're paid to stay at home?), but ultimately forced districts to negotiate with the unions before returning to classroom education. More broadly, Newsom signed a package of CTA-priority bills that will hobble the charter-school competition.

California's largest state workers' union, SEIU Local 100, held an emergency meeting to pledge $1 million to defeat the recall. Again, who can blame them? Newsom has spent record amounts on the state bureaucracies, has resisted reforms that would revamp the way those bureaucracies operate and boosted pay following some modest, pandemic-related rollbacks.

Recalls depend on throngs of volunteers, but the governor "is counting on a union-heavy army of allies to make up the difference," Politico reported. It pointed to an expected "mass mobilization effort, dispatching members to doorsteps across the state." Newsom's subservience to the unions is the best reason to recall him. With the condensed timeline, that's unlikely to become a salient issue.

We need to face reality. The recall, however justified, is going to be a bust. I've admittedly always been ambivalent about it. On the plus side, it gained steam during crucial points in the pandemic and arguably pushed Newsom to step up the re-openings and return some money to taxpayers rather than squander it all on government programs.

"Suffice it to say, so far as the recall is concerned, did the solution of the matter rest with me, I would apply it to every official," said Gov. Hiram Johnson, in his 1911 inaugural address. He saw it as a means to keep all elected officials on their toes, but never mentioned that an unsuccessful recall will embolden the targeted official, leaving critics in a more precarious spot.

Right now, no prominent Democrat would pull a Cruz Bustamante and jump on the replacement ballot. Bustamante was the Democratic lieutenant governor during the Gray Davis recall and bucked Democratic unity by placing his name on the ballot. He came in second, losing to Arnold Schwarzenegger by 17 percentage points.

The dynamics were much different then. Davis was wildly unpopular across party lines, following rolling electricity blackouts, a vehicle-license-fee increase, and massive pay raises for the prison guards' union amid a daunting budget deficit. This time, Democratic officials have cynically spun the effort as a Republican ploy—rather than a grassroots rebellion against an out-of-touch governor who abused his executive authority.

I'm no Newsom fan, but his critics dislike him for his progressive ideology and personality—things we knew about before he crushed Republican businessman John Cox in the 2018 general election. The French Laundry scandal, by which Newsom attended a swanky Napa dinner as he was hectoring the rest of us to stay home, highlighted the governor's hypocrisy—but such embarrassments only go so far.

Furthermore, it's tough to run a successful recall without an inspiring replacement candidate, and so far the likely contenders—celebrity Caitlyn Jenner, perennial candidate Cox and the insipid former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer—aren't going to build a groundswell.

As often happens with statewide initiatives, supporters spend their time and money qualifying it for the ballot and then have little energy to get it past the finish line. I doubt they have plans to slow the union counteroffensive or the time to groom a compelling candidate. Perhaps the quick recall timeframe is a blessing. It will give Newsom's foes more time to lick their wounds and gear up for the general election.

This column was first published in The Orange County Register.

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  1. California’s largest state workers’ union, SEIU Local 100, held an emergency meeting to pledge $1 million to defeat the recall. Again, who can blame them? Newsom has spent record amounts on the state bureaucracies,………..VISIT HERE.

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  2. The state is re-opening, the governor is spending an unexpectedly large budget surplus, and his poll numbers are high.Even more daunting for Newsom’s opponents, the state’s politically dominant public-sector unions are pulling out the stops to save the governor. “………..VISIT HERE.

  3. I wonder if California will be mailing a ballot to every registered voter this time.

    1. And all the unregistered ones too.

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    2. No need. To ensure the election is fortified, they’ll have the ballots pre-printed and sent straight to the counters – for your convenience, after all.

      What’s that? How do they know who you’ll vote for?

      Oh, don’t worry about that;

      1. Silicon Valley, using machine learning, has collected data about your preferences from across your whole life – it, statistically, votes more like you than you do.

      2. Its California – there’s only ever one option on the ballot anyway.

  4. Being not a Californian – this article and others mentions a large budget surplus; is the unfunded pension obligations paid off, or not included when calculating that?

    1. Not included.

      There’s no point in including something that you’re not even pretending anymore to care about paying off.

  5. Budget surplus for the 5th largest economy in the world. Guess Cali isn’t the hellhole people always like to claim.

    1. I lived there for over fifty years. When I was a kid, and even later, when a teen and into my twenties, it was pretty damn cool. It started going downhill in the eighties, rather slowly at first, and the slide was most noticeable in the major cities (by then I was living in a smaller city. Even twenty years ago, I found it well, doable. Not so much after that.

      A median family income of over $92,000 sounds pretty good, until you figure in highest income tax in the nation (13.5%), and a fee structure for everything from automobile registration to building permits that could slow a tsunami. Add to that a couple of decades of the highest poverty rate (supplemental) in the nation, and a median home price of $814,000, and things don’t look quite so “golden.”

      1. The 13.5% only applies to incomes of $1million/year or higher.

        However, the 9.3% marginal rate applies to a bracket that starts at $58k per year, which is almost undoubtedly the highest state income tax rate on income under $100k/year, and $58k is an annual income that’s below the effective “poverty line” in the parts of CA where most of the population actually lives (L.A. and SF Metros).

        How many other states have the audacity to take 9% income tax on people who can also qualify for public assistance in multiple categories? Not to mention charging another 9% sales tax when the time comes to spend what’s left of a paycheck.

        Is there any state other than CA that’s run in a way that the legal pot industry is already in need of a $100Million “bailout” (mostly going to help businesses cover regulatory compliance costs in order to get their licenses made “permanent”)? Between those costs, and taxes which make the legal weed operations incapable of competing with the black market (instead of driving the black market to near-extinction), CA has literally driven a newly legalized multi-$Billion industry to the edge of failure in barely 5 years.

        1. “CA has literally driven a newly legalized multi-$Billion industry to the edge of failure in barely 5 years.”

          Intentional, or not? /sarc

          1. Calling it intentional implies the possibility that they understand what the actual results of the laws they’re making could be.

            Hard to imagine that anyone in Sacramento is capable of critical thought at that level.

    2. And you believed it. What a maroon.

    3. Budget surpluses have nothing to do with whether or not its a hellhole.

      Its easy to have a surplus when you tax the fuck out of everyone and then don’t spend that money on basic things like road maintenance or other services.

    4. “Budget surplus for the 5th largest economy in the world. Guess Cali isn’t the hellhole people always like to claim.”

      This pile of lefty shit is trying to give turd a run for his money in the cherry-picking competition.
      Yeah, surplus because Biden handed over money from other states, you pathetic piece of shit.

  6. Unions Working Hard

    Can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something really funny about this phrase.

    1. +

    2. Public Sector Unions, too. First time for everything . . .

  7. As I mentioned in another Union thread, these states are going to (have to) eventually mandate the pensioners stay in the city, county, state, or tax out of state mailing addresses in order to tax the pension income from the unions, or the whole progressive world unravels. The word on the street from relatives in California and New Jersey is pensioners move to Nevada, Texas or Florida or no income tax states with the sweet no risk 5-10 million dollar pensions.

    1. Federal law says that States cannot tax public pension payments made to out-of-state retirees. (Clinton signed it 1996, IIRC) So that would have to change, as well.

      1. Then, I guess, the fed reserve and congress will keep propping up crony “green energy” shit stocks, medical and housing, keep interest rates low and keep the pensions going indefinitely?

        1. But of course…. it has been getting congresscritturs re-elected for years…. why stop now?

          However, many are predicting a long-overdue serious rise in the inflation rate. That might but a bit of a damper on their… pet projects — but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    2. I livel in CAlifornia and will have a pension when I retire thanks to my public sector job. And yes, I will move to Nevada. Ka-Ching!!!!

  8. I’d recall him for the hair gel alone.

  9. still a thing?

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  11. There is only one statewide Republican office holder on the West Coast, the WA State Secretary of State, Kim Wyman. She’s not a threat to the Democrats because she never really opposes them in any meaningful way. Besides, she has never said anything positive about Trump which is good enough.

    There will never be another statewide Republican office holder on the West Coast, not ever. Breitbart once said that politics is downstream from culture, and now the culture wars are over and the Left has been completely victorious on the West Coast.

    Newsom will win an overwhelming victory and the few people left in California who value liberty will leave.

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  13. “Newsom’s subservience to the unions is the best reason to recall him.”

    Or his tin-pot dictator act regarding the Wu Flu.

  14. So long as the incumbent party keeps the checks flowing, California voters have little incentive to boot them out. It’s a lot like the DC/NYC/Chicago city governments on a much larger scale. And they’re too big to fail to ever run out of cash.

  15. Dimwitted Republicans will end up splitting the vote.

  16. I seen his stupid commercial trying to show how he is giving money to poor to buy votes.

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