I’m not someone who automatically votes either D or R for an office. I choose based on results. So, looking at my recall ballot, I considered accomplishments and failures. I made a list.
To start, California has lost one congressional seat because a lot of middle class people have moved out—a no confidence vote. That’s a bad omen.
The homeless situation is out of control in spite of ballot measures pumping in tons of money. Worse, the homeless are not getting the help they need to treat substance abuse and mental illness. I don’t count putting folks in a hotel for a few days as success.
We gave something like $30 million to prisoners and others in botched unemployment money, while legit applicants could not get help.
You can stand in line for four hours at the DMV.
Covid: This one is difficult, but we lost one-third of our restaurants and thousands of other small businesses. Kids were hardly affected until the Delta variant came along, but our schools were shut down while other states stayed open with few negative results. Seventy-nine percent of those who died were overweight, yet we quarantined the healthy. Newsom sent his own kids to private schools and exempted his own businesses from shut down mandates and then went to the French Laundry with lobbyists for PG&E.
Water: We’ve done nothing for 20 years but our population has doubled. We’re now in a major drought but the reservoirs are empty.
Energy: Newsom gets credit for expanding renewables, but brownouts returned for the first time in years. SCE and PG&E equipment cause many fires and they shut down electricity during high winds. Recently, however, PG&E announced they would start undergrounding. Why are we living with an ugly 19th century transmission system instead of undergrounding like San Diego did?
Transportation: We pay more in taxes, vehicle registrations and gas than other states, yet the highways are so bad you need a 4×4 to drive on many streets and freeways. The now low speed train is a joke but Newsom keeps it going, wasting more money. We do need one to stop the massive traffic jams every weekend between LA and Vegas. Or invest in Elon Musk’s hyper loop.
Schools: The poorest Black and brown communities have the worst schools, saddling these kids with teachers who should be fired, but Newsom won’t take action because the teachers’ unions contribute so much to him. This is systemic racism.
Crime: Twenty-eight Walgreens shut down in San Francisco (where Newsom used to be mayor) because of theft, since changing the threshold of a felony to $950. That was as dumb as defunding the police. Of course murders, theft, etc. are way up in our big cities.
Fires: Newsom gets a good grade for his task force and can’t be blamed for the drought, but where is the leadership to underground or impose home hardening standards that protects homes from burning up to 85 percent of the time?
State finances: Instead of using the big surplus to shore up the state pension system, Newsom handed out money to all kinds of people that his shutdowns harmed—obviously to counter the recall.
I hate to say it, but Newsom gets a D- at best. He’s failed to deal with the big issues. He didn’t cause many of the problems listed above, but he also didn’t fix them.
As to the long of people who want to succeed him, some of them would be really entertaining. Larry Elder is like a Black Trump, and maybe that’s what’s needed to shake things up, but probably the most practical is Kevin Faulconer, the more moderate former mayor of San Diego.