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California Politics

Newsom campaigns to defeat recall with help from powerful Democrats

Democratic U.S. Senators Warren, Klobuchar, and Sanders alongside former President Obama and Vice-President Harris are campaigning for Newsom

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U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris Wednesday in California (Screenshot from Instagram live)

SAN LEANDRO, Ca. – California Governor Gavin Newsom has enlisted very powerful voices in processive circles and the Democratic Party in his efforts to beat back what the governor and his allies have labeled ‘the Republican recall.’

This past weekend, Newsom spent time alongside fellow Democrats, Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren- who appeared Saturday at a campaign stop in Culver City, which was followed by the governor campaigning Sunday at a rally with Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders recorded a video advert to bolster Newsom’s campaign. Sanders, like Warren and Klobuchar is also a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Newsom, who faces the ballot box next Tuesday, has been crisscrossing the Golden State, galvanizing his base. In an interview last Friday with ABC News’ Los Angeles based correspondent Zohreen Shah, the governor expressed his gratitude for the support from Warren and Klobuchar.

“I’m so honored, but more importantly, they’re these strong women, and I think that’s one thing those three have in common,” Newsom said. He also pointed out that his loss would have a ruinous effect on the national agenda of the party and especially for the Biden Administration.

“The consequences of California turning red not blue are profound in terms of the agenda that the senator [Warren] is advancing, [President Joe] Biden is advancing,” Newsom said. 

During the Los Angeles rally, both Newsom and Sen. Warren warned that if Newsom were to be replaced by the Republican who is the current polling frontrunner, conservative right-wing host Larry Elder, Californians could expect to see a slightly modified version of the type of governance displayed by former President Trump, whose politics Elder has embraced.

“Elder dreams of being California’s own Donald Trump,” she said then the Senator cautioned; “if what happened in Texas or Florida or South Dakota makes you worry about the future of our nation…then Governor Larry Elder should absolutely terrify you.”

Newsom has seen an upward tick in approval numbers recently with the latest poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California showing that if the recall election were held today, 39 percent of California likely voters say they would vote yes to remove Newsom from office, while 58 percent say they would vote no on removing the governor.

On Wednesday Newsom was endorsed in an campaign advert released by former President Barack Obama.

“You’ve got a big choice to make by September 14. Governor Newsom has spent the past year and a half protecting California communities. Now Republicans are trying to recall him from office and overturn common-sense Covid safety measures for health care workers and school staff,” Obama says, with an image of Elder and former President Trump flashing on the screen.

The governor campaigned Wednesday with long-time political ally, U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris in a joint appearance at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-National Electrical Contractors Association Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in San Leandro.

A smiling Harris greeted the governor and opened her remarks by speaking about Newsom’s display of political courage early on in both of their careers, when he as the mayor of the city of San Francisco, supported same-sex marriage. At the time Harris was the District Attorney for the city and county of San Francisco.

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom Wednesday at a campaign rally in San Leandro.
(Screenshot from Instagram live)

“That Valentine’s weekend in 2004,” the Vice-President noted- “Gavin didn’t hear ‘it can’t be done.’ He had the courage — as he’s had his entire career — to believe in and see what is possible. To see what can be unblinded by what has been. That’s the kind of leadership this daughter of Californians wants.”

Both Newsom and Harris have been long time allies and proponents for the LGBTQ community. Harris then told the crowd gathered that she had watched a news clip of Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott talking about the draconian and controversial new law that bans abortions after six weeks in Texas.

“To speak those words — that were empty words — that were false words that were fueled with not only arrogance but bravado. That is not who we want in our leaders,” Harris said. “We want in our leaders someone like Gavin Newsom, who always speaks the truth.”

The Vice-President then took aim at the Republican’s campaign to recall Newsom.

“They wouldn’t be trying to recall him except that they know he is a national leader,” Harris said. “This is why they are putting so many resources and time into trying to take out Gavin Newsom. It is because of his vision. It is because of the agenda.”
 
“Let us send the message to the world, that these are the things we stand for these are the things we fight for and we will not give up, because we know that so much is at stake. So many are counting on us and there was so much good that we can do.”
 
“They’re thinking that if they can get this done in California … they got to understand what’s happening right now. What’s happening in Texas, what’s happening in Georgia, what’s happening around our country with these policies that are about protecting women’s rights, reproductive rights and voting rights workers rights. They think if they can run in California they can do this anywhere. Well, we will show them you’re not going to get this done, not here.”

The White House press pool reporter traveling with the Vice-President reported that the crowd, which was limited because of Covid, was 192 in the audience and 70 members of the media. In a side note, after three hours on the ground, at 2:36 p.m. Pacific, Vice-President Harris walked back onto Air Force Two and the pool reporters learned that the crew was set to serve a California fast-food staple, In-N-Out Burgers on the return trip to Washington.

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California Politics

Kick Big Tobacco OUT of California Political Campaigns launches

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES — The OUT Against Big Tobacco coalition supported by Equality California Institute launched a pledge last week urging California legislators and candidates to voluntarily refuse campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.

A total of sixteen legislators and candidates have taken the pledge thus far, with more expected to sign on as the 2022 campaign season gets underway.

The pledge was launched in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a national day in recognition of tobacco users who are looking to quit tobacco for good. LGBTQ+ people are more than TWICE as likely to smoke as our non-LGBTQ+ peers, and nearly 30,000 LGBTQ+ people across the country die every year of tobacco-related causes.

Initial signers of OUT Against Big Tobacco’s pledge not to take tobacco industry campaign contributions include:

  • Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach)
  • Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine)
  • Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
  • Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) 
  • Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas)
  • Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach)
  • Annie Cho, candidate for Assembly District 38
  • Supervisor Matt Haney, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Daniel Hertzberg, candidate for Senate District 18
  • Mayor Christy Holstege, candidate for Assembly District 42
  • Bilal Mahmood, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Mayor Lily Mei, candidate for Senate District 10
  • Caroline Menjivar, candidate for Senate District 18 
  • Andrea Rosenthal, candidate for Assembly District 36
  • Rick Chavez Zbur, candidate for Assembly District 50

“For decades, Big Tobacco has used their profits to place themselves as friends of our community. This year we are kicking them OUT; out of our Pride, out of our organizations, and out of our politics,” said Equality California Program Manager, Dr. Shannon Kozlovich. “We are calling all 2022 California State legislative candidates to stand with us and pledge to run tobacco free campaigns.

“The tobacco industry is killing our children, killing people of color, killing people that have underlying health conditions. We have to take a stand by not accepting tobacco contributions!” said Senator Lena Gonzalez.

In California’s 2020 Senate and Assembly election cycle, tobacco companies spent $6 million on campaign contributions, while spending millions more lobbying against legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products — products disproportionately targeted towards LGBTQ+ people, people of color and our young people. 

“The tobacco industry serves no purpose other than to make people sick. Tobacco money is not essential for people to win” states Senator Scott Wiener. 

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California Politics

California voters in a new poll say society will completely break down

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime

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Graphic courtesy of Probolsky Research

NEWPORT BEACH – A new poll released last Thursday by Probolsky Research found that a near majority of California voters think that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in the next couple of decades or so where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

The results are even more dramatic among Republicans, 69% of whom say they are worried, and those fifty and older who say American society is on the brink. Black voters too.

Full majorities in Los Angeles County, the Central Valley and Northern California also believe Californians are doomed, as do a majority of those who prefer to speak Spanish.

The multi-mode poll was conducted by telephone and online among 900 California voters from November 12 – 18, 2021. A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/-3.3% and a 95% confidence level. This survey question was not sponsored by a third party, the results are being released for public interest.

Probolsky Research which conducted the poll is a non-partisan Latina- and woman-owned research firm with corporate, election, government, and non-profit clients.

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California Politics

Assembly Speaker strips Evan Low of committee chair- no reason stated

Speaker Anthony Rendon under fire from LGBTQ, diversity groups for sidelining one of California’s top gay legislators

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Assemblymember Evan Low (Screenshot via KGO-TV 7 ABC News Bay Area)

SACRAMENTO – The Speaker of the California Assembly Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles)  abruptly stripped Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) of both of his positions as chairman and member of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee Wednesday without a stated reason.

In a letter to Sue Parker, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, Rendon named Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) as Low’s replacement without explanation. Low, who has served as chair of the committee for the past five legislative sessions, offered no direct comment instead stating in a release via his office; “It has been an honor to serve as chair of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee, where my colleagues and I crafted legislation to help small businesses, combat the opioid crisis, implement a system to regulate legal cannabis, and work with Governor Newsom to protect patients and health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Low serves as Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and Vice Chair of the California API Legislative Caucus, his removal brought immediate condemnation from groups aligned with those marginalised communities.

We are deeply disappointed to see Assemblymember Low removed as Chair of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee without any explanation. At a time when the API community faces a surge in hate, violence and discrimination, and state legislatures across the country relentlessly attack the LGBTQ+ community, Assemblymember Low has provided critical representation for our communities in Sacramento,” Equality California said in a statement. “He has chaired the B&P Committee for the last five years with policy-driven and solution-oriented leadership. Removing Assemblymember Low as chair is an unfortunate example of people of color — especially API people — being sidelined from leadership roles despite demonstrated success and a commitment to strengthening and diversifying the Legislature.”

The Washington D.C. based non-profit OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, a 48 year-old group that has chapters in all 50 states, dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, tweeted their displeasure:

Assembly sources told the Blade over the past two days that Rendon’s actions appear to be politically driven retaliation stemming from several factions who had approached Low to campaign for the Speaker’s gavel this past summer, unhappy with Rendon’s handling of the legislative calendar as well as his handling of certain matters on the Democratic agenda.

One source pointed out that “stripping him [Low] of his chair was ridiculous and a petty move that smacked of revenge on the Speaker’s part given that he [Low] has held a personal fundraiser for Rendon and raised $120 thousand for the Speaker.”

A legislative staffer speaking to the Blade on background Friday said that the optics of the Speaker’s action was terrible. “You remove the gay lawmaker who heads the LGBT caucus and vice-chairs the Asian-PI caucus without reason? Look its clearly revenge- but Evan told those people he wasn’t going to do an end run on the Speaker and he didn’t.”

“Speaker Rendon has the right to replace any committee chair, but he also has the responsibility to explain why. To remove Evan Low – the only out LGBTQ AAPI committee chair in the Assembly – from his position without explanation is problematic, especially with no other LGBTQ people serving as chairs. At a time when the LGBTQ community and the AAPI community face increasing harm, we need more bold leadership like Evan Low’s, not less.”

Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Institute President & CEO

Movement is afoot inside Assembly circles as disbelief is turning to anger. Another source speaking to the Blade on background said that the Speaker’s action looks like it will backfire. “I’ve heard that some are saying they will go on the record in the next week- and some are really pissed off. He’s [Rendon] annoyed the Black caucus, now the Asian caucus- the people thinking about to go on the record, that momentum is building.”

The Speaker is not commenting nor making public statements as of Friday. One source told the Blade that a prominent non-profit leader had texted Rendon expressing grave concerns over what appeared to be a capricious move in removing Low and received no answer other than “Message received.”

One of oldest LGBTQ non-profit political groups, The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) a four-county LGBTQ political action committee (PAC) which has been advocating for the civil rights of LGBTQ people since 1984 in the central coast counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, took to Twitter expressing its outrage.

The Bay Area Reporter noted that the Sacramento Bee first reported about Low being stripped of his chairmanship. His being removed means he no longer chairs any committees, as per Assembly rules its members are only given one chairmanship per legislative session. Low remains a member of the communications and conveyance; elections; governmental organization; and higher education committees.

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