A statewide campaign that’s underway to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office has an enthusiastic presence in Shasta and Siskiyou counties.
Two previous recall efforts weren’t successful but the regional manager in charge of collecting signatures in nine Northern California counties says the organization has better experience this time around.
“We believe things are going well,” said Roxanna Layne of Anderson. “We have a professional team this time.”
Layne said the recall campaign is working with the political consulting firm GOCO Consulting of Sacramento, also known as Griffiths Olson Company.
Layne said their consultants are verifying signatures ahead of time and contacting people who made mistakes, such as signing a petition in Shasta County when they actually live in another county.
This third recall effort is being spearheaded by Orrin E. Heatlie of Folsom, who recently retired as a sergeant with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, according to recallgavin2020.com.
Recall backers have until Nov. 17 to submit nearly 1.5 million valid signatures to county election officials, who are in charge of verification. That minimum number represents 12% of the approximately 12.4 million votes cast for governor in 2018, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.
As of Aug. 3, that office has received 56,495 signatures. Fifteen counties out of 58 had not reported their numbers. A spokesman said the next update is due soon.
“It’s substantially more than that. I promise you that,” Layne said of the number of signatures so far.
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She said all the petitions have yet to be turned in to GOCO. The signature-gatherers have about two months to go and Heatlie said the majority of petitions will be submitted at a strategic time.
Should the recall succeed in making it onto the ballot, an election could be announced for sometime next year. The ballot would ask voters to say yes or no to recalling Newsom and then offer a list of replacement candidates.
In an Aug. 10 opinion piece on Redding.com, columnist Thomas Elias says the governor has not commented on the recall drive. However, Elias says Newsom was a “close observer” 17 years ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced former Gov. Gray Davis through a recall.
Democrat Newsom isn’t that popular in the North State, where the majority of voters favored Republican governor candidate John Cox in November 2018.
In that general election, Newsom received nearly 29% of the vote in Shasta County compared to about 71% for Cox.
Recall backers are counting on voter discontent to make their campaign succeed. However, a New York Times poll in June showed Newsom’s approval rating among adults increased to 65% from 53% in February.
The Siskiyou County vote was nearly 40% for Newsom and about 60% for Cox.
Recall leader Heatlie says the effort is nonpartisan and receiving support from Democrats.
“We have people on our management staff who are lifelong Democrats and they want their vote back,” he said. “They feel their Democratic Party has been hijacked by Newsom’s ultra-Socialist, left-wing, liberal agenda.”
Layne gives several reasons why she supports the recall, such as not trusting Newsom when it comes to protecting Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
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“People have firearms and they’re necessary,” she said.
Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and locking down businesses is another recall reason, Layne said.
Letting low-level inmates out of prison — many due to coronavirus precautions — and making county probation officials responsible for them is another point, which reduces the number of prisoners fighting fires from conservation camps.
“We don’t have prisoners on fire crews. They were really good. They’re not there because Newsom turned them all loose,” Layne said.
Taxes is another issue. “He (Newsom) taxes everything,” she said.
Debbi Srp of Redding is another one of the county coordinators who recently organized an anti-Newsom rally where about 15 people stood on the Hartnell Avenue overpass above Interstate 5.
Several also held pro-Donald Trump signs that were greeted with enthusiastic honks from car and truck drivers passing on Hartnell and the freeway below.
“We just need to get him (Newsom) out. He’s overreaching the government and he’s pretty much gone rogue,” Srp said after the Aug. 29 rally.
She criticized Newsom’s color-coded system guiding counties throughout the state on COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s not specific on the amount of cases per se and yet we have so many businesses that cannot open,” she said. “Our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors … they’re losing everything because they need their jobs back, they need to be able to work. We want to support our businesses and we can’t. We’re shut out.”
Louise Gliatto of Yreka is the Siskiyou County petition coordinator. She’s finding a lot of like-minded supporters for the cause.
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“We have people running up to us asking if they can sign twice,” she said. “We even have Democrats wanting to sign petitions. Even Democrats are upset,” Gliatto said.
She said her group has collected 1,800 signatures out of a goal of 2,180. Layne says almost 5,000 people have signed the petitions in Shasta County as of Wednesday with a target of reaching 8,410.
“Let me count the ways,” Gliatto said when asked why she favors the recall.
She’s particularly upset with the state mask mandate, which she argues is against the law.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urges the use of masks, saying on its website that masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
The CDC recommends wearing masks in public, especially when it’s difficult to maintain social distancing, and around people who don’t live in your household.
“Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings,” the CDC says.
“He (Newsom) is acting like an emperor,” she said.
She believes Newsom’s executive orders should be reviewed by the Legislature 60 days after they went into effect.
Both Srp and Gliatto say petition-gatherers are getting help from local businesses that let customers sign.
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“The businesses have been awesome,” Gliatto said of the dozen locations in Siskiyou. “We’ve gotten a lot of responses from them. Most places contact us, asking if they can get petitions. It’s made it easier for us.”
She said “an awesome team” also is outside Ray’s Food Place every Friday collecting signatures.
Shasta County petition locations
- Hilliard Insurance, Burney
- Shasta Farm & Equipment, Cottonwood
- Woody’s Cottonwood Barber, Cottonwood
- In & Out Mini Mart, Palo Cedro
- Bastiani Arms, Redding
- Dill’s Deli, Redding
- EveryDay Fitness, Redding
- Jones’ Fort, Redding
- Loucks Landscape Supply, Redding
- Olde West Gun & Loan Co., Redding
- Redding Republican headquarters, Redding
- RISE Custom Apparel, Redding
- Robinett’s Automotive, Redding
- San Francisco Deli, Redding
- The Beadman, Redding
Siskiyou County petition locations
- Marble Mountain Machinery, Fort Jones
- Hornbrook Community Thrift Shop, Hornbrook
- Berryman Forestry, McCloud
- Dr. Robert Underwood, Chiropractic Clinic, Montague
- Cortright Market and Deli, Montague
- Solano’s Alpine Hardware, Mount Shasta
- Buffalo Broadcasting KSYC-FM, Yreka
- Grange Insurance, Yreka
- Ed Steinhoff, Heavy Equipment Parts, Yreka
- T&s Design, Yreka
- Zephyr Books & Coffee, Yreka
- Terry’s Nursery, Yreka
Mike Chapman is a reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Follow him on Twitter @mikechapman_RS. Subscribe today!