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Via Lara Korte...

If California Democrats weren’t taking the Gavin Newsom recall effort seriously before, they are now.

On Tuesday the state Democratic Party held a virtual press conference wherein they likened the attempt to unseat the Democratic governor to a radical act of insurrection akin to the riots that happened at the U.S. Capitol last week, which resulted in the deaths of five people and significant damage to federal property.

“This recall effort, which really ought to be called the California coup, is being led by right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers and groups who encourage violence on our democratic institutions,” said state Democratic Party chairman Rusty Hicks.”Today we’re here to say enough is enough is enough,” he added.

Hicks was joined by other state Democrats, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Assemblyman David Chiu, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, BART Board President Lateefah Simon, and Fresno City Council Member Nelson Esparza.

“Last week, the attempted coup at our nation’s capital shook our nation to its core… and we know it happened because craven politicians, led by Donald Trump, put themselves over the duty to country and to our constitution,” Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, said. “Some of the most insidious hate groups in our country joined those same politicians to stoke hate, fear and vision… These same groups and conspiracy theorists are behind the recall effort in our state of California.”

Republicans and recall backers did not take kindly to being lumped in with the insurrectionists.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is attempting to desperately distract from his incompetence and hypocrisy,” California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement following the presser. “His hypocrisy and his failure to every student, every business, and every working family in California is driving the anger of the recall more than anything.”

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who this week self-published a book arguing for Newsom’s removal, said such comparisons are irresponsible.

“If you want to make a change you use the legal process to do so, and that’s exactly what the recall is, and to try to cast it as otherwise, I think, is very irresponsible,” he said.


A group of veterans and national security experts are calling on the California Legislature to expel a Southern California Republican lawmaker from the Assembly over his remarks commending the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny,” said Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the (President-elect Joe) Biden swear in on Jan. 20th.”

Now, more than three dozen people, including elected officials such as San Francisco County Supervisor Matt Haney, Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Marr and Carlsbad City Councilmember Cori Schumacher, have written to the Legislature demanding Voepel’s ouster.

“These words are an explicit glorification of the insurrection and direct incitement of further violence. Assemblymember Voepel is both an elected official and a veteran of the U.S. military. We believe that he has violated his sworn oath and must be held accountable,” the letter reads in part.

Voepel, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War, has since issued a statement walking back his remarks, saying, “I would like to follow up to state clearly and unequivocally that I do not condone or support the violence and lawlessness that took place on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at our nation’s capital.”

However, the signatories say that Voepel’s statement isn’t enough.

“Despite his scripted backpedaling, Assemblymember Voepel’s treasonous response to the insurrection makes it clear he is not fit to serve,” the letter says.


In a move hearkening back to the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s and ‘40s, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling in his 2021-22 budget for the creation of a California Creative Corps, budgeting $15 million for a pilot program “which will fuel positivity, regain public trust, and inspire safe and healthy behavior across California’s diverse populations through media, outreach, and an engagement campaign,” according to a statement from Californians for the Arts.

This funding will require a dollar-for-dollar match, according to the budget proposal. Details about the program have yet to be announced by the governor’s office, but the intention is to employ artists in service to the public health crisis in a public-private partnership model, according to the statement.

“We are grateful to Governor Newsom for once again proactively supporting the creative industries as he has in every budget since he became Governor,” said executive director Julie Baker in the statement. “We applaud his visionary leadership to recognize the value of artists to contribute to California’s wellness through the development of the CA Creative Corps and we look forward to working with the administration on making the most out of this opportunity. We strongly support the pilot program and urge the private sector and legislature to support as well.”


‘We don’t actually need a lot of evidence here because it’s all out in the open. There’s no dispute Donald Trump gave a speech. No dispute there was an attack on the Capitol. No dispute that multiple people died.’

– Rep. Ted Lieu on the impeachment vote expected today.

Best of the Bee:

  • California man was free on parole when alleged DUI led to 2 deaths. Could state have done more? via Wes Venteicher

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus recovery proposal is too focused on promoting electric cars and not enough on supporting small businesses, some lawmakers said Monday, via Sophia Bollag.

  • Rideshare drivers and one of the largest unions in California are suing the state, seeking to overturn an initiative voters passed in November that exempts drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies from a labor law that requires them to provide employment benefits to more workers, via Jeong Park.

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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