Shirley Weber walks a tightrope | CalMatters

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Hello, California. It’s Wednesday September 1st.

Shirley Weber in the spotlight

Secretary of State Shirley Weber speaks at a 2020 press conference in Sacramento. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

Governor Gavin Newsom is not the only person at the center of the action surrounding the September 14 recall election.

There’s also Secretary of State Shirley Weber – who has found herself in the awkward position of administering an election that could oust the very man who appointed her to the post from office. Weber, a San Diego Democrat and former state legislator, faces a politically precarious task: defending California’s recall process – even though she thinks it has “serious problems” – and encouraging residents to vote without giving the impression of supporting Newsom.

The difficulty of this balancing act was evident on Tuesday when the Associated Press reported California election officials were spending $ 16 million on a voter education campaign to increase turnout – a move likely to benefit Newsom , given the state’s nearly 2-to-1 ratio. from registered Democrats to Republicans.

The campaign is officially non-partisan, but the California Republican Party accused the agency that ran the campaign – the Sax Agency of Los Angeles – of being pro-Democrat, citing its work in 2020 with the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee. and an Instagram post celebrating President Joe Biden. and the victory of Vice President Kamala Harris. (In the November 2020 election, the office of then Secretary of State Alex Padilla was criticized for awarding a $ 35 million voter education contract to a company linked to the presidential campaign of Biden.)

Joe Kocurek, Weber’s press secretary, told me on Tuesday that the two leaders of the voter education campaign are registered as Republicans and without party preferences. “We have this prospect intentionally,” he said, adding: “The point is, we have a state full of voters from both parties. Elections are supposed to reflect the will of the people, and you don’t have that if the people don’t participate.

Nonetheless, critics questioned the relevance of Weber and Attorney General Rob Bonta – another person named by Newsom who publicly backed the governor – by holding a press conference to remind Californians of their voting rights ahead of the recall. . During the event, Weber stressed that it is “a sacred part of this democracy for every Californian to vote in this election and in every election.” But she also seemed to stop in the middle of a sentence when she explained the reminder bulletin, potentially to choose more neutral words to describe the second question.

  • Weber: “It’s a ballot with two questions on it, really, do you want to or don’t you want to call the governor back, simple yes or no. And the second question is if, for some reason, you want him to be recalled, who would you want to replace him? ”

However, Republicans praised Weber for adhering to the letter of the law and failing to accept Newsom’s call to register as a Democrat on the ballot despite his lawyers failing to meet the deadline. deposit to do so. She has also been a defendant in other high-profile lawsuits: one against recall frontrunner Larry Elder, who challenged tax filing requirements (he won and participated in the poll); and one in three California voters who argued the recall was unconstitutional (they lost).

During the election period, however, the line between the state representative and the politician can become blurred. At an Oakland vaccination clinic on Tuesday, Newsom noted that 80% of eligible Californians had received at least one injection and encouraged hesitant residents to get the vaccine. But then he went into campaign mode. “Simple request,” he said. “Vote no and go to the mailbox. Simple no vote. Don’t even turn the page and think about the 46 other questions you are asked. Just no vote and turn that ballot over.


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The net result of the coronavirus: Monday California had 4,222,663 confirmed cases (+ 0.2% compared to the day before) and 65,287 deaths (+ 0.02% compared to the previous day), according to state data.

California administered 46 883 013 vaccine doses, and 66.5% of eligible Californians are fully immunized.

More: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline by tracking the state’s daily actions. We are also tracking state-by-county coronavirus hospitalizations and lawsuits against COVID-19 restrictions.


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1. Lack of stimulus control anger voters

Donna Shelden, a registered Republican, will vote for Newsom’s recall on September 14. Photo by Pablo Unzueta for CalMatters

Golden State stimulus checks of $ 600 or more began to land in Californians’ mailboxes on Friday – about two weeks before the September 14 recall election. Newsom said the money, which will eventually reach two in three residents, was intended to provide “direct relief to Californians hardest hit by the pandemic.” But potentially up to 2 million of the state’s most vulnerable residents – low-income retirees, veterans and disabled Californians who receive government benefits and are not working – have been excluded. And that omission, they told CalMatters’ Jackie Botts for the latest in the Building Bloc series on Key Voters, may have cost Newsom their support.

Nonetheless, Newsom received good news on Tuesday when FiveThirtyEight, a national poll aggregation site, found that 51% of likely California voters would keep him in office, compared to 45.4% who would impeach him. The dramatic change – a few weeks ago, just over a percentage point separated the two groups – appears to be due to SurveyUSA adjusting its methodology in its latest survey.

2. Shortages abound

Substitute teachers are rare in California. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

What is there no shortage these days? Water, workers – wherever you turn, California scrambles to meet demand. Not only are there not enough teachers, but there are also not enough substitute teachers, reports Joe Hong of CalMatters – hampering schools’ ability to staff classrooms for students who are learning in person and to educate children who are learning at home in mandatory quarantine. For example, 13 of 86 teachers at Nevada Union High School were absent on Monday – and there weren’t enough replacements to fill the void.

California’s nursing shortage has also caught the attention of state lawmakers, who cited a report by Kristen Hwang of CalMatters in a letter Monday calling on the state’s top health official to back down. hospital staff ratios that limit the number of patients assigned to a nurse at a time.

One thing is not lacking, however: natural disasters. Newsom said Monday that the Caldor blaze descending on South Lake Tahoe is the state’s “number one priority” and told reporters he plans to visit the area today.

3. Money and sport collide in California

Image via iStock

There is a lot of money in sports – and starting today, student athletes can enjoy their name, image and likeness, thanks to a bill signed by Newsom on Monday night that has brought forward the original January 2023 implementation date. Meanwhile, California’s November 2022 ballot could contain not one, not two, but three sports betting-related voting metrics – one that would legalize sports betting in line and divide the profits between homeless and mental health efforts and Native American tribes, another that would legalize in-person sports betting only at tribal casinos and racetracks, and one that would also allow Non-tribal card rooms offer in-person sports betting.

Let the games begin.


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CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: As he fights to avoid being recalled, Newsom faces another issue: whether or not to grant parole to Sirhan Sirhan, who murdered Robert Kennedy.

Californians deserve the truth: Newsom misled Californians about the state’s progress on wildfire prevention – then Democrats called off the only scheduled hearing that would have exposed the state’s mismanagement, writes state senator Scott Wilk, a Republican from Santa Clarita.

Reform the recall: It’s time for state Supreme Court to rule in gubernatorial recall case that replacement election is both unnecessary and inappropriate, argue Michael Salerno of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and Mark Paul, former Assistant Treasurer of California.


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Other things are worth your time

Ed Asner defended his ex-nephew Gavin Newsom, before death. // Mercury news

COVID shutdown lawsuits have cost California over $ 4 million for settlements. // Chronicle of San Francisco

A local solution to gun violence? Pay people $ 300 per month. // The San Francisco Examiner

California Attorney General Drops Corruption Charges against fundraising in the Santa Clara County concealed firearms license scandal. // Mercury news

California lawmakers vote to limit secret colonies. // San Diego Union-Tribune

How much legal cannabis is there in California? It’s a state secret. // Forbes

California Community Colleges Report COVID-19 Enrollment Aid Scams. // Los Angeles Times

Years later, California voters are still waiting on water projects. // Associated Press

Federal government closes tracks near mysterious death of Mariposa County family for “unknown dangers”. // Chronicle of San Francisco

Rare California red fox population listed as endangered in the ongoing extinction crisis. // Sacramento bee

Wild pigs seem to be going crazy in this town of East Bay. // Chronicle of San Francisco


Until tomorrow.

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