Late last week, San Diego’s AM 600 KOGO talk host, Carl DeMaio, along with John & Ken from L.A.’s KFI AM 640, joined forces for a live broadcast from a Fullerton ARCO AM/PM gas station. It was first public gathering in the 29th senatorial district to try to recall State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton).
Upset over the legislature’s imposed 12 cents per gallon gas tax (20 cents for diesel), and the up to $150 additional car registration tax, the talk hosts are implementing DeMaio’s Gazelle Plan — like a lion attacking the weakest gazelle, this time a state politician – Sen. Newman.
If successful, the removal of Newman would end the Democrats' two-thirds super majority in the state senate and the legislature’s ability to raise taxes.
Two hours into the live show, DeMaio announced to the gathered crowd, “Based on the turn-out today, Josh Newman, you are a dead gazelle.”
On his show on May 15, DeMaio reported they gathered about 11,000 signatures at the event.
Governor Brown showed up in Orange County over the weekend for a ceremonial presentation, but he was vocal to reporters when asked about the recall effort. According to KFI’s Kobylt, the governor referred to voters as “freeloaders” if they don’t support the increased tax for the roads.
Brown is hosting a May 23 fundraiser in Sacramento for Newman, asking the maximum $4,400 per guest, supposedly for Newman’s 2020 re-election war chest. But funds could be shifted to help fight the recall.
Kobylt claimed on his May 16 show that since the petition drive started, Governor Brown has sent in “his union thugs to intimidate the signature gatherers in front of grocery stores. These are big, scary, tattooed guys. They are there to scare the little old grandmas from collecting signatures,” said Kobylt.
On his May 18 show, DeMaio said that over the weekend, “The governor’s team put together a “snitch hot line so that partisan Democrats could report the location of signature gatherers.”
“Then they [union agitators] showed up and started yelling and pushing our campaign workers,” said DeMaio. “We had to call the police.” DeMaio said the agitators were told the campaign has every right to be in front of the stores.
DeMaio said the campaign received letters from Vons and Ralphs attorneys stating they are not welcome to gather signatures in front of their stores. DeMaio’s campaign says Gov. Brown’s team called the retail clerks union, and the grocery chains bowed to the union’s pressure to try to block the recall.
“They [grocery chains] should be supporting us. Their food costs will go up with higher transportation costs,” said DeMaio. “The stores welcoming us, like Sprouts, are non-union.”
“Governor Brown denies any blocking involvement,” said DeMaio. “The governor is a lying sack of blank,” he added. “This is not my first rodeo. I know how this stuff works.”
Filed with the California secretary of state on April 24, Sen. Newman’s formal response to the recall stated, “The same out-of-town, hyper-partisan special interests who opposed Josh’s election are attempting to stage a costly and unnecessary recall campaign.”
Recall organizers have until October 16 to collect 63,593 valid signatures of registered voters in the district, which makes up parts of L.A., Orange, and San Bernardino Counties.
DeMaio, one of the statewide leaders of the Stop the Gas Tax campaign, announced on his May 18 show, that his organization has identified three more legislators that will be targeted for recall, if the gas tax is not revoked. The recall campaign appears to be well funded by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. A campaign staff has been hired, and paid signature gatherers were out last weekend.
Political Footnotes: 1) Since the 1911 governmental reforms allowing voter recall of public officials, 28 state senators have been recalled. 2) In 2003, Governor Gray Davis became the first California governor to be recalled with an effort started when Davis raised the car registration tax by 115 percent to help a budget shortfall. 3) Democrat Newman narrowly won last November’s election by 2,000 votes in a majority Republican district.