With Gov. Gavin Newsom facing a recall election on Sept. 14, the Citizen this week spoke to local residents to hear their thoughts on that election.

Supporters of this special election claim that Newsom mishandled the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and California’s homeless crisis. He has also been criticized for his support of sanctuary city policies and water rationing.

Those opposed to the election call the recall attempt a “Republican power grab.”

Included on the recall election ballot is the opportunity for the recall supporters to select Newsom’s potential replacement, in the event that a majority of voters vote to recall the governor.

There are currently 45 candidates challenging Newsom for his seat. Those challengers include businessman John Cox, political talk show host and attorney Larry Elder, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin; and Democrat and real estate agent Kevin Paffrath.

Recall supporters

Doug Eisner was one of the local residents who expressed support for the recall election.

“You just see things like prices rising up, you see the fires that we’ve been having,” he said. “He hasn’t been doing anything. He hasn’t been doing enough. And that being said, a leader – especially our state leader – we want somebody to actually step in and actually be able to say, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do, this is how we’re going to fix this.’

“But no, he’s sitting up there in his little frickin’ office and nothing has been done. My fear is that even if we recall him, we’re still going to get somebody else that’s just going to be just like him.”

Eisner added that he has not decided who he would like to replace Newsom.

His friend, Andrew, who did not provide his last name, shared similar views.

“(Arnold Schwarzenegger) wasn’t the best governor, but even when (he) was governor, you didn’t see cities like that; you didn’t see California just full of homeless. The price of everything has just skyrocketed.

“Pretty soon, hardworking guys like me and (Eisner), we’re not going to be able to afford rent, and we’re going to be right there living with them in a trailer or something. So, I want someone that’s going to come in and get the job done, make it to where people can afford to live in this state, and clean up the homeless (situation) a little bit.”

Steve, an Elk Grove resident who opted not to reveal his last name, noted that he would like to have Newsom voted out of office.

“Recall him,” he said. “Elder (is his candidate of choice). He just lines up with what I believe in a little bit more.”

Recall opponents

Kristen Mobray was brief in proclaiming her opposition to the recall election.

“I’m against (the recall), because I think California should remain a blue state,” she said.

Joan Gusman told the Citizen that she already voted by mail to keep Newsom in office.

“I am against this recall,” she said. “I support Gavin Newsom. Although he’s not perfect, he’s my man, and I do not want a Republican as the governor of the state of California.

Republicans, for the most part, support (former President Donald) Trump, and I am totally against Trump and his approach to government.

“I don’t want a Republican leading California, because I fear that social services, social justice will suffer under a Republican governor.”

Gusman added that she also wants a governor who aligns with her thoughts about COVID-19.

“I do care about COVID(-19), and I do want someone as our governor who cares about science and the scientific basis of the cure for COVID(-19), and that is vaccinations, mask-wearing, mask mandates and support for what’s coming out of the scientists and the doctors at the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” she said.

Billy Miles called the recall election a “waste of time and taxpayers’ money.”

“It’s probably nothing that anything good is going to come out of it,” he said. “I don’t see any good alternative as a replacement, because they’re just trying to throw in whoever is readily available now, but they haven’t been tried and proven to beneficial for the people. I think they’re just thrusting themselves into it, because it’s an opportune time for them.”

On the fence

Among those who are undecided on how they would vote in the recall election is Elk Grove resident Heather Johnston.

“I might vote one way or another, but I’m not sure,” she said. “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I don’t feel like my vote (would make a difference).

“I don’t think (Newsom) is doing that bad of a job. I just think the world is a mess.”

Levi Hatfield, a Sacramento resident who was shopping in Elk Grove, also expressed indecisiveness.

“(It is) 50-50 for me,” he said. “I’m indecisive right now. It’s like I want him and then I don’t. I want him and then I don’t.”

Asked about the recall election, Angie Younan mentioned that she has a general distrust of government.

“I’m going to be blunt,” she said. “I don’t trust the government. I think that they have their own damn agenda and I think that they don’t do or care about what people think.

“I feel that they also want us to see and hear what they want us to hear and see.”