Effort to recall Gov Newsom revives with gusto after mask-less restaurant controversy and judge’s ruling

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Actions aimed at recalling California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) have gained momentum after he was caught dining out at a fancy French eatery violating his own mask and social distancing rules.

Recall campaigners were given a new lease on life following a judge’s ruling last week giving conservative activists an additional 120 days — until March 17 — to continue gathering signatures.

The recall campaign is being supported by a committee called Rescue California, which is led by former state Republican Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, who characterized the court’s ruling as a possible “game-changer,” Politico reported.

Reports earlier this month confirmed that Newsom attended a posh indoor dining event at a well-known Napa Valley restaurant called French Laundry. Photos of the get-together show Newsom dining without a mask indoors with his wife and several others seated closely at a table.

News of the Nov. 6 gathering to celebrate the birthday of Newsom’s political advisers angered many Californians who accused the governor of hypocrisy for violating his own COVID-19 restrictions.

“State guidelines limit gatherings, defined as ‘social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place,’ to no more than three households,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time.

Newsom issued an apology, saying he made a “bad mistake” and that “we all fall short sometimes.”

But independent journalist Adam Housley, who is from Yountville — where the French Laundry is located — reported on Twitter that the gathering was much larger than Newsom and others had said, adding that some participants may even be mocking the controversy.

“Because Yountville is my hometown..and where the French Laundry is located…I thought I’d do some digging. Facts about the Newsom dinner. The bar bill was around 15-thousand. 22 people in attendance, not 12. No masks. All indoors. They got so loud, other patrons complained,” he wrote.

“There was ‘zero effort’ to go outside and there was no social distancing of any type. I’m also told some of those there are now privately laughing at the controversy. Remember this is my little hometown. The walls speak,” he added.

The controversy is, without question, reinvigorating the recall activist movement.

Rescue California Co-Chair Tony Krvaric said the new organization was built “with the right people to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, holding him accountable for his erratic leadership and stunning hypocrisy in this crisis,” according to the California Globe.

Voters in California were successful in recalling Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.

“Californians deserve better and we invite everyone to join in this effort,” Krvaric said.

Politico notes that the recall effort will need to gather 1.5 million valid signatures in order to proceed, which has led some analysts to describe the initiative as a long shot.

That said, the California Globe noted that the effort has already garnered more than 800,000 signatures.

“From the beginning, I have been impressed with the efforts of the original petitioners,” veteran fundraiser Ann Dunsmore, who helped with the all-volunteer campaign over the summer, told the outlet.

“This is happening at exactly the right time,” said Orrin Heatlie, the lead proponent of the recall. “We have just gotten the 120-day extension. This new committee, supported by dozens of prominent elected officials and seasoned professionals, is a perfect complement to our volunteers. We are the army, and they are the cavalry. I could not be more pleased.”

Jon Dougherty

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