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Opinion: Not scared by the recall election? You should be, say readers

People attend a rally calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to be recalled in San Diego in June 2020.
People attend a rally calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to be recalled in San Diego in June 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

This recall was supposed to be different. We’re in a crisis, and what sense would it make for California to change leaders so close to a general election anyway? Besides, we learned our lesson after 2003, when 135 candidates ran to replace then-Gov. Gray Davis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory seemed to cement California as an unserious political backwater, a reputation from which we’ve only recently recovered (if at all, some would surely say).

But it may be happening again, and without the star power of Schwarzenegger or aloofness of Davis. (Sure, this time there’s Olympian-turned-reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner and the slick, always camera-ready Gov. Gavin Newsom, but they don’t come close to the contrast between the Terminator and an adept political fundraiser.) Polls show that Newsom’s position is increasingly precarious. Republicans running to replace him are debating and showing once again how the prospect of winning the governor’s mansion with a plurality of the vote gives them every incentive to stake out fringe positions that stir a small base rather than appeal to the masses.

More of our readers, presumably those who remember what summer 2003 felt like, are expressing alarm.

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To the editor: If California’s Democratic voters are not worried about the recall election, they sure as heck should be. A conservative Republican could do a lot of harm in California in a short period of time.

Most importantly would be decisions on mask mandates and distributing COVID-19 vaccinations. And what if more variants appear on the scene that are not stopped by the vaccinations we have now?

We have seen the havoc that ultra-conservative governors can wreak when it comes to the pandemic. Just imagine a governor in the image of former President Trump. Newsom may be as disliked by Republican voters as much as Democrats dislike Trump, but the difference is that the Democrats have a large edge; they just have to be made to feel fear.

Lynn Lorenz, Newport Beach

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To the editor: Unless you want to see this process played out late in the first term of every subsequent Democratic governor, then you need to turn out to defeat the recall.

This clear abuse of the intent of the recall process needs to be solidly tamped down to avoid the monetary cost and the interruption to the actual governing of the state. If one is unhappy with the incumbent, there are elections every four years to express it.

Dan Linn, La Jolla

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To the editor: I am confused. According to your article on the GOP gubernatorial candidates’ debate, John Cox and former Rep. Doug Ose, who are running to replace Newsom, both say “they favored changing California law to force treatment on homeless people who are experiencing mental illness or addicted to drugs.”

In the next paragraph, it states that Cox and Ose (in addition to former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who also participated in the debate,) are all “united in their opposition to mask and vaccination mandates, arguing that decisions should be left to individuals.”

Which is it? To mandate or not? Decisions are to be left to the individual, except when they aren’t. I wish I had been there to see the debate, because it would have been fascinating to see the words coming out of both sides of their mouths.

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Karen Francis, Santa Ana

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To the editor: Instead of wringing their hands about the lack of “prominent” Democratic replacement candidates on the Newsom recall ballot, Democratic voters can take action instead.

The best Democratic candidate to replace Newsom if the recall passes is Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who was elected in 2018. Concerned voters should contact her office today or send an email urging her to stand as a write-in candidate by notifying the California Secretary of State. She must do so by Aug. 31 to get on the list of valid write-in candidates.

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Then, on the ballot, vote “No” for the recall but also write in Kounalakis, in case Newsom is actually recalled. This can prevent the Republican circus campaign from succeeding and still leave the state with competent leadership.

Daniel Harrison, Chula Vista

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To the editor: Wild horses couldn’t stop me from voting. I have no strong feelings for or against Newsom, but the last thing this country needs is another Republican governor.

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Brian Masson, Harbor City


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