TimesOC: Newsom appears to survive recall effort, even among O.C. voters

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 15. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of news and events.

The dust has scarcely settled on the state’s recall election, which came to a close last night. While the full picture remains unclear at the time this newsletter is going to bed Tuesday, the first wave of election results reported by the Orange County Registrar of Voters showed Gov. Gavin Newsom appearing to somewhat handily escape the attempt to remove him from office.

Those early results, which were posted shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, recorded the votes of 42.9% of O.C.'s roughly 1.8 million registered voters. Of those, 57.32% of the voters supported Newsom by voting “no” on the recall, while 42.68% wanted the governor out of office.

There’s little doubt there will be some challenges to the outcome. Volunteer “election watchers” worried about voter fraud have been active this month in O.C., taking photos of election workers and questioning ballot signatures long before ballots began to be counted.

County Democrats seemed optimistic Tuesday afternoon that the recall effort would fail, but they continued to push party faithful who had not yet cast their votes to do so.

Voters cast their ballots on whether to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom at Huntington Beach Central Library on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It appears clear that Californians will reject the Trump-style politics of the Republican Party. Here in Orange County, Democrats are working hard to get out the vote,” Democratic Party of Orange County spokeswoman Rachel Potucek told my colleague Lilly Nguyen on Tuesday.

“Democrats are coming away from this recall with more experience, many more voter contacts and we’re fired up going into the 2022 midterms,” Potucek said.

Recall supporter Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, carried a positive attitude Tuesday afternoon that Newsom would be unseated and the most prominent Republican candidate, Larry Elder would be elected as the state’s new governor. Whitaker was among the Elder acolytes who attended a party last night in Costa Mesa that was intended to be a victory party attended by the gubernatorial hopeful.

Gloria Kalatzis has her picture taken at the victory party for candidate Larry Elder at the Hilton Orange County.
Gloria Kalatzis from Palos Verdes has her picture taken at the victory party for candidate Larry Elder at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa on Tuesday night.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)


— Even as a bill banning gun shows at the Orange County fairgrounds is sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting signature, operators of the state-owned property are considering how to stop it and the revenue loss it would cause. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine) has cautioned the panel he stands ready to file a lawsuit if they try to circumvent the law by signing contracts for future gun shows in advance of the Jan. 1, 2022 date the law would go into effect. My colleague Sara Cardine has the story.

— COVID-19 numbers have been trending downward in California in general and are looking better in Orange County, where hospitalizations attributed to the disease dropped from 406 on Monday to 372 Tuesday, with the number of intensive care unit patients declining from 119 to 105, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The last time O.C. hospitalizations were below 400 patients was Aug. 4.

— Related to that news, Andrew Do, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, confirmed on Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus and would be self-isolating at his home for 10 days. Do said he was fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19.

— A host of local events were held Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against our country, among them solemn remembrances at fire departments around Orange County and activities at the O.C. fairgrounds that were presented by the nonprofit Power of One Foundation (POOF), in collaboration with the Patriot’s Voice Foundation and the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

Guests were invited to write a name and pin a ribbon to honor someone affected by the terrorist attacks of  9/11/2001.
Guests were invited to write a name and pin a ribbon to honor someone affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 during a 20-year 9/11 remembrance event at the Hanger on Saturday at Orange County fairgrounds.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

— Access to abortion care was brought to the forefront earlier this month when the Supreme Court declined to block a Texas law enacting a near-complete ban on abortion. The news is reverberating around the country, with medical director and senior vice president of clinical services at Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties telling TimesOC reporter Sarah Mosqueda that reproductive rights in California still need protection. “If we start to lose access here, the rest of the country is going to follow,” said Dr. Janet Jacobson.

— Ten Orange County athletes who participated in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo were given a hometown parade along the Balboa Peninsula Sunday morning, followed by a reception at Veterans Memorial Park.

A Hometown Olympian parade was held Sunday between the Balboa Pier and American Legion Post.
A hometown Olympian parade was held Sunday between the Balboa Pier and American Legion Post, hosted by O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley for athletes living in Orange County 2nd district.
(Susan Hoffman)


— The Surf City Marathon took place in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, as thousands of runners hit the pavement for the 25th annual event along Pacific Coast Highway, Central Park and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Normally held on Super Bowl Sunday, the race was rescheduled this year due to the pandemic. A Newport Beach resident, Michelle Jacobsen, was the first woman to cross the finish line while Ben Winfield of Newcastle, Wash. was the overall winner.

Michelle Jacobsen, 43, of Newport Beach is the first woman full marathon runner to finish the Surf City Marathon.
Michelle Jacobsen, 43, of Newport Beach is the first woman full marathon runner to cross the finish line in the Surf City Marathon on Saturday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

— The Los Angeles Chargers, headquartered in Costa Mesa, had a great start to their season Sunday with a 20-16 win over the Washington Football Team in a road game played at FedEx Field.

— After soundly beating top football teams from Texas and Nevada, Santa Ana Mater Dei High School has moved to the No. 1 spot in The Los Angeles Times’ top 25 rankings, according to sports columnist Erik Sondheimer, who writes the “Monarchs are truly a complete team with strengths everywhere.” Mater Dei’s move up the rankings pushed former No. 1 team St. John Bosco to the No. 2 position.


— A Facebook group called Buy Nothing Costa Mesa, part of the worldwide Buy Nothing Project is thriving, with more than 2,800 members, many of whom have gifted or been on the receiving end of items they can use. Gratitude is the watchword of the hyper-local group and our contributing writer Susan Hoffman interviewed a few Costa Mesa residents who are most grateful for the sense of community they’ve found on the site.

— Visitors to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa between now and Sept. 21 will find paper lanterns, cherry blossoms, special moon cakes and a display of photographs celebrating scenic landscapes in China at the shopping mecca’s Autumn Harvest Festival. It’s a seasonal celebration marked by Asian cultures across the globe on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is believed to be the brightest all year.

"The Magnificent Nature of China"on display in the Nordstrom Wing during Autumn Harvest Festival.
“The Magnificent Nature of China,” a picture presentation gallery by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and courtesy of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, on display in the Nordstrom Wing during Autumn Harvest Festival at South Coast Plaza.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)


— John Emme, who coached the Corona del Mar High School baseball team for 21 years and remained a teacher at the school, died at the age of 57 Monday morning after a biking accident. “He just lived for CdM baseball,” current head coach Kevin McCaffrey told the Daily Pilot. “He had a passion for being out on the field and being with the boys. Obviously, it’s difficult right now, having to break it to our team and the boys on the football team was pretty tough. He loved CdM.”

Corona del Mar head baseball coach John Emme, who died this week in a bicycle accident.
Former Corona del Mar High School head baseball coach John Emme died at a local hospital on Monday following a biking accident.
(Daily Pilot)