Board Walk ~ Susan Gorin

Susan Gorin Susan Gorin represents the First District as a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, an area that includes the entire Sonoma Valley.


Why are we having so many Recall Elections?

Posted on August 16, 2021 by Susan Gorin

On September 14, Sonoma County voters will cast their votes on two recall elections facing the state and the county: those of California Governor Gavin Newsom and Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. And for those living in the West County, there may be a future recall election of three West County Union School District Trustees who voted to consolidate two high schools.

What is a Recall Election?

Wikipedia – “A recall election (also called a recall referendum, recall petition or representative recall) is a procedure by which, in certain polities, voters can remove an elected official from office through a referendum before that official’s term of office has ended.” 

California, from the New York Times – “Since 1911, when California approved recalls as part of a sweeping Progressive-era reform package, 179 recall attempts have been made against state officeholders. Launching a recall in California is easier than in almost any state, and every governor since 1960 has faced at least one. Besides Mr. Newsom’s, only one other recall of a California governor, Gray Davis, has ever reached an election. Mr. Davis lost in 2003 to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who went on to face his own blitz of attempted recalls.”

When you get your ballot for the September 14 election, it will ask two questions. First, it will ask you to vote on whether the governor should be recalled – a yes vote means that Governor Newsom should be recalled, while a no vote means that he should remain in office. Then it will ask, if the governor is recalled, who should be the new governor. The second question only comes into play if fewer than 50 percent vote “no” on the first question.

Recall elections should not be considered lightly.  The cost of this recall election in California is a staggering $215m.  Even with our current budget surplus, that enormous sum could be allocated to help resolve any number of current challenges in the state – COVID resurgence, mega firestorms, power shutdowns, climate crisis, and homeless and housing crises.  Given the complexity of the issues we are facing, is it time to elect someone without governing experience as a next Governor? And consider the upheaval in the state government if a new Governor is elected overnight.  Think through the recall election carefully before you vote in September. 

Sonoma County – The effort to recall District Attorney Jill Ravitch was launched by real-estate developer Bill Gallagher, one month after agreeing to a settlement of $500,000 to settle the litigation against him.   The owner of Oakmont Senior Living was prosecuted by District Attorney Jill Ravitch, for improperly training staff and abandoning elderly residents at their residence located at Villa Capri and Varenna in Santa Rosa during the Tubs Fire in October, 2017.  Close to 100 residents were left behind as staff fled.  

When the Registrar of Voters certified the signatures in May, the Board was required to place this on the ballot; we selected the same date as the recall election for Governor Newsom – September 14th – to save Sonoma County revenues.  But in the end, this recall election will cost Sonoma County voters over $900,000 – and for what?

Jill Ravitch previously announced that she would not run for re-election in 2022, and no one as filed as a candidate to replace her.  Bill Gallagher has been the primary contributor to the recall campaign, outspending the No on Recall Campaign 10:1.   The Board of Supervisors unanimously opposed the recall effort.

This is an enormous waste of resources – time and money – apparently just to enact revenge for her prosecution.  Just say no…to the recall of District Attorney Jill Ravitch.  And it is time for the Board of Supervisors to plug the loophole in our ordinance that allows one contributor to contribute unlimited funds for signature gathering and campaigns for recalls.




3 thoughts on “Why are we having so many Recall Elections?

  1. Susan Gorin,
    Thank you so much for your enlightening article on recall elections in California. It was a great help in clarifying the current recall efforts.

    Michelle Broe

  2. Recall elections are the result of a good intentions gone bad. They do not represent the will of the people to recall politicians who abuse power or unfit. They have now become a weapon of the wealthy to perpetuate their will against the will of the people. Governor Newsom’s only mistake was having lunch with a lobbyist at a swank Napa restaurant. For that lack of judgment, he gets a D. We won’t have any qualified people run for office if the recall process is abused. Vote no on both recalls. Think how difficult it is to keep people on the Sonoma council doing a thankless job for little pay!

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