Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Questions for California’s Next Governor

Edward Ring

Director, Water and Energy Policy

Edward Ring
March 22, 2021

Questions for California’s Next Governor

The Recall Gavin campaign appears on track to gather just over 2.0 million signed recall petitions before their March 17 deadline. If there is a special election, the recall ballot will have two questions. The first will be “do you support removing Newsom from office, yes or no?” The second question, on the same ballot, will be “if voters remove Newsom from office, who do you vote for to replace him?”

If a lot of candidates run to replace Newsom, there is still a way that one candidate can excite the electorate to stand out from the pack and beat the odds. That is not by attacking the other candidates, but by emphasizing solutions to the challenges Californians are facing.

To that end, here are some questions for candidates that aspire to become the next governor of California:

Are you willing to stand up to the teachers’ unions and fight for school choice via universal vouchers where the money follows the student, and/or massive improvement in the ability to open and keep open independent charter schools?

Are you willing to direct California’s attorney general to fight to overturn Jones v. the City of Los Angeles, the flawed court ruling that requires homeless people be offered free “permanent supportive housing” before they can be removed from their public encampments?

Are you willing to build state-run encampments where able-bodied drug addicts can be hauled off and given the help they need for pennies on the dollar, or are you going to allow the Homeless Industrial Complex to keep on abusing taxpayers and solving nothing?

Are you willing to tell the truth, that we ought to drill for more natural gas here in resource-rich California to create jobs since we import so much of it anyway? Will you prevent the destruction of California’s natural gas distribution infrastructure?

Are you willing to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant open? Will you support mining California’s abundant lithium deposits so California’s EV battery suppliers don’t have to import these raw materials from slave states?

Are you going to fight to bring back logging to 1990 levels (triple what it is today) so we can thin the overgrown forests and at the same time the timber companies will clear around the power lines and maintain firebreaks and fire roads like they used to, at no charge?

Will you tell the truth about open space, that we are not running out of it, and will you fight to bring back streamlined permitting for subdivisions on open land along the major freeway corridors up and down the state?

Will you spend public money on water infrastructure—reservoirs, aquifer storage, desalination, sewage reuse—instead of putting Californians onto water rationing?

Will you invest in widening and extending California’s roads and freeways instead of wasting money on high-speed rail? Do you understand that smart cars and passenger drones are just around the corner, making roads the most versatile transportation investment?

Will you tell the identity politics warriors and social justice warriors they’re barking up the wrong tree, that California is not “racist,” and that if they truly want to help they can encourage individuals to take responsibility for their lives?

These are bold positions that, if translated into policies, would make a positive difference in the lives of ordinary Californians. Explaining the compelling rationale for these policies will build consensus among voters. This means an articulate, uncompromising new governor could bypass California’s corrupt state legislature and take every one of these positions to the voters in the form of state ballot initiatives.

Forcing Newsom to defend himself in a recall election is going to be a tremendous accomplishment, but it is only half the battle. Offering a coherent alternative to what Newsom and the Democrats he represents have done to Californians is the vital other half of this struggle.

Even in the event of a nightmare outcome, the replacement of Newsom with someone like the even more extreme Lorena Gonzalez, there is a silver lining. Californians will experience, to the extent they haven’t already experienced it, the full weight of one-party rule by leftist fanatics, environmentalist extremists, social justice “woke” warriors, public sector unions, corrupt business special interests, and the billionaire oligarchs that pull the strings. It will be a clarifying experience.

If things go from bad to worse in California, and voters have to endure a doubling down of failed leadership from Democrats, they will be ready to vote for ballot initiatives and reform candidates that offer new policies to an electorate that is finally paying attention.

This article originally appeared on the website California Globe.

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Edward Ring is a contributing editor for the California Policy Center.

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