Gubernatorial Recall Endorsements 2021

The Gubernatorial Recall election is happening between now and Election Day, September 14.  If you are voting by mail, your ballot must be postmarked on or before September 14.  You can also vote in person on Election Day, or beforehand at City Hall.

Greens are endorsing NO on the recall, and Green Party member Dan Kapelovitz as a candidate to replace Governor Newsom should the recall vote pass.

SF Greens strongly disapprove of the job Gavin Newsom has done as Governor.  Few officials in California have ever stood so consistently in opposition to the Greens' 10 Key Values.  Here are just a few of the ways Governor Newsom has failed:

  • COVID.  As head of the 5th largest economy in the world, Newsom might have led the US in setting up an effective program for testing and contact tracing to stop the spread of COVID within the state. Newsom was unprepared to begin with: along with his predecessor, Governor Brown, he had previously ended Governor Schwarzenegger's pandemic emergency program.  Newsom's state "lockdown" was based more on politics than science: he allowed construction and other Democrat-friendly businesses (including his own winery) to continue to stay open while others were closed.  State Democrats also declined to use their authority to enact a rent and mortgage moratorium, or to keep locked-down small businesses afloat by paying them to keep their quarantined workers on the payroll (as was commonly done in Europe).
  • PG&E and Wildfires.  After fires caused by unmaintained PG&E equipment burned down the town of Paradise and killed 85 people in 2018, the investor-owned utility declared bankruptcy.  This would have been a great opportunity for the state of California to take over the utility and address years of deferred maintenance of equipment.  But Newsom, who received over $200,000 in bribes from PG&E during his 2018 campaign for Governor, did everything in his power to ensure that the utility would continue to be run as a for-profit private company. Newsom allowed PG&E to emerge from bankruptcy with the promise to pay fire victims out of a trust fund, which has paid almost nobody to date, other than the people who run the trust.  Since emerging from bankruptcy, PG&E has gone on start more fires that have killed dozens of people, including the current Dixie Fire, the largest single wildfire in California history.
  • The Climate Emergency.  Newsom has continued to promote fracking and the gas and oil industry in California.  Despite campaign promises to end the practice, Newsom has approved even more new fracking permits than his predecessor, Governor Brown, did.  The California Democratic Party continues to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from the fossil fuel industry each year.
  • Universal Health Care.  Newsom campaigned in favor of establishing universal health care in California.  When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, single payer bills landed on his desk twice.  But since Governor Brown and Newsom took over the governor's office, the Democratic-supermajority legislature hasn't seriously tried to pass this legislation.
  • High Speed Rail.  In his 2019 State of the State address, Newsom announced he was suspending California's $77 billion attempt to link SF and LA by high speed rail.  This allowed President Trump to take back nearly $1 billion that the federal government had committed to the project.  Ever since voters approved bonds to fund high speed rail, Democratic Party officials have used the project to enrich politically connected contractors rather than actually trying to build it.  A transition from air and road travel to rail is essential for mitigating the worst effects of the climate emergency.
  • Democracy.  Newsom vetoed a measure that would have allowed cities across California to use ranked choice voting in local elections. California should follow Maine in implementing ranked choice voting for all single-seat elections, including Presidential elections. California should be using ranked choice voting for this recall election, but Newsom and the Democrats have showed no interest in fixing a broken system - only complaining that Republicans are taking advantage of it.  California should also use proportional representation for larger bodies such as the state legislature.  The current system of "winner take all" elections gives no representation to members of any party other than the locally dominant one (Democrats in most cities, Republicans in rural areas).
  • Rubber Stamp for the Real Estate Lobby.  All of the above priorities have been sidelined by Newsom and the Democratic Party so they can focus on what they do best: passing laws to facilitate more market-rate real estate development (i.e., luxury condos).  Newsom has shown no interest in building social housing or other types of development that will ameliorate displacement and gentrification of our cities.  As a result of the Democrats' libertarian approach to planning, coastal cities have become havens for the wealthy professionals who are the base of the Democratic Party.  The working poor who were displaced from these cities are now forced to drive long distances to work as gig economy servants of urban elites.
  • Hypocrisy.  At a time when public schools were closed (despite scientists from UCSF and other academic institutions providing guidelines for safe reopening), Newsom sent his own kids to private schools so they could benefit from in-person learning.  While ordinary people were asked to stay home, Newsom attended a dinner hosted by a lobbyist at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa. Although indoor dining was illegal at the time, Newsom's party ate in a temporary building that was only technically "outdoors."

Despite all of Newsom's problems, the leading candidates to replace him on the recall ballot are as bad or worse.  Therefore, this recall election is unlikely to result in a Governor who is more in alignment with our Green values.  Even worse, the rules of the recall election do not require the winner to have majority support: there will be no runoff or ranked choice voting, so a winner could be elected with only a small fraction of the votes.  Although the Democrats who are in complete control of government in California could have reformed this process, they have chosen not to do so.

Greens therefore urge a NO vote on the first ballot question of recalling Newsom.

The second ballot question asks voters who will replace Newsom if the recall succeeds.  On this question, Greens have endorsed Dan Kapelovitz (  Kapelovitz is a recent convert from the Bernie Sanders campaign to the Green Party.  He is an attorney who also teaches law at the People’s College of Law in Los Angeles.  His clients are mainly poor people caught up in the criminal justice system, as well as defenders of animal rights.

Kapelovitz' values are clearly aligned with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party, and the platform on his website is very similar to ours.  Although he recently joined the Green Party, his long record of activism shows that he has shared our values and priorities for decades.  Greens should therefore feel confident in voting for him to replace Governor Newsom should the recall vote pass.