For Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Economy, Senior Advisor, RecallGavin2020
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
On Monday April 12th Lead Proponent of the Gavin Newsom Recall Orrin Heatlie addressed the Senate Elections Committee, in objection to SB 663, authored by Senator Josh Newman who also sits on the committee.
Senator Newman serves the 29th district and was the subject of a recall, in 2018 where the voters successfully removed him from office. He was the first State Senator to be removed from office by recall in more than a century.
During the 2020 election he ran again and won his seat back. Since that time, he has made it his personal mission to radically change the recall process in our state. The OC Registrar stated in an article published March 12th, “Some of the first legislation Sen. Josh Newman has authored since being elected back to the 29th district seat is about tightening the recall process with twin bills that would remove financial incentives for paid signature gatherers and another to give recall targets a new way to fight back.”
Orrin Heatlie stated, “this is dangerous and reckless legislation, which threatens the very fabric of the recall process. Privacy is key to participation. People are already afraid to place their names on a petition, in fear of retaliation and retribution. This governor has already shown a propensity for retaliation against his opposition. He threatened to pull permits, state licenses or revoke state board certificates for those who oppose his orders. Earlier he also stated California would no longer contract with companies working on the border wall.
Sen. Newman stated there were safeguards in the bill to prevent retaliation. But we all know how that has worked in the past. In recent history Lois Lerner abused the power of her office to weaponize the IRS to target conservative businesses and individuals who opposed the Obama Administration. Lois denied the allegations and plead the 5th on nearly every question posed to her during congressional hearings on the matter.
Sen. Newman went on to say, in summary: (Governor Newsom has access to social media and knows the names of the proponents and its not hard to identify the people involved.) He concluded by saying, “if he (Governor Newsom) wanted to retaliate, he would have already.” During the final moments of the hearing Orrin Heatlie respectfully asked to be recognized by the committee chair to reply directly to this comment but was denied. He later stated, “Governor Newsom has retaliated against the proponents of this recall already. He knows who we are, and his opposition team have gone to great lengths to launch a smear campaign against us. They have delved into our personal and private lives to dredge up anything they could use against us to paint our team in a negative light. Governor Newsom has shown us exactly what he would do with this information, as would any other elected official, if given the opportunity.
Sen. Newman himself stated the bill was amended to exempt smaller communities, where the recall would require less than 50,000 signatures. He said in summary: (those are small communities, where everyone knows everyone, and the real threat of retaliation exists.) That he acknowledged and admitted personal information of an individual who signs a petition could be used to retaliate against them by the target of a recall on a micro level proves the case it could also be used on a macro level, especially given the fact someone like Governor Newsom has access to unlimited resources.
In an open letter sent to Orrin Heatlie today, Don Perata (Chair State Senate Pro Tem Emeritus), Don demanded “immediate release copies of all the recall petitions you submitted to the County Registrars and Secretary of State.” He threatened, “Our Committee will pay for the cost of making copies. We are prepared to move forward with legal action seeking transparency and disclosure if the copies are not made available.” Adding, “Should you fail to act, we will proceed with further legal remedies. We are willing to discuss this matter but please understand that we will settle for nothing short of immediate release of all the petitions.”