OPINION by GORDON MULLIN
By now, all Californians are aware that voters have the opportunity to bounce Gov. Gavin Newsom from office or save him, depending on your inclination.
Election day is Sept. 14, but many of you need not wait. Some will use the ballot that has landed in your mailbox to clean house or support the Democrats’ vision — i.e. get more of the same.
The ballot consists of two questions: First is, “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of governor?” No surprise to many of you, I’ll be voting him off the island and have my fingers crossed in the hope that at least 50% of you agree.
The second question asks us to choose a candidate to succeed Newsom, should the recall be successful.
No matter how you vote on the first question, you can still vote on the second.
In the interests of voter edification, I have my own short list of conservatives I support. I have only three on my list; one is currently serving in the state Assembly and the other two have never held elective office.
A note on that last point. I disagree with The Tribune’s opinion page editor, Stephanie Finucane, that a suitable candidate should have prior experience in government. Perhaps nice to have, but not necessary in my opinion.
What’s required is an enduring interest in politics and public policy. Career politicians are often suspect in my view. With the current overabundance of state legislators who have no experience outside the corridors of government, it may well be to our benefit to have an outsider holding the apex seat.
As an excellent example of an outsider, our own governor from 1967 to 1975, Ronald Reagan, defeated two-term Pat Brown (my father’s favorite governor) having never held government office before. As we know, Reagan, after serving two terms as governor, went on to become perhaps the most successful president in the last half of the 20th century, crushing Walter Mondale in 1984 by winning every state’s electoral vote save Mondale’s home state of Minnesota.
First on my favored list of governors-to-be and leading in the polls is Larry Elder. He was born in Los Angeles; his father was a Marine and mom worked for the Department of War during WWII. An honors student during high school, he went to college and obtained his law degree in 1977. In 1980, Elder founded a legal executive search firm he owned till 1995. He is today a radio and TV talk show host and columnist and perennial thorn in the side of California Democrats.
Mr. Elder is an unabashed libertarian, conservative and a registered Republican. He opposed California Prop. 47, which lowered sentences for property crimes; has been critical of public sector labor unions; advocates school choice for parents; and is also a strong advocate of the two-parent family at a time when the very topic drips with political polarization.
And he’s black.
My other favored candidate without government experience is a long shot. Jenny Rae Le Roux is a successful businesswoman with a BA in Economics and an MBA from Columbia. I’ve heard her speak several times and she may be the smartest person in the room — any room.
Ms. Le Roux is a planner. Clearly, she thinks through any problem, business or governmental, before articulating solutions. For example, her six-part plan to revive what she terms (and I agree) the worst business climate in America, starts by removing government edicts where they do more harm than good.
The California Chamber of Commerce outlined 319 anti-business bills the Legislature passed since 2010. Ms. Le Roux promises to veto any such bills that arrive on her desk as governor. As well, she vows to work to undo the dysfunction of AB 5, which converted independent contractors into employees even over the objection of both the contractor and the business owner.
She knows the K-12 education system, especially in our metropolitan areas, is frequently a disaster.
“California is ranked 40th in the nation by US News and World Report, even though education is the most expensive line item in our budget,” she writes on her website.
She also promises to “deprioritize courses that teach young children one-sided ideologies” such as Critical Race Theory.
As stated above, she is indeed a long shot, but I encourage you to dive into her website, read her well-thought-out ideas and give her due consideration. We can certainly do worse than her, but I am hard pressed to pick a more lucid, clear-minded option in this crowded field to replace Newsom.
Which brings us to my sole elected candidate, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. High school English teacher, lawyer (Harvard then Yale), prosecutor, deputy attorney general, he has had a distinguished career and he’s willing to give up a solid conservative seat, won in 2020 with the most votes of any Republican in California history, just to displace Newsom.
Fun fact: Newsom lives in Kiley’s district.
Mr. Kiley literally wrote the book on Newsom’s recall, “Recall Newsom — The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor.”
For anyone interested in a deep dive into Newsom’s history of malfeasance and self-serving arbitrary governance, this is your book. It’s short and eminently readable. It also outlines Kiley’s roadmap to end California’s dysfunction and that starts with Newsom’s removal from office.
Please God, let it be so.