The following commentary first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Politics, like sex, is not a suitable subject for discussion in a professional setting. This strong conviction led me to maintain my business’ apolitical and nonpartisan stance from its founding.
My business’ nonpartisanship will continue, but I can’t afford to be apolitical anymore. If California small-business owners want to survive, it is imperative that we get involved — specifically, in supporting the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Too much time is spent talking about relatively petty grievances against Newsom, such as his infamous soiree at the French Laundry. There are many substantive reasons for Californians on both sides of the aisle to reject his governorship. Newsom’s political operatives know there is a valid case against the governor, which is why they are trying to discredit the recall effort as hyper-partisan.
Admittedly, there have been hyper-partisan recall attempts since Newsom took office. I did not support those recalls, but I believe the current one transcends partisanship. A broader cross section of Californians are recognizing that the increasing magnitude of Newsom’s failures can’t wait to be judged for another two years. It necessitates an urgent re-evaluation of his leadership.
For me, the nearly yearlong business closures are the governor’s most damning error. I’ve had to lay off employees and struggle to balance my books due to poorly planned, whimsical executive orders.
According to the California Restaurant Association, restaurants like mine employed 1.4 million Californians before the pandemic, and 30% are expected to close permanently. Data from Yelp is even more grim, suggesting that 60% of pandemic business closures nationwide will be permanent. But Newsom has ignored the desperate pleas of business owners who are struggling to pay their employees and avoid losing the businesses they have built through years of hard work.
Even if you agree with the restrictive business lockdowns, there is a long list of additional examples of Newsom’s ineptitude.
Amid the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, laid-off employees can’t obtain unemployment insurance benefits in a timely manner from the state’s grossly dysfunctional Employment Development Department — aid from funds they paid into through their payroll taxes and were relying on to put food on the table for their families. Worse, EDD has paid as much as $30 billion in fraudulent claims to prisoners and others — perhaps the largest such fraud in California’s history.
Despite having some of the highest tax rates in the nation, California continues to suffer from the nation’s highest poverty rate and disproportionate homelessness.
And while Newsom has promised to ensure that all new cars in the state are electric by 2035, he has presided over a period of unreliable electricity. The return of rolling blackouts was oddly reminiscent of the governorship of Gray Davis, who was recalled in 2003.
When the governor shut down my business, he created a void in my life. I decided to fill it by working to ensure that he will no longer have a destructive impact on my life and the lives of other Californians.
Many of my customers complain about the orders prohibiting me from serving them a hot plate of food or a cocktail. When they do, I serve them a clipboard with a recall petition — and almost all of them sign it.