HBJ Decries Recall Authoritarian Playbook, Urges SB Elxn Runoff
By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers
Republican wannabe governor Larry Elder this week claimed he's "detected fraud" in California's recall election -- days before vote counting even began -- a move that Santa Barbara senior stateswoman Hannah Beth Jackson says is "right out of the totalitarian playbook."
"The (Republicans') feeling is, 'if I lost the election, it must have been rigged,'" former state Senator Jackson told Newsmakers, a few hours before polls closed for the recall election. . "What’s very scary to me is, this comes right out of the totalitarian playbook."
"Take a look at some of the countries in the world where they said the elections are fixed, therefore we’re suspending the elections – well that’s where we’re headed in this country," she added. "If people believe...what is not true, because it serves whatever their purpose is, democracy is doomed."
While Gov. Gavin Newsom last night stomped the effort (MSNBC called it first, at 8:35 p.m. PDT) to eject him for office, some Republicans, led by talk show host and GOP front-runner Elder, had preemptively claimed without evidence that Tuesday's election was fraudulent.
Last night, Elder walked back his statements somewhat -- telling his supporters to be "gracious in defeat" when they loudly booed a mention of Newsom's name -- but his earlier effort to sow mistrust about the results mimicked the 2020 strategy followed by Donald Trump, in a bid to delegitimize President Joe Biden; Trump himself issued a statement two days before Tuesday's recall saying it was "rigged."
"The politics of fear and irrationality has taken over the Republican Party," Jackson said. "When people say this election was fixed…this is not even the Republican Party that George W.. Bush and the Bush family knew -- it’s become a cult of anger and bigotry and ignorance."
Since leaving office in January, Jackson has put out her shingle as a public policy and political consultant, working most recently to help the Montecito Association spread the word about Senate Bill 9, a housing measure recently passed in the Legislature which effectively outlaws single family home zoning in California.
Forty-nine days before the city's Nov. 2 Election Day, Newsmakers invited the longtime state lawmaker to drop by for a gabfest about politics, during which she also:.
Expressed support for changing Santa Barbara's mayoral election system to provide for a run-off between the top two finishers in a primary race, in order to avoid the spectacle of a mayor -- the only official who is elected citywide -- winning with only a fraction of the vote: "What we should have at the end of the day, like we do in most elections, a general election, where the top two vote getters duke it out for the position. That would force people to be clearer on what their vision is and...allow people to really be able to hone in on just what the future of this community is going to look like."
Doubled down on her endorsement in the mayor's race of James Joyce III, her former top aide, who is one of three major challengers to incumbent Cathy Murillo: "We really need an infusion of optimism, an infusion of vision...James is the kind of person who will bring everyone to the table and say ;what are your needs, and what are your needs and how can we come together, how can we get to yes.'"
Maintained that Democrats "have done a terrible job of articulating what (they) have done for the Latino community," referring both to struggles her party has had in motivating Latino voters in the recall and to gains that Trump made nationally among the cohort in the 2020 race.
This just in
Former SB Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who now serves as chair of California's Little Hoover Commission, said on Tuesday that the independent oversight agency, which investigates state government operations and policy, will hold hearings to study whether the century-old recall system should be changed.
"Our Commission can bring a unique perspective to discussions of recall reform," Nava said in a written statement. "Should the recall system be changed? And if so, how?"
Hey, we're just asking questions
As developers, contractors, architects, public employee unions and other labor organizations pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign treasuries of mayoral candidates, who will be the first candidate to step up with a tough ethics proposal that limits campaign contributions and bans donations from those with business before City Council?
How much stock should we put in the top line numbers of that shock poll now circulating among the cognoscenti that shows Randy Rowse leading Cathy Murillo, with a huge 40 percent of voters surveyed still undecided in the mayor's race?
Who will lead -- and who will trail -- in our upcoming, top secret Power Rankings of campaign signs now festooning yards, lawns, windows and illegal locations throughout Santa Barbara?
These and other political secrets revealed and mysteries unraveled, only in the Newsmakers newsletter.