By Cherie M. Querol Moreno. Executive Editor
SACRAMENTO, California – Leading Filipino American officials are urging voters to write “No” on their ballot in the September 14 California gubernatorial recall election.
Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo strongly opposes the recall because Governor Gavin Newsom “has stood with us throughout the pandemic and we will stand with him against the recall.”
One of six known sitting FilAm mayors in the state and who heads the largest town among her peers with over 110,000 residents, Manalo is all in with her support for the chief of state.
“Governor Newsom followed the science and moved aggressively to save lives and help those hardest hit. Now he is focused on an economic recovery that lifts us all. With his historic California Comeback Plan, Newsom ensures every Californian – regardless of their race or zip code – can live a better life,” Manalo referred to the $100-million component of the new $263-billion state budget dedicated to helping residents recover from the pandemic.
Don’t be fooled, cautions South San Francisco Vice Mayor Mark Nagales, the first-ever FilAm to hold the title in the town with over 67,000 residents.
“The Republicans are playing politics with people’s lives. They couldn’t beat Governor Newsom in an election, so they see this as an opportunity. Governor Newsom has led the fight to tackle the coronavirus in California. We need to vote no on this recall.”
Now acknowledged the FilAm community’s elder statesman, Daly City Council Member Ray Buenaventura hailed the governor’s “tremendous leadership in his short term in office.” Besides appointing the state’s first Filipino American Attorney General Rob Bonta that “demonstrates his respect and valuation of Filipinos,” Newsom “was the highest ranking California elected official to attend the funeral of Alice Bulos in 2016,” Buenaventura wants FilAms to keep in mind.
“Governor Newsom has done an incredible job improving California for our Filipino community and our California community as a whole,” attests Buenaventura, a private defender, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to beat the recall.
Buenaventura has kept tab of Newsom’s work to benefit Filipinos and Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, since the latter was elected in 2019, just as Covid19 was making its way to this country.
Praising newsom’s leadership that resulted in the distribution of over 100 million vaccinations, Buenaventura says the 40th governor of California “ensured that our people get the support needed including using the state surplus to deliver direct relief of $600 cash under the Golden State Stimulus plan.”
“He also launched the largest or 2.6-B small business grant program in the nation. Further, he distributed $75 million in direct relief to undocumented residents denied relief by the federal government.”
On the civil rights front, Buenaventura says Newsom “openly cited racism in our criminal justice system and placed a moratorium on the death penalty, preventing the killing of 737 people. He also outlawed private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers.”
“Newsom signed into law the nation’s strongest police use-of-force standard, banned all chokeholds, required independent investigations by the Attorney General of all police shootings of unarmed individuals, and signed new laws to reform the juvenile justice system,” Buenaventura says.
Daly City’s three-term mayor, Buenaventura lauded Newsom for providing “stable housing for more than 33,000 unhoused under Project Roomkey” and passing the “strongest statewide evictions protections for renters during the pandemic.”
In response to climate change, Newsom “banned the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2035 and strengthened fuel standards for heavy duty trucks,” says Buenaventura, expressing approval for the governor’s “vow to conserve 30% of land and coastal water by 2030 and invested in first responders, wildfire resilience and firefighting technology.”
Those with health care issues can thank Newsom for expanding subsidies for low and middle-income Californians to help them obtain coverage, Buenaventura says. “He also launched the nation’s first single purchaser system for prescription drugs and signed legislation blocking Big Pharma’s ability to delay lower cost general drugs from being sold.”
Moreover, Newsom made California the first state to give access to Medi-Cal, the state health insurance system, for undocumented individuals ages 19-25, he adds.
Since becoming governor, Newsom has ensure a moratorium on tuition increases for UC and CSU students while making the “largest investment in K-12 public schools, expanded early childcare, increased financial aid, and free tuition for 2 years at community colleges,” avers Buenaventura.
Recall ballots reportedly have been mailed to 22 million registered voters. Each ballot contains 2 questions. The first asks: Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled from the Office of Governor? The second asks voters to choose from 46 challengers to Newsom.
If half of returns vote No, Newsom remains governor. If over half vote Yes, the candidate with the highest number of votes takes over.
The first recall election toppled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and swept Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as successor in 2003. (See Upside.)