Filipino Americans laud landslide vote defeating recall bid vs Governor Newsom  

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR Gavin Newsom in a file photo with US President Joseph Biden Jr. during a recent visit in the state. The two leaders are pressing for stricter gun safety and reforms

By Jo Erlinda Maufit
LOS ANGELES — Filipino Americans hailed the defeat of the bid to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, saying it assures continuity of the plans and programs for the state, including the response against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the results, Newsom won a new lease for his governorship by historic landslide, 63.9 percent for the “No” votes to recall and 36.1 percent for “Yes.”

The “No” votes scored lopsided victories in many areas, the biggest of which were the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles County, which have large population of Filipino Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

US President Joseph Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris were happy with the results having joined the campaign for Governor Newsom in California.

On the eve of the recall vote, Governor Newsom joined President Biden in surveying the damage from the Caldor Fire – now the 15th largest and the 16th most destructive wildfire in state history – and discussed his Administration’s response to recent devastating wildfires in the western U.S.

Following the state’s request, the White House approved a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for El Dorado County to assist state, tribal and local governments with Caldor Fire emergency response and recovery costs. This followed the Presidential Emergency Declaration California secured earlier this month to support the Caldor Fire response, and a previous Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support counties impacted by the Dixie and River fires.

Following a tarmac greet at Mather Airport, the Governor and President Biden traveled to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Headquarters, where they received a briefing on the Caldor Fire response led by CAL OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, CAL FIRE Director Thom Porter and U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region Jennifer Eberlien. They also greeted staff at the State Operations Center supporting statewide emergency response efforts.

Governor Newsom and the President later surveyed damage from the Caldor Fire in an aerial tour of impacted areas in El Dorado County, where the community of Grizzly Flats was devastated by the fire. After returning from the aerial survey, the Governor and President met briefly with elected officials and delivered remarks at a Mather Airport hangar. Governor Newsom thanked President Biden for his commitment to tackling climate change and supporting states on the front lines, and highlighted the strong state-federal partnership on wildfire response and recovery efforts. President Biden discussed how the proposed investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda will increase our resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, including catastrophic wildfires.

Many ethnic leaders, including FilAms campaigned to retain Governor Newsom, up to the last campaign rallies, according to FilAms and Democratic leaders.

In a rally at the historic Filipinotown, many Filipinos like the PALAD board and FilAm community leaders, joined Governor Newsom as he talked about COVID relief, policies to combat anti-Asian hate, among others.

Alumni of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), one of the Philippines’ top universities which had bestowed a doctorate in public management on Governor Newsom joined in lauding the massive win of the “No” votes. One of the PLM alumni is Philippine News Today editor in chief Alfred Gabot who was a member of the PLM Board of Regents when Newsom personally received the doctorate and witnessed a linkage between the PLM and the City College of San Francisco.

Weeks before the recall vote, leading Filipino American officials already were urging voters to write “No” on their ballot in the September 14 recall election against Governor Newsom.

The elected FilAm officials included Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo, South San Francisco Vice Mayor  Mark Nagales, and Daly City Council Member Ray Buenaventura.

Mayor Manalo said she  strongly opposed the recall because 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 was all out in with her support for Newsom, Philippines News Today executive editor Cherie Querol Moreno reported earlier, adding: “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.”

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 said during the campaign.

Jessica Caloza, PALAD Board Member, LA Board of Public Works Commissioner and Recording Secretary for the CADEM API Caucus, also lauded Newsom’s retention as California’s leader. Before the recall votes, Caloza said: “He has provided critical lifelines to people and communities who need it most through stimulus checks, billions in grants for small businesses, strongest eviction protections in the entire country, and rent coverage for low-income families like those who live here in Historic Filipinotown.”

The Team PALAD, along with many other supporters, also joined President Joe Biden and Governor Newsom at the final campaign stop in Long Beach, on the eve of the recall election to urge voters to Vote No on the Recall.

California is home to the largest concentration of Filipinos in the United States with a population of over 1.6 million out of over 4 million throughout US. Records show that 600,000 Filipinos live in the greater Los Angeles area alone.

Filipinos joined Newsom also during a stop at  the Rideback Ranch along Beverly Boulevard where he credited the voting bloc for helping him win races dating back to his bid for San Francisco Board of Supervisors and then the city’s mayor. He also paid tribute to the late Bay Area community leader and activist Alice Bulos.

“Alice Bulos was one of my great champions — a Filipino leader in Northern California. I would not be mayor of San Francisco without Alice’s support. That’s a fact,” Newsom said.

Earlier, Newsom appointed former California Assemblymember Rob Bonta as state attorney general, becoming the first Fil-Am to hold the post. In recent weeks, Bonta, together with wife Mia, rallied fellow Asian American leaders in opposing the recall effort.

Amid the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents across the state since the start of the pandemic, Newsom has been vocal in condemning the discrimination and violence and signed a $156 million API Equity Budget in July, which would provide grants for hate crime victim support and crime prevention services and improve reporting and tracking data.