Truckee residents to consider recall and Measure T
Measure T and recall ballots to arrive this week
Registered voters in Nevada County should receive their 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election ballots by the end of this week.
Natalie Adona, the county’s assistant clerk-recorder/registrar of voters, said the Sept. 14 special election poses two questions to voters:
“First, whether they want to recall Gavin Newsom,” Adona said, “and second, if he is recalled, which candidate should replace him.”
According to the California Secretary of State website, if the majority selects “Yes” to the recall question, the replacement candidate with the most votes will replace Newsom for the remainder of his term, which ends Jan. 2, 2023. The new governor would start immediately.
If one-half or more of the votes on the recall question are “No,” Newsom would stay in office.
Adona said the ballots were sent Monday. Voters should mail in their ballots by election day to ensure their arrival at the elections office no later than seven days after the election. Ballots may also be delivered via drop box or cast in person.
According to Adona, Nevada County was allocated $717,006 by the state’s Department of Finance to perform the election. According to California’s Department of Finance, the special election’s total cost to state taxpayers amounts to $276 million.
Adona said voters should call the elections office at 530-265-1298 if they have not received their ballot by early next week.
Newsom was first elected to his current position in the 2018 midterm election. Eighty percent, or 54,996 of 68,869 registered voters in Nevada County, participated in the election. Fifty-three percent of the votes cast were for Newsom.
The last special election that took place in Nevada County was to replace California’s District 1 assemblyman, Brian Dahle, in November 2019. Only 42% of Nevada County voters, or 28,456 of 67,878 people, participated in the special election. Although Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt received the majority of votes cast in Nevada County, Republican Megan Dahle was elected to replace her husband in the multi-county district.
According to the Nevada County election website, 65,800 of 75,123 registered voters, or 88%, participated in Nevada County’s November election.
Nevada County Republican Party Chairman Bob Hren said he believes the current governor’s offenses range from mismanaging the state’s Employment Development Department to outright “dictatorship.”
Hren said Newsom deprived constituents of their civil liberties via “one-man rule” over the 18-month course of the pandemic.
“The current governor should definitely be replaced,” Hren said.
According to the Secretary of State’s FAQ page on the California Gubernatorial Recall Election, the special election came about in part as a result of the efforts of Orrin Heatlie, a 52-year-old retired county sheriff from Folsom.
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced in April that the petition to recall Newsom passed the 1,495,709 verified signatures threshold required to go forward with the election.
Hren said his organization conducted an internal poll and found nearly 90% of the voters favored California’s District 6 Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, based in Rocklin, for the potentially vacated position.
“He wrote the book about Newsom’s corruption, won a lawsuit against the governor and is leading the effort to get our kids back in school without masking and without the Critical Race Theory propaganda,” Hren said.
According to Nevada County Democrats’ Correspondence Secretary Steven Hurley, some voters find the California Democratic Party’s official recommendation — to vote “No” to the recall and not select an alternative — confusing.
“What if Newsom goes down?” Hurley said many people have asked him. “Don’t we want to be on record as supporting a second choice?”
Hurley said he is voting in accordance with the party’s official recommendation, even though bypassing a back up option seems odd.
“I don’t know that it was a well planned thing, but we’re just responding,” Hurley said. “It wasn’t up to us to gather all the signatures to have this wasteful recall.”
Hurley does not anticipate the Republican Party’s recall effort will result in a new state governor, but said both parties will use this time to energize and connect with their base.
“It’s important to us for the same reason Republicans think it’s important,” Hurley said. “In a sense, we’re playing defense, but locally it’s an opportunity as a way to reach out and gather names for the next election cycle.”
Hurley said most Democrats were not in favor of the recall election in the first place, but acknowledged that the kind of people who organize for smaller, special elections help “core activists” stay organized between election cycles.
“It’s a way to grow out our base and gives us a reason to get together,” Hurley explained. “That’s how I’m using it. We didn’t want this, but now that it’s here we’re trying to use this to our advantage.”
Hurley said he thinks the Republicans are doing the same thing.
“They’re trying to keep their base agitated,” Hurley said. “It probably annoys everyone else, but that’s just the way the game is played, I guess.”
Hurley said building enthusiasm from a defensive position is a hard task.
“It has been a bit of a struggle, but it’s early and we’re doing what we can,” Hurley said. “I would say the inertia is hurting us and the initiative is helping them.”
According to Adona, Measure T will appear on ballots designated for residents of the Truckee Fire Protection District.
“Truckee voters residing within the Truckee Fire Protection District will get a ballot with Measure T on it,” Adona said. “Those voters should know that the contest appears after the recall question on the back of the ballot.”
According to the district’s website, Measure T is a tax on land owners — $179 per parcel, per year, or 49 cents per day — to provide a dedicated source of funding for wildfire prevention and mitigation.
The fact sheet said the funds will specifically be used to relocate dry brush, dead trees, fuels and fire hazards; improve emergency evacuation systems, routes and procedures; and support defensible space and critical infrastructure.
According to a resolution by the Truckee Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors, the tax would provide $3.7 million annually in locally directed funding for wildfire protection, with independent audits, exemptions for low income residents, and local oversight. The tax would automatically expire in eight years.
A two-thirds vote is required for the tax to pass.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun and The Union, a sister publication of the Sun
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