Matt Grocott

A mere 60 days ago, fellow column writer Mark Simon quoted Macbeth in reference to the upcoming recall election of Gov. Newsom: “Sound and fury ... signifying nothing.” Well, here we are less than 30 days from the election and I wouldn’t be so confident Newsom is going to survive.

In my area, I see only a few yard signs out where I would have expected them. In other words, not all the people who put out Biden-Harris signs last fall have the “Vote No on the Recall — Support Gov. Newsom” placard in their front yard.

Personally, I think throwing Gov. Newsom out of office is synonymous with supporting him. If he’s taken out now, he’ll be saved from damaging his political career any more than he has already.

Heaven knows he has his eye on the presidency. If he’s recalled and runs for president, he can further his claim that those “nasty Trump supporters” threw him out. He can wear it like a badge of honor. Certainly he and Speaker Pelosi believe it to be true, so why not flaunt it if it comes to that?

This past Saturday when the mail came, it was my wife who brought it in. The one piece of mail was for her. It was her official “Vote By Mail” ballot.

Showing it to me, she asked with surprise: “There’s an election coming up?” She had no idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people are as unaware as she was. She’s always pretty focused on her work during the week and, unlike me, considers listening to the radio a huge distraction.

So of course I answered her question and explained to her about the recall coming up on Sept. 14.

“Oh, she replied.”

Then opening the envelope she looked at the ballot. One side simply posed the question: “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?” That one she said she could handle on her own but flipping over the ballot and seeing three columns of possible choices, she said to me, “Honey, you’re going to have to help me with this one.”

Yes, that’s right, 46 candidate choices are listed to replace Gov. Newsom, should he be recalled. Ten give “no party preference” and include everything from a software engineer to an entertainer. And no — the latter is not listed as either Mickey or Minnie Mouse.

Interestingly enough, there are nine Democrats who dare challenge the governor. They must have a death wish for their political careers if they have one to begin with — or one they plan to have in the future. The way party’s are run, challenging a sitting governor of your own party is not advisable. It’s like challenging a Don in the Mafia.

Perhaps the nine Democrats plan to join the party of two of the candidates on the list: the Greens. I do not necessarily see it as a good way to go. Usually it’s the other way around. The Greens tend to switch to Democrat to get elected to anything higher than county supervisor.

Then there is the party said to fall between the Republicans and the Democrats: the Libertarians. There’s only one. His name is Jeff Hewitt and he is currently on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

Good luck Jeff. Being the only Libertarian on the ballot, you are bound to get a lot of votes from those of your own party, if they know there is an election and if they remember to vote.

So how many Republicans does that leave out of a total of 46 candidates? That’s right people, 24.

Scanning the list, I recognize the names of only four: Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Olympic Decathlete Bruce Jenner; Doug Ose, once in elected office but currently a farmer and businessman; John Cox, real estate developer, perennial candidate and loser; and finally, the candidate you can find in the first column, sixth one down, Larry Elder. Mr. Elder is an author and news commentator. “The Larry Elder Show” can be heard via numerous venues, some of which I listed in my column, “What do you use for news?

Honestly, John Cox seems to me to be a glutton for punishment. Cox ran against Newsom in the general election after mysteriously beating out the other Republican in the primary, Travis Allen. In the general, Cox lost miserably to Newsom. He’s like a boxer bloodied in a title fight, coming back again and again for more abuse. It’s senseless.

When the recall effort first announced they had gained enough signatures to put the question on the ballot, I wrote that I would support one candidate if he filed. He has and, as you might have guessed, his name is Mr. Larry Elder.

A former member of the San Carlos City Council and mayor, Matt Grocott has been involved in political policy on the Peninsula for 17 years. He can be reached by email at

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(27) comments


If Newsom is recalled - he is going to blame the Dominion voting machines.

Tommy Tee

And if he's not recalled, will Repubs say there's voting fraud?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tommy Tee,


I imagine that the answer to question is as likely as is your ilk claiming the next Republican is not elected illegitimately. As was the case for G.W. Bush and D.J. Trump. After all, louts and oafs believe it must be true; if it is in the news or on the internet. Unless, of course, it contradicts their preconceived notions. Then they will give life to the following...

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein

Tommy Tee

My "ilk," seriously? I simply asked the other side of that question. You don't need to feign intellect with Einstein quotes. My Lord.

Tommy Tee

If Elder wins, he will respond to Covid the same way DeSantis and Abbot have. Nope.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

So what are you saying T.T.? Californian's are incapable of making decisions on their own? Or are you simply one of them that knows what is best for everyone? BTW, unless you are proficient in the science, don't go there with me. I don't believe in blind obedience. Nor do I believe in agenda driven consensus in scientific theories. It is that kind of close minded thinking that gave rise to the worst in human nature.

Terence Y

Mr. Grocott – thanks for another great column. In my neighborhood, I haven’t seen any support Newsom placards. Maybe I’ll expand my search in the hopes of finding that white rhino, just to take a picture and identify the house(s). Vote YES on the recall. My family will also be voting for Larry Elder.

As for Newsom’s presidential aspirations, I’m thinking if he steals the election, like Biden did, Newsom would probably do a better job (a low bar, since 99.9% of the population would, too). After all, some people lose their keys and some people lose pocket change, bumbling Biden lost Afghanistan. Stolen elections have consequences, especially for those Americans left behind by thoroughly incompetent Biden toadies. Let’s hope Americans don’t have to cram into wheel wells in the hopes of not being left behind. In addition to immediate consequences, there will be a multitude of unintended consequences due to Biden’s impotence.

Ray Fowler

Terence, buddy... kinda harsh.

I am not a fan of Gavin, but I don't think Larry (although leading in the polls) is the best choice to move into the governor's mansion. I wish Rick Grenell would have tossed his hat into the ring.

Afghanistan is a complex issue. If you were president, what would you have done?

Terence Y

Ray, I thought I was being nice – oh well, I tried. Just like I tried looking for a Newsom placard on today’s expanded perimeter walk. No such luck. Larry may not be the best choice (debatable) for everyone but he appears to be the biggest threat to Newsom and Democrats, so I’m pulling for Larry and the large turnout he’ll bring. For those not voting for Larry, please just get out and vote YES on the recall and vote for your Republican candidate. Whoever has the most votes will win - no majority is required so there’s no need to coalesce around one candidate. I’m hoping Republicans will not start attacking each other and instead focus on the goal – ousting Newsom and Democrats.

Speaking of goals, your question regarding Afghanistan is a great thought exercise. I’m on the side of setting goals and then allowing the military to achieve those goals, without civilians dictating rules of engagement. In that respect, if the goal is to destroy the Taliban, or reduce them to ineffectiveness, then allow military leaders to do the job they’re trained for, using their best judgment and methods to complete the mission. Your thoughts if you had your druthers? BTW, yesterday in Townhall, Kurt Schlichter posted a great op-ed (Our Military is a Woke Joke) in regards to the current state of the military. Some unintended consequences are foreshadowed.

Ray Fowler


I can see you are passionate about Larry's candidacy. If the recall succeeds, your favorite will probably be moving into the governor's mansion. You know, if you go back 60-70 years in our state's history, you'll see California's governorship alternating between Democrats and Republicans even though the Democratic Party holds an edge in the number of registered voters. Based on that trend... it might be the Republicans' turn to hold the top spot in Sacramento.

But if they do, could it be a repeat of Arnold's tenure in that office? I feel he went into the job with genuine expectations about making things better, but he could not get past the Democratic Party's numbers in the legislature. Arnold did not succeed. Will a Republican replacement for Gavin suffer the same fate?

Gotta run... I'll come back to the Afghanistan discussion.

Ray Fowler


Afghanistan and other interventions...

I am a Cold War Warrior and flew into the very teeth of the Evil Empire's forces and was "ready to meet them beard to beard." Or as Slim Pickens, in the role of Major Kong in "Dr. Strangelove," said, "Well, boys, I reckon this is it... nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies." Fortunately for everyone, that did not happen.

Afghanistan is a different type of war but by no means is it a new type of war. Even the ancient Romans dealt with counter-insurgents and what we call terrorists today. The best way IMO to respond to such threats is a strong external military force that works in support of the locals... that means the local government, the local troops, and most importantly the local people.

If our goal would have been to support the locals in Afghanistan and help protect them from a terrorist takeover in a way that continued to serve our national interests, we would not be reading about Afghani government officials fleeing their country, we would not be hearing reports of Afghani defense forces abandoning their weapons and trying to disguise their ties to the regular Afghan army, and we would not be watching news footage of desperate Afghans clinging to large aircraft taxiing for takeoff.

We could have established a presence to support the locals that would have neutralized the Taliban and denied a safe haven for Al-Qaeda. However, it would be the Afghan army's role to go "beard to beard" with the bad guys. We could support that effort with air power and training Afghan troops to fight in defense of all Afghans. Plus, having a forward deployed presence in that part of the world is a strategic coup for us. Now, that we're gone, a vacuum has been created. Something will fill that void and that something will not be in our national interests and that something will not protect Afghan men, women and children.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hello Mr. Fowler,

I blame G.W. Bush and the Congress supporting his call to war. There is no need for elder abuse of our duly elected President Biden. Poor old fella! 🤣


Hello Wilfred,

I don't disagree with your assessment but I would add that things pre-dated GW by a few years. Are you familiar with PNAC, The Project for the New American Century? It was founded in 1996 by Wm. Kristol and Robert Kagan with several sign-ons including Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz along with others that worked in the Bush administration. They produced a report called Rebuilding Americas Defenses. In it they outlined things that were needed to maintain America's preeminence and advance our technologies to remain ahead of the world militarily. They presumed it would take a long time unless there was a "modern day Pearl Harbor'. Guess what? September 11.

On to a more civil subject. You may like to stop into your local watering hole and see if they have a bottle of Suntory Whisky "Toki". I find it quite nice and smooth, lighter than a full scotch with a hint of citrus and warm honey notes in the background. Have a good evening.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hello Tafhdyd,

Thanks for tipping me over the edge. I have been eyeballing this whisky. There is no love lost between me and Kristol.





Mr. Grocott,

I am not sure if you meant to do it on purpose but I found your analogy of the Democrats on the ballot going against the Governor to be like challenging the Don in the Mafia quite amusing. You appear to make it look like the Democrats are more vengeful than the Republicans. I guess you have forgotten how many times your “Don”, Donald Trump, has thrown people under the bus and even tried to use government agencies illegally to try and get revenge on those that do not swear fealty to him. As for Larry Elder, he appears to be the only candidate to be as extreme right wing as needed to garner your support.

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd... you're up awfully early this morning.

There you go again... "Orange Man bad!" Yeah... using government agencies like the IRS, DOJ and NSA against citizens is... wait a minute... that was during Barack's tenure. Hmmm... what's good for the goose is good for the gander. N'est-ce pas?

Circling back to the topic... I do not think Larry is the best choice to move into the governor's mansion. However, I am somewhat flummoxed. What is there about his positions re: California issues that make him "extreme right wing"?



First things first. "Orange man bad" YEP, as long as he keeps flapping his lying trap to stay in the news all the time I will be there to dispute. Nothing I would like better than for him to go away for good, (except maybe if it is in an orange jump suit).

Larry Elder...A tiger doesn't change his stripes. Too many right wing views. If he says one thing that might not be bad for CA I wouldn't trust him to keep his word. One thing specifically he said is he would do away with COVID testing, vaccinations and mask wearing in California if elected, a la DeSantis and Abbott. If that is what you like I would recommend moving to Texas or Florida, lower taxes, lower cost of living, more room for us in CA. No doubt he would easily get elected in the central valley and Orange county but he won't fly very well in most of the state if he does make it.

Terence Y

Taffy my friend, since you’re not able to provide any Biden accomplishments, I’ll help you out… Biden accomplished abandoning both Afghans and Americans after losing Afghanistan. Biden accomplished being abandoned by Kamala – even she’s smart enough to figure out when to disappear, again. Biden accomplished being abandoned by his spokeswoman, Psaki – even she’s smart enough to not try to justify bumbling Biden’s incompetence. Your turn. BTW, Taffy, if you’re not a fan of Larry, that’s okay. Just vote YES on the recall. You don’t need to pick a replacement.


TRTRT, BTW, how are you doing with your bamboo fibers.

Ray Fowler


Hmmm... it looks like you may be pointing to the Donald and what you consider to be his missteps as a way to justify Democrats' missteps. The left side of the aisle doesn't have to swing at every pitch, but it sure looks like they do.

I see the recall as a question about leadership, and in my view, Gavin has not provided that leadership. I do not support Elder, but not because he is creating headlines by saying he will not require testing, vaxxing, etc. Let's say he wins... what stops responsible Californians from getting tested and vaccinated? Nothing. I think Wifredo's post captured that same idea much more eloquently, i.e. take responsibility for yourself. .

BTW... I did live in Florida and Texas for about six months each when I was in flight training, but I am a native Californian and will stay. That could change if something drastic happens, however, that something drastic (for me) is not COVID.

The question is still out there... even though I don't support Larry... what is it about his positions that make him a right wing extremist?



I haven't lived in TX or FL but I have visited there and I will stay in CA also.

Maybe Elder's California positions aren't extreme right wing but for me, any way you dress him up he is Taboo in my book.

Ray Fowler


That's a fair response. If you don't like Larry, you don't like Larry. We are free to make choices for any reason or no reason.

I have purposefully not folded into my comments some of the negative things being said about Gavin. I'm betting he is a likeable person... I just want to see the state go a different direction. Hopefully, we'll know the recall results before it gets too late on September 14. When we get the numbers... regardless of the outcome... let's start moving forward.



Sounds good to me, BTW, you never said if you were still under lock and key or if we can start to solve the problems after hours?

Ray Fowler


Thanks for asking... a lot of folks who follow the back and forth posts don't want to hear a lot of detail re: personal matters. But I will just say I am waiting for a major health care provider and a major medical insurance company to renew their contract so I can move forward with some surgery. The good news is that the surgery is not something that has to happen right now.

I sure wish we could sit on Wilfredo's back deck perched above a river and just regale each other with tales of derring do from your younger days... tales made better by tipping a horn or two.



Fair enough, 👍

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Both you gentlemen have open invitations. The aforementioned colloquy has been on my bucket list from day one. [wink]

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