Mark Simon

The No on Recall bus tour group, organized by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier and including assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman and state Sen. Josh Becker, had one portable microphone with a modest speaker.

This was sufficient Friday morning at the tour kickoff at Westlake Shopping Center in Daly City and at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo. At the first stop, only No on Recall people were on hand. At Hillsdale, there was a handful of Yes on Recall people, but they were relatively low key.

At Sequoia Station in Redwood City, where the tour arrived late morning, however, there were a dozen or so Yes on Recall and three of them had their own bullhorns.

This highlights one of my long-standing lessons: Whoever has a bullhorn shouldn’t.

At Redwood City, the Yes demonstrators waved signs at passing cars, and also in the faces of No on Recall people, and in the face of one loyal columnist who was just trying to take notes and a photo for the Daily Journal. Except that one Yes protester refused to step aside, and, in fact, tried to get in my way. To which I ultimately responded, “Get the bleep out of the way,” only I did not bleep. I regret losing my temper.

Anyway, the Yes people with bullhorns yelled at the No people, including saying that masks are “part of a satanic ritual” and that people who wear masks are idiots and that mask wearers are “all a bunch of cult members,” a particularly interesting thing to say in the presence of Congresswoman Speier. Other comments included that Gov. Gavin Newsom is a criminal and corrupt and other unspeakable things.

One man, standing on a low cement wall, repeatedly yelled through his bullhorn, “Yes on Recall” and “He’s gotta go,” and, a few times, “We don’t want him now.” The latter comment prompted another Yes demonstrator to say, “We never wanted him.”

And that, it turns out, is the point.

The Yes on Recall side, if you read the statement presented in the voter pamphlet, simply disagree with Newsom on a number of issues. Some of the issues are big, such as his handling of the COVID crisis. But there is no grievance that rises to the level of malfeasance in office, violation of the law or other misconduct sufficient to justify the extreme action of the governor’s removal from office slightly more than a year before he will face reelection.

As Assemblymember Mullin said at the Hillsdale stop, “The Republican Party knows they can’t beat Gavin Newsom in 2022, so they are trying to shortcut the system.”

I would offer you similar quotes from the speakers at the Redwood City rally, but I could not hear any of them over the shouting by the Yes on Recall demonstrators. It was clear their sole intent was to be disruptive.

And that, it turns out, is the other point.

This recall is entirely about mischief. The number of signatures needed to qualify the recall is 12% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. It is the lowest threshold of any state that has a recall law. The recall backers also were given an extra 120 days to gather signatures because of COVID.

This can only be seen as the tyranny of a political minority. The Republican Party holds no statewide office and the prospects, other than through recall, are not good. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 46.5% to 24.1%. Californians choosing no party preference are almost even with the GOP at 23.3%.

In San Mateo County, which used to be a repository of Republican officeholders, Democrats are 55.4%, Republicans 14.2% and NPP 25.5%. The party has stubbornly and effectively diminished its influence and its ability to win elections.

Meanwhile, as noted by Sen. Becker, the Legislature and the governor have passed a landmark budget, spending billions of dollars on early childhood education, housing and homelessness and public schools, catapulting the state from the bottom half of national spending on education to the top 5%.

Yes, Newsom frequently demonstrates a tin ear — his campaign ads seem to strike no meaningful chord. And it would be useful to hear him say once, and with feeling, that he understands people are angry and unhappy and that he shares their concerns.

This is dubious politics, not misuse of office. Quite simply, if the Republicans who qualified this recall for the election oppose his policies, maybe they ought to find someone who can defeat him in the next election rather than sow turmoil for its own sake.

Mark Simon is a veteran journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be reached at

Recommended for you

(17) comments


Mark's column, the Guest Perspective and a LTE are all about the same subject seen from different angles. A fine example of good journalism. Keep it up DJ. I note that the letter mentions something that the MLM seems to dodge - Elder would be the first black governor. Usually, the possibility of the first black anything becomes the story.


Mr. Simon,

I agree with most of your column today, in particular, the fact that the Republican party knows that they have nothing to offer in their arguments. They only have one motto and that is NO. No on anything constructive or not. If the left is for it they are opposed even when it benefits themselves. I am sure there are some of the regulars on the right that will chime in with their usual disagreements.

I did get particular enjoyment from your bullhorn comment, “Whoever has a bullhorn shouldn’t”. That should be a classic as are many of the quotes attributed to Mark Twain.

Terence Y

Hey, Mr. Simon, you’re never too old to learn from a teacher. Take a gander to the next letter and learn a few things about the recall process and a few things not related to your call for censorship. Is your next step to get on the desperation bandwagon and accuse Larry Elder of being a racist? Speaking of racists, how many on the bus tour were people of color (to use the parlance of the day)? Maybe in reading Mr. Fowler’s letter you’ll learn why the recall was initiated and why you should vote YES on the Recall. We can only hope other taxpayer-funded junkets (according to Ms. Kramer) actually represent all people. Here’s hoping more bullhorns in the future for any No on recall tours. Or a new telephoto lens for any intrepid reporters.

Thomas Morgan

It is amazing how in one year the point of view can take a complete 180 degree turn. Last year it was get rid of Trump at any cost. Now it is waste of money to recall a Governor.

This year we are blaming people for getting Covid-19 (when not vaccinated), if this had happened last year in the Trump administration they would have be fired immediately.

I don't mind different perspectives, but at least be consistent.


Mr. Morgan,

We obviously disagree. Getting rid of Trump at any cost was the right thing to do. He was the root of what is wrong with America now. Governor Newsom may not make the right decisions on some things and put his foot in his mouth more times than not, but he in no way compares to the underhanded corruption of the Trump administration.

I may have missed the writing between the lines but could you clarify what you mean by...if this happened last year in the Trump administration they would be fired? What happened and who would be fired?

Dirk van Ulden

Yes Taffy - what is wrong with the US today was caused by Trump? Open borders, massive inflation, oil price nearly doubling, a major disaster in Afghanistan, crime beyond belief, all caused by Trump? You are in denial.

Dirk van Ulden

Taffy - you never corroborated Trump's "underhanded corruption" which is the usual talking point of a liberal. However, we can now at least state that Biden and his gang are fraught with stupidity and callousness. Which would you rather have? As of this writing at least 10 US servicemen killed for no reason other than the idiocy displayed by his national security team. I guess Austin is still chasing the white supremacy myth in the military, in his view a higher priority than safeguarding his charges. Where is the cry for impeachment from Nancy? Shame!



As for what’s wrong with America? How about the increase in hate crimes, especially against Asians? The botched handling of the COVID pandemic. Trying to dismantle government departments by not filling positions so he could complain about their inefficiency. His insults to foreign leaders and lack of credibility with our allies as he ditched them for his buddy Vladimir and getting played like a 2-bit fiddle by Kim Jung-un. Trump negotiated a “peace deal” with the very trust worthy Taliban by releasing 5000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for a date for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan. How is that working out considering Trump never developed a plan to withdraw, only a date, and his racist right hand man on immigration, Stephen Miller fought against issuing Special Immigrant Visas to the Afghans that helped the US because they were not white northern Europeans. Biden is finishing the job that Trump bragged about but didn’t even start. Don’t forget his attack on democracy with his lies and attempts to overturn the election and his pushing to make it harder for minorities to vote in the future under the guise of fixing problems with voting security that don’t exist. I could add some more but I have an appointment so I will leave you with your denial of reality. BTW, evidence of corruption is easy, pick just about anything Trump was involved in and you will find corruption.

Ray Fowler


We're waaay off topic. Can you tell me where the overwhelming majority hate crimes against Asians have occurred? Could the answer be... coastal cities in the bluest of states? How can that be pinned on Donald Trump?

We've got some inflation goin' on but I don't lay that at Joe's feet. However, the border situation... who is responsible for that fiasco?

You and I are both veterans, and I just know your heart is heavy with the news of 13 servicemen killed and 18 more wounded today in Kabul. Did it have to happen? No.

"... the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda... "

Speaker? Donald Trump, August 21, 2017.

The left side of the aisle that frequents this forum has been asked to name one... just one... accomplishment by the current President. Well?

Terence Y

Taffy, my friend, we’re still waiting on a Biden accomplishment. Let me help you out… Biden trusting the Taliban to handle airport security, resulting in 60 people killed and over 150 wounded (I’m sure the count will go up). Surrender-in-chief Biden owns this. Stolen elections have consequences.



Busy today but here are a couple of quick answers.

Asian hate crimes are on the blue coasts because most of them live in the blue states and Trump's rhetoric emboldens his white supremacist followers.

Did it have to happen? NO, we never should have been there.

Rapid exit speech. Written by one of the war hawks he likes like Pompeo or Bolton. He couldn't put that many words together unless he was writing about how to cheat people.

Accomplishments. I know you don't and the right doesn't, but I consider anything Biden does to reverse things Trump did to be an accomplishment along with bringing a little respect back to America.



Let me help you out. TRTRT. BTW, how are you doing with your bamboo fibers?

Terence Y

Oh dear, I’m afraid we broke Taffy. Either that, or Taffy is channeling his inner Biden. Get well soon! BTW, your idea of a bumbling Biden accomplishment is a reversal of our great President Trump’s border policies? Just look at all those folks invading America, with no checking for COVID. Yes siree, Taffy, great Biden accomplishment to cite.

Ray Fowler


OK... More Asian folks live in blue states and that more than likely explains why you see a majority of anti-Asian hate crimes being committed in those states. Old math still works. But when you watch video after video after video of Asian folks... especially elderly folks... being assaulted in those blue cities... their assailants are not wearing MAGA hats.

We should not have been in Afghanistan... there is wisdom in your position. Even though some will make the argument that strategically... a defined and temporary presence may have served our national interests... we should not have stayed. It's the staying part that makes all this crazy. Let's remember... Democratic and Republican congressional majorities kept funding the war in Afghanistan.

While Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires... Alexander, the Brits, and the Rooskies were successful militarily. It's the staying part that did them in... and that happened to us, too.

You're criticizing the Donald's speech... made four years ago... because someone else ghost wrote the text? Skrrrrip! What modern president doesn't use speech writers? Did you watch Joe yesterday? Do you think he wrote his speech?

The point is... the Donald said years ago that a rapid withdrawal in Afghanistan would be disastrous. Based on the events of the past two weeks, it looks like he was correct.

We're still waiting for someone to describe a Biden accomplishment. Some on the left side of the aisle are happy to point Joe's use of a pen to undo Trump policies. How is that an accomplishment? (Check the border... )

You say that Biden has brought "a little respect back to America"? Ask our allies in Afghanistan how much respect they have for Biden's decisions re: leaving Afghanistan. I bet ol' Xi is gulping down the baijiu in Beijing this weekend.

Ray Fowler

Hey, Tafhdyd

I won't pretend that I have the definitive answer to your question re: Mr. Morgan's posting, but...

I'm guessing "Now it is waste of money to recall a Governor" refers to time and money spent by Adam Schiff, et al. for hearings, the collusion investigation, and impeachment proceedings. Maybe.

And perhaps "blaming people for getting Covid-19 (when not vaccinated)" is a reference to the Veep's statement that she would not get inoculated with a COVID vaccine endorsed by the Donald. Again, maybe.



Maybe, we will see if we hear back from Mr. Morgan.

Ray Fowler

Hey, Mark

Looks like one of us may have whacked the hornet's nest today... or maybe we're both whacking it from different sides of the nest.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for visiting the Daily Journal.

Please purchase an Enhanced Subscription to continue reading. To continue, please log in, or sign up for a new account.

We offer one free story view per month. If you register for an account, you will get two additional story views. After those three total views, we ask that you support us with a subscription.

A subscription to our digital content is so much more than just access to our valuable content. It means you’re helping to support a local community institution that has, from its very start, supported the betterment of our society. Thank you very much!