In California, Recalls Are as Common as Sunshine

The recall effort against Gavin Newsom is being watched across the nation. But California's governor isn’t the only one whose job is potentially on the line. County supervisors, city council members, school board members, and district attorneys are facing recalls left and right. According to a new LA Times analysis, at least 68 local officials have been targeted, surpassing the number of local recall attempts during four of the last five years.

“I’ve never seen a worse time for being a local elected official,” Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks — a recall target — told the Times. “I feel sorry for the school boards. I feel sorry for my fellow supervisors. I feel sorry for my city council members.”

Political veterans and newbies alike are affected. LA City Council Member Nithya Raman was served with a notice last week. She’s only been in office for six months. Raman’s colleague Mike Bonin is also facing a recall drive.

The situation is particularly tense in education. School board members account for two-thirds of the recall campaigns, according to the Times. Pandemic school closures have been a big driver of the trend. In San Francisco, three school board members are potentially on the chopping block. Three members are also being targeted for removal from the Fairfax School District Board in Kern County.

Some county election chiefs worry about the toll this trend will take on staff and resources. Others see it as a way for voters to blow off steam after a year in isolation.

California is one of 19 states that allows voters to recall their representatives. Though it may be a particularly bad year, recalls are endemic here. So buckle up, roll your eyes if you must, and enjoy the ride.