By Ken Stone
Undaunted by two recent failures, opponents of Gov. Gavin Newsom have launched a recall effort that includes a rally Sunday in San Diego.
Signature drives by GOP congressional candidates Erin Cruz of Palm Springs and Dr. James Veltmeyer of La Jolla fell well short of the needed 1.5 million verified names of registered voters.
But retired Yolo County sheriff’s Sgt. Orrin Heatlie, listed as “lead proponent” of the new recall bid, has crafted a pandemic-era strategy of 71 “community” Facebook groups, with a petition deadline of Nov. 17, 2020. Heatlie also was active in the Cruz recall drive, which sputtered in February and raised only $10,000.Former San Diegan Dan Seoane is listed as “coalition co-founder.”
Heatlie, a Folsom resident, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but the recall website says he sees an urgent need for people to send a “strong message” to elected officials.
“They must be held accountable to the people they serve and this rogue governor has lost sight of that and must be recalled!” he said.
“Brad from San Diego County” says on the site: “Gavin Newsom placed us under house arrest for three months by unilateral decree – ignoring the Constitution and mercilessly trampling our rights. He is exactly the tyrant that our Founding Fathers warned us about. It is our duty to remove him immediately.”
At least two rallies with a recall-Newsom theme have been advertised on Facebook, including one at 1 p.m. Sunday at the waterfront San Diego County Administration Building at 1600 Pacific Highway.
“Special performance by country music artist Coffey Anderson,” says a graphic on the rally.
Anderson, who appeared in season 2 of “American Idol” (2003) and was a finalist on “Nashville Star” (2008), sang a Spanish version of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” in a 2013 Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos commercial.
And Wikipedia added that in 2016, the biracial Anderson recorded an instructional video titled “Stop the Violence Safety Video for When You Get Pulled Over by the Police.”
Another digital flier, spotted on the Facebook page of “freedom rally” organizer Naomi Soria, says a 1 p.m. July 4 rally at the same location includes “Come sign the recall Newsom petition.”
Soria didn’t respond to a request for comment, but she still appears to be under investigation for previous rallies in downtown San Diego and Pacific Beach.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office said: “Soria’s case is under review by our office. At this time no charges have been filed.”
Businesses listed as signing and drop-off locations included gun shops and shooting ranges — with addresses in Borrego Springs, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Poway and San Marcos.Before the state Secretary of State’s Office gave the go-ahead June 10 to circulate petitions, a 500-person virtual meeting saw organizers vow to collect 100,000 signatures in the first 10 days.
Tom Del Beccaro, a KUSI political contributor and former chairman of the California Republican Party, was quoted as telling recall backers: “Newsom is a failed governor who mismanaged the pandemic and threatened the state’s economy by shutting down businesses. We don’t truly have a (coronavirus) crisis.”
He’s uncertain of the turnout, but noted that an “open California” rally in mid-May he was involved with drew 2,000 people.
“We will encourage masks and social distancing, but we will not place demands on anyone,” he said of the event, whose speakers will include Del Beccaro, Steve Frank, mixed martial arts star Tito Ortiz, singer-songwriter Joy Villa, Marine veteran Dr. Cordie Williams, Quantum Charging president Mike Netter and Navy veteran John “Woody” Woodrum of Pacific Beach.
Summers, 70, says the problem with earlier recall efforts was the existence of multiple recall groups.
“Folks didn’t know whose petition they were signing and there was duplication,” he said Thursday via email. “This is a singular effort.”
Organizers list the National Patriot’s Union as the fundraising committee for the new recall effort. But as of Wednesday, the state FPPC lists “No Contributions Found” and “No contributions received found.”
Updated at 1:50 p.m. June 25, 2020
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