OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

The Trouble with Josh Newman

Posted by Brenda Higgins on October 20, 2017


Josh Newman is the California State Senator elected to the 29th district, which includes North Orange County, Fullerton to Yorba Linda and adjacent communities in San Bernardino county and Los Angeles County.

Click to access map_20110815_ap_sd_29_certified.pdf

Newman was elected in November 2016. The election of Newman created a super-majority of Democrats in Sacramento. His election was the closest one in the state and was the last one to be finalized and certified. This seat has been easily won and held by Republicans for many years.

SB1 is also known as the “Gas and Car Tax”. It increased the tax that Californians pay on a gallon of gas from $ 0.18 to $ 0.31, a $ 0.13 increase. The effort to recall Newman began shortly after that with San Diego activist, Carl DeMaio leading the effort.

A website was up during the time that the signatures were being gathered, as well as a Facebook page. “Stop the Gas Tax” was the mantra, the battle cry, the motto, the slogan emblazoned on the signs. The name of the website has now been changed, as has the name of the Facebook page. However the Facebook page has merely added “Recall Senator Newman” to its original title “Stop the Gas Tax. Now, it is hyphenated.
The first challenge to be mounted to the recall effort was litigation targeting the deception. The phrase that populated everything that came from the organization was “Stop the Gas Tax”. No mention of Newman. No mention of recall. Stop The Gas Tax.

Recalling Newman will not repeal the gas tax.

Further, Newman was not the “deciding vote”, as has been stated in some of the promotion of this effort.


The lawsuit filed on behalf of Newman, names as defendants, the Cal State Fullerton students who were gathering signatures, accusing them of misrepresenting the nature of the petition that they were having people sign. In discussing this with professionals who deal with these election law matters, they have insisted that this litigation is not going anywhere, as the description on the petition itself is the only relevant consideration in legally determining if signers have been mislead. It is hard to believe, that the signage, and name of the website and Facebook page don’t matter. Time will tell, that litigation is still pending. The legal issue may be resolved in the manner that the involved Republicans believe, but they seem to be a tad short sighted in assuming that voters do not care about being deliberately mislead.

In the meantime, the Democrats with their super majority and governor, have passed additional legislation, to delay the recall. The legislation would provide a 30 day grace period, for people to change their minds and ask that their signatures be removed from a petition. They passed the legislation in June, it was shortly thereafter blocked by an appeals court. A new bill, was then passed and quickly signed by the governor, would require that every single signature be verified, rather than just verifying a random sampling of the signatures. This of course delays and lengthens the time it potentially takes to get a special election on the calendar. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers have filed a petition in court to fight this new law. That litigation is also pending.

The score so far is this, California consumers will be paying 13 cents more for every gallon of gas, 20 cents on diesel fuel, starting November 1, 2017. California vehicle owners will be paying an additional $25 to $175 on vehicle registrations. That is just on the SB1 legislation that Republicans are blaming Senator Newman for.

It is estimated that these new taxes, on this legislation alone, will generate $52 billion over the next ten years, to be used for road improvements. I don’t think there is anyone who disputes that road and infrastructure is badly in need of attention in our state. However, the government in California has been notoriously untrustworthy in using allocated budget funds to repair and maintain our roads. This time, it seems they pinky promise or some other super-duper assurance that these funds, really will be used for roads.

The problem with hanging this albatross around the neck of Newman, is that watching all of the activity in Sacramento, it is impossible to fathom that an extra republican in the Senate would have made a difference. Nowhere in the propaganda accompanying this farce of a recall does it inform voters that there was a Republican who voted for this gas tax, and there was. That republican is not being targeted for recall. The fact checker (link is above) from Ballotpedia (Non-partisan source) says that the claim of Newman being the “deciding vote” is patently false. 27 Senators in the State Senate are Democrats. 27 Senators voted for the “Gas Tax” (SB1), the no votes were not tallied, and there were two Senators who did not vote. One of the affirming votes was from a Republican Senator.

After the recall was well underway, California Cap and Trade legislation came up for vote. The Republican minority leader voted for the legislation, which will raise taxes on a gallon of California by about 63 cents. The Republican leader, also convinced 8 other Republicans to vote along with him. Neither the Republican leader, nor any of the legislators who voted with him are being targeted for recall.
So the real trouble with Newman, is that he is a democrat, in a seat the Republicans perceive to be at risk. The issue never was the gas tax. Had we elected a Republican in SD29, I can imagine based upon voting history and party behavior, we would be having a very different conversation about this gas tax. It would go something like, we really, really need to fix the roads and there is no other way but to implement this new tax. The newly elected Republican Senator would be making the lunch and coffee meeting rounds to explain how hard it is to be in the minority in Sacramento and why she had to vote for the tax. It is all about the constituents and I was looking out for you, for our roads.

Newman, at least voted in the way anyone and everyone anticipated him to vote and makes no apology therefore. The false flag does not change this and it is not a far stretch to know that the Republican who would have occupied that seat, likely would have voted the same way and make excuses for it.

6 Responses to “The Trouble with Josh Newman”

  1. Jane Rands said

    Thank you for this thorough and fact based analysis of the truth behind the recall effort against Josh Newman. Clean political discussions such as this are so rare. Ms. Higgins, keep up the good, honest hard-work. You are a treasure.

  2. Gary "Water Watchdog" Langdale said

    Very long post!
    Interesting issues and facts but it is time to put the brakes on Sacramento.
    We have no assurance that additional $5 B will be used for roads.
    Time to be heard!
    Make California Great Again!

  3. Suzanne Darweesh said

    What a waste of taxpayer money to hold a special election plus a waste of time and effort when we should all be working for good government and good laws.

  4. Mike Tardif said

    Fiscal conservative – my a$$ ….

  5. Desare Ferraro said

    Unfortunately, the entire recall was poorly managed and messaged. Even its supporters were confused. Then, adding Travis Allen’s concurrent petition muddled it even more. However, I get the reason the Repubs went after Newman: the election results you stated made him the “low hanging fruit”. But, like you said, the state leadership doesn’t even hold their own accountable. Sadly, the OCGOP establishment leaders who insisted on endorsing the moderate Repub incumbent in the 29th – despite the outcry regarding some of Chang’s votes, and her arrogant unwillingness to address those issues with her conservative constituents – are still in denial as to why she lost in the first place. If the recall is allowed to go forward, unless it results in the election of a solid and principled conservative, there will be no progress in the 29th district.

    And worse, since the double-dealing GOP state leadership somehow thinks that removing Mayes and replacing him with more of the same, along with a simple slap on the wrist for his idiotic cohorts, has appeased who they obviously see as stupid “drain the swamp” conservative voters, I can see a repeat of Chang in those districts where the Repubs broke ranks and voted with the Dems on the gas tax.

    Even then, if past behavior has any bearing, the people’s voices will again fall on the state leadership’s stubborn, deaf ears and the GOP will sink even further into irrelevance in CA.

  6. junior said

    One less tax and spend Democrat in Sacramento is a plus no matter how you look at it.
    Stop the excuses.

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