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To the editor: Expecting voters to ignore the recall ballot's second question is Gov. Gavin Newsom's third mistake.
The first was failing to get his Democratic Party identification on the ballot when he was entitled to do so. The second was allowing ego and personal ambition to override his professional obligation to California and its residents. It was arrogant and strategically stupid not to welcome a viable Democratic candidate on the ballot.
The ballot's second question is actually the more important of the two. There are many voters, not just Republicans, who might prefer to see if someone could do a better job than Newsom. They might vote yes on the recall's first question without realizing that, if Newsom is recalled, California will most likely end up with a Republican governor.
Unless Newsom's campaign does something to match and overwhelm the Republicans' energy and creativity, it's the "real residents of California" who will end up paying for these mistakes.
If nothing else, we shouldn't allow a crafty ploy intended to circumvent the results of a legitimate election to win. This has nothing to do with Newsom's personality. It's about the survival of the democratic process and the rule of law.
Betty Rome, Culver City
To the editor: Sensible voters who get mailed recall ballots will wisely vote no on the first question of whether to remove Newsom and ignore the hollow option to pick a replacement from among the motley crew of 46 unqualified wannabes.
Sensible voters will vote to keep California government intact until our next regular general election in 2022. Newsom then will run on his record and face a vetted, endorsed GOP opponent rather than the nonentities being offered on this confusing ballot.
Sensible voters will recognize this recall as an expensive, exploitive end run around transparent electoral process in an unsettled pandemic time.
Sensible voters will vote no, put their ballot in the postage-paid envelope, sign the envelope and mail it back to their county registrar. A simple majority made up of sensible voters is needed to end this charade.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman, La Jolla
To the editor: As one of those voters who actually reads the sample ballot, I was surprised that there was no obvious indication that one could vote against the recall and still vote for a replacement. This is not self-evident; it is in fact counterintuitive.
In his recent column, George Skelton explained that not only could I vote "no," but also that I should vote for a least disastrous replacement. At the very least, shouldn't we siphon votes from Larry Elder, the most disastrous replacement?
The Democratic Party made a mistake by not having a "just-in-case" alternative.
Mark Olmsted, Los Angeles
To the editor: I agree with Skelton that that those who vote no on the recall should not leave blank the question of who should replace him if the recall should succeed.
But there is not one person on the list of replacements that I would be willing to vote for. So, I'm planning to follow the reasoning of a recent letter writer and write in Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.
Catherine Crook, Camarillo
To the editor: I think your articles confuse a lot of voters with the implication that we should vote for someone even if we vote against the recall. Also, I do not think it's rocket science to explain how to vote on this two-part ballot.
In my mind, the vote is no on the recall, and no second part. There are no people running for whom I would ever vote to be governor.
If the recall succeeds, we'll just run Newsom again, and none of these clowns could beat him in a general election.
Jay Coffman, San Diego
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.