The walls are closing in on Gavin Newsom. Hair Gel is facing a Recall election that is a dead heat, and having Kamala Harris come to campaign for him while the Biden-Harris administration’s fecklessness is on display for the world to see, may be more a liability than an asset.
Not to mention it’s Wildfire season: Currently California has the Dixie Fire, the Monument Fire, the McFarland Fire, the Caldor Fire, and the French Fire at various stages of containment.
Despite this, California lawmakers decided to indefinitely postpone an established oversight hearing. This hearing was supposed to examine why Newsom’s track record on wildfire prevention has been so horrible.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for the hearing after an investigation from CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom revealed the Newsom administration had nixed a planned $500 million increase in wildfire prevention funding and overstated — by 690% — the number of acres treated through his “priority” wildfire prevention projects.
CalLeg is really trying to save Newsom’s bacon, and they are scared spitless themselves. Once we pry His Hairfulness from the governor’s chair, they know that they will be next.
But, Governor Hair Gel is doing his best to play the “in control” leader.
Thank you to all firefighters & first responders working nonstop to protect lives & homes from the #CaldorFire.
To those impacted, we are committed to helping you get back on your feet.
CA is using every tool in the toolbox to meet this challenge head-on & protect communities. pic.twitter.com/MGikiO50Q6
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 24, 2021
Yeah, okay. We know the toolbox has been robbed blind by his cronies. So what is CalLeg’s excuse for canceling this oversight hearing?
Democratic lawmakers said they are putting off their oversight efforts until after the wildfire season, in the fall or winter. In an emailed statement, Assemblyman Richard Bloom — who chairs the budget subcommittee that was to conduct the hearing — said he did not anticipate “the number and severity of wildfires that CalFire would be battling” now. The change also puts the hearing after the Sept. 14 election on whether to recall Newsom.
No, they’re putting it off until they know which way the wind is blowing on this Recall election. The mismanagement of the State, while definitely Newsom’s fault, would not have been possible if the Legislature was doing it’s job and acting as a check on his executive power. Instead, they took junkets to Maui and used COVID as an excuse to close the Capitol—twice.
The decision to put off the oversight hearing comes as internal emails obtained through a public records request show Newsom’s handpicked Cal Fire director Thom Porter ordered the removal of a key document from the department’s website on the same day that CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom published its investigation. The document — a “fact sheet” describing Newsom’s priority projects — stated the fire prevention effort would complete work on 90,000 acres of forestland. In reality, Cal Fire completed less than 12,000 acres.
In an email with a link to the fact sheet, a top Cal Fire official, Matthew Reischman, posed a simple question to his superiors: “Chiefs, shall we take down?”
Porter responded: “Yes, it’s old and outdated.”
In another email obtained by CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom, Reischman suggested Cal Fire should remove “probably any others similar as well,” meaning those that made the 90,000 acre claim.
Transparency advocate Aaron Mackey, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he was troubled by the document’s removal and said the action underscored the need for the state Legislature to exercise its oversight function.
“Delaying this hearing [shows] that transparency and accountability to the general public is sometimes seen as an afterthought,” he said. Those values, he added, should be viewed as “core to the agency’s mission,” along with wildfire prevention and suppression.
It is amazing how the threat of Recall brings things out into the open. If the Recall does nothing more, it has forced into the light how our government’s activity, or lack of activity, is eroding the State.
September 14 cannot come soon enough.