“When you have a voice, you also have a moral obligation to use that voice for good.”
– Leandra Medine
Since April 2017 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial Road Repair and Accountability Act (SB1) into law those opposed to the gasoline tax increase have called for its repeal.
Even though proceeds from the increased taxes support long overdue and much needed infrastructure repairs, push-back against the increase reached a boiling point again last November, when the measure took effect and motorists began paying the higher gasoline and diesel taxes.
Late last month, those leading a multi-million-dollar effort to repeal SB1 submitted enough voter signatures to qualify the repeal measure for the November ballot. Those signatures are in the process of being validated by voting officials in counties up and down the state. In the meantime, the recent primary provided a sneak preview of the battle to come over whether voters in the state, if given a choice, will elect to repeal or retain SB1.
Last week, one state senator paid a high price for his 2017 legislative support of SB1. California’s Senate District 29 includes portions of San Bernardino, Los Angeles County and Orange County. The traditionally Republican seat was won by Democrat Josh Newman in an open race in 2016, when the district’s previous senator was termed-out.
A recall effort was quickly launched against Newman last year after he supported SB1. Not surprisingly, more than 59 percent of the voters in Senate District 29 voted in favor of Newman’s recall last week. He will be replaced by Republican Ling Ling Chang who was his top challenger in 2016.
Newman’s loss had political consequences beyond the 29th Senate District as it also meant the Democratic Party did not regain its super-majority.
There was a well-funded-take-no-prisoners-recall-campaign launched against Newman. If his recall was any indication of the political winds aligning against SB1 (provided the initiative to repeal it makes the November ballot), it is more obvious than ever that those who support SB1 must do a better job of convincing voters of its value.
This is just my opinion. I am keeping it real.