- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - In a story May 8 about an attempt to recall California state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, because of his vote for a gas tax increase to fund road repairs, The Associated Press incorrectly attributed Newman’s response to Sen. Anthony Cannella, the only Republican to vote for the hike. Newman said the tax increase is needed to address overdue infrastructure problems and that a recall would cost millions of dollars and disrespect the will of voters in his district.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Recall targets Southern California senator over gas-tax vote

Southern California conservative talk radio hosts have been cleared to begin collecting signatures in an attempt to recall a Democratic state lawmaker over his vote to raise gas and vehicle taxes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Southern California conservative talk radio hosts were cleared to begin collecting signatures Monday in an attempt to recall a Democratic state lawmaker over his vote to raise gas and vehicle taxes.

The commentators say they’re targeting Sen. Josh Newsman of Fullerton as part of a strategy that focuses on lawmakers in weak positions. Newman narrowly won his seat last year in a district that has long been represented by Republicans.

The Assembly and Senate approved the tax increases last month to pay for road repairs. All Democrats but two were supportive, while only one Republican voted in favor.

The recall is promoted by radio hosts Karl DeMaio of KOGO in San Diego and John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI in Los Angeles. They plan to broadcast their shows from a recall kickoff rally in Fullerton on Thursday.

They contend that Newman cast the deciding vote for the tax increases, but he was not among the handful of late-deciding lawmakers who got special projects in their districts worth hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for their votes.

Newman said in a statement that he had promised to be a strong and independent voice for the people of his district.

“That’s why they elected me just under six months ago, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” Newman said. “When voters learn the facts on the recall effort, I don’t think they’re likely to be too happy about a special election being pushed on false pretenses by a failed politician from San Diego, and which is going to cost taxpayers over $2 million. It’s just more politics as usual, and it’s exactly what I ran to change in the first place.”

Others on the right have targeted their scorn on the lone Republican who supported the plan, Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres.

Newman has stood by his vote, saying it was necessary to fix roads and pointing to an accompanying constitutional amendment he authored to prohibit lawmakers from diverting the money for other purposes.

Newman said in his formal response to the recall that it would waste millions of dollars and disrespect the will of voters who elected him less than six months ago.

He wrote that a recall would “inject even more politics and divisiveness into public life at a time when we desperately need leaders who will unite us while solving real problems,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Recall organizers have until Oct. 16 to collect signatures from 63,593 voters.

The radio hosts are influential on the right. DeMaio is a former San Diego city councilman who ran unsuccessfully for mayor and for Congress and who led a statewide ballot initiative to curb public pensions.

Kobylt and Chiampou, known on the air as “John and Ken,” are entertainment hotshots in Southern California and part of the fabric of conservative politics in the state. They have been on radio for more than two decades.


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