Murder Victims’ Families Back Effort to Oust Newsom: ‘Chaos and Crime in Our Streets’
A new demographic in California is speaking out about why Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom should be removed from office through a recall election: the families of murder victims.
“He has blatantly denied justice to the victims and he has caused chaos and crime in our streets,” Nina Salarno, president of Crime Victims United of California, said in a San Francisco Chronicle report.
Salarno, whose sister was murdered in 1979, and others in her organization, joined Rescue California, the group behind the recall effort, at a press conference on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday.
The advocacy comes as Newsom rolls out a number of policies that decrease the amount of time people spend incarcerated. In May, the state announced that as many as 76,000 inmates, including people convicted of violent or repeat felonies, might get the opportunity to leave prison early in exchange for good behavior and rehabilitation. Advocates said the move would reward inmates who better themselves, while critics said it would endanger the public. Because of the structure of the program, it will be months or even years before any inmates are released.
The governor also drew ire from victim’s rights advocates when he suspended the state’s death penalty in 2019, calling it discriminatory and immoral. At the time, he granted 737 reprieves to the condemned inmates on the nation’s largest Death Row.
“He doesn’t care about us,” said Mark Klaas, who became a prominent activist after his 12-year-old daughter Polly was killed in 1993.
Newsom had asked Klass to come to speak with him about the death penalty decision.
“Calling a crime victim to drive 100 miles to tell him that he was declaring a death penalty moritorium, and then sending him on his way is one of the more disrespectful acts I’ve ever seen perpetrated on somebody who has been violated by violent crime,” Klaas said.
Sandra Friend’s 8-year-old son Michael Lyons was kidnapped, raped, and killed in 1996 while he was walking home from school in Yuba City. The perpetrator was sentenced to death, but the sentence was never carried out.
“To have that taken from us is unimaginable and there’s no way to express the deep hurt,” Friend said. “(Newsom) has let us down in the most unimaginable way.”
The Chronicle tracked down Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the effort opposing the recall, who blamed former President Donald Trump.
“It’s disappointing but not surprising to see Republicans use Trump-style tactics to launch false attacks and exploit the pain of crime victims in order to advance their partisan recall powergrab,” Click said.
Click said Newsom has increased funds to help victims’ families.
The Chronicle reported that 21 Republicans, eight Democrats and 12 people with “other” or no party affiliation are on the ballot for the Sept. 14 election.
“Voters will be asked two questions: Should Newsom be recalled? And if so, who should replace him?” the Chronicle reported. “If a majority votes yes on the first question, whoever receives the most votes on the second question will replace the governor for the rest of his term, which is scheduled to end in January 2023.”