The following is a transcript of my radar from Tuesday’s edition of “Rising” on Hill TV.
Gavin Newsom’s attempt to dodge a recall bid is shaping up to be a nice glimpse at how power protects power.
About a month after the Democratic governor was caught breaking his own COVID restrictions to dine with lobbyists at a Michelin-star restaurant, the pained pleadings of a small business owner went viral. Remember this video?
VIDEO – Angela Marsden owner of The Pineapple Hill Saloon Bar & Grill in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California is angry and sad to see that mayor Garcetti has approved an outdoor dining setup for a movie company opposite to her outdoor dining area (which was shut down) @phsaloon pic.twitter.com/UvlB9Lh5OQ
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) December 5, 2020
That’s Angela Marsden, owner of the Pineapple Hill Saloon in Sherman Oaks. The regulations Newsom flouted in private were the source of her misery, which was not merely on her own behalf, but also on behalf of her suffering employees. Meanwhile, an NBC series was shooting next door.
She was not alone. As the New York Times reported in April, “Nearly 40,000 small businesses had closed in the state by September — more than in any other state since the pandemic began, according to a report compiled by Yelp. Half had shut permanently, according to the report, far more than the 6,400 that had closed permanently in New York.”
The post-pandemic lockdown autopsy gets worse for Newsom.
Just two months ago, The Federalist reported that “despite suffering some of the harshest COVID restrictions in the country, California remains only two spots below Florida, a state with a far higher proportion of senior residents, in its COVID-fatality rate. California simultaneously ranks 48th in unemployment at a rate of 8.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fueling Newsom’s unpopularity.”
“A new poll out last month shows more than 58 percent of California voters believe it’s ‘time for someone new’ in the 2022 election,” that report continued. “Only 42 percent said they would vote to keep Newsom in office in an upcoming recall, and Democrats are panicked.”
Newsom’s fortunes are looking up, with some polls finding increased support for the embattled governor among conflict-weary voters. Perhaps that’s because Newsom’s lockdowns weren’t all that bad for everyone in the Golden State.
Newsom, you might remember, didn’t just bend the rules for himself and his lobbyist friends.
He declared the film and TV industry “essential,” allowing them to continue production throughout the pandemic, while others who could have operated at higher levels safely were shut down.
As Lee Fang reported in The Intercept last year, the entertainment industry deployed an army of lobbyists, nearly tripling its spending on lobbying in 2020.
“Warner Brothers, for instance, spent $22,500 earlier this year on lobbyists contacting the governor’s office for ‘COVID/OUTREACH, TV/FILM PRODUCTION,’ according to a disclosure. The Motion Picture Association spent $45,000 on lobbyists to shape the ‘COVID-19 Reopening of film/tv sector.’ Paramount Pictures has spent at least $85,000 this year on the ‘essential business’ rules developed by state agencies in California,” Fang wrote.
It worked. Now, with the pandemic fading into the background and a recall threat looming, the industry is paying Newsom back.
In a Monday report for RealClearPolitics, Susan Crabtree noted, “As megadonors and special interest groups cut big checks to keep the governor in office, some of the donations, especially those from Hollywood, are drawing new scrutiny.”
“Paramount Pictures this week provided $40,000 to the anti-recall effort,” Crabtree reported. “That check follows a $3 million infusion in late May from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the most from any single donor.”
But it gets worse!
“The Netflix connection also figures into Newsom’s infamous French Laundry incident last fall, which helped fuel the early recall campaign,” Crabtree wrote. “When the governor was spotted at the opulent restaurant amid heightened COVID restrictions, he was celebrating the birthday of longtime friend Jason Kinney, who lobbies for Netflix, one of many clients pressing for exemptions from lockdowns.”
In addition to Hastings, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams have both made donations to Newsom’s 2022 campaign in recent days, according to California’s donations database.
This, by the way, is the same sanctimonious industry that’s bending over backward to appease the genocidal Chinese Communist Party for the sake of making more money. They’re buying off politicians. And politicians are eager to be bought.