Has anyone ever been recalled for so little?

That’s the problem with the recall of Josh Newman, a Democratic state senator from Orange County.

The recall is a political tool, and people can be recalled for any reason, political or otherwise. The reason for Newman’s downfall was his vote to raise taxes on gas and vehicle license fees.

That’s a terrible thing to be recalled for. Because it’s so small.

I say that not to criticize the recall, or suggest it was wrong. I wouldn’t have voted for it, but voters in Neumann’s districts did, overwhelmingly.

The bigger problem is with the gas tax bill itself. It’s a small tax increase that produces enough dollars to cover only a tiny fraction of California’s deferred maintenance and repairs for roads and bridges. It represents an even tinier fraction of the state’s massive infrastructure needs.

So the real question is one that should be put to Gov. Brown and the Democrats. Was it really worth getting someone recalled for a vote for a bill that does so little?

Newman’s recall ends the Democratic supermajority in the state Senate, which limits the party’s policy-making options. So the costs of this vote on a relatively unimportant bill are even higher.

Which is why letting Newman take that vote was both political and policy malpractice.

If you’re going to put your supermajority and a state senator at risk, it should be for a real vote on a real gas tax and license fee. The gas tax piece probably should have been 10 times more to make more of an impact on infrastructure.

IF you make a big change, then risking a recall makes sense.

But this is Jerry Brown politics. He thinks so small that the rewards of his incremental policies are low. So why take a big risk for that?

Brown remains more popular than his likely successor, Gavin Newsom. But that may be a good thing. Newsom seems likely to take on bigger policy changes. The state surely needs big changes. And if that means a hard vote that costs someone a seat, fine. As long as the policy is big enough.