Booting Gray Davis out
is an easy solution, but is it the best solution for California?
By Farzad Khalili
August 25, 2003
On October 7, 2003, Californians will
decide whether or not to recall Gray Davis, who was re-elected
to Governor only nine months
ago. This is the first time in a century that a recall election
is being held for the position of state governor.
politicians around the country will be watching this historic
election very carefully, as some experts believe that the results
could follow in other U.S. states.
I believe this election is very
important to the future of California and that is why I am strongly
encouraging Iranians residing in California to vote on October
7. (For those Iranians who are not registered to vote, September
22 is the deadline for registration so you can participate in
the recall election.)
I am strongly against the recall and I believe this
recall election is wrong for California. Just nine months ago,
3.5 million Californians
elected Governor Davis to a second term. Thirty days after Governor
Davis was re-elected, right wing Republicans led by Congressman
Darrell Issa decided to start petitioning to recall Governor Davis.
Issa spent more than $1.5 million of his own money to recall Governor
Davis and his campaign gathered 1.2 million
signatures to have a recall election. Issa then announced he was
running for governor in the recall election, but tearfully pulled
out of the election weeks ago.
Here is why I am against the recall.
First, this recall is costing Californians more than $66 million.
This money can be spent on
education, health care and public safety. Second, there are over
100 candidates running for the governor in the October 7 recall
election, so our next governor could be elected by only 15% or
20% of the vote. Third, it is possible that we may elect an inexperienced
person to govern the largest state in the country, and to handle
a $99 billion state budget.
Governor Davis' popularity in California has dwindled.
The Republicans blame him for California's economic problems, although
of U.S. states are suffering from an economic downturn.
Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political
newsletter based in Washington, said in his August 11 commentary
in the Los Angeles Times, "The nation's economic downturn
which has turned the federal budget from a surplus of $237 billion
to a deficit of $455 billion today has resulted in dramatic decrease
in federal, state, and local tax revenues. Rising health care costs,
meanwhile, and increased demands on social spending also caused
by the economic downturn have pummeled governments on every level.….
But at least 45 states and some say every state but New Mexico
and Wyoming are facing fiscal crises of one level or an other."
went on to say, "No doubt part of California's fiscal problems
date back to significant increases in state spending during the
high tech boom, when taxes paid by Silicon Valley millionaires
and billionaires and their upstart companies poured into state
and local governor treasuries, far more than anywhere else. Budget
decisions based on those revenues allowed increase in government
spending, but when the high tech bubble burst, the spending was
In California, almost 44% of our generally
funded budget is expenditures mandated by voter passed initiatives.
By doing this, we have taken the power away from politicians in
Sacramento and put it back into our hands. It seems like we are
going against the process.
Talking about the problems and issues
facing California is easy but offering solutions to these problems
and issues is not. The
August 11 editorial of the Los Angeles Times discusses the many
problems California is facing: "A few of the issues that need
discussing: how to restructure the budget process to eliminate
built-in deficits and wild revenue fluctuations; how to maintain
essential spending levels for schools, transportation, local government,
health care, prisons and other necessary programs; how to make
state and local government more accountable and more efficient
in the delivery of services." Booting Gray Davis out of office
is an easy solution, but is it the best solution?
Gray Davis has been the Governor of California for
five years. Previously, he was the Lieutenant Governor for four
years and State
Controller for eight years. After being elected to the statewide
office five times, he understands the issues and problems facing
our state and has provided solutions. Governor Davis' signing
of the nation's first paid family leave bill, increasing the minimum
wage, and his efforts to provide affordable day care are among
some of his accomplishments during his term as the Governor of
The leading candidate on the Republican side is
actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As much as I personally admire him
as a person
and as an actor,
I do not think he is the right person for the job. California
has the fifth largest economy in the world, we are the largest
in the country, and we currently have a $99 billion budget.
California needs to have someone who understands the issues and
of our state, and can offer solutions for these issues.
his candidacy for Governor on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show,
Mr. Schwarzenegger has avoided questions about how he is going
fix California's budget and economic crises. He has only
he is going make California a better place. But how are you
going to do that, Mr. Schwarzenegger? In addition, how are you
to encourage more business in California? How are you going
to handle housing prices? How are you going deal with the health
care costs? Without solutions, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not
On October 7, I encourage all Californians to vote "No" to
the recall. Ousting Davis will not solve the state's problems;
indeed it might make things worse in Sacramento. The new Governor
will take the office within days of the election and may face a
very hostile Legislature.
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