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Guest Contributor
Joe Armendariz

California recall: One possibility, and one possibility only - STATUS QUO!
Whatever the vote... not much is going to change...
[Joe Armendariz] 9/26/03

Hugh Hewitt, who is undoubtedly a smart guy and a great American, over-complicates, while over-simplifying, that which is at stake for voters in the California recall. First, for the average voter, the recall isn't about the stench related to the corruption of the spending lobby. That is too simple of a thesis, because, ironically, it is too esoteric a concept for the masses to appreciate, let alone become exercised over.

Indulge me here if you will. Average voters will never fully contemplate the significance behind the rate of government spending, relative to the rate of inflation, as defined by the consumer price index. Nor will they attempt to understand the inherent problems with respect to the rate of spending growth relative to the growth in our state's population. Additionally, average voters don't spend time pondering the root causes of California's workers compensation crisis or the peculiarity of having the highest workers compensation costs while delivering the lowest level of benefits.

In the minds of average voters, this recall isn't about the amount of contributions received from tribal Indians, public-employee-unions or members of the Business Roundtable. Similarly, voters couldn't care less about the ticking financial time bomb that is the State's employee-pension-plan or the out-of-control liability premiums that are crushing the private AND public-sectors ability to manage its bottom line. Why? Because voters ignore that which they don't understand. In other words, average voters hate issues. What do average voters care about? Their families and their communities.

Average voters care about the growing traffic jams on local freeways and the worsening potholes on their streets. Average voters care about the diminishing revenues flowing into their local schools and the increasing number of teachers being laid off which in their mind compromises their children's right to a good education. Average voters care about feeling secure in their homes and while walking in neighborhoods and whether the revenues will be there to make sure that if and when they must dial 911, somebody will answer the call.

Average voters care about too much residential development in their towns while also worrying that too little might result in the over-crowding of their neighborhoods. Inland voters care about the high cost of gasoline at the pump while those living on the coast mostly care about the government allowing more offshore oil development. Upper-middle-class voters care about the number and condition of their local parks, while minority voters care about what illegal activities might be taking place in theirs.

Tragically, or perhaps appropriately, the next Governor of California will have much to say, but very little to do about the majority of these local concerns. Why? Because California isn't a Dictatorship and it isn't a Monarchy either. California, like the nation, is a republic. And unfortunately, regardless of which candidate emerges victorious on October 7th, the voters, of this once great state, will still have ended up losing because there will be 100 independently elected representatives (mostly Democrats) still busy writing terrible laws and only representing the will of the most agile constituencies, while ignoring the unspoken will of the silent majority.

And this will happen as they lie, cheat and steal their ways to the next political office.

And while Hugh Hewitt is apparently of the belief that all rests on preventing Cruz Bustamante from becoming Governor, he would even throw Tom McClintock-his philosophical soulmate-overboard to make sure that he [Cruz] never does. But, the bitter pill that most Republicans must swallow come October 8th, is that no matter who is sitting in the big chair up in Sacramento, once all of the political dust settles, nothing much will have changed, accept for maybe the name on the door.

Joe Armendariz is Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Industrial Association and the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association.



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