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New: Opinion Today- HAYWARD Consequences... Recall Follies- FUND Gov. Toast... Streetsweeper's Bin- CONNELL/FONG Junk bond state... CRO Blog- STREETSWEEPER Lockyear warns...

a weblog | current tally
1,658,302 petitions
Certified 7/23/03

Recall: 66 Days
[go to the Recall Follies]

  • Fund: Gov. Toast
  • Ingraham: Gray Skies
  • Weintraub: Elite whining

a weblog of
contributor commentary

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am

Huh? What else is there?
AG Bill Lockyear - always positioning himself for a future run at governor - gave Lord Gray a stern warning in an interview with the SacBee ["If they do the trashy campaign on Dick Riordan ... I think there are going to be prominent Democrats that will defect and just say, 'We're tired of that puke politics. Don't you dare do it again or we're just going to help pull the plug.' / "There is a growing list of prominent Democrats that, if that's how it evolves, are going to jump ship." / Asked if he'd be one of them, Lockyer, who has also come out against the recall, calling it "unfair to Gray Davis and bad for the state," said: "I don't know."] What the heck does Lockyear expect? "Puke politics" is the only one weapon in the Davis arsenal. Gee, this sort of thing can't make Lord Gray look too good to the squishy middle, eh?

more at CRO Blog

OC Register
Deficit Index

$86.9 million
The amount needed per day through June 30, 2004, to balance budget.
OC Register

being Tom McClintock


California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03
Gray Coup On

- George Neumayr 7/25/03
go to Shadow Governor

Sign Up for McClintock's

Recall and Recollection
Beware of unintended consequences
NEW TODAY[Steven Hayward] 8/1/03 | Everyone except the indifferent seems to look forward to recalling Governor Gray Davis with relish come October 7. No one so richly deserves the boot. Davis ran for governor in 1998 with the slogan, "Experience money can't buy," which prompted our friend Chuck Bell in Sacramento to suggest the obvious recall slogan: "Incompetence you can't afford." | Davis knew, coming into office in 1999, that if the stock market ever stopped its up-til-then inexorable rise, state revenues would plunge. Yet even after the stock market began its decline in the summer and fall of 2000, Davis kept on spending like a proverbial drunken sailor. And there's no need to waste additional precious electrons recalling his (so to speak) handling of the electricity crisis. |While the prospect of tossing a profligate pol is delightful, we should also keep in mind the doctrine of unintended consequences, and the broader problems of populist democracy in general. The recall, and the California initiative process generally, are outgrowths of the Progressive Era in California, and are intended to make government more "responsive" and "democratic," rather than deliberative and republican. The irony, of course, is that the "Progressive" initiative process has mostly served conservative policy goals over the last generation in California, starting with the event that triggered the tax revolt - Prop. 13 - and running through Prop. 209 (ending racial preferences), term limits, and a state version of the Defense of Marriage Act. | But conservatives' fondness for these Progressive devices in California have caused them to abandon or forget deeper principles about how republican government ought to operate. [more inside]

the Shadow Governor
The Hour Has Come
McClintock Speech to Recall Rally July 26
[Tom McClintock] 7/31/03 | I want to salute Ted Costa—whose foresight and courage began this effort while the pundits laughed. Howard Kaloogian and Sal Russo who instantly stood up to join the effort. Darryl Issa whose devotion and generosity accelerated the drive and who has borne the attacks of Davis and his henchman. And all of the radio hosts across California who have sounded the call to action. | You have brought us to this moment in history. | Ladies and Gentlemen, the hour of California's redemption has arrived—IF we are ready to fight for it. | I believe this is the historic turning point that can restore our state's public works, bring its bureaucracies back under control, and roll back the regulations and taxes that are choking our economy. To do so, we must have a Governor who knows every crevice of this government and is willing to challenge, to confront and to defeat the spending lobby that controls it. | Let me tell you what I will do in the first hour of this new administration. [more inside]

28 Missing Pages
Scheer's Canards played out on Bush and the House of Saud
[Stefan Sharkansky] 7/30/03 (Editor's Note: Stefan Sharkansky provides a valuable ongoing service deconstructing LA Times "columnist" Robert Scheer.) This is not an April Fool's joke, but I think this week's Robert Scheer column contains a shred of sense. | "In the last week we've moved from the 16 deceitful words in George W. Bush's State of the Union speech to the 28 White House-censored pages in the congressional report that dealt with Saudi Arabia's role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States." | Scheer goes on to criticize the administration's apparent coziness with the House of Saud and its apparent unwillingness to disclose the full extent of the Saudi connection to the 9/11 attacks. But don't look to Scheer to produce more than a single shred of sense. The column is loaded with the usual helpings of illogic and distortions. | "Yet even in its sanitized version, the bipartisan report, long delayed by an embarrassed White House, makes clear that the U.S. should have focused on Saudi Arabia, and not Iraq, in the aftermath of Sept. 11." | Why should the choice be between going after Iraq OR Saudi Arabia, but not both? As far as I can tell, Robert Scheer has never advocated that we should impose regime change on Saudi Arabia, as many others have advocated. And if the Bush administration ever did use military force against the Saudi terror kings, you know that Robert Scheer would oppose the war for the same bogus reasons he opposed the liberation of Iraq. [more inside]

Kooky, Extremist, Fringe Democrats with Goofy Ideas
Unfortunately, they're in charge...
[Ray Haynes] 7/28/03 | The biggest story this past week (besides the recall) was the “secret” meeting of several Democrats in which they plotted to hold up the budget for political gain. This would cause people pain, so they would then try to blame Republicans for shutting down the government, and hopefully increase the pressure sufficiently to force Republicans to vote for tax increases. Of course, they held this meeting in the Capitol, and left the microphone on in the meeting room. Just about every office, the entire press corps, and most of the lobbying community then heard the discussions held in their secret meeting. I guess you could chalk up another political blunder to term limits. The entire event was a rookie mistake. | In trying to defuse the situation, the Director of Finance from the Governor’s Office, referred to them simply as “kooky, extremist, fringe democrats with goofy ideas”. Many of my Republican friends have speculated that the Democrats in the Assembly are extremist, and we know that their ideas are goofy, but it is nice that a long-time Democrat legislator finally publicly acknowledges their extremism and goofiness, even if it was only to try and make light of a grievous error. | The only problem is that these goofy people run one house of the Legislature. [more inside]

The Monday Column
Patriotism and Projection
Democrats Need To Care More About People, and Less About Power
[Carol Platt Liebau] 7/28/03 |
Indisputably, it’s been an unforgettable week in California politics. For the first time ever, a California governor faces a recall election and state politics have, once again, become a nation-wide object of interest. | But amid all the hoopla of the recall news, two other stories – one somewhat frivolous, the other quite significant – are in danger of being forgotten. They broke at a particularly inauspicious time, at the beginning of last week before the recall was certified and the replacement derby began. And they are strangely intertwined. | The frivolous story, noted last week by radio talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt on his web site, concerns a silly study published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, purporting to have isolated the character traits of political conservatives.* According to the press release emanating from University of California-Berkeley, “at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality,” and “fear and aggression” along with “dogmatism” are among the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism. | Given their willingness to classify Ronald Reagan with other “conservatives” like Hitler and Mussolini (actually a pair of big-government national socialist dictators) the study’s authors clearly do not consider themselves to be conservatives. In fact, their study is little more than a transparent attempt to establish a pseudo-scientific basis for every well-known liberal canard about conservatives. And after examining the other, more significant overlooked story of the week, one is tempted to hurl a different psychological term back at them – “projection,” or the attribution of one’s own feelings to other people. | The role of projection in liberal political discourse became clear this week, with the story of the Assembly Democrats’ private strategy session about how to handle the state budget deadlock – a discussion that was inadvertently broadcast across the Capitol last Monday. [more inside]

Disappointed But Proud
An embarrassing government, but a great state
[John Campbell] 7/26/03 | It was quite a week in California politics. The first ever recall campaign of a Governor in this state qualified for the ballot. Assembly Democrats inadvertently left on microphones during a private meeting in the state capitol building allowing all of us to hear them plotting to intentionally cause "pain" and hold up a budget agreement in order to advance their initiative and political agenda. The Governor's finance director angrily shouted at me in a crowded capitol hallway while at the same time calling many members of his own party "fringe Democrats saying goofy things." Our state's credit rating was downgraded to one level above junk bond status. All the national news networks are covering these stories nightly from Sacramento. And Newsweek magazine has a cover this week depicting a map of a "crumbling" California. | I was born in California. In fact, I am a 4th generation Californian. My great grandfather was a "49er" who came to California, "the land of promise" in 1849. He never left. And I have never wanted to live anywhere else. I love this state. I love its natural beauty, its human dignity, and its unique spirit of enterprise and discovery. But is it still "the land of promise?" [more inside]

A Lesson For School Accountability

[Lance T. Izumi] 7/26/03 | The New York Times recently reported that Texas state auditors have found that Houston schools have been seriously undercounting the number of dropouts. Partisan critics are using the audit results to take shots at U.S. education secretary Rod Paige, a former Houston superintendent, arguing that the city's widely acclaimed education improvement is a myth. The critics, however, are missing the larger point that accountability systems must not create incentives for schools to cheat. | In Texas, the accountability system rates schools based not only on test scores, but also on attendance and dropout rates. While it's hard to disguise a student's poor test score, it is possible for schools to hide their true attendance and dropout rates. Some Houston schools, evidently, claimed that students had transferred to different schools when they had actually dropped out. Other schools simply falsified records to show that no students had dropped out. Masking their real dropout rates allowed many schools to gain a high state ranking, with staffs receiving cash bonuses for the school's "achievement." In other words, cheating paid. | What happened in Texas should be a lesson for California. [more inside]

findings in today's web trawler

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Wall Street Journal
Junk-Bond State?
[Kathleen Connell and Matt Fong] 8/1/03 | Headlines across the country announce that California's historic recall election of Gov. Gray Davis, set for Oct. 7, has saddled the state with yet another "crisis" in government -- following failed attempts to deregulate the energy industry, a $38-billion budget deficit, and gridlock of the state legislature. Unfortunately, by focusing exclusively on the recall's political machinations, we are missing the real, and deeper, crisis -- a growing financial catastrophe that the state can ill afford to postpone until the dust from the recall has settled. | Californians will start to feel the impact of these deteriorating state finances when the first wave of notices are sent this week announcing a tripling of vehicle license fees, which will cost the average car owner about $158 per year. Steep hikes in tuition at community colleges and state universities will quickly follow. | Just last week, Standard and Poor's added to California's travails by downgrading the state's general obligation debt by a massive three levels -- from "A" to "BBB." In the history of this country, only Massachusetts has ever suffered the ignominy of such a low rating. This decline in California's creditworthiness, skimmed over by taxpayers and the media, should have received top billing for weeks because of its massive impact upon the state, its municipalities, and, ultimately, its citizens. The downgrade will result in hundreds of millions of dollars of increased interest costs for the outstanding bonds California is going to issue and will also significantly affect the pool of investors who choose to hold California securities in their portfolios. And when totaled up, the higher interest costs that the state will pay far exceed by multiples any cost associated with the recall election, an argument frequently levied by the anti-recall supporters as a reason for voting against the recall. [more at Wall Street Journal] - subscription required

California Dreamin'

"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing." -- Thomas Jefferson
[Oliver North] 8/1/03 | This California Circus is drawing all the clowns. Democrat operator Bob Mulholland -- a vast right-wing conspiracy theorist -- is vowing "no surrender" to the "Taliban element." Pro-abortionist Kate Michelman claims that "anti-choice activists have bought this election." Arianna Huffington, who can't decide on her party affiliation, thinks there is a constituency to ban SUVs and may run if she doesn't have to ride in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. | Now the Beverly Hillbillies -- Bill and Hillary -- have announced their intentions to campaign against the recall. As of this writing, none of the Knucklehead Nine presidential candidates have figured out that strategically, they might be better off scoring points with the liberal Democrat establishment in the delegate-rich state instead of criticizing the American military in the heartland of the U.S.A. | Public outrage with Gray Davis is palpable. He is despised for his relentless fund raising and self-promotion. [more at Town Hall]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Locals Tired Of Wearing 'Kick Me' Signs In State Budget Travails
[Dan Walters] 8/1/03 | When California voters enacted Proposition 13 in 1978, slashing property taxes by billions of dollars, they probably didn't intend to convert local governments into stepchildren of the state government. | Nevertheless, when the Legislature extended state financial aid to keep thousands of local governmental agencies in business, it centralized authority for major budgetary decision making in Sacramento. And the strings on state aid became very apparent in the early 1990s when California was buffeted by a severe recession and the state lost billions of dollars in sales and income tax revenues. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Tax, Spend And Defend The Status Quo
Even as evidence of mismanagement builds, schools chief sticks to his script
[Lance T. Izumi] 8/1/03 | In his brief tenure as California superintendent of public instruction, Jack O'Connell has shown that his top priorities are taxing, spending and defending the status quo. The paint had barely dried on the nameplate on his new office door when he came out for increasing taxes for education spending. And last month, when the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that taxes could be raised by a majority vote of that state's legislature despite a state constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote, O'Connell's knee jerked so quickly it's a wonder he didn't suffer an immediate dislocation. | The Nevada decision was an egregious example of legislating from the bench. Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn had proposed a huge tax increase to fund more government education spending, but he didn't have the two-thirds majority in his legislature to approve his proposal. Guinn took the issue to Nevada's high court which, despite the clear language of the state Constitution, ruled that the "substantive" need for more government education funding trumped the "procedural" requirement that all taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote of lawmakers. This irresponsible reasoning was music to O'Connell's ears. [more at OC Register]

Woods on Fire
[Amy Reiter] 8/1/03 | James Woods has frequently played manic characters, men with so much information clicking around their synapses it sometimes seems to blast from their mouths in fast, staccato streaks. | Woods the man doesn't seem altogether different. During an interview with Salon, to talk about his new movie "Northfork," Woods discussed his admiration for George Bush and his intense dislike for the president's critics, as well as Bill Clinton and the particularly dumb breed of Hollywood liberal he seems to run into a lot. | Woods insists he'd prefer not to talk about politics -- "Do you think I want to be the one lone voice against the Hollywood liberal establishment? It's not going to do me any good" -- and that he's much happier discussing his work. But for nearly an hour and a half he gamely talked politics with us over the phone on a recent afternoon, in hopes, he said, of getting "Northfork" a little more attention -- even though he was certain it would lead him to "be humiliated and degraded" in what could only turn out to be another "slash piece." Did it? [more at Front Page]

System Collapsed
Immigration and law failures, and a dead cop
[the Editors] 8/1/03 | Whether Adrian Camacho murdered Oceanside Police Officer Tony Zeppetella, a jury will decide. What's already certain is that Camacho should not have been sharing the streets with Zeppetella. How he came to be there that day is a story – one of many – of a litany of problems with federal immigration policy and law. | As outlined by Union-Tribune reporter Marisa Taylor, Camacho by the age of 28 had been deported four times. Four times he made his way back across the border illegally, among many crimes he committed here. | At age 19, Camacho was picked up for deportation because of crimes he had committed as a legal immigrant. The immigration judge set his bail at $2,500, which can be borrowed for $250. Camacho made bail, was released and disappeared. The judge ordered him deported in absentia. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Radio Intifada

Your tax dollars at work
[Greg Yardley] 8/1/03 | In June, Pacifica Radio's Los Angeles station, KPFK-FM, hosted a thirty-hour marathon of Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn's anti-Semitic "Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend."  It was the first time this once-annual program appeared for almost a decade. It had been banned by station management in 1993, after a long, hard-fought pressure campaign to remove it.  Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend typically includes claims that the Jews disproportionately participated in the slave trade and persecuted blacks; in the past, he responded to criticism by calling the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League a "psychotic, idiotic, European Jew."  [more at Front Page]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Opinion Journal
Gov. Toast
Democrats consider entering the California governor's race.
[John Fund] 7/31/03 | The speculation about which Republican candidates will enter the race to succeed Gov. Gray Davis--up for recall Oct. 7--continues. But for the first time Democrats are now openly talking about allowing someone in their party to appear on the recall ballot to offer an alternative for the party faithful. It's looking increasingly likely that Gov. Davis will have to fight a two-front war, in which he will have to beat both Republicans and factions within his own party. If that happens, he'll be unlikely to survive. | The first crack in the Democrats' united front likely came last week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly called Mr. Davis "toast" in a private meeting of her California congressional colleagues. She later denied making the remark, but her statement has been widely reported and the media's sources have stood by their account of her comments. A few days later, Al Checchi, a wealthy businessman whom Mr. Davis defeated in the 1998 Democratic primary for governor, openly called on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to run and indicated he would be available if she didn't. Then state Sen. Dean Florez declared it would be "suicidal" for the party not to have a candidate on a ballot that would select a Davis successor. Mr. Florez said "voters are going to be shocked when they flip the card and see there is no viable Democrat in the race." If no other major Democrats put their name on the ballot, Mr. Florez said, he would. | That early sign of mutiny was followed on Wednesday by a San Francisco Chronicle headline: "Democratic Unity on Recall Shatters." [more at Opinion Journal]

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Bringing Up the Riordan

[George Neumayr] 7/31/03 | "Riordan May Be GOP's Best Chance to Replace Davis." This appears not in the commentary section of Tuesday's Los Angeles Times but in its front news pages. As usual, the Times is urging the Republicans to run a de facto Democrat. As usual, the Times equates the political welfare of the GOP with its editors' liberal preferences. | What is the point of a recall that would replace a tax-and-spend Democrat with a tax-and-spend Republican? Or, even more absurdly, a recall that would replace Davis with one of his more generous donors? Riordan, it bears repeating, played a role in foisting Davis on the state. He donated $20,000 to Davis's runs, kicking in $12,500 as recently as March of 2000. | As former Davis adviser Garry South crowed in 2001, "Dick Riordan is one of our major donors. We've enjoyed his money over the years. I only hope that if he runs for governor he doesn't stop giving us money." | The recall is a response to a state budget crisis created by Democrats that Riordan worked to elect.
[more at American Spectator]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Riordan Run Would Be Justice, But Can He Do It?
[Daniel Weintraub] 7/31/03 | If Richard Riordan runs for governor, he would do so with at least a slight karmic advantage. Gov. Gray Davis feared him so much a year ago that the Democratic incumbent intervened in the Republican primary, buying up air time to blast Riordan from the right, the left and every other direction he could think of. | Initially conceived as a way to wound Riordan's campaign, the Davis barrage instead delivered a fatal blow, and Bill Simon went on to win the Republican nomination. Simon's error-prone general election campaign proved why the governor picked him as his favorite candidate to run against. | But Riordan had more than Gray Davis to blame for his defeat. Riordan ran last year as the candidate of leadership and vision while offering little of either. His campaign was so sloppy it left close observers questioning whether the former two-term mayor of Los Angeles had what it took to be governor. | Now, with his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger pulling back, Riordan might step forward as a candidate to replace Davis should the attempt to recall the governor succeed. But Riordan will surely fail again if he doesn't learn the right lessons from his disastrous run a year ago. [more at Sacramento Bee]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Election Chaos Looms
Will California be another Florida?
[the Editors] 7/31/03 | Pity the poor registrars. In the midst of an on-again, off-again, once-in-a-century change in voting technology, an unprecedented hurry-up recall of a governor that could attract a record number of candidates has been thrust upon them. Except for the fact that the leadership of the free world is not up for grabs -- a piece of very good news -- a Florida-size debacle looms. [more at Sacramento Bee]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Jewish World Review
Gray Skies Just Got Darker
[Laura Ingraham] 7/30/03 | For California Democrats desperate to defeat the effort to recall Governor Gray "Skies" Davis, the strategy is summed up this way--ABGD. | That stands for: Anything But Gray Davis. | "The governor's advisers say they intend to shift the focus away from Mr. Davis's personality and his record to what they characterize as the 'right wing' agenda of the recall proponents," reported the New York Times. The ABGD fight is being led by by DNC attack dog Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who told the Times: "This is about more than Gray Davis. It's about an attempt to undo an election, like Florida." (When all else fails, go back to the recount!) One senior campaign aide of Davis candidly remarked, "If it's Davis versus Davis, he loses." | This anonymous Davis staffer revealed more than he should have about his boss: "He has spent millions trashing other people and has never spent any time, effort or money telling people why he was a decent guy. How can you rehabilitate the guy at this point? You have to move him off the scene and make this about something bigger." | The nauseating truth about Gray Skies is that he represents the absolute worst in American politics today: the politician's love affair with power over the what's best for the people. [go to Jewish World Review]

Morning Becomes Apoplectic
[Rob Long] 7/31/03 | I don't have an out-box on my desk, but I do have one of those toast-rack-looking things. And each slot is crammed with to-do items: receipts, bills to pay, orphan phone numbers, that sort of thing. Right now, the first slot is occupied by two pieces of mail: a notice from KCRW, Los Angeles' most prominent NPR radio station, reminding me to renew my membership and a note from the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign, reminding me to send in the maximum allowable individual contribution. | The Bush check is an easy one to write. He's a good president, and I want him around for another four years. The KCRW check, though, is a tricky one. I like the music programming, but the rest of its NPR schedule drives me up a tree: the squeaky-voiced commentators oozing smug self-satisfaction, the unfunniness of its "funny" pieces and, of course, its ludicrous and geriatric liberal bias. [more at LA Times]

Colorblind Versus Blindfolded
[James Q. Wilson] 7/31/03 | It's easy to condemn discrimination, segregation and racism. It's harder to agree on what practical steps are needed to combat them. | We all believe that everybody should be judged on his or her own merits, but many people, including a majority of Supreme Court justices, say race should be used as a "plus factor" in admitting students to public universities. And though everybody says we should strive for a colorblind society, some people still use racial and ethnic categories to describe why some people are different from others. | One way to end the problem, in the opinion of University of California Regent Ward Connerly, is to abolish the use of race and ethnicity as identifying factors. His Racial Privacy Initiative, slated to be voted on in October, would prohibit any government agency in California from collecting data on race, ethnicity, color or national origin and using it to classify those involved in public education, public contracting or public employment. [more at LA Times]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Jewish World Review
Gray Skies Just Got Darker
[Laura Ingraham] 7/30/03 | For California Democrats desperate to defeat the effort to recall Governor Gray "Skies" Davis, the strategy is summed up this way--ABGD. | That stands for: Anything But Gray Davis. | "The governor's advisers say they intend to shift the focus away from Mr. Davis's personality and his record to what they characterize as the 'right wing' agenda of the recall proponents," reported the New York Times. The ABGD fight is being led by by DNC attack dog Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who told the Times: "This is about more than Gray Davis. It's about an attempt to undo an election, like Florida." (When all else fails, go back to the recount!) One senior campaign aide of Davis candidly remarked, "If it's Davis versus Davis, he loses." | This anonymous Davis staffer revealed more than he should have about his boss: "He has spent millions trashing other people and has never spent any time, effort or money telling people why he was a decent guy. How can you rehabilitate the guy at this point? You have to move him off the scene and make this about something bigger." | The nauseating truth about Gray Skies is that he represents the absolute worst in American politics today: the politician's love affair with power over the what's best for the people. [go to Jewish World Review]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Weekly Standard
The Governor Strikes Back
As challengers line up for the California recall election, one small fact is getting overlooked: Gray Davis isn't dead yet.
[Nicole Topham] 7/30/03 | While news about California's recall election is changing as fast as tickers on Wall Street, two things are certain: there will be a recall election October 7, and it will be a vicious campaign: Gray Davis has vowed to fight like a Bengal tiger--which both Democrats and Republicans will tell you is no idle threat. | The most pronounced attacks in this instance have been against Rep. Darrell Issa, who was the first officially declared candidate against Davis. During an appearance on CNN's "Late Edition," Davis accused Issa of being a "right-winger" and went through the usual litany of "right-wing" offenses: "He's against gun control. He won't support a moratorium on offshore drilling. And he's not for a woman's right to choose." | And yet Davis (whose approval rating is 22 percent) is not fighting by himself. Bill Clinton has been invited to California to help the anti-recall movement. [more at Weekly Standard]

California: Be Careful What You Wish For

[Linda Chavez] 7/30/03 | Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. Republicans would do well to remember this old adage as they face the prospect of a successful effort to recall California Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in a special election on Oct. 7. | There's no question that Davis has been a dreadful governor, amassing a $38-billion deficit on a state budget of $100 billion. But Californians had the chance to throw the bum out last year. Instead, they re-elected him, albeit with only 47 percent of the vote. Now, a recall effort, led by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, will give Californians the chance to change their minds. But is that necessarily a good thing? | California, like 17 other states, can recall politicians; but the only successful recall of a governor occurred in North Dakota in 1921. What's more, California's rules governing recalls leave much to be desired. Instead of allowing voters to recall the incumbent -- setting up a separate, special election to replace him -- California state law combines the process into one election. The rules make it difficult for Democrats to field their own candidate without appearing to be disloyal to their previous standard-bearer. But this may not help the Republican Party -- or indeed the democratic process itself. [more at Town Hall]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Winners And Losers Toted Up As Year's Budget Imbroglio Ends

[Dan Walters] 7/30/03 | There was a tinge of pride in Herb Wesson's voice Tuesday afternoon when he announced that a marathon, all-night session of the state Assembly to hammer out a final agreement on the overdue state budget had surpassed the infamous 1963 "lock-up" of Republicans by legendary Speaker Jesse Unruh. | It was a bit odd that Wesson, the current speaker of the Assembly, was so proud of keeping his flock in session longer than Unruh's 26 hours and 28 minutes, because the incident proved to be the latter's political undoing, cementing the image of a dictatorial "Big Daddy" and dooming his ambitions to become governor. "It has been all downhill for me since that night," an Unruh lieutenant, James Mills, later quoted him in a book Mills wrote about the Unruh speakership. | Wesson's in no danger of being branded a tyrant; rather, he saw keeping the Assembly in session from noon on Monday until late afternoon on Tuesday as the key to settling the partisan budget dispute, thus polishing his somewhat tarnished leadership credentials. It illustrates, however, that beyond the billions of dollars in the budget and the months-long partisan squabbling over deficits, loans, taxes and spending, there were some personal and political stakes.
[more at Sacramento Bee]

Budget Postpones Day Of Reckoning
[the Editors] 7/30/03 | California has a budget, finally. It only awaits the governor's expected signature.| The Assembly passed a budget Tuesday afternoon, following the Senate's vote on Sunday. | The $70.8 billion general fund budget closes the $38 billion deficit calculated by Gov. Davis, at least on paper. Its passage removes no small amount of economic uncertainty, even though its remedies for the deficit, most of them debt-related, will have negative economic effects for some time to come. | The good news for every Californian is that there are no new taxes in the budget, except for a tripling of the car tax, which had already been set in motion by the Davis administration through legal, not legislative, means and is already being challenged in court. | The Republicans stood firm on the tax issue and won. By staying united, they prevented a proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax and/or a boost in the top state income tax rate to 10 percent from 9.3 percent. This will have a positive benefit for consumers, businesses, growth and jobs. [more at OC Register]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From National Review
A Mixed Verdict
There’s peace in L.A., but was there justice?
[Jack Dunphy] 7/30/03 | Well, I got it half-right, but at least I didn't have to spend the night chasing looters up and down Avalon Boulevard like I did in '92. | I wrote two weeks ago that the prosecution's case was coming off the rails in the trial of two Inglewood, Calif. police officers charged in the videotaped arrest of 16-year-old Donavan Jackson. I predicted acquittals for both, but only one defendant walked out of court Tuesday with a unanimous not-guilty verdict to show for his troubles. Bijan Darvish, the officer accused of filing a false police report of the incident, was cleared by the jury after three days of deliberations. The jury was deadlocked, 7-5 for conviction, on the assault charge against former officer Jeremy Morse, and the jury foreman reported there was no hope of reaching a unanimous verdict on that count. Judge William Hollingsworth declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury, thereby handing a big problem back to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who must now decide whether or not to send Morse to a second trial. | It won't be an easy call for Cooley. [more at National Review]

It's Simple, Simon: Stay Out
[the Editors] 7/29/03 | A historic event is in the making. It's not every day - once or twice a century, perhaps - that a state's citizens get so frustrated by their current governor's mismanagement that they decide to subject him to an embarrassing recall election. | Gov. Gray Davis hasn't inspired loyalty, not even among his liberal political base, because he has demonstrated few leadership qualities. But if there's anything that can save him it will be his Republican opponents, who seem as bereft at politicking as Davis is at governing. | If too many poor or marginal candidates clutter the ballot, voters might wonder if it's even worth recalling the governor. Republicans clearly need a big-name leader with some substance to turn this recall into a real campaign. Unfortunately, one well-known Republican with a poor record at campaigning is seriously considering the race, and might draw many votes away from more savvy, experienced candidates. | Businessman Bill Simon, who lost to Gov. Davis by a slimmer-than-expected 5 percentage points in November, has formed an exploratory committee to consider running to replace Gov. Davis. He didn't announce his candidacy over the weekend, as some thought he would, but he clearly is leaning toward running. At an event in Northern California, he said, "I would be the strongest candidate," according to published reports. | Excuse us, but what is he thinking? [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
It's Time For The Elites To Quit All Their Whining
[Daniel Weintraub] 7/29/03 | The people have called an election, and the political elites of both major parties hate it. So does big business and, for the most part, the media. But it's amazing the level of ownership real people feel over the recall. It is something they have done in defiance of California's ruling establishment. | As I walked through the Recall Gray Davis rally at the Capitol Saturday, the mood was giddy. | Republicans were out in force, of course, but they weren't alone. The Libertarians were there, the remnants of Ross Perot's Reform Party, and even the Peace and Freedom and American Independent parties. A stray Democrat or two wandered by. | It was a political fair, with volunteers handing out brochures from booths, entertainment for the kids, talk-radio hosts going remote and, best of all, a buzz of discussion about California and its future. At least 1,000 people showed up in the middle of a broiling Sacramento summer day to show their support. | At one point early on, a group of Davis supporters, many from organized labor, gathered across the street from the rally site and shouted slogans against the recall. Folks on the rally side yelled back with chants of their own. Civil discourse it wasn't. More like a spirit contest at a high school football game. But a spirit contest over California politics? | There is something different about this election, an energy level you don't see too often in these parts.| It definitely has the feel of a populist revolt. [more at Sacramento Bee]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Davis, Facing Recall, Swims In A Sea Of Political Uncertainty
[Dan Walters] 7/29/03 | Gray Davis, even more than most politicians, loathes situations whose outcome he cannot predict and/or fully control, but now finds himself swimming in uncertainty, his fate at the mercy of forces that he can only marginally influence. | The largest unknown, of course, is whether California voters will decide 10 weeks hence to make Davis the first California governor ever to be dumped from office in midterm. But that, in turn, will hinge on a number of other factors that are still unsettled. | Two that loomed over the Capitol on Monday were the fate of a patchwork state budget that cleared the Senate late Sunday but faced an uncertain fate in the Assembly, and the lineup of would-be successors who will appear on the ballot as voters are deciding whether to recall Davis on Oct. 7. | The budget was Davis' most immediate problem Monday. His popularity plummeted into the low 20 percent range when he revealed last December, a month after winning a narrow re-election, that the state faced a $30 billion-plus deficit. Critics accused him of hiding the extent of the state's fiscal problems and launched the recall petition drive that culminated last week in setting an Oct. 7 election. [more at Sacramento Bee]

California Screamin'
[William Safire] 7/29/03 | The humorist S. J. Perelman used to say his wife was "afflicted with total recall." That affliction has now seized California. | Not a year after re-electing Gov. Gray Davis, fickle residents of this Democratic suzerainty are suffering from voter remorse. Polls show his popularity down to 21 percent and that more than half are seriously thinking of throwing him out. | A petition obtained enough signatures last week to put his recall on the ballot. The lavishly spending state is in political chaos, its bonds approaching junk status. Buzzards are circling, Republican candidates are sprouting like weeds and the avid thumbsucking of pundits is heard in the land. | The October ballot offers voters two choices: first, whether to recall the governor, and second, if that gains a majority, to offer a list of candidates to replace him. If the recall vote fails, the second vote is meaningless; but if it succeeds, whoever gets a plurality becomes governor. | Put yourself in the shoes of Davis's campaign manager. Your man is deeply disliked. He won re-election by a dirty trick, interfering in a Republican primary to choose the weakest opponent. Before the election, Davis concealed the looming budget crisis from the voters, and now, even with total Democratic control of the state, cannot right the ship. | A political nightmare? Just the opposite. You adopt the Marshal Foch strategy: with your front crumbling and your flanks collapsing, attack. [more at NY Times]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Horse Before Cart In Recall Challenges
[Richard L. Hasen] 7/29/03 | The temptation to compare the current legal controversies surrounding the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis to the Florida 2000 presidential election mess is irresistible. Though there are differences, the best reason for the comparison is to remember an important lesson from the Florida debacle: Challenges to election rules should be resolved in advance of elections whenever possible, to benefit democracy and to preserve the legitimacy of the courts. This lesson may require a delay in the Davis recall election. | At issue today in federal court in San Diego is a challenge to a quirky provision of California recall law that allows only voters who vote up or down on the recall of Davis to have their vote counted on their choice of his successor. Other lawsuits raising constitutional and statutory questions are likely to be filed as well and should be resolved before the election to avoid a second Florida. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Fix Broken Budget Process
[the Editors] 7/29/03 | It is better to have a wretched budget than no budget at all. That is the depth to which California has fallen. The state's credit hovers on the edge of junk-bond status. The bankers who have propped up the state with loans are out of patience. The people are sick of deadlock, which has helped fuel the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis in a special election set for Oct. 7. | Wretched is certainly the word for the budget, which was passed Sunday by the Senate and was before the Assembly for debate late Monday. [more at LA Times]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From American Spectator
Are You Nuts?   
You sure as heck are -- certifiably -- if you consider yourself conservative.
[Jed Babbin] 7/29/03 | I felt really good last Tuesday. We got Qusay and Uday, and the Eiffel Tower caught fire. Now my betters tell me that feeling good was bad because I was exercising "uncertainty avoidance" and seeking "cognitive closure" on Q and U. Maybe I felt good because of the "terror management" mechanism in my head. Clearly, I have severe symptoms of conservatism, or what I should be calling the conservative psychological pathology. Just ask the experts at U.C. Berkeley. [more at American Spectator]

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Jack in the Box

What Gray Davis needs is spoilers -- lots of them.
[Jeremy Lott] 7/28/03 | Media junkies want to know: Just how much of a carnival is the race to unseat California governor Gray Davis likely to become? Shock jock Michael Savage may throw his hat into the ring, Arianna is mulling a run, the kindergarten cop hasn't made up his mind yet, and, oh yes, Jack Kemp is being "urged" by supporters to step into the breach. We're in dancing bear territory folks. | Or perhaps it's a quick game of Find the Lady. When Drudge announced last Thursday night that Kemp was thinking of running as a "consensus candidate," my immediate response was, "for whom?", and I suspect that wasn't an unusual reply. Jack Kemp?? The guy who got creamed by a human robot in the 1996 debates? The man who blamed slow economic growth for Roberto Alomar's rather Pavlovian response to a bad call? The same Jack Kemp who's recently taken to shilling for Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez? [more at American Spectator]

Don't Fool Around With Constitution
[Chris Weinkopf] 7/28/03 | The current situation in Sacramento can be summed up this way: Republicans want to recall Gov. Gray Davis; Davis and fellow Democrats want to recall the California Constitution. | It's recall mania, and the fun has only just started. | The sordid story begins with the state budget disaster, which has brought out the worst in the Sacramento spendthrifts who created it. Back in March, it prompted Davis and Controller Steve Westly to concoct their fraudulent plan for tripling the state's vehicle license fee without obtaining the two-thirds legislative supermajority that the state constitution requires. | But Davis and Westly would hardly be alone in their disregard for the rule of law. Next in on the act was Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. | When Californians responded with the recall initiative, Shelley told officials responsible for counting recall signatures that they could ignore the legal requirement to do so speedily -- a direction the courts promptly struck down. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From SD Union Tribune
What Agreement?
State may be long way from passing budget
[the Editors] 7/28/03 | Hopes that the state budget crisis might soon be over could be premature. Political realities in the Assembly could delay a budget agreement for weeks more, threatening a shutdown of more state services and programs and further damaging California's imperiled financial standing. | For starters, Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, D-Los Angeles, doesn't have much clout with his colleagues. Democratic lawmakers are certain to bristle at the additional cuts contained in this package, while their GOP counterparts are still fuming over the steep increase in vehicle license fees. Factor in last week's public feuding over the Democratic caucus' not-so-clandestine discussion about delaying a budget, and it's anyone's guess what will happen. [more at SD Union Tribune]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Wall Street Journal
Workers' Comp Crisis
Connecticut and California show how, and how not, to solve it.
[the Editors] 7/28/03 | ...But the record shows that some states are mitigating the problem with smart reforms, while others are just wallowing in the excesses of failed programs. | In the latter category is California, where insurance costs have doubled over the past three years. Meanwhile, Californian workplaces are actually getting safer -- the state's "frequency" of claims (the number of claims per worker per year) declined 20% between 1996 and 2001, mirroring a national trend. | The problem is that California seems to do everything it can to encourage workers to overuse the system. For instance, while the state caps the amount of money it pays for each visit to a chiropractor, it places no limits on the number of visits -- so that workers (and chiropractors) receive a blank check. Nationwide, the average number of visits to a chiropractor on a workers' comp claim is 14. In California, it's 34. | California is also ground zero for litigation. Golden State lawyers pocketed $226 million in 2002 for workers' comp cases. Litigation is now so prevalent that California employers and insurers must hire lawyers to deal with a full 29% of claims in which the employee lost a week of work. | California businesses have been pleading for help for years, but Governor Gray Davis and the state's Democratic legislature continue to see more political mileage in rewarding unions (which always demand bigger benefits) and plaintiffs lawyers than they do in keeping California's businesses solvent. Last year Mr. Davis ignored appeals for reform and signed a bill that increased weekly benefits to employees who miss work because of their injuries. [more at Wall Street Journal - subscription required]

A Big New Name Backs Vouchers
Why are state teachers so angry at Feinstein? Because she may start a trend.
[Lance T. Izumi] 7/28/03 | Do you hear that cracking noise? That's the government-school monopoly dam about to burst. | Up until now, the teachers unions have plugged the holes in the dike using threats and money to make sure lawmakers, especially Democrats, oppose school-choice vouchers. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, however, has just joined a growing number of Democratic elected officials who not only refuse to strengthen the dam but want to tear it down. | In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Feinstein came out in favor of federally funded vouchers for students in Washington, D.C. Congress has the unique opportunity to implement vouchers in the nation's capital since the federal government provides funds for the city's schools. Thus, according to the proposal before Congress, low-income D.C. students would be eligible for a $7,500 scholarship to pay for tuition, fees and transportation to any D.C. private school. Although D.C.'s Democratic mayor, Anthony Williams, caused a stir when he recently came out for vouchers, the teachers unions have portrayed his support as a self-interested political ploy to get more money for the city's schools. | Feinstein is different. She doesn't have anything to gain by supporting vouchers in D.C. Further, her reputation as a thoughtful centrist-leaning Democrat could swing others in her party to rethink their knee-jerk positions and eventually support school choice. | No wonder, then, that the response of the teachers unions has been apoplectic. [more at OC Register]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From Sacramento Bee
Still A Bad Bill
New sacred sites bill is too broad, unneeded
[the Editors] 7/28/03 | Last year, Gov. Gray Davis rightly vetoed a bill by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton that would have given Indian tribes vast new powers to stop development anywhere in the state, whether on Indian land or not. The vetoed bill would have given tribes authority to stop outright or to force expensive mitigation for any proposed development within 20 miles of tribal "sacred sites." | Burton and the Indians are back this year with a more modest bill. But local governments, builders and other business leaders justifiably fear this one, too, would be disruptive, damaging to the economy and extremely costly. [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From Sacramento Bee
28 Years After Gay Rights Victory, Legislators Debate Anew
[Dan Walters] 7/28/03 | It's certain that the Legislature, dominated by liberal Democrats and having a strong contingent of gay lawmakers, would vote today to legalize gay marriage if it could. But a law adopted by voters in 2000 specifically declares that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Barred from seeking full marriage rights, groups such as the California Alliance for Pride and Equality, a gay-rights umbrella coalition, have been pushing a series of bills that expand, one by one, the marriage-like rights of "domestic partners." Conservative "pro-family" organizations complain that the bills violate the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the 2000 ballot measure, but with the tilt of the Legislature, the measures have gained passage easily. [more at Sacramento Bee]

California's Comeback Kid
[Jill Stewart] 7/27/03 | In California — even where politics are concerned — appearances can be deceiving. Opponents of Gov. Gray Davis most surely scored a historic victory last week when they succeeded in securing a special recall vote. Already, many are predicting the Democratic governor's demise come the Oct. 7 special election. But even if Republicans are able to place a serious contender on the ballot, don't count the governor out just yet. Mr. Davis may find himself on the political ropes, but that's exactly where he does his best fighting. | The governor, let's not forget, is above all a survivor — one with extraordinary gifts for doing whatever it takes. Consider, for example, one of his most recent bits of inspired strong-arming. His camp sued to try to delay certification of the recall petitions. The grounds for the suit: accusations that two felons were hired by Rescue California, the group that led the recall effort, to gather petition signatures. As reported up and down California, the lawsuit was intended to slow the recall, moving the vote from the fall to March, when Democrats would stream to polls for their presidential primary and possibly vote to save a governor toward whom few feel any pride. | We later learned from a San Francisco Chronicle article that the two felons the Davis camp cited in its effort to besmirch the group had left their jobs quickly, and then were promptly hired by the Davis team to gather signatures for a petition supporting the governor. The felon-recycling tale could have been deftly used to illustrate the intellectual dishonesty and political sleight-of-hand that has helped fuel Mr. Davis's abysmal 22 percent approval rating. But Rescue California, run by people who have never managed a major statewide campaign, apparently lacks even a savvy press aide and the episode somehow faded away with little attention. [more at NY Times]


Gray Davis: Bill Clinton Lite

Californians have figured out that their governor is a façade of a façade.
[Paul M. Fick] 7/27/03 | At first blush, it appeared that the Decade of Facadism, in which is isn't is, presidential perjury is permissible, and dotcom stocks fulfill the American dream, ended when President Clinton begrudgingly left the White House. The country as a whole was, temporarily at least, shocked into Realism with falling towers and fallen heroes. But the Golden State eschewed Realism, waxing nostalgic for the grand Decade of Facadism, like a washed up '60s retread rocking to the Grateful Dead in a grungy tie-dye T-shirt. | Leading California's retreat from prominence is a most unlikely character, Gov. Gray Davis. Davis mirrors Clinton's fund-raising ability and shadows his crafty, and, at times, nasty politicking when his back is to the wall. Like Clinton, Davis has lengthy credentials as a "public servant," serving as an assemblyman, state controller and lieutenant governor. His record even includes a stint as a thirty-something chief of staff to Gov. Jerry Brown, long before Davis oversaw the creation of a thirty- something billion-dollar deficit. | But Davis lacks Clinton's charisma and glad-handing ability, critical qualities for a successful impostor. [more at OC Register]

Next Time, The Pundits Should Poll Burt Pronin
[Gordon Dillow] 7/27/03 | If you're happy that we're going to have a recall vote on Gov. Gray Davis, you can give Burt Pronin approximately .0005 percent of the credit. | And if you're not happy about it, you can also give Burt .0005 percent of the blame. | Back in June I wrote a column about Burt, 73, of Brea, a retired insurance executive who I met when he was sitting in a lawn chair outside an Albertsons supermarket, gathering recall petition signatures. The gist of the column was that, given the ease with which Burt was raking in signatures, and the comments he was hearing from voters, Davis appeared to be in deep, deep trouble. | Of course, even while Burt was calling the recall effort a clear winner, the pundits and the governor's mouthpieces were still calling it a long shot – just as they had when the recall effort began in February. Never happen, they all said. Never has, and never will. They brushed away the recall as if it were an insignificant gnat. | But they hadn't spent any time with Burt. | Over a total of five weeks, and working just a few hours a day, Burt gathered some 700 signatures – about one two-thousandth of the 1.4 million total. Although he was a paid signature gatherer – he got less than five hundred bucks for the signatures he collected – it wasn't like he really needed the money. Burt, a registered Democrat, swears that he would have happily done it for free. [more at OC Register]

This Is Direct Democracy Run Amok
[Leon E. Panetta] 7/27/03 | California is known for setting precedents for the rest of the nation. | In the past, we've taken great pride in setting the standard for higher education, a strong and diverse economy, environmental protection and opportunity for all. | But today, California is setting a very different kind of precedent — how not to govern a state. Elected leaders are failing to resolve the worst fiscal crisis in state history, term limits are creating timid, weakened politicians and ballot initiatives are usurping power from those we've elected legitimately. Last week, the state's bond rating dropped to near junk-bond status. | At the same time, an ill-advised recall election of the governor has been set for October that will result in greater political disruption and could cost taxpayers an additional $30 million to $40 million. [more at LA Times]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Sound Fiscal Advice For Families Should Apply To State Budget
[Dan Walters] 7/27/03 | Financial planner Scott Hanson, who writes a column for The Sacramento Bee, received an inquiry from a reader who said he was facing bankruptcy due to a mountain of credit card debt and was wondering whether he should enter a "debt consolidation program." | Hanson's reply, in part: "Most people in your situation need a budget and spending program before a debt consolidation plan. Why? Because most people who are over their heads in debt got that way because they spent more money than they made. They confused their wants with their needs and purchased too many things on credit cards. | "I've seen countless situations where people have consolidated their debt into a manageable monthly payment and used their lower payment as an excuse to spend more. The reasons behind their spending didn't change. Two or three years later, their personal debt was far worse then before their debt was consolidated." | It was the sort of back-to-basics advice that any responsible financial counselor would give. It's what the World Bank tells Third World nations whose finances are in disarray. It's the medicine that corporate "turnaround" specialists dispense to companies drifting into bankruptcy. | The first step toward financial health is to stop doing what got you into trouble in the first place. Just borrowing more money to "consolidate" debts tends to lead to more irresponsible spending from those who have already "confused their wants with their needs and purchased too many things on credit cards." | Is Gov. Gray Davis listening? Are Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson or Assembly Republican leader Dave Cox? [more at Sacramento Bee]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Man Bites Dog, Legislative Foes Civilly Discuss State Budget
[Daniel Weintraub] 7/27/03 | It's budget time in the Capitol, and even as a deal begins to come together, the insults are still flying. Republican staffers capture Democrats plotting secret strategies over a microphone they thought was dead. Democrats accuse Republicans of lacking compassion for the poor and infirm. The governor's finance director confronts a legislator in a hallway, gets in his face and implores him to "give us a budget!" | These are the stories that make the evening news and the next day's papers. Conflict sells. Confrontation is the coin of the political realm and the engine that drives the news coverage. It has always been so. | But the clashes have become so common that I wonder if now the paradigm has shifted. Maybe two legislators shouting inanities at each other is dog-bites-man stuff. Here's the rarity: legislators from different parties, with different agendas, sitting down in civil discourse about the state's massive fiscal problems. | I found such an event last week, in a small hearing room on the first floor of the Capitol. Little advertised, little known, and lightly attended by the press corps, a special Senate committee is plowing through the budget program by program, calmly exchanging ideas on how the state got where it is today -- and how it might prevent the same thing from happening again. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Anaheim's New Deal
A new council has worked to make the city more business-friendly
[Steven Greenhut] 7/27/03 | "The demographics of the city are changing," Mayor Curt Pringle said. "We could either try to stop the changes or embrace them. We've decided to embrace them." | That's a nice way of saying that the old crowd often provided legal impediments to the new, emerging Latino majority. It wasn't something outwardly racist. But the way, for instance, the old leadership fought the Gigante store was emblematic. Old-timers in any city like to keep things as they are through restrictive ordinances and zoning. | Pringle points to the many times the council has overturned decisions by the Planning Commission, in order to make it easier for small businesses to get variances and permits. Most of these businesses happen to be owned by Latinos. | This isn't a left vs. right phenomenon. The three closest allies on the new council are Pringle, a conservative Republican, Tait, a libertarian-oriented Republican, and Richard Chavez, a union-activist Democrat. Councilman Bob Hernandez, a moderate-conservative Republican, and Shirley McCracken, a moderate-liberal Republican, have also been supportive of the City Council's refreshing new approach. [more at OC Register]

MISEDUCATION/From SD Union Tribune
A Change Of Heart On School Vouchers
[Joseph Perkins] 7/26/03 | Only one fourth-grade student in 10 attending public schools in our nation's capital is proficient in reading, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. Only one fourth-grader in 16 is proficient in math. | And it's not that the District of Columbia is shortchanging its public school system. The capital city lays out nearly $11,000 per student annually, the third-highest level of per-pupil spending in the entire country. | That's why it is heartening to see that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has broken ranks with her fellow Democrats, parted ways with the public teachers unions, throwing her support behind a voucher program for the District's miseducated school children.
[more at SD Union Tribune]

day-by-day ~ a week's worth of web findings in the bin:

Your Car Tax Estimate
posted at OC Register
Say you bought a new Toyota Camry in October 2000 for $20,360.
Here’s how the new vehicle license fee will affect you.

$ 105.87
You paid this in 2002

You’ll owe this in October


Last Week's Front Page: 7/19-7/25
[go to Front Page Archive Index]

And some
Lingering Observations

Driven to Judicial Fiat
Desperate Davis Turns to the Courts for "Leadership"
[Carol Platt Liebau] 7/24/03 []

King of the Ring
Big-time strategists, a jungle recall/election, and Democrats scheming over a live microphone. You won't believe what's happening in California.
[Hugh Hewitt] 7/24/03 [Weekly Standard]

Recall Strategy
The California GOP Needs to Stay Flexible – and Above All, Unified
[Carol Platt Liebau] 7/21/03 []
Highway Robbery
Illegal taxes are what political revolutions are made of.
[Tom McClintock] 7/9/03 []

Brother, Can You Spare A Nickel?
Liberal illusion: tax cuts cause deficits, not overspending
[Ray Haynes] 7/8/03 []

A “Taxing” Responsibility
The Power to Change Sacramento Rests With Us
[Carol Platt Liebau] 7/7/03 []

Pull My Trigger. . .
An unaccountable, self-triggering tax that only a liberal could love
[Ray Haynes] 6/28/03 [more inside]
California's Coming 100-Year Political Storm
[Tom McClintock] 6/18/03 [more at Claremont Institute]
Wannabe the Next Governor?
[Streetsweeper] 6/13/03 [go to CRO Recall Follies]
Slap the Greedy Hand [Reprint 6/16/03]
Authorizing Local Taxes Is Just Plain Wrong
[Carol Platt Liebau] 6/9/03 [more inside]
People Must Demand Recall
After the Damage Davis Has Caused In One Term, Can State Afford to Go Through Another?
[Shawn Steel] 6/2/03 [more inside]
Memo to My Wife
A household budget - Gray Davis style
[Tom McClintock] 5/29/03 [more inside]
Wild and Wooly in California
The prospect of a recall vote on Governor Gray Davis has the state's political establishment in an uproar.
[Hugh Hewitt] 5/21/03 [more at Weekly Standard]
Recalling Our Principles
Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
[Carol Platt Liebau] 5/9/03 [more inside]



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