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New: Opinion Today- KU Janice Brown... Recall Follies- FUND Team Arnold... Streetsweeper's Bin- GAMBLE Attention Arnold... CRO Blog- HEWITT Arnold in charge...

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

Recall: 59 Days
[go to the Recall Follies]

  • Fund: Team Arnold
  • Neumayr: Here's Arnold
  • Gamble: Attention Arnold

a weblog of
contributor commentary

[Carol Platt Liebau] 10:11 am
On Issa: Yesterday, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa decided to drop out of the gubernatorial race and Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamente and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi decided to get in. It was a marked contrast...
more at CRO Blog
[Hugh Hewitt] 7:30 am

Large and In Charge: Arnold's campaign can be as different from every other campaign as it wants to be.  Critics who want to know positions on the fine points of workers' comp reform are going to be disappointed, and Arnold will ignore their demands for answers and assurance.  It is a train.  Get on or get left behind.  The Democrats are betting on Cruz?  People are calling for debates?  Sorry, when you make the weather, you decide all of the rules, and Arnold is making the weather.

more at CRO Blog

OC Register
Deficit Index

$87.4 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

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A Judicial Candidate Feminists Should Support

California's Janice Brown is worth considering for the U.S. Supreme Court
[Tammy Ku] 8/8/03 | As rumors circulate about the retirement of at least one U.S. Supreme Court judge, many have begun to speculate about the choices for a successor. California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown is considered to be at the head of the list, as her views reflect both that of the Bush administration and recent Supreme Court decisions. Her personal story is one of struggle and accomplishment. | Janice Brown grew up as a sharecropper's daughter in Alabama during the 1950s. Inspired by her grandmother's stories about civil-rights attorney Fred Gray, who defended Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, she decided to become an attorney and attended law school at UCLA. | Before sitting on California's highest court, Brown worked as a state government lawyer for 12 years and then at a law firm run by Steve Merksamer, chief of staff for former Republican Governor George Deukmejian. She then became Republican Governor Pete Wilson's legal affairs secretary before he nominated her to a Sacramento state appeals court in 1994. | Two years later, she rose to the state Supreme Court. In 1997, Brown soon found herself embroiled in what was considered to be a controversial case at the time. [more inside]

Politicians In Bond-Age

If bonds are part of the budget, voters must have a say
[Harold Johnson] 8/7/03 | [EDITOR'S NOTE - This piece was originally posted at CRO on 6/27, however, the problem of constitutional issues for the budget are front and center and little understood - so we've reposted.] For all the rancor in Sacramento over how to fashion a budget, Gov. Gray Davis and Republican leaders are in accord on one element: big borrowing. Both sides favor floating more than $10 billion in bonds, to be paid off over five years or longer, to shrink the state's mammoth deficit. The two sides differ only over the source of the funding for this new debt. The GOP would use existing revenues; Davis proposes a hike in the sales tax. | But even if this difference is reconciled, another, more significant obstacle to closure exists, courtesy of Democratic Sen. Eugene Casserly. | If the name doesn't ring a bell, it's because Casserly died more than a century ago. His influence extends across the decades, however, through a plank he added to the California Constitution at the drafting convention in 1879. The rule he sponsored -- Article XVI, section I of the Constitution -- prohibits the state from borrowing more than $300,000 unless voters approve in a statewide election. | Unlike many of the blithe spenders in Sacramento today, Sen. Casserly and other delegates to the 1879 Constitutional Convention were no-nonsense folks, deeply skeptical of the idea of government paying its bills by saddling future generations with debt. Accordingly, the Constitution is quite restrictive in the purposes for which multi-year borrowing is allowed. Under Article XVI, debts of more than $300,000 are permitted only for a specific, "single object or work." Borrowing to buy parks or build schools passes this test. But long-term debt to meet payroll and to keep government buildings open, does not; clearly, the general operations of government do not constitute a "single object or work." | Not surprisingly, the players in Sacramento don't seem eager to acknowledge the electorate's role in the process. [more inside]

Open Mike, Insert Foot

Lawmakers' Candid Remarks Frighten Taxpayers
[Jon Coupal] 8/6/03 | Back in the heyday of radio, children could gather around the radio on Sunday afternoons while an affable host read them the funnies from the newspaper. | There is a famous story about one star-crossed comics reader who, when the program ended, leaned back in his chair, and said to no one in particular, "There, that ought to hold the little bastards." | Unfortunately, the engineer was late in cutting to the station break, and the microphone was still open. This gaff may have generated interesting dinnertime conversation in thousands of homes, but other than revealing an unpleasant "other side" of the broadcaster, it is doubtful that the event caused much harm. | The latest open mike blunder has much more dire implications for millions of California taxpayers. | In the State Capitol building there are strategically placed microphones that allow staff and reporters to monitor committee hearings on "squawk boxes" in their offices. These same rooms are often used by members of the Legislature to caucus and confer. | A little over a week ago, eleven of the most radical members of the Assembly, known as the "progressive caucus," met to discuss the budget stalemate. | In private conversation these lawmakers strategized on how a delay in passing the budget could help a public employee union sponsored initiative, likely to appear on the ballot next year, that would lower the two-thirds vote to pass both the budget and tax increases. [more inside]

A Budget With No New Taxes

(It could have been worse….)
[Ray Haynes] 8/5/03 |
The Democrats said it couldn’t be done. They insisted they needed new taxes to balance the budget. They threatened, they cajoled, they whined, they plotted. They dilly-dallied on the details, and groaned about the damage Republicans were causing. In the end, they folded like a cheap tent, admitting that their whole strategy was to try to embarrass the Republicans into voting for a tax increase. They knew that the budget could be balanced with no new taxes; they just didn’t want to do it. | Not that this budget is perfect. It isn’t. It is precariously perched on a precipice, depending completely on a solid economic policy in Washington to grow the national economy. If the national economy grows, it will drag California with it, causing the State’s tax receipts to increase, in spite of Sacramento’s short-sighted anti-business policies. If the national economy continues on its anemic recovery, California’s could fall into a canyon whose only bottom is bankruptcy. It is still too early to see what will happen, but at least California’s economy will not be burdened with new taxes instituted through the budget. | During the budget battle Republicans understood one thing. New taxes in the budget would be disastrous for the state as a whole. [more inside]


Barbara Boxer’s Embarrassing Forays Into Foreign Policy
[Carol Platt Liebau] 8/4/03 | There are many differences between a person who is “educated” and one who is merely “credentialed.” Credentialed people – like many Ivy League students and a fair number of journalists – think that attending a particular school, obtaining a specific degree, or adhering to a certain political ideology is a virtual sine qua non of intelligence. Truly educated people, on the other hand, understand that there are many forms of intelligence – academic, yes, but also kinesthetic, practical, moral, strategic . . . and the list goes on. | It would be unrealistic and perhaps unfair to expect California’s junior senator, Barbara Boxer, to possess multiple forms of intelligence. But it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect her to display some glimmerings of intellect from time to time. Unfortunately, however, Boxer shows no signs of any life of the mind – or of the kindness and humility that can make such deficiencies less glaring, as we were all forcibly reminded last week. | Boxer was in top form for the appearance of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which she serves (to the detriment of both the United States and her own reputation). Perhaps not surprisingly, in contrast to Committee colleagues like Russ Feingold (D-WI), Boxer doesn’t provide transcripts of her statements on the Committee. But just the brief radio and print excerpts of her posturing were plenty to make any Californian’s face burn with embarrassment. [more inside]

Groundhog Day

It's budget "deja vu" all over again and again
[John Campbell] 8/2/03 | One of my favorite movies has long been Groundhog Day. If you haven't seen it, it is a comedy in which Bill Murray is trapped in a time warp of a sort in which he wakes up every morning at the same time to experience the exact same day, groundhog day, over and over again. In the movie, he does this literally hundreds of times experiencing exactly the same weather, music on the radio, people on the streets, traffic, etc. If you haven't seen it, it is a very clever movie. | But I did not write this column to be a movie review. In fact, I feel that I find myself in a sort of groundhog day-like time warp. For all of my 3 years in the legislature, I have experienced a January in which there is a budget deficit greater than that which was forecast. That deficit gets ever worse until June, at which time an on-time budget is not reached. Then sometime in July or August, a budget agreement is reached with nearly all Democrats and a few Republicans voting for it, and then we do it all over again. | Well, the budget that was passed by the Assembly this week, will guarantee that I will experience the same groundhog day again in my 4th year in the Legislature. Let me make a few predictions about what next year's budget crisis (groundhog day) will be like... [more inside]

Recall and Recollection
Beware of unintended consequences
[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. [more inside]

findings in today's web trawler

RECALL FOLLIES/From Opinion Journal
Team Arnold

Schwarzenegger's a strong candidate, but he's no shoo-in.
[John Fund] 8/8/03 | They say everything leaks in politics except the airtight Bush White House. Add to that Arnold Schwarzenegger, who kept his announcement that he's running for governor of California so close to his chest that he stunned his own staff with the news. George Gorton, his political adviser, stood in the parking lot of "The Tonight Show" studio last night after the announcement and showed a reporter a statement he had prepared that began, "I have decided not to run ..." | With 60 days before the Oct. 7 recall election, Mr. Schwarzenegger's brilliant political tease has cost him valuable time in what will have to be a blitzkrieg campaign. And now other big names are getting into the race. Now that Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, has announced his candidacy, hardly anyone expects Gray Davis to win the 50% of the vote he'd need to hang on to the governor's mansion. And if the voters oust Mr. Davis, all Mr. Schwarzenegger, Mr. Bustamante or anyone else needs to win is a plurality of the vote. | The consultants Mr. Schwarzenegger has assembled--call them "Team Arnold"--are all battle-hardened veterans of the four successful campaigns that Pete Wilson ran for senate and governor in the 1980s and 1990s. Several played a pivotal role in Boris Yeltsin's come-from-behind re-election campaign for Russian president in 1996. [more at Opinion Journal]

Wish They All Could Be California Govs
[Jay Bryant] 8/8/03 | How'd you like to be the guy who has to set up the debate format for the California gubernatorial campaign? | Let's see, if we give everybody a two-minute opening statement, that takes…okay, a little less than twelve hours. Now if we rotate the questions, hmm, how about one minute answers with thirty-second rebuts…no, that won't work… I foresee a multi-webcam, 24/7 reality TV experience that will make Ozzy and Anna Nicole beg for mercy. | Why not put all the candidates in the Governor's Mansion and vote 'em out, one by one? I'd watch that on pay-per-view. | The other thing I want to see – or at least hear – is the news conference when Henry Kissinger comes in to endorse Arnold. | With all those names on the ballot, it's going to be a real trick to find the one you want to vote for, which is a big plus for Arnold, because his Schwarzenegger will stick out farther than anybody else's. [more at Town Hall]

The Running Man: Go, Arnold, Go!
[Jacob Sullum] 8/8/03 | Years ago I was handing out place cards at a banquet sponsored by the Reason Foundation when I was approached by a square-jawed man with bushy eyebrows and a prominent forehead. "Schwarz-e-neg-ger," he said helpfully. | The flat, Austrian-accented delivery was familiar, but I was surprised that a big movie star would pick up his place card personally. Didn't he have people for that sort of thing? | I also was impressed that Schwarzenegger did not count on being recognized -- or, at least, pretended not to count on it. The appearance of humility was not what you'd expect from a man who'd been publicly cocky since his days as a Mr. Olympia contender. Also, he was shorter than I'd imagined. | But the weirdest thing about my encounter with the bodybuilder turned action hero, who announced Wednesday that he's running to replace Gray Davis as governor of California, may have been that he was there at all. What was the Terminator doing at an anniversary celebration for a libertarian think tank? | The Reason Foundation (which publishes Reason magazine, where I work) may be based in Los Angeles, but it's a world away from the glamour of the movie business. The only plausible explanation for Schwarzenegger's presence was a genuine interest in the ideas promoted by the foundation, which focuses on maximizing individual freedom and minimizing government. [more at Town Hall]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Is This A Crisis Or The Start Of California's Recovery?
[Daniel Weintraub] 8/8/03 | The past 48 hours have been the most tumultuous in the modern history of California politics, and we are a state that has had its ups and downs. The approach of Saturday's filing deadline for candidates hoping to succeed Gov. Gray Davis if he is recalled from office has created an atmosphere of political chaos in a state already teetering on the edge of a government fiscal meltdown. | But as tempting as it might be to conclude that California is going over the edge, we are not. We are on our way toward holding an election to decide whether to keep the governor or dismiss him, just as the state constitution has allowed since 1911. | And if we decide to dismiss Davis, we will then decide who should replace him. | It's not that complicated. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Attention, Arnold: This Is Real Life
[Doug Gamble] 8/8/03 | Leave it to a movie star to come up with a stunning plot twist. Arnold Schwarzenegger has to be credited with pulling off one of the biggest surprises in state political history by throwing his headband into the ring. | It appears he deliberately misled some of his own political advisors, who had been saying that the actor was unlikely to run. The question is, can he mislead enough Californians into believing that he is the one to rescue the state from an unprecedented financial crisis and set it on a path back to its former glory? At the moment, most Californians apparently don't think so; a recent Los Angeles Times poll found that 53% of registered voters were not inclined to vote for him. | Making his announcement on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" rather than a legitimate news venue was an insult to everyone who takes politics and California's problems seriously, indicating a candidacy more about self-promotion than public service. Likewise his flip remark that the decision to run was his most difficult since deciding to get a bikini wax in 1978, something that millions of Californians who are in real pain and looking for proven leadership must have found hilarious. | Schwarzenegger will undoubtedly pump up his performance on the stump as the campaign progresses, but his press conference outside the NBC studios in Burbank was pedestrian. [more at LA Times]

Recall: Revolt of the Common Man
[Tammy Bruce] 8/8/03 | I’ve been rather amused by how panicked the Left Elite are with the prospect that Californians have taken control of their political system and are poised to kick a particular bum out of office. I can’t count how many times in the last few weeks I have heard a Democrat or celebrity whiner bleat about the recall of inept Governor Gray Davis: “This is not what a recall is for!” Or “You can’t recall someone just because you don’t like them!” Or – and this is my favorite – “This is just a right-wing conspiracy to thwart a progressive agenda!” | Well, at least they’re admitting that today’s leftist “progressive” agenda includes selling a state to the highest bidder and becoming so beholden to special interest groups that the citizens have become a freakish afterthought. California has no money because Gray Davis has given it all to unions as payback for political support. It’s that sad, that pathetic and that simple: Davis is a mess and so is California. | Really now, what part of 1.7 million signatures on recall petitions don’t they understand? [more at Front Page]

Chads Hang Over Recall
Richard L. Hasen 8/8/03 | If you think that the state Supreme Court on Thursday kept California from becoming the next Florida — a national symbol of electoral fiascos — you may be celebrating prematurely. | The decision by the court not to review five separate recall challenges cleared away state law questions regarding the process, but significant federal issues remain. And, ironically, the decision of the California Supreme Court in one of the cases increases the chances that federal courts could find constitutional problems in the recall procedures. | Among the claims rejected by the court was Gov. Gray Davis' argument that the use of punch-card voting and the loss of polling stations in some places — including Los Angeles — through consolidation could create an equal-protection problem under the U.S. Constitution.| Davis' claim could well have merit.[more at LA Times]

The Governor Loses Ground On Two Fronts
[the Editors] 8/8/03 | Gov. Gray Davis has to feel like he has been sucker-punched in the gut, given that recent news events show a complete undermining of his political and legal strategies to stave off a recall. | On Thursday, the California Supreme Court refused to intervene to slow or stop the election. That capped a week in which the governor's political strategy took a beating. Key to that strategy was to keep any big-name Democrat off the replacement ballot, which would then deny this Democratic-leaning state any serious Democratic challenger. As a result, Davis supporters figured voters would reject the recall. | Second was to keep the focus on the nuttiness of the recall event given the large number of candidates, many from the political fringes. | Third was to depict the recall as the doings of so-called right-wingers, backed by a man, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who was trying to buy the governor's seat by underwriting most of the cost of the recall campaign.| On Wednesday, when popular Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein refused to enter the race, the governor's strategy was holding. But later that day, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, which then spurred Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Democratic Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to enter the race. Mr. Bustamante said he still urges a "no" vote on the recall, but it's too late. The floodgates are open. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Wall Street Journal
'The Running Man'
[the Editors] 8/8/03 | That 1987 film wasn't one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's better efforts, to be sure, but it does take place during an economic apocalypse and features Jesse Ventura, another buff entertainer who would later turn populist machismo into a Governorship. | So why not try it in real life? The moderate Republican and former Mr. Universe may be a celebrity who announced his campaign for Governor via the "Tonight Show," but he could hardly do any worse by California than have the pols in Sacramento. | "The people are working hard," he told Jay Leno. "The people are paying the taxes. The people are raising the families. But the politicians are not doing their job. The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing." They're also passing the buck; witness Governor Gray Davis's insistence that his recall -- and 23% approval rating -- is the work of a few right-wing crazies. | The truth is that most of California's record $38 billion shortfall was due to government overspending during the 1990s. Mr. Davis let his party's special interests run wild -- especially public sector unions and the trial attorneys. Late last month the state legislature finally passed a budget. But even the liberal Sacramento Bee described it as a "house of cards" that rests largely on a $10.7 billion bond offering, and a prayer. California's bond rating recently fell to just above junk status, which is truth in advertising. [more at Wall Street Journal] subscription required

RECALL FOLLIES/From Wall Street Journal
Citizen Uprising Hits Old Regime in California
The voters aren't crazy. The pols who put the state in a $38 billion rut are.
[Daniel Henniger] 8/8/03 | California is famous for originating ideas, so why should we believe that the conventional wisdom's thoughts on the state's famous recall election could possibly be right? The standard-brand view right now of the Gray Davis recall is that the place often thought a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty has "lost it." Once again, har-dee har-har, the people who brought us the Prop. 13 limitation on taxes and Ronald Reagan are dancing amid the moonbeams. | They will of course be mocked for entertaining the notion that the state could be better run by the world's most illustrious Austrian-born émigré, whose most famous utterance in life so far is, "Hasta la vista, bay-bee." Arnold Schwarzenegger unconventionally announced his candidacy this week on the Jay Leno show, which too will be seen as reflecting unseriousness about the difficult art of holding high public office. Another actor, ohmygod. | Well, let us see if we can place in rough context the idea that it is California's fed-up citizens who are unserious. | This week, some people with no ballgame to watch spent an evening with C-SPAN and the AFL-CIO's Democratic candidates' forum. These were all professional politicians. | Not least among those sharing their thoughts with the American people on governance were the Rev. Al Sharpton, former Senator Carol Moseley Braun and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the formerly famous mayor of since-recovered Cleveland. Whatever else their achievements, all three share a lifelong interest in the antic side of what is often admiringly called "public service." [more at Wall Street Journal] subscription required

Confining Growth To Small Patches Of America
[Joseph Perkins] 8/8/03 | San Diego was struck by apparent domestic terrorism last week when a five-story, 206-unit condominium and apartment project was burned to the ground. A 100-foot construction crane came crashing down. A 500-gallon fuel tank exploded. | A militant environmental group, the so-called Earth Liberation Front, claimed credit for setting the arson fire, which caused an estimated $50 million in damage. "If you build it, we will burn it," read a banner (with the initials E.L.F.) recovered at the scene. | ELF claims responsibility for setting dozens of fires in North America over the past half-dozen years, most notably a 1999 blaze at the Michigan State University's Agricultural Hall and a 1998 torching of a ski resort under construction in Vail, Colo. | The environmental wackos delude themselves into thinking that their acts somehow are justified because they are dedicated to the supposedly noble goal of fighting urban sprawl. [more at SD Union Tribune]

A Tax-Funded Union Lobby
UC think tank exists solely to provide academic cover for political operations
[Lawrence J. McQuillan and Andrew M. Gloger] 8/8/03 | The powerful California Labor Federation (CLF) and the national AFL-CIO have officially joined Gov. Gray Davis in his fight against the recall, urging (if futilely) elected Democrats not to run in the Oct. 7 election. Their support for the beleaguered governor comes as no surprise. If Davis is defeated, they have much to lose, possibly including a little-known, yet influential, think tank called the University of California Institute for Labor and Employment (ILE). | Based at UCLA and UC Berkeley, this institute has received $17 million from state taxpayers since it was created in July 2000. It has been a driving force behind union legislative victories on paid family leave, changes in overtime rules, and a living-wage law. Bills are now moving through the Legislature on "play or pay" health care and extending unemployment benefits, positions consistent with ILE-funded research. [more at OC Register]

CLASHING CULTURE/From Wall Street Journal
Passionate Professors
[the Editors] 8/8/03 | The Chronicle of Higher Education brings news that, at long last, faculty at the University of California will have some "wiggle room to express their political and personal opinions." A dark cloud of oppression descended on the campus 69 years ago, when UC adopted a policy that directed professors to "give play to intellect instead of passion" and to "stick to the logic of the facts." The fear then was that communist professors would use the classroom to indoctrinate their students. | Somehow this policy survived even through the turmoil of the 1960s. But last week, by a 45-3 vote, the university system's Academic Assembly approved the new policy, which does away with the distinction between "interested" and "disinterested" scholarship. As the Chronicle puts it, "The new policy will allow professors to teach about politics and to teach passionately." | In a sense, the new policy is simply a bow to reality. Last year, a graduate student named Snehal Shingavi taught an undergraduate English course called "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance." The course description warned that "conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections." [more at Wall Street Journal] subscription required

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Here's Arnold!
[George Neumayr] 8/7/03 | There was Larry King Live, now there's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. What's next? Comedy Central's news parody program The Daily Show? | The tittering Republicans so enamored with Arnold Schwarzenegger undermine their own case that the crisis is dire by addressing it in such a light setting. Doesn't it occur to them that their candidate's announcement on a show of gags and jokes just buttresses Gray Davis's argument that the state is not in a solemn crisis justifying a recall? The superficiality of it all lends support to the Dems claim that the Republicans are engaged in a frivolous power grab. | A serious Republican filed papers to run in the recall this week. But his name is not Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is Tom McClintock, a budget hawk in the state legislature who was carefully laying out his plans to address the $38-billion budget crisis while Schwarzenegger was screwing around on Leno. | A Schwarzenegger run represents power without purpose. It seeks to substitute a liberal with a D after his name for a liberal with an R after his name. Boy, what a meaningful recall: We could go from a tainted pol to a tainted celebrity! | McClintock, however, isn't engaged in a lark. He is not interested in a cheap celebrity victory but in rescuing the state from a deadly serious budget crisis. [more at American Spectator]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Who Is Gray Davis? State's Voters Still Don't Know
[Daniel Weintraub] 8/7/03 | The campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis may have gotten its start among conservative Republican activists and their allies on talk radio, but it's clear now that the movement has spread well beyond the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that the governor would like to blame for his troubles.| It's also apparent that Davis has precious few friends to call on in this time of political need. And he will soon be needing a lot of them, because his usual strategy of running as the lesser of evils, of trying to scare Democratic voters into choosing him over "extremist" alternatives, is falling apart. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Schwarzenegger Pumps Up The Recall
Arnold immediately became the front-runner to replace the highly unpopular incumbent. The likeable, highly popular movie star sure will shake things up.
[the Editors] 8/7/03 | OK, so what will he do about the newly increased car tax? | We know, at the moment, that’s about the last question on California voter’s minds. People want to first absorb the meaning of Arnold Schwarzenegger entering the governor’s race. First, surprise. Then, gratitude that he’s pushing tedious Arianna Huffington and odd Larry Flynt off centerstage. Then, weariness over every Arnold movie line being overplayed in headlines and even by Arnold himself (“Hasta la vista,” Gray Davis). | So, with one quick announcement, Mr. Schwarzenegger probably planted himself as the front-runner – deftly waiting until Dianne Feinstein bowed out – sent chills through the Davis camp and gave remaining Democratic potential candidates new reason to jump in and Republican candidates new reason to step back. | But, no matter who makes the filing deadlines, the serious issues remain... [more at OC Register]

Davis Tacks Left
[the Editors] 8/7/03 | Down in the polls and facing an angry populace and now, the Terminator, in the Oct. 7 recall, Gov. Gray Davis is lurching far to the left. After years of at least trying to appear moderate, if only to make himself palatable to the rest of the country for a potential presidential run, now we're finally seeing what shade of gray the governor really is. | "It appears that Gov. Davis is having a political fire sale. Anything goes," Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, told us. | Here are some of the things the governor has been up to... [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From SD Union Tribune
Recall Lawsuits
Davis seeks to change rules in his favor
[the Editors] 8/7/03 |Among the half dozen lawsuits aimed at blocking the Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, none is more glaringly self-serving than the one filed by Gray Davis himself. The governor, in his appeal to the state Supreme Court, is plainly and simply trying to recast the rules halfway through the contest for his own political advantage. | With polls showing a slim majority of voters already inclined to remove him from office, Davis is not above legal legerdemain if he thinks it would boost his chances for surviving the recall. | Consider his plea that the Supreme Court order Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to place Davis' name on the recall ballot not once but twice. [more at SD Union Tribune]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Bogus Labor Concessions
Reworked contracts hurt the state
[the Editors] 8/7/03 | Gov. Gray Davis seems to have a peculiar idea of what constitutes a concession. | The governor says he obtained concessions from the California Highway Patrol and the state firefighter unions. But these agreements are not concessions at all. They are the opposite. | In exchange for delaying a 5 percent pay hike for one year, the deals give CHP officers and firefighters an extra day off a month. Those 12 extra vacation days are equivalent to a 5 percent pay raise. In budget terms, it's a wash at best, and no one expects the best. [more at Sacramento Bee]

JURISIMPRUDENCE/From WallStreet Journal
NAACP Kuhl-Down
[the Editors] 8/7/03 | The NAACP claims to be a champion of diversity, but its tolerance apparently doesn't extend to its own members who think for themselves. Attorney Leo Terrell learned that recently when he spoke out in support of Carolyn Kuhl, one of President Bush's beleaguered nominees for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The head of the NAACP's Washington office called and ordered him to cease and desist, so yesterday Mr. Terrell resigned from the "civil-rights" group rather than be muzzled. | Mr. Terrell is a California attorney who has donated many hours of work to the NAACP, representing litigants and participating in seminars on discrimination. Mr. Terrell, who is black, has been outspoken in his support of Judge Kuhl, who sits on the California Superior Court in Los Angeles and before whom he appeared in 1999. [more at Wall Street Journal] - subscription required

RECALL FOLLIES/From Claremont Institute
Recall Ruling Creates More Confusion
[John C. Eastman, Edward J. Erler and Brian P. Janiskee] 8/6/03 | When it comes to political chicanery, we have learned to expect the worst from Gray Davis. The governor and his functionaries have launched a flurry of lawsuits aimed at stopping the recall election. | Most of the attention has been focused on two cases, the effort to invalidate the petition process that placed the question on the ballot and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's machinations to install himself as Davis' successor if the governor is recalled. However, the decision that may have the largest impact on the Oct. 7 recall election came and went with scarcely a whimper of protest from the major players in this drama. The silence is deafening. | The recall ballot will comprise two questions. The first is whether or not to recall Davis. The second consists of choosing a successor should the governor be recalled. Federal District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz struck down a particular element of this process on July 29. Section 11382 of the California Elections Code states, "No vote cast in the recall election shall be counted for any candidate unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of the officer sought to be recalled." | In declaring that this section violated the U.S. Constitution, Moskowitz declared that "section 11382 substantially burdens the right of citizens of California to vote on a successor governor in the event of a recall by conditioning the counting of that vote on whether the voter cast a ballot on the question of recall." [more at Claremont Institute]

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Beyond Delusion
[George Neumayr] 8/6/03 | "This is the most gay-friendly governor California has ever had," says Gray Davis spokesman Russell Lopez to the San Francisco Chronicle. Davis also brags that he is the most abortion-friendly governor in Golden State history. And now Davis can add to his resume a new boast: he is the most transgender-friendly governor Junipero Serra's state has ever seen. AB 196 -- legislation that makes it illegal for employers and landlords to discriminate against crossdressers -- received Davis's hasty signature this week. "The state Department of Fair Employment and Housing could issue fines as high as $150,000 to employers or landlords who discriminate," reports the San Francisco Chronicle. | This is the carnival wheel that state government has become under Gray Davis. [more at American Spectator]

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Davis Without Blinders
[Chris Reed] 8/6/03 | California's unprecedented October 7 recall election has led pundits on the opposite coast to trot out their usual clichés about the state's wacky ways and distasteful habit of "direct democracy." If you can get past their nasty elitist streak, the commentaries generally offer the sound, reasonable critique that voters had their opportunity to get rid of Gov. Gray Davis just nine months ago and didn't, so why are they demanding a second chance now? | But what's far less sound or reasonable is the way so many national pundits essentially let Davis off the hook for his resolute incompetence in five years running the Golden State. [more at American Spectator]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Opinion Journal
Expect the Unexpected
The California recall has more surprises in store.
[John Fund] 8/6/03 | The effort to recall California's Gov. Gray Davis has brought us one surprise after another. The next week could see yet more unexpected turns in what has become a classic political soap opera, including a possible postponement of the Oct. 7 recall vote. | Almost everyone expects Arnold Schwarzenegger to use his appearance tonight on "The Tonight Show" to explain why he isn't seeking the governorship and then to tout the candidacy of former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan. But what if Arnold makes a last-minute decision to join the race? Those who know his Hollywood negotiating tactics tell journalists he often keeps producers on hold until the last minute and then jumps in with a "total commitment." The Western Political Report concluded yesterday that "Schwarzenegger is not out of the running and Riordan is not a sure thing to jump in." His campaign aides say they honestly don't know what he will do. Apparently, the 73-year-old Riordan would strongly prefer his close friend Mr. Schwarzenegger to run instead. [more at Opinion Journal]

RECALL FOLLIES/From SD Union Tribune
Unlicensed Aliens
A desperate governor makes rash promises
[the Editors] 8/6/03 | Pandering politicians are a buck a bushel, but Gov. Gray Davis stands out like an eggplant among zucchini. | Fighting a recall election that is too close for comfort, Davis has taken to promising support for a badly flawed bill to allow illegal immigrants to get California driver's licenses. The embattled governor is hoping his sudden reversal on this issue will encourage California's more than 2 million Latino voters to rally behind him on election day, Oct. 7. | Twice before, Davis has properly vetoed similar legislation, even one that included the safeguards of a criminal background check, proof of identity from an applicant's nation of origin, and proof of employment in California – all more important than ever since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. [more at SD Union Tribune]

At Long Last, South L.A. Has a Prayer -- the Police
If criminals had been stigmatized instead of cops, anti-crime activists say, the city would be far safer today.
[Heather Mac Donald] 8/6/03 | A new form of activism is emerging in Los Angeles' crime belt: public support for the police. | Late last month, a group of ministers and crime victims' families joined hands at the site of a recent Watts homicide and prayed for the "men in blue that they may continue to protect and serve." | In the history of community efforts to stop violence, this one may be the most promising. | Over the years, the surest way for a would-be celebrity-activist to attract media notice was to denounce the cops. Yet while police misconduct is deplorable, it is not the most pressing problem facing inner-city communities. | Cops are not killing hundreds of young black men in South Los Angeles every year; other young black men are. Had a fraction of the press coverage and moral fervor directed against the police over the last decade been dedicated to stigmatizing criminals, the inner city would be a far different place. [more at LA Times]

Mexican ID a Veiled Bid for Amnesty
[Edward J. Erler and Scot J. Zentner] 8/6/03 | Before 9/11, President Bush was intent on negotiating an amnesty deal with Mexican President Vicente Fox. Hoping to ingratiate himself with Latino voters, Bush urged compassion toward our neighbors to the south. | Fox too had a strong interest in amnesty. Illegal aliens in the United States send billions of dollars in much-needed revenue back to Mexico each year. In fact, these remittances, which Fox is determined to protect, are Mexico's second-largest source of income, behind oil exports. But, in the wake of the terrorist attacks, the American public's enthusiasm for amnesty waned. | Still, neither Bush nor Fox has given up on amnesty. Instead, they have been forced to seek other means, less visible to the public.| The most powerful alternative that has emerged is the matricula consular (literally "consular registration"), an identification card issued by the Mexican government to its citizens abroad. There has been a largely unnoticed, albeit well- orchestrated, campaign to achieve amnesty or quasi- amnesty through this otherwise seemingly innocent card. [more at LA Times]

Depends On What The Meaning Of 'Expelled' Is
[Terence Jeffrey] 8/6/03 | In all the years that liberal politicians have been using Locke High School in South Central Los Angeles as a photo opportunity to show Americans they really care about poor kids in public schools, one key indicator has remained sky-high.| It's the school crime rate.| When Vice President Al Gore visited Locke before the 1996 election, he told the students: "This election is about you. Your future. Your prospects." | That school year, according to data published by the Los Angeles Unified School District Police, crimes connected to Locke (meaning they were committed against faculty or students at the school, adjacent to the school, at a school event, or in transit to or from the school) included 1 sex offense, 7 robberies, 14 weapons possessions, 30 property crimes, 24 batteries, and 7 assaults with a deadly weapon. | Tipper Gore visited Locke in April 1999 to promote a school jazz program. | That school year, the crimes connected to Locke included 2 sex offenses, 30 robberies, 17 weapons possessions, 50 property crimes, 39 batteries, and 27 assaults with a deadly weapon. | President Clinton visited Locke on a much touted summer "poverty" tour before the 1999-2000 school year. Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis joined him. [more at Town Hall]

Another Report Card, Another Failing Grade
[the Editors] 8/6/03 | As parents and students get ready for the new school year, a new report released today shows that, despite a decade of reforms, public education in California has improved only in marginal ways and in some areas has declined. | The report by the Pacific Research Institute is the third "California Education Report Card: Index of Leading Indicators." It is written by Lance T. Izumi, co-director of the PRI's Center for Innovation in Education, and Matt Cox, a PRI policy fellow. The first two editions of the report came out in 1997 and 2000. It is available online.| "Most performance indicators show that student achievement still is abysmally low," Mr. Izumi told us. "This came in the face of increased per-pupil spending of nearly 29 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $9,200 per student in the decade between 1992-93 and 2002-03." [more at OC Register]

School Spending: Honesty, Please
Annual per-student cost is far higher than widely reported figure of $6,887
[Alan Bonsteel] 8/6/03 | At long last, the Legislature has reacted to the worst fiscal crisis in the state's history by passing a desperation budget. It is full of accounting tricks, but allows us to stagger into the next fiscal year. Newspapers throughout the state have reported the latest K-12 per student spending figure, alleged to be $6,887. | That number, in fact, is false. It is the "Proposition 98" figure, named after the initiative passed in 1988 that set minimum annual per-student spending mandates in California. It leaves off about $2,000 in big-ticket items, including interest on school bonds, federal aid to education and teacher retirement. California's real annual per-student spending this year will be about $9,200, or $276,000 per year for a typical classroom of 30. | The harsh reality is that hardly anything we have been told about public school spending is true. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From SD Union Tribune
Recall Ruling Creates More Confusion
[Brian P. Janiskee, Edward J. Erler and John C. Eastman] 8/5/03 | When it comes to political chicanery, we have learned to expect the worst from Gray Davis. The governor and his functionaries have launched a flurry of lawsuits aimed at stopping the recall election. | Most of the attention has been focused on two cases, the effort to invalidate the petition process that placed the question on the ballot and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's machinations to install himself as Davis' successor if the governor is recalled. However, the decision that may have the largest impact on the Oct. 7 recall election came and went with scarcely a whimper of protest from the major players in this drama. The silence is deafening. | The recall ballot will comprise two questions. The first is whether or not to recall Davis. The second consists of choosing a successor should the governor be recalled. Federal District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz struck down a particular element of this process on July 29. Section 11382 of the California Elections Code states, "No vote cast in the recall election shall be counted for any candidate unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of the officer sought to be recalled." | In declaring that this section violated the U.S. Constitution, Moskowitz declared that "section 11382 substantially burdens the right of citizens of California to vote on a successor governor in the event of a recall by conditioning the counting of that vote on whether the voter cast a ballot on the question of recall." [more at SD Union Tribune]

Gov. Davis' Desperation
[the Editors] 8/5/03 | Thus far frustrated in his attempts to forestall a recall, on Monday, Gov. Gray Davis filed a petition with the California Supreme Court on two counts. First, he wants the election postponed from Oct. 7 to the March primary. Second, he wants the court to allow him to add his name to the part of the ballot that lists those seeking to replace the governor should he be recalled. | We don't see either request gaining much traction. | Davis contends in the petition that holding the election as currently scheduled for Oct. 7 would "deny equal protection to certain voters and denigrate their fundamental right to a fair election." This will be caused by "a vastly inferior election process" with only 75 days to prepare the ballots and fewer polling places than in other elections. | Yet county registrars are working quickly with a variety of solutions to make sure an election is held properly, as the Register reported Monday. For example, Fresno County announced that its managers and administrators will join the registrar's workers in running an efficient election. Fewer polling places means voters might have to drive a little farther to a polling booth. | If more time is needed, the recall could be held in November or December. [more at OC Register]

Arnold the Prevaricator
Schwarzenegger strung us along, but he probably never planned to run
[Doug Gamble] 8/5/03 | If Arnold Schwarzenegger announces tomorrow that he won't be a candidate in the Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, as most now expect, he'll become the latest celebrity to give voters the big flirt only to stop short of the political arena. Whatever effect his departure has on the race, at least it opens the way for Arianna Huffington to run on the slogan, "The only one with an accent." | I suspect Schwarzenegger's alleged interest in the governor's office was phony from the start, either to pump up publicity in aid of a flagging movie career, or, quite simply, an ego trip that he knew all along would stop short of a political destination. | We've been through this kind of thing before, with Lee Iacocca allowing speculation about a run for the presidency in 1988, and both Donald Trump and actor Warren Beatty dipping their toes in the presidential pool in 2000. Once they had milked the words "possible presidential candidate" in front of their names for all they were worth, Iacocca, Trump and Beatty bailed out, leaving gullible supporters with egg on their faces. | What is particularly disingenuous about these celebrity flirtations with politics, and I include Schwarzenegger in this, is the pretense that after months of speculation about a candidacy, their announcement is delayed by last-minute soul-searching. | Let's face it; if he knew last week that wife Maria Shriver opposed his running for governor, he knew it a year ago when his name was first floated. [more at OC Register]

Davis' ID Check
[the Editors] 8/5/03 | Driver's licenses become first bargaining chip in governor's effort to stay in officeFearing that his days in power could be nearing an end, Gov. Gray Davis has begun a campaign to say or do whatever he can to stay in office.
Thus SB 60. | If you haven't heard of SB 60 yet, you will soon enough. It's going to be a key plank in Davis' spare-me campaign, and before all is said and done, it could become the law in California. | The bill, a favorite among organized labor and Latino activist groups, would give state driver's licenses to illegal immigrants -- an idea that's both rich in potential and fraught with peril. | It's the peril that caused Davis to veto similar legislation only 10 months ago, just as he had done a year earlier. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
State Deficit Bond Rests On Shaky Ground
Daniel Weintraub] 8/5/03 | The California Constitution says that the Legislature "shall not, in any manner, create any debt or debts" greater than $300,000, unless such an obligation is for a "single object or work" and is approved by a vote of the people. The only exception is in case of war, "to repel invasion or suppress insurrection." | The pending recall election aimed at Gov. Gray Davis might be considered an insurrection, I suppose. But I don't think that such a threat is the kind of exception the framers had in mind when they prohibited the Legislature from using borrowed money to pay for the ordinary, ongoing expenses of state government. | Yet the budget passed last week and signed Saturday by Davis is built upon a $10.7 billion bond measure to finance the state's accumulated budget deficit. These bonds, to be repaid over five years, are in an amount far greater than $300,000. They will not be used for a "single object or work," such as building a school or buying parkland. And they will not be submitted to a vote of the people. | How then, can the bonds possibly be legal? Some people, not surprisingly, think they are not. The Pacific Legal Foundation has threatened to sue the state to halt plans to sell the bonds without a vote. | "There are big dangers in letting the state pile up debt in order to pay off bills," said Harold Johnson, a lawyer for the foundation. "Giving politicians this new tool -- the red ink option -- for funding their wish lists threatens to put the state on a fast track to bankruptcy. That's why the state constitution's framers insisted that voters should have a say when politicians are tempted to go on a borrowing binge." [more at Sacramento Bee]

Challenging the Racist Democrats
[David Horowitz] 8/5/03 | Everybody knows -- but no one wants to say -- that the Democratic Party has become the party of special interest bigots and racial dividers. It runs the one-party state that controls public services in every major inner city, including the corrupt and failing school systems in which half the students -- mainly African Amerian and Hispanic -- are denied a shot at the American dream. It is the party of race preferences which separate American citizens on the basis of skin color providing privileges to a handful of ethnic and racial groups in a nation of nearly a thousand. The Democratic Party has shown that it will go to the wall to preserve the racist laws which enforce these preferences, and to defend the racist school systems that destroy the lives of millions of children every year. | On the other side of the aisle, the Republican Party has shown itself to be tongue-tied and lame-brained when it comes to opposing this racist stain on American life. Republicans rarely mention the millions of young victims claimed by the Democrats' racist school policies every year. They are too cowardly to openly challenge race preferences that constitute a true American apartheid. Consequently, for nearly a decade it has been left to one man and those he inspires to take on these injustices and he is doing so again in the upcoming California recall election. [more at Front Page]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Wall Street Journal
[Tim Ferguson] 8/5/03 | A few killjoys have pointed to the Pandora's Box prospect of the California recall -- the precedent for putting any governor at the mercy of a concerted, well-financed interest group. But there's another reason for conservatives or libertarians to be apprehensive about the Oct. 7 election: It's likely to open the door to higher taxes no matter what the result. | Pre-recall, the state government is effectively stymied. Enough minority Republicans in the legislature are willing to resist a general tax increase that none could be passed, even in the face of the huge deficit. (Gov. Gray Davis by fiat tripled the vehicle license fee.) This state of affairs was likely to continue for some time, so long as the courts let stand the dubious borrowing plan headed for adoption for this fiscal year. | Now, California is going to have a changed dynamic on Oct. 8. Either Mr. Davis will have beaten the recall and humbled the GOP, emboldening him and the runaway progressives in the statehouse majority to cow the Republican holdouts -- or a new governor, probably a centrist Republican or Democrat, will assume the executive and make a fiscal initiative the first order of business. The current standoff in Sacramento would be broken, and some tax increases could follow. [more at Wall Street Journal] subscription required

RECALL FOLLIES/From Weekly Standard

Think California's getting a new governor? Don't hold your breath.
[Larry Miller] 8/4/03 | Anyone who thinks Gray Davis's goose is cooked knows nothing about Gray Davis. |
Oh, it's in the oven, all right (his goose, that is), and it's been basted, and it's been going for a while. And the table is set, and the guests are seated, and they're all smacking their lips. | But it is by no means cooked. In fact, the Republican party of California has just handed him oven mitts and offered him a chance to take it out. | And I think he will. Maybe I'm screwy, but I think on October 8, the day after the special recall election, California Governor Gray Davis will still be California Governor Gray Davis. Moreover, I think he's going to be Senator Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2008 and the next Democratic vice-president of the United States. And after that? Oh, I think you all know what comes after that. | Don't get me wrong, long before any of this happens (very shortly, in fact, and as a direct result of Davis' pitch-perfect boneheadism), the state of California will have a bond rating just above Chechnya's. Our roads and power plants will look like, well, Chechnya's, and all the schools and businesses are going to--Come to think of it, let's just stay with Chechnya. | But this is not about whether the guy is any good at being governor, or even has the slightest idea of what's in the drawers of his desk. Governing is not his field. That may sound contradictory, or at least ironic, but it's neither. He knows nothing about running an office; his field is running for office, and he is pre-eminent in it. [more at Weekly Standard]

RECALL FOLLIES/From American Spectator
Senatorita Sanchez

[the Prowler] 8/4/03 | Democrats in Washington and California were surprised at how forcefully Rep. Loretta Sanchez was touting Sen. Dianne Feinstein's candidacy for governor last week. At one point, Sanchez said that Feinstein was the only Democrat who could successfully heal the wounds inflicted on the party and the state by Gov. Gray Davis. Well, other than herself. Sanchez also said that if Feinstein didn't run, she might have to run in her place. | Sanchez attended the meeting in San Francisco last week set up by Mayor Willie Brown. She is not considered a likely candidate, particularly given her poor performance as a congressman. But her desire to suck up to Feinstein and tout her candidacy makes a lot of sense to Democratic Party insiders in the Golden State. "Sanchez thinks that if Feinstein wins the governor's race, she'd nominate Sanchez to the Senate," says a state party staffer. "Her naïveté is kind of cute, but her goals are wholly unrealistic." | Sanchez wouldn't stand a chance of making the cut for political appointment, given the long list of other Democrats Feinstein would doubtlessly draw on. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante would be on the top of it. And party insiders say that if a woman is going to get appointed, it would be Rep. Jane Harmon, not Sanchez. |
As it stands, Feinstein won't be running. After meeting with advisers in California and a conversation with DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe -- who has been holding back other Dems from challenging Davis -- Feinstein again reiterated that she wasn't in line to run ... yet. [more at American Spectator]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Wall Street Journal
The Color of California

[the Editors] 8/4/03 | As if the unprecedented effort to recall California Governor Gray Davis isn't enough excitement for one special election, the campaign promises some racial fireworks as well. | Sharing ballot space on October 7 with Mr. Davis's would-be successors will be Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative. The measure prohibits state and local government entities from collecting and using racial data. It reads, in part: "The state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment." For champions of identity politics, and the media are certainly among them, these are fighting words. |
The main proponent of Prop. 54 is Ward Connerly, the University of California Regent behind the state's successful Prop. 209, which banned public-sector racial discrimination in 1996 and prompted copycat initiatives elsewhere in the country, most recently in Michigan. | Mr. Connerly has said the goal of his current initiative is to get the state government "out of the racial classification business" and move us one step closer to a colorblind government. The backers of Prop. 54, he says, "seek a California that is free from government racism and race-conscious decision making." | That sounds like a core American aspiration, or at least it was until racial preferences became a political industry. Mr. Connerly can take comfort in the fact that many of his current critics -- educators, civil rights groups, Democratic public officials, liberal journalists -- also predicted catastrophe if Prop. 209 passed. They claimed, for instance, that minority enrollment at state universities would plummet without racial preferences. It didn't happen. Both minority enrollment and, more importantly, minority graduation rates, have increased. | Now these same folks are claiming that if Californians aren't forced to check off some hyphenated-American box on a government form, medical research will suffer and anti-discrimination laws will go unenforced. [more at Wall Street Journal] - subscription required

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
If Appropriate ...

Why court should reject two recall suits
[the Editors] 8/4/03 | The California Supreme Court is scheduled this week to review two lawsuits that seek to stop voters from choosing a candidate to replace Gov. Gray Davis should they decide to recall him on Oct. 7. If one or both of the suits prevail, a successful recall would create a vacancy, which would be filled by the governor's understudy, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante. | Interestingly enough, Bustamante is named as the respondent in one of these lawsuits because he was the state officer responsible for calling the election. If Bustamante loses the suit, he stands to win the governorship. The other names Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. While Shelley has supported the right of the voters to choose a potential successor, he hasn't been exactly firm on the constitutional issues at stake here. | This then might be a good time to review why these suits are without merit, and why the voters deserve their full say at the polls. | Both suits claim that two words -"if appropriate" -- added to the constitution in 1974 mean that it's not necessary to have an election on a Davis successor because the constitution says Bustamante gets the job in the event of any vacancy. But there is a big hole in this reasoning: There will be no vacancy if the voters are allowed to choose the governor's successor at the same time they vote on the recall. | It's clear from reading the original 1911 constitutional amendment with which the voters created the recall that a successor election was part of the package. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Fixing California

Would-be governors need a clear vision of how to get state back on track
[Steven Greenhut] 8/4/03 | The big question is who, but the right question is what. | Political junkies want to know if Bill Simon or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Darrell Issa or Richard Riordan or someone else is the front-runner to replace Gray Davis if the Oct. 7 recall of the governor succeeds. That's important and interesting, but before voters decide who they want they ought to think about what they need. | The problem with Gray Davis isn't that he is a bad governor, but that he is no governor at all. What is he known for? Doing nothing as an electricity problem exploded into a crisis. Doing nothing as a budget crisis turned into a meltdown. Doing nothing, that is, except for fund-raising and blaming other people for his inaction. | Anyone could have been governor when times were good and the booming economy was filling the state's coffers. How hard is it to lavish benefits on special interests? A leader would have known that the state couldn't keep spending money as if the short-term capital-gains windfall would keep blowing to Sacramento. A leader would have some respect on Capitol Hill, even among his own party members. A leader would have known when to say no to his own constituencies. | But Davis is no leader. [more at OC Register]

It Could Cost Us Even More To Keep Davis

[Chris Weinkopf] 8/4/03 | Well, well, well -- look who's suddenly concerned about the proper use of taxpayer money:
It's members of the Los Angeles City Council, the same group that thinks nothing of keeping an army of consultants gainfully employed, of shelling out $4 million in public funds to subsidize the 2000 Democratic National Convention or of spending $300 million to spruce up its own City Hall digs. | Last week, the council voted 13-0 to denounce the recall of Gov. GrayDavis because it costs too much. | The price is just too steep for Californians to bear, council members concluded. They even discussed putting a financial disclosure statement on the recall ballot, as though to warn voters: Exercising your constitutional rights ain't cheap. | This unprecedented fiscal frugality has infected Democratic big spenders across the state. [more at LA Daily News]

The Recall Carnival

[the Editors] 8/4/03 |
Early last week, about the time the Legislature passed the fiscal 2003-04 state budget, it seemed that Gov. Gray Davis was pushing back the tide of the recall. But by the end of the week it looked like somebody had dumped him into a fish tank filled with piranhas. | As of Friday, more than 258 Californians had filed papers to run to become the governor's replacement, according to the secretary of state's Web site. That doesn't mean all will run, but it indicates great interest. And Friday's Register reported that 10,000 voters had been "added to Orange County's rolls since April, most of whom registered as the recall campaign fired up interest in going to the polls." | Then there's the show-biz element of Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing just before a Wednesday appearance on the Jay Leno show whether the Terminator will try to become the Governator. | The recall campaign has the spirited aura of Proposition 13 in 1978, another time when Californians were fed up with the status quo of wild government spending paid for by wild tax increases. | Even Gov. Davis' fellow Democrats are beginning to sense that he might be fish food. [more at OC Register]

After the Jokes, Then What?

[the Editors] 8/4/03 | Will Arnold run? Probably not. Will former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan go for it? Maybe to probably. What about Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein? That's a mystery. Why not Angelyne, Los Angeles' all- image-and-no-substance professional celebrity? She may well be on the ballot, the ultimate symbol of this incomprehensible election. | Is Democratic unity behind Gov. Gray Davis shattering? Perhaps crumbling slowly. Will a promised legal challenge delay the election? That's a wild card. Or could a court case make Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante governor if Californians vote Oct. 7 to recall Davis from office? Probably not, but who knows? The untested law governing recall elections is vague in some places and seemingly in conflict with itself in others. One more chore for the Legislature next year: fix the previously untested recall process. | One certainty is that the flood of potential candidates cements California's reputation as the political loony bin of the nation. [more at LA Times]

Democrats Not United On Davis -- And Not On Feinstein, Either

[Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross] 8/4/03 | Whether you call it fraying, floundering or in free fall -- the fact is, Democratic "unity" behind Gov. Gray Davis is anything but united. | And neither is support for putting Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the ballot to save the party in the recall election Oct. 7, when voters must decide the fate of Davis. | While she may be popular -- the Field Poll gives her a 49 percent job approval rating -- labor would choke on a Feinstein candidacy. That's especially true of the powerful California Teachers Association, which is reeling from the senator's recent endorsement of school vouchers for children in the District of Columbia. | "A Dianne candidacy wouldn't be a walk in the park by any means," said one Democratic consultant. [more at SF Chronicle]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Budget Is A House Of Cards

Legislators and governor merely postpone the pain
[Daniel Weintraub] 8/4/03 | When Senate leader John Burton rose on the floor of the Legislature's upper house last Sunday night to speak in favor of a the budget deal then pending, he noted that the Democrats he leads and the opposition Republicans had both achieved their top goals. The Democrats, Burton said, protected the poor and the infirm from deep cuts in programs on which they depend. The Republicans, meanwhile, prevented any new taxes beyond the tripling of the vehicle license fee already ordered by Gov. Gray Davis. | How did lawmakers manage to make a $38 billion shortfall go away without those cuts and taxes? They didn't. | Despite the hugs and the back-patting in the Legislature and Davis' claim that the state's leaders made significant progress in reducing the scope of California's fiscal meltdown, this budget is more a restructuring of debts than a real attempt to arrest the tailspin.[more at Sacramento Bee]

The Good Old Days Of Gridlock

In Sacramento and D.C., one-party rule opens the floodgates on spending.
[Tim Cavanaugh]  8/4/03 | Most Americans understand former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson's old joke that there are two political parties: the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. In California, though, the joke has a special poignancy because it's almost impossible to tell which one is which. | On the surface, the arguments both for and against recalling Gov. Gray Davis appear airtight. Proponents of the recall argue persuasively that the governor deserves punishment for building up the largest deficit in state history, that the state Constitution provides the recall mechanism for exactly this kind of emergency, and that the probable replacement of Davis with a candidate from the Republican party - the party of "fiscal responsibility" -is the only way out of our budget crisis. | Davis is the most hated governor in recent memory, and it's unreasonable to expect voters to live with such a character; indeed, if not for the almost criminal stupidity of the Republican Party in nominating Bill Simon - the one person in California who couldn't have beaten Gray Davis last year - Davis would be out of office already. | The arguments against the recall also have weight. [more at OC Register]

Unspin - Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

[the Editors] 8/4/03 |
The tactical front: Gov. Gray Davis' vow to sign a bill that he'd twice vetoed previously allowing illegal immigrants to hold California driver's licenses was depicted as a smart strategem to boost his Latino support and help his chances in the Oct. 7 recall. The Los Angeles Times reported many Latino politicians were cool to Davis last election because he vetoed the license bill. Now, those pols - led by the bill's author, Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles - are firmly in his camp. | The reality is that Davis signing the bill is at least as likely to hurt him as help him. Obviously, California is increasingly Latino, and Latinos are a key part of the Democratic base. But the same anxiety - and anger - over illegal immigration that made Proposition 187 a big winner in 1994 is still evident today. So when Sept. 12 arrives and hundreds of bills passed by the Legislature are dropped on Davis' desk, none will be more incendiary than the license measure. | How trumpeting this bill helps Davis is hard to fathom - especially given what the Gil Cedillos of California politics never want to mention: A great many Latinos who are legal residents of the state also are upset about illegal immigration. And that Davis twice vetoed the measure before but now signs it will also underline just what it is that everyone dislikes about the governor: his spineless, principle-free opportunism.[more at OC Register]

Recall Brings Out The Big Guns

Republicans, Democrats prepare for a fierce fight to control the state.
[John Howard] 8/2/03 | The weapons in the fight over the recall of Gov. Gray Davis are slipping into position. | The Democratic governor is poised to expand his depiction of the recall as a costly, partisan mistake, and his mostly Republican foes are preparing ads and mailers blasting Davis for higher vehicle license fees and the electricity crisis. | Both sides are already working up major voter-registration and get-out-the-vote drives. | And both say the nature of the shortened campaign season - less than nine weeks to the Oct. 7 election - will require large numbers of the parties' volunteers to shepherd people to the polls. | "There's going to be a huge field campaign," said Gabriel Sanchez of Fullerton, the Davis campaign's main spokesman. | For their part, Republicans agreed. "You're going to see the entire party apparatus campaigning," said Newport Beach Republican Buck Johns. | Davis will campaign above the fray, targeting the recall as a political event but leaving attacks on his potential replacements to the rank and file of the Democratic Party. | "It will be the party that goes out dealing with the Republicans," said the party's official strategist, Bob Mulholland. "We will be the snipers." | The campaign also is organizing union groups to urge their 2.1 million members to oppose the recall. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
A Bumper Crop Of Suits
So many recall litigants, so little time
[the Editors] 8/2/03 | So many lawsuits have been filed involving the attempt to recall Gov. Gray Davis that voters need a score card to keep track. So here's a recap of the runs, hits and errors so far... [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From Opinion Journal
Left Coast Quagmire
[James Taranto] 8/2/03 | California is a desert land roughly the size of Iraq. It is also an object lesson in the dangers of trying to impose democracy in a culture that is not ready for it. California "is degenerating into a banana republic," writes former Enron adviser Paul Krugman in his New York Times column. Leon Panetta, himself a Californian, writes in the Los Angeles Times that California is undergoing a "breakdown in [the] trust that is essential to governing in a democracy." Newsday quotes Bob Mulholland, another California political activist, as warning of "a coup attempt by the Taliban element." Others say a move is under way to "hijack" California's government.| What isn't widely known is that the U.S. has a large military presence in California. And our troops are coming under attack from angry locals. "Two off-duty Marines were stabbed, one critically, when they and two companions were attacked by more than a dozen alleged gang members early Thursday," KSND-TV reports from San Diego, a city in California's south. | How many young American men and women will have to make the ultimate sacrifice before we realize it isn't worth it? Is the Bush administration too proud to ask the U.N. for help in pacifying California? Plainly California has turned into a quagmire, and the sooner we bring our troops back home, the better. [more at Opinion Journal]

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: 7/26-8/1
[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 []

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]
Recalling Our Principles
Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
[Carol Platt Liebau] 5/9/03 [more inside]



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