Hey, I live in LA, I’m required to have an opinion on the recall election. Good thing I’m such an opinionated guy!
There are three major questions:
# Recall Gray Davis or not?
# Whom to be the governor, if yes on the above?
# Should we require by law that the legislature put money aside for infrastructure improvements, before monies for any non-education purposes are procured (prop. 53)?
# Should the government stop collecting data on race for a variety of things (the “Racial Privacy Initiative, Prop. 54)?
Here’s what I think. And write this down, because you should vote the way I tell you to.
*1.* I have a number of problems with the whole recall thing. First of all, although he hasn’t done a good job, I don’t think Gray’s done an awful job. He protests that the problems he’s had to deal with have been caused by others — and, as much as I’m all about taking responsibility, I’m inclined to agree. The power thing? Caused by the power companies. Our prolonged recession? Caused by the Bush administration. So, it’s not his fault after all.
And didn’t the Republicans have a chance to get rid of him a year ago? Oh yeah, they did. And, just like the first time Gray got elected, the GOP failed to nominate a candidate who could win. That’s nobody’s fault but the Republicans; had they pulled together, they could’ve nominated Dick Riordan and won the statehouse but nooo, they fell for Davis’s shrewd campaigning and nominated Bill Simon instead.
So the Republican recall effort seems like two things to me:
* An attempt to bypass the usual election process and vote in a Republican governor who otherwise either wouldn’t win the party’s nomination or who would be unelectable in the view of the general voting public
* Sour grapes from having gotten soundly trounced on a statewide level two elections in a row
Neither of these seem like reasons I would want to unelect Davis. Thus, my suggestion *No On The Recall*.
*2.* Well, even if we vote no on the recall, we’ve still got the opportunity to vote for a possible next governor. There are three main options here:
Arnold is the front-runner, but I fail to see why he should be governor. Notwithstanding his “ten-point plan”:http://www.joinarnold.com/en/press/pressdetail.php?id=202, he’s failed to offer any clear ideas of how he’d fix things in Sacramento. The sexual harassment charges don’t fundamentally change how I feel about him as governor, except insofar as it serves as further proof that this is a guy who did not plan to be governor, does not have the experience or knowledge to be governor and has not prepared himself in any way to be governor. He’s an actor and bodybuilder, and has lived his life as such. That’s fine, and there’s nothing wrong with being an actor and bodybuilder. He’s had a good career and a good life and has made a lot of people happy. On the other hand, that qualifies him in no way to be governor.
Cruz Bustamante seems like a reasonably good guy. The Republicans have tried to paint him as Davis’s right-hand man, but the two have, in fact, not been on speaking terms for three or so years now. Cruz’s big advantage is that, unlike Davis, he’s down with the Legislature, which might mean that he can get something done in Sacramento. And a lot of the problem for the last few years is that Davis and the Legislature have not gotten along well enough to actually do much of anything.
Tom McClintock seems like an upstanding individual as well, well-qualified for the post and full of good ideas but also frighteningly right-wing on social issues. Probably unelectable given California voters’ social liberalism.
Out of these three, *Cruz Bustamante gets my vote*.
*3.* Prop. 53 is an interesting question. There have been a lot of initiatives lately that have taken control of spending out of the hands of legislators and put it in the hands of the electorate. This is the opposite of the planned pattern. It’s negative, because it limits the ability of the legislature to spend as may be needed at any time. But it’s positive, because it prioritizes expenditure on things that are really important to people.
My position on this matter is principally dictated by my past experience. I grew up in Baltimore, and we had a vacation cabin in the woods in West Virginia. It was always funny driving to West Virginia, because you could tell exactly when you crossed the state line because the roads turned awful. California doesn’t feel like Maryland, it feels like West Virginia. Maryland is a nice state but not particularly rich, and California certainly should be at least as nice. *Vote yes on Prop. 53*.
*4.* Prop 54 is an interesting one. Proponents claim that, by tracking racial data, we make race important. If we didn’t track racial data, then race would become less important and we would be closer to a colorblind society. Historically, this seems like a bit disingenuous; the reason we track most racial data is because certain races have traditionally been discriminated against. Tracking this data allows us to know when people are being discriminated against, rather than hiding it under the veneer of civilized society.
Those who wish to dismantle tools that have traditionally been used to better society must prove that their new way will also benefit society. The proponents of 54 have done no such thing. *No on 54.*
So the official Juniorbird.com slate is:
# *No on the recall*
# *Bustamante for governor*
# *Yes on 53*
# *No on 54*
That’s how you should vote. In the immortal words of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, “vote early, vote often!”