Gray Davis & California Recall

Aquarian Weekly 8/6/03 REALITY CHECK


The wife and I plan on moving out to northern California when I’m closer to a natural demise; let that read, if I survive this daily boogie with death I’ve fashioned into a career. But if or when we get out there, we do not plan to vote. Voting does not count in California. It’s what the insiders like to call a “do-over” state. And soon, if a Recall on its Democratic governor, the wildly abhorred, Gray Davis goes through without a hitch, there may be little reason to vote on a local basis anywhere on this continent.

Right now California is broke. Its $38 billion gap between revenues and expenses has crippled the state’s economy to an all-time low, a slow deflation that many economists believe started in 1978 with the infamous Proposition 13 that put a hard cap on the government’s taxing power. The rub is this nifty initiative did not stop subsequent civic officials, including the doomed Davis, to spend freely on schools, prisons and other expensive projects.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs.

California has become a metaphor for the credit madness that currently engulfs this nation; it has stretched itself far beyond its means. It is also a glaring example of schizophrenic politics; a paradoxical helter skelter of citizen rule that wants everything without paying for it. Less government with more perks. Bold government programs with healthy tax cuts. Few state regulations with a needy increase in bureaucracy.

Thus, California is a deadbeat debt fiend with a tattered figurehead about to be shown the door.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs. True, the man is a condescending twit who used a $70 million smear campaign to retain power, and a frighteningly easy scapegoat, but hardly the sole proprietor of the disaster he now sits upon.

But Californians are historically fickle with politics. In a bizarre 17-year period from 1967 to 1983, the state posted a gubernatorial experiment in polar opposites the likes of which have been rarely seen in the history of this republic. Ronald Reagan, a reborn icon of hard-core conservatism smoothly gave way to the socialist hippy dreamscape that was Jerry Brown, a collective Freudian episode worthy of a straightjacket. So the Davis Recall, although a clear manifestation of bad legislation and identity crisis, is hardly unexpected in the Golden State.

Order Books by jc Now! Trailing Jesus Autographed CopyAmazon Barnes & Noble Fear No Art Autographed CopyAmazonBarnes & Noble Deep Tank Jersey Autographed CopyAmazonBarnes & Noble

Nearly a century ago the concept of Recall was the reactionary brainchild of California governor, Hiram Johnson, a Teddy Roosevelt reformer nut who used the burgeoning “progressive movement” to weed out the manipulation of special interest concerns. Under the guise of preventing private conglomerates like banks or railroads from sending puppeteer candidates to log jam mandates, Johnson’s edict meant to use the power of populist democracy to right election wrongs.

But the language in Johnson’s law is vague. Grounds for Recall could range from questionable hairdos to odd eating habits, a dangerous legal landscape for the directionally challenged Californian.

Currently 18 states have some law allowing Recall, New Jersey is one, but only six have specific grounds, with two of those states -Minnesota and Georgia -allowing a judicial review of those grounds. California, the broke schizo state, is not one of those.

But enacting an actual Recall on a governor is rare. North Dakota is the only state on record to have successfully booted its leader from office. In 1921, Non-Partisan Party member, Lynn Frazier, a well-known socialist with little ideas about handling farm budgets, was also sent packing under the cloud of being a fiscal boob.

The current California petition in question, now boasting well over 1.5 million signatures (easily eclipsing the approximately 900,000 needed), has delegated a Recall of Davis for 10/7. But many state Democrats have been waging a predictable, if not futile battle on its authenticity, mainly because Republican congressman, Darrell Issa has used roughly $1.7 million to bankroll the petition efforts.

The California Left has argued that Issa’s strong connection to pro-life filibusters has procured funds to oust an elected official because of social, not economic woes. But although Davis is a staunchly pro-choice advocate, the argument holds little water. Issa, who has shockingly thrown his hat in the ring for governorship, is a wealthy Californian entrepreneur known for using such pocket-change to fuel grass-roots movement on ego alone. And, as stated above, distinctions between social or economic reasons for canning a governor is laughable in the face of such an ambiguous law.

Needless to point out, the whole Recall thing, although gangbusters in the wild, wild west, could set dangerous inroads nationwide, opening a fun-filled can of worms that would define any election as merely temporary, even within the boundaries of a term; hence, a “do over”.

These kind of vacillating principles do not necessarily raise my personal ire, except to provide more evidence that most of us don’t know what the hell we want from our appointed officials beyond blaming them for a falling sky.

And damn it, if that isn’t democracy in motion.

The wife and I like democracy. So, hopefully by the time our little caravan shuffles off to Big Sur to sit on a cliff and contemplate saner human aspirations, what is left of California’s political scene will include a mass council of weekly votes based on the performance and likeability of state officials. I hear the elderly love to hit the polls, if for nothing else but the laughs.

The wife and I like to laugh.


Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music


Social tagging:

Leave a Reply