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CALIFORNIA RECALL: IT’S A GOOD THING.

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And last night’s debate wasn’t all bad either. Here’s my personal scorecard:

Arianna Huffington: Seemed to think that she was in the Presidential
election and kept going after President Bush (who wasn’t in the debate,
for all you non-left-coasters :-). Pesky non-contender.

Peter Camejo: Will solve all the problems by taxing the rich.
Very green non-contender.

Tom McClintock: On the mark and on the money, has specific solutions
for specific ills, will act immediately. Best rational choice: California’s
broken, he can fix it.

Cruz Bustamante: Smooth, panders to special interests and proposes
to fix the problems by taxing-and-spending. Best demagogue, but small-time
sneerer.

Arnold Schwarzenneger: Politically glib, let us know how he "feels" about
the issues but offered no solutions. Didn’t trip over his dongle as some
opponents had expected (and hoped). May be "good enough" (if the recall
passes).

I’d pick McClintock as the best mechanic,
with the best knowledge of the intricacies of our state government and offering
the best chance of fixing dysfunctional state operations. He could win if
Schwarzenneger dropped out (fat chance).

Bustamante and Schwarzenneger both bother me but have the highest
chances of winning.

Bustamante kowtows to "immigrants" (to use his own
code word) and his special interests (Indian gaming contributed millions and
he’s appropriately appreciative), and promises to continue the Democrat’s
business-as-usual "tax-and-spend" approach which has no chance of
fixing California’s problems because that’s what got the state into the pickle
it’s in today.

As for Schwarzenneger, I’ll admit that pushing over a chimney
to get paid for rebuilding it isn’t in the same league as knocking over a
country to gain political capital, but I see a moral equivalence I don’t like.

Bottom line: the next California governor may still be a Dem.

Damn.

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About Hal

  • Eric Olsen

    Very perceptive (sounding anyway, what do i know from Ohio?) Hal, thanks. To me it still sounds like “no” on the recall or Arnold sound like the most likely eventualities.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    The biggest determinant now is probably going to be the turnout, as something like 65% of California’s registered voters are Democrats.

    A high turnout might not stop the recall since Davis is not doing all that well with his base. And he got elected with 3.4 million votes while over 1.6 million signed the recall petition.

    Davis is trying hard, though, and from the number of anti-Recall ads I’ve seen recently, he’s liable to spend $10s of millions (he spent $70 to get elected in the first place).

    All that advertising could generate a high turnout and that could mean the the Democrat (Bustamante) gets elected if the recall does pass.

    The good news is that we’ll know in 12 days.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    Oops – make that “he spent $70 million …”

  • mike

    Actually, what got California into its pickle is Prop 13 and an over-reliance on the income tax. The state has shockingly low spending on education and other public services and is shirking its moral duty to provide adequate welfare programs for the less fortunate.

    Higher taxes on the wealthy and increased spending on the poor, along with immigrant-friendly social policies, will solve virtually all of California’s problems.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    As Camejo said in the debate: One thing folks like McClintock won’t say is that the wealthy in California should pay the same tax rate as everyone else. Not more–just the same. He just won’t say something like that.

    I don’t see even MORE regressive taxes solving anyone’s problems here in CA. McClintock’s strategy seems to be the same old destroy-the-govt-in-order-to-save-it Republican dogma.

    What sucks is that even if Davis beats the recall, now we’ll have a governor who is even more beholden to special interests–because he needed to solicit more tens of millions of dollars from them to beat the recall.

    And that’s one thing that can’t really be blamed on him.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    > Actually, what got California into its pickle is Prop 13 (4)

    Actually, no, or at least only partially, and that because of the way Proposition 13 has been applied.

    I was here before 13 and have seen people (lower income and fixed-income) driven out of their homes because they couldn’t afford the rapidly-increasing property taxes. Local governments simply spent like drunken sailors, then raised the property taxes. 13 forced some discipline on them.

    Property taxes on most homes in the state are not too far off what they would be without 13 because of turnover. Every time a house is sold it’s reassessed at the current market rate. Turn is fairly rapid: I’ve been in my home 2 years, my left neighbor 10 years, my right neighbor 1 year. Two other homes on the block have been sold (and reassessed) since I moved in, and two more are for sale as we speak. Taxes are also raised every year, although not nearly as much as pre-13.

    It’s simply not the issue that “tax-and-spend” politicians paint it to be.

    What is an issue is the way the legislature has not addresses business property taxes (perhaps because that’s where campaign contributions come from?). The share of property taxes generated from business rather than personal property has been dropping, but that reflects the lack of will on the part of the politicians, not a need to institute skyrocketing home taxes (which would hurt the poor and the old most).

    And another factoid: Proposition 13 went into effect in 1978. Thru 1999, California’s population increased 235% while state revenues increased 448%. Spending increased even more.

    The problem is profligate spending, not Proposition 13.

    > Higher taxes on the wealthy and increased spending on the poor,
    > along with immigrant-friendly social policies, will solve virtually
    > all of California’s problems.

    I wish.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    > As Camejo said … the wealthy in California should pay
    > the same tax rate as everyone else. (5)

    I’ll buy that.

    My problem with Camejo was that his _only_ solution was to raise taxes on the rich, and the fiscal and social problems are far more complex than that. He seems too naive for the job that needs doing, so wouldn’t get anything done.

    > McClintock’s strategy seems to be the same old
    > destroy-the-govt-in-order-to-save-it Republican dogma.

    I don’t know about whose dogma it is, but if McClintock really rescind some of the pay-offs to special interests and truly replace our workmens comp system with Arizona’s as he said he would, it’s worth having him for at least three years no matter what his political stripe (his changes come to close to $20 billion).

    And here’s one anecdotal data point: my son runs a general contracting business and his comp payments have tripled in the last two years so he’s in discussions to move to Florida, lock, stock and barrel. He cna’t afford to continue doing business here and he’s not the only one.

    > What sucks is that even if Davis beats the recall,
    > now we’ll have a governor who is even more beholden
    > to special interests

    It is a pisser, but why not consider voting in your own best interest rather than along party lines? You can vote the same way in 2004, too :-)

  • mike

    Are you proposing, then, that California spend less on primary and college education? The joke will be on those middle class folks who cannot afford public, let alone private, colleges. Are you proposing that the state spend less on health care? Its inner city hospitals are already turning away enormous numbers of desparately sick children and elderly.

    Florida is a backward state that can’t even run an election. It has poor hospitals, poor roads, high crime, horrific schools, huge numbers of people mired in religious and racial hatred, and sickening poverty. It’s a humid, environmentally degraded Republican hell hole. If that’s your vision for California, you can have it.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Um, I’d like to point out that this debate is actually getting substantive, and WE DON’T DO THAT HERE IN CA!!!

    I feel like shoving all your heads into toilets.

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    “Florida is a backward state that can’t even run an election.”

    The problem was that the margin of difference was a teeny fraction of the standard margin of error. The same thing would have happened elsewhere had things been so tight or if they had decided to fight over some of the other states.

    “It’s a humid, environmentally degraded Republican hell hole.”

    If it’s such a Republican bastion, why was a 6 million vote election a dead heat?

    If it’s such a hellhole, why do so many people move there?

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    > Um, I’d like to point out that this debate is actually
    > getting substantive, and WE DON’T DO THAT HERE IN CA!!!

    Um, Brian, can I assume that you posted before you saw (8)?

  • debbie

    “Florida is a backward state that can’t even run an election. It has poor hospitals, poor roads, high crime, horrific schools, huge numbers of people mired in religious and racial hatred, and sickening poverty. It’s a humid, environmentally degraded Republican hell hole. If that’s your vision for California, you can have it.”

    Ooohhh, can’t you just feel the love?

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Hal,
    If you don’t mind me asking, are you an Independent?

    I’m still trying to decide to recall or who to vote for. None of the candidates seem fit enough to be the cure-all and I’m afraid it’ll be like the last presidential election, a vote on the lesser of 2 (in this case 130?) evils. Your assessment of the situation is convincing, but I’m just wondering if it’s based on a need to truly find a solution or on party-lines.

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Ah nevermind. Read over a few of your comments and other posts. You sound like you genuinely care and are willing to take an unbiased (if ever there is one) view on a subject. I’ll take your word for it. Thanks for the info.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    “…willing to take an unbiased (if ever there is one) view on a subject” (13) (14)

    I’m willing but probably don’t make it all the time. I think I did on the recall.

    I tried to lay out my view and avoid a recommended action, but here’s my personal bottom line:

    1. Californians need to break the special-interest-driven Democrat’s stanglehold on the legislative process and at least get it back to a state where there are checks and balances. (This has especially been a problem since the poor term-limits initiative passed, but that’s for another time.)

    2. To do so may mean voting for someone that’s not your perfect personal pick.

    3. While I’d prefer McClintock because he’s going to do something and told us exactly what that was, on election day I’d vote for the recall and for whichever non-Democrat was leading the other non-Democrats by at least 3 points in the polls. I might have to grit my teeth, but I’d vote for Arnold if it were him.

    Again, my object would be to remove the special interest-driven oligarchy that has caused the damage. Unless that is done, nothing is going to change (look at what Davis has been giving away just during the campaign – do we need more of that?)

    I strongly recommend voting in your own best interest rather than along party lines.

    And in the interest of full disclosure, since I’ve made a recommendation, I think I need to tell you that while I’m affected to precisely the same extent you are by everything done in Sacramento, I can’t vote. Getting my views out is my only recourse so I try to keep them impartial and rational (with varying degrees of success).

    (On the vote thing, no, I’m not an ex-felon but a card-carrying legal immigrant who has been in California since 1964 and seen the decline first-hand. My wife and children are Americans and they do vote, every time. With varying degrees of agreement and success :-)

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/000377.html Brian Flemming

    FYI, I believe California recall election returns will be available at the California Secretary of State website.

    If Governor Gray Davis defeats the recall, votes for the candidates on the other half of the ballot apparently will not be counted.