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Squabble Over the Nomination of Lungren for State Treasurer

March 05, 1988

The people of California lost big in the political flurry over the appointment for the state treasurer's post. It isn't that an ambitious right-wing ideologue did not get the support of the Legislature. Rather, that in considering the replacement for the late Jesse Unruh all members of the California political establishment (Democrats and Republicans) selfishly ignored us.

The electorate had voted overwhelmingly in the last election for a moderate pragmatist in Unruh. The governor in interpreting the California Constitution's provisions decided that he knew much better what the people needed when he gave his nomination to the Legislature for confirmation. The legislators, in deciding how to vote, seemed to consider only that they were not in the same smoke-filled room when Rep. Daniel Lungren was named and then cast their votes according to the value of political promises given.

While no one expected the governor to name anyone but a member of his own party or the Legislature to confirm without scrutiny, all of the political actors and actions in this matter must be seen as being in the highest tradition of political contempt for the democratic process.

They have made a hash of the intent of the Constitution, which asserts that all representatives would, at the least, seriously consider the citizens' voices as expressed through elections. No wonder the Founding Fathers of the republic counselled us to be vigilant of the abuses of constitutional power.

With leaders like these in California "protecting" our democratic values, who can fear so deeply other "enemies," either foreign or domestic?

ROBERT L. WOODS JR.

Claremont

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