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Sizing Up Schwarzenegger as Recall Campaign Begins

August 13, 2003

California is on to something. Make it big, make it noisy and make it quick. Politics in this state is normally a matter of money and the overwhelming power of professional consultants and lobbyists. This development is totally different. The recall and the election it will trigger are messy, unpredictable and populist. Look how the process has already pushed out Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), its funding father. And we are being pushed into paying attention to our state government and its problems, something most of us would rather simply ignore.

Look at the bright side. The Terminator will probably get elected and might even get a majority vote. He is a moderate, rich enough not to have to earn his political keep from the corporate and special-interest powers and, as a nominal Republican, is able to act independently of party pressures. He has the best chance of any of the current players of getting that recalcitrant, party-driven logjam broken and developing a permanent solution to our structural ills. And if the Legislature won't play, he can take it to the people and sell it directly.

Allen J. Manzano

Carlsbad

*

Issa spent a million and a half dollars and amassed the support to force this recall. Now Arnold Schwarzenegger, without spending a dollar or lifting any heavy weight, steals the show. If I were Issa, I'd cry too.

Ralph Tropf

Los Angeles

*

Arnold, the Terminator, has just validated his nickname. He successfully terminated all his early interviews without answering any of the important questions asked of him. Will we be privileged to even hear what his platform is and what he plans to do to bail California out before the Oct. 7 election? If he is not forthcoming soon, anyone who votes for him is voting for an empty suit. Perhaps he is running on his popularity and not his policies.

If Gov. Gray Davis is recalled and Schwarzenegger wins, who do you think will really run this state's government? Maria Shriver is far more articulate, experienced and informed about politics. Perhaps Maria should be on the ballot instead of Arnold.

Jane Hilgendorf

Corona del Mar

*

First we get a recall petition because we're told the sitting governor has failed the people and the problems facing the state are monumental. Now, after Schwarzenegger throws his hat into the ring, Republicans from President Bush to Issa are lining up to back a man who has yet to present a single position statement. And this is supposed to be the GOP's solution to the mess? What a farce!

Bill Geiger

Stevenson Ranch

*

Does the ability to flex your muscles before the camera and grunt lines that have been written for you qualify you as a politician? Does someone who earns millions per picture and has a business manager, agent, lawyer, accountant, personal assistant, his wife's family, etc., advising him to invest in California real estate qualify as a savvy businessman and politician?

But if we can just recall any politician we don't like, can we recall George W. Bush? He's a savvy businessman, too.

Fran Rubin

Los Angeles

*

About a decade ago I was lunching with friend Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown and my mother at the Bistro Gardens, in Beverly Hills, when Schwarzenegger walked in. He took a table next to ours. Surprised by how much smaller the actor looks in person, I found myself staring at him and probably shamelessly gawking like the folks who stood in the front of the registrar's office in Norwalk on Saturday. Mother startled me with a kick under the table and said, "Mind yourself, we are with the governor!"

I turned to Pat to apologize. He responded, "That's OK, my dear. That actor will probably be governor someday!"

Mary Meyer

Chino Hills

*

It seems to me that the easy way to end this recall circus is for all of California's voters who are seriously concerned with the state of our state to turn out en masse in October and vote no on the recall. This will save us from becoming the laughingstock of the nation and the world. Any gubernatorial aspirants must then wait for the regular election and their 15 minutes of fame.

Elinor

Goldsmith-Crawford

Venice

*

I was amused to read Frank del Olmo's soft-ringing endorsement of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante for governor (Commentary, Aug. 10). The qualities of leadership that enable the No. 2 Democrat in Sacramento to qualify as an innocent bystander are just what the state needs. The "it wasn't me" defense might work, except that it hardly makes sense to blame the boss out of one side of the mouth while earnestly calling for a no vote on the recall out the other. The only argument presented in Bustamante's favor is that he "knows the ins and outs of state government." The in-and-out thing is great when it comes to California's favorite hamburger chain. In this case, however, Davis and Bustamante actually are chopped liver.

Geoffrey Cushing-Murray

Studio City

*

Talk about a classic for having it both ways. Look to the candidacy of Bustamante. He says he is against the recall (i.e., for Davis) while running to replace him. Usually when you try to have it both ways you get burned at both ends. We'll see.

Jim Hibbs

Ventura

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