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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Weighing How to Pick a Winner for California

October 04, 2003

Liberal advocate Robert Scheer and Republican strategist Dan Schnur (Commentary, Sept. 30) both make valid points, but they limit their persuasiveness by exaggerating. Scheer is right to point out former Gov. Pete Wilson's tax hikes and the unemployment situation in California in the early 1990s. If Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes governor, it will be crucial to make sure he doesn't follow in the footsteps of his campaign chairman. But Scheer inaccurately calls the state's Republican leadership "right wing." It is precisely the lack of firm, fiscally conservative convictions that led the state GOP leadership to cave in to political expediency and endorse Schwarzenegger, who refuses to commit to not raising taxes.

As to Schnur, he wisely advises Schwarzenegger not to rely on the power of his celebrity or join Gov. Gray Davis in a "mutual mud fest." But he goes overboard in calling state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) an "anarchist," and his suggestion that Davis could ever be considered a "statesman" flies in the face of reality.

Scott Otto

Long Beach

*

How nutty for conservatives to think that Schwarzenegger is going to have what it takes to restore California to a sound footing. He doesn't even understand the mechanics of getting things done in the Legislature. The liberals are delighted to have Republicans think that the only way they can win is to get behind a "centrist" like Arnie. McClintock is a conservative and understands how to get things done. He is probably the only one the liberals fear. He would get us back on a sound footing, and he's not afraid to tackle issues that others are afraid to address. Tom can win!

Ken Johnson

Citrus Heights

*

This governor's race has been heart-wrenching for me. As much as I love McClintock and everything he stands for, I have decided to vote for Schwarzenegger. Arnold's performance at the debate, coupled with endorsements from Bill Simon and other heroes of mine, clinched the deal.

Arnold isn't everything I would want in a governor, but he is head and shoulders ahead of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante. Bustamante is campaigning on a promise to raise taxes by $8 billion. That leaves me with no choice but to fight him every step.

Edgar Cravis

Los Angeles

*

It's a sad commentary that the two most intelligent contenders in the race, Peter Ueberroth and Arianna Huffington, dropped out. That only leaves two deep thinkers in the race, Peter Camejo and McClintock. That's going from one extreme to another. How to make a choice? I'm voting against the recall and for Bustamante, just in case.

Lorraine Knopf

Santa Monica

*

On one particular day last fall, election day, about 3.5 million Californians took the trouble to go to the polls (or had taken the trouble to submit an absentee ballot) to reelect the governor. Paid signature gatherers then solicited folks going in and out of large retail establishments and collected about half as many signatures as there were voters for the governor on that single day, over a period of several months, to recall that election.

The governor now has to get 50% plus one vote to retain his office, but if he fails to do that, the new governor may take office with far fewer people voting for him than are voting to retain the current governor. To call this democracy is to misunderstand the meaning of the word. To call it a circus is to demean circuses everywhere.

David Chambers

Sherman Oaks

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