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ELECTION RECOMMENDATIONS

No on All of Them

October 05, 2003

The California recall is the most important election in recent memory. Its implications go far beyond whether the abysmally unpopular Gov. Gray Davis stays or goes. To recap previous editorials: The Times opposes the recall, believes that none of the candidates to replace Davis meet the appropriate standards and recommends that the two other measures on the ballot be voted down.

No on Recall, No Endorsement

What Davis will most be remembered for is relentless fund-raising from labor and corporate donors. He's pandered to special interests. He's not an inspiring leader, to say the least. But the Times opposes the recall because it doesn't make sense. There were no reasonable standards used in calling for a new election. A successor could be elected with far fewer votes than Davis got when he was reelected last year. Just as important, the alternatives are not superior to Davis and are potentially worse.

The leader among them is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has fed voters predictable lines from his movies and no detailed ideas. He ran away from a widely respected advisor, investor Warren Buffett, because Buffett dared to suggest that the state's property tax structure was out of whack. The pattern of sexual groping that Schwarzenegger acknowledged last week raises additional, disturbing questions.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante has been a disappointing and unimpressive candidate. His up-by-his-bootstraps American dream story is not enough. He has accepted millions of dollars from Indian gambling interests. His grasp of economics has proved tenuous.

State Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) is the anti-mealy-mouthed candidate. His positions are fully articulated and consistent. However, his intolerance -- on public services for the poor, on gays, on abortion and on other social issues -- is out of step with mainstream California.

The recall is a form of misdirected anger at what's really wrong with Sacramento: illogical tax laws and policies; gerrymandering; term limits, which take power from the elected and hand it to lobbyists; a cash- fueled political system; and, yes, ill-considered ballot measures. Recall might feel good, but it would cause the worst political hangover California has ever had.

No on Propositions 53 and 54

Two other ill-considered ballot propositions are listed with the recall.

California unquestionably needs to fix roads, state parks, sewers and other infrastructure but Proposition 53 is a bad way to go about it. The measure would require that up to 3% of the general fund be dedicated to nonschool infrastructure. It would rob one part of the budget to pay another.

Proposition 54, banning most government collection and use of information on race, ethnicity, color or national origin, is described by proponents as a leap to a "colorblind" society. The truth is that curbing the data would hamper efforts to stop racial profiling, treat racial and ethnic disparities in diseases and ensure fairness in government hiring. It wouldn't make society "colorblind."

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