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Making Good on Campaign Promises

October 12, 2003

So now the recall debacle is over. Or is it? Arnold Schwarzenegger won the governorship on his movie star fame and thereby helped complete a successful Republican power grab. Somehow, Arnold was able to win over a majority of voters without giving a clue as to how he would fix the problems facing California.

Now he must bite the bullet. Either he has to drastically cut vital educational and other services or he has to raise taxes. Neither option will be popular. But let's give him a chance. Let's see if he can go beyond his empty one-liners from his profound films. Let's see if he rolls back the car tax, as promised.

Of course, if he doesn't produce, we can always recall him. After all, this recall campaign hyped the enthusiasm of California voters, consumed the national media and cost California taxpayers only a measly $66 million.

Dick Meis

Murrieta

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It is amazing that the entire recall campaign, with all the national and international attention, was caused by a minority of Republicans in the state Legislature that refused to pass the necessary taxes to balance the budget. It is even more amazing that anyone thinks we can close a $12-billion gap (if the vehicle license fees are revoked) without tax increases.

Just whatever happened to "one man (woman), one vote"? There is something sadly wrong with our Constitution, which allows a minority of legislators to control the legislative and, then, the electoral process of the state.

Ralph Mitchell

Monterey Park

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Car tags? Ask Bill Clinton about 1980. Clinton lost his governorship in 1980 because he asked and got the Legislature to double the cost of car tags. He won it back in 1982 by humbling himself before the voters, saying he misjudged their feelings about what turned out to become a truly sensitive issue with Arkansas voters. I thought every politician in America learned from that hard lesson 23 years ago. Obviously, the California Legislature and governor do not pay attention to us backward Southerners. Clinton recovered. Gov. Gray Davis won't.

And just how did you let Enron rip you off, California? That's where your real anger should be.

John Wesley Hall Jr.

Little Rock, Ark.

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Am I a traitor to offer a hedge/compromise on two campaign promises? I would suggest that the governor-elect allow the tripled vehicle tax to continue until Sept. 30, 2004, and in the interim, convince the Legislature to cancel it beyond that time and erase the law that allowed it to happen. My personal 2004 vehicle tax will go from $238 to over $700. On a one-time basis, and knowing the overall $4 billion collected will help control our deficit, I can live with it.

Lloyd H. Prell

Los Angeles

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There is an old European saying that, I hope, Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger can remember: "Taxes are the price we pay in order to have a civilized society."

Porter Ewing

Van Nuys

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Although the Schwarzenegger transition team includes some notable moderates and liberals as window dressing, the long arm of the Republican National Committee and the Bush administration is clearly present. Donna Arduin, the director of Florida's Department of Finance, is "on loan" from Gov. Jeb Bush; the Carlyle Group is represented by Bob Grady; and the transition team is being headed by Rep. David Dreier, a Newt Gingrich/Tom DeLay acolyte. Then, of course, there's former Gov. Pete Wilson. As John Mitchell, the attorney general during the Nixon administration, once said, "Don't watch what we say, watch what we do."

Steve Fisher

Burbank

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I am still waiting to hear how Schwarzenegger plans to keep one very important campaign promise. He said that he would explain his 30 years of abusing women after the election. I hope that he is reminded of this pledge at press conferences and with the publication of more details of his offenses. I, for one, will not support him in any endeavor until he has kept his word on this issue, nor will I feel any sympathy for those who voted for him. Heck, right now, I don't even see myself buying any California cheese.

Lawrence R. Carleton

San Diego

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I notice that Jane Smiley ("The Morning After, the Mystery of Democracy Remains Unsolved," Commentary, Oct. 9) thinks that Tuesday's recall election is another instance of dastardly Republicans "hollowing out" the pillars of democracy, including "the peaceful transfer of power." I seem to have missed the tanks in the streets, the bloody riots and the other usual incidents of unpeaceful power transfers.

Agree with it or not, a recall is not a "coup," as some have put it; it's an exercise of Californians' constitutional rights. Our politics are too polarized already without throwing rhetorical Molotov cocktails full of inflammatory exaggerations.

Thomas Eastmond

Newport Beach

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