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The Region

Democrats Rally Against the Recall

At their annual Labor Day picnic, Ventura County party leaders praise Gov. Davis' efforts for workers.

September 02, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

The sign on the podium Monday left no doubt where Ventura County Democrats stood on the recall: "Gray Davis, California's Duly Elected Governor, 1998-2006."

At their annual Labor Day picnic, county Democrats predictably decried the effort to remove Davis from office, saying he has done much to advance workers' rights, including restoring the eight-hour workday, providing health benefits for the working poor and signing the family leave bill.

"We have a reason to let our voices be heard, now more than ever," county party Chairwoman Sharon Hillbrant told a crowd gathered under a warm sun at Freedom Park in Camarillo. "We need to get registered Democrats to start acting like Democrats and vote no on the recall and no on Proposition 54."

The latter is a proposal on the Oct. 7 ballot that would prevent public agencies from collecting and using many kinds of racial data.

"Boo for 54!" said U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), leading about 200 in a chant against the proposition.

Capps, who represents portions of coastal Ventura County, began her speech to the party faithful by calling Monday "a sad day for 9 million people in this country and their families."

"They are the people who are out of work," she said. "Their rights are being undermined by wrong policies, and it's got to change. We need to turn out the vote against this recall. Less than a year ago, the people of California voted for a governor who should fill out his term."

She encouraged people to vote for Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as a replacement candidate should the recall succeed.

Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who represents western Ventura and a portion of Oxnard's coast, described the recall as an effort by the Bush administration to destabilize California and its efforts to protect workers' rights.

"We need to honor people who work," Jackson said. "Whether they're bending in the fields or leading a company or trying to balance the need to stay home and raise children, whether they're highly paid or earn minimum wage. We are the workers of this country and we deserve to be respected. That's what this day is all about."

She accused Bush of trying to pit working families against one another, and the needs of labor against the needs of business.

"He has destabilized our economy and he's trying to destabilize our state," she said. "They want to undermine it and get rid of any efforts to try to make business responsible to the people they service, and get rid of all the protections for workers."

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