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Urban League Calls Prop. 54 a Hindrance

September 12, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Leaders of the Urban League announced their opposition Thursday to Proposition 54, saying the initiative on the collection of racial data would prevent the state from tracking information vital for fighting diseases and hate crimes.

"Essentially, what Prop. 54 would do would remove the ability of the state of California ... to document differences with respect to race and ethnicity," Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, said in a news conference at the First AME Church in Los Angeles.

Morial said the nonpartisan organization does not endorse candidates but that he and other Urban League leaders are opposed to the recall of Gov. Gray Davis.

"We take no position whatsoever on the performance, personality, the physical makeup of any candidate who seeks his office or seeks to keep his office," he added.

Foreign-Born Governor Not Without Precedent

In his speeches, Arnold Schwarzenegger is fond of reciting the advice of those who didn't think he should run for governor: that a foreign-born, German-accented actor has no chance of winning an election. "People say, it will be very tough to do," Schwarzenegger said. "It has never been done before."

But in a recent Los Angeles Times interview, Schwarzenegger made a point of saying that a foreign-born governor -- even a German-accented one -- is not unprecedented for a U.S. state. California has had only one foreign-born governor (John G. Downey, governor from 1860 to 1862, was born in County Roscommon, Ireland), but Wisconsin, where Schwarzenegger earned his college degree, is a different story.

Without citing him by name, Schwarzenegger referred to Edward Salomon, the Civil War-era governor of Wisconsin. Born Aug. 11, 1827, in Halberstadt, Prussia, Salomon married a Swiss woman and graduated from the University of Berlin. Then he immigrated to the U.S., became a lawyer in Milwaukee and was elected lieutenant governor under Gov. Louis P. Harvey in 1861.

After Harvey drowned in the Tennessee River while inspecting Wisconsin troops after the Battle of Shiloh, Salomon took over as governor in 1862 and served the remainder of Harvey's term. Salomon later returned to Germany, where he died in 1909.

In the interview, Schwarzenegger said he had once been offered a deal in a movie about Salomon, but couldn't remember the details.

A Candidate Courted in Huntington Beach

In an example of early planning -- or maybe wishful thinking -- Huntington Beach officials have asked Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as grand marshal for the city's Fourth of July parade next year.

Councilwoman Cathy Green handed the candidate an invitation when he made an impromptu campaign appearance last month in Surf City, home of Schwarzenegger friend and campaign backer Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

Schwarzenegger "truly understands the yearnings of the immigrant, and it's fitting that he celebrate the 100th observance of Independence Day here with us in Huntington Beach," parade board chairwoman Patricia Stier said in an announcement of the invitation. The city held its first Fourth of July observance in 1904.

But not everyone in the city was thrilled with the overture -- or at least the timing.

It wasn't made on behalf of the city, Councilwoman Debbie Cook said, and "if they really wanted him, they should have waited until after the election." No word from Schwarzenegger's camp on whether he'll accept.

Davis Tweaks Actor in 9/11, Medal Event

Gov. Gray Davis marked the Sept. 11 anniversary with brief remarks and a moment of silence during an awards ceremony at the California Highway Patrol academy in West Sacramento.

During his prepared remarks, before handing out the governor's Medal of Valor to 35 recipients, Davis took a swipe at Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"My friends, this is not the stuff of Hollywood," Davis said, praising the courageous actions of the public employees receiving the awards. "These are real, live-action heroes," an apparent reference to the Schwarzenegger movie "Last Action Hero."

He ad-libbed the "action heroes" line. His prepared speech read "comic book heroes," an administration official said.

LaRouche's Verdict: Recall Is a Bad Idea

Perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche weighed in on the recall Thursday, asking Californians to defeat the measure he says was backed by the same political forces behind power deregulation.

"Deregulation was bad; recall is even worse," LaRouche declares in the introduction of a report he intends to release in the coming days. "Please, don't be a sucker for the same swindle twice."

LaRouche also spoke at a news conference in Burbank as part of a two-day swing through California to fight the recall election.

The 80-year-old economist and Democrat first ran for president in 1976.

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