As reported June 5 ("Candid Talk on the Party Line"), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's media expert, Don Sipple, outlined a strategy to create a "phenomenon of anger" among voters toward public employee unions. He wants California voters to think that teachers, nurses, police and firefighters are on your payroll and are out to roll you every day.
My wife teaches third grade, I teach at a community college, and neither of us is "out to roll" anybody, but what has become stunningly clear is that we have a governor who is out to mislead us all. What I simply can't get my mind around is any sense of why.
Why is he making teachers and nurses, police and firefighters out to be the enemy? If he assails teachers, will that improve education? If he condemns nurses, will that reduce rising health costs? If he attacks police, will that reduce crime? Going after firefighters? Does he expect to shorten the fire season?
There's a frightening lunacy loose on Sacramento.
Creation of a "phenomenon of anger" sounds as reckless as yelling fire in a theater. Statesmen do not engineer flashpoints.
J.A. Bastidas Zacatelco
The Los Angeles Times surreptitiously listens to a private, legal, political conversation and prints portions of it in a front-page article. The content apparently includes "campaign strategy that [the governor's] political enemies would love to have."
Big donors get special access to political bigwigs of either party and that is news? What was The Times' motivation in publishing this article? I don't know if what The Times did is legal, but I do know it is wrong no matter which political party is involved. You've just joined the Watergate plumbers and every other political dirty trickster in the moral penalty box. Why didn't eavesdropping on a private political conversation give you the willies? You're supposed to help protect those freedoms, not undermine them.
I can see our new political system under Schwarzenegger if he pulls off his intended initiatives. Any future opposition to him and his policies will be crushed by the initiative process, supported by donations from big business and outside special interests.
The Legislature will become extraneous to the whole political process, supplanted by a cadre of big donors who will have direct access to the governor by using their secret passwords.
As one of the little guys, I will no longer need to contact my legislator but go instead to my local bank, or one of the other big donors, to see if I can get access to the governor.
Unfortunately, this new system will not work for me because my bank balance is too small to merit their interest in my concerns. Therefore, I already know how I am going to vote on Schwarzenegger's initiatives in November.
Other than Schwarzenegger himself (it seems), what Californian can forget his inaugural speech promise: "I enter this office beholden to no one except you, my fellow citizens. I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests." Apparently, if you've got the money, you've got the governor's ear twice a month. Hasta la vista to that promise, baby.