Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Recall Ahnold? Maybe, but at Least Vote in Your Own Best Interest

Once again, California is a laughing stock because we elected an actor as governor. History isn't kind to our previous experience with this, and look at the squirmy leftovers from the Reagan administration currently working in the GWB administration, how well their policies have treated you, and how popular they are. Many of us may have felt a certain need to get Gray Davis out of office, but what is the price we are paying for the recall frenzy?

If you still are of the belief that Davis deregulated the energy industry in California and caused rolling blackouts, or that he tripled our car tax, do a little more research. These things were put into place by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, a meaner and grayer Gray. Wilson is not a stupid man, but deregulation and tax cuts as an ideological tactic were all the rage, and apparently the majority of us bought into this despite the fact that most of us would never benefit - short term or long - from these ideas as implemented to buy the votes of the wealthy and powerful.

A great source for information might be the book and movie "The Smartest Men in the Room" about the rise and fall of Enron. The traders at Enron and other companies had found ways to game the power distribution system in California to their financial advantage. As long as a resource or utility is being traded, someone will find a way to profit - these guys just used their corporate influence (including a long-standing relationship with the Bush family and those currently in-power in the White House) to take this profitability to a new level, without regard to the effect on the California energy market and Californians in-general.

In 2001 the state suffered rolling blackouts January 17-18, during the time of year when California typically used the least electricity. Davis bought power at highly unfavorable terms on the open market, since the California power companies were technically bankrupt and had no buying power. The "Smartest..." writers report their conclusion that, while he stood his ground for a while, Davis eventually capitulated to the terms set forth by the bankers controlling energy interests so he could secure his financial position for a possible presidential run in 2004; I can't see this, since his political support and popular poll number was at this time very low.

In April of 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with Bush political advisers to discuss whether the actor should run for Governor of California in 2002. Karl Rove says "That would be really nice. That would be really, really nice."

On May 17 2001, Schwarzenegger met with Enron CEO Ken Lay, Michael Milken, and 12 other California Republicans at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. There they share (according to Enron emails) "an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation." Later, during his campaign for governor, Schwarzenegger claims he is unable to remember anything about the meeting, including whether he even met Ken Lay.

In early 2003 an effort to recall the unpopular Davis, funded largely by the black-hearted and covetous Darrell Issa, began. When Schwarzenegger threw his hat in the ring, the Republican party (not yet suffering from record-low poll numbers nationally themselves) knew they had a chance and threw their support behind him. Schwarzenegger blamed Davis for the energy crisis, for the end of the VLF Offset signed - with a sunset clause - by Pete Wilson, and for spending too much time in office raising political funds. Thus, Davis was replaced in this recall, based on this pack of lies.

Davis may not have led effectively in the energy area, but no reasonable person can disagree that the game was rigged against him on international, national, and statewide levels. What's funny is that the pricing that Gov. Davis agreed to with his back in a corner in 2001 actually is saving Californians today, since energy prices have since skyrocketed. One of the largest interests supporting the Schwarzenegger campaign was car dealerships, funding the spread of lies about the VLF Offset, and Schwarzenegger paid them back by holding a political rally at a car dealership in the San Fernando valley at taxpayers' expense, signing bills taking away existing consumer rights in automobile transactions. And since his election, Schwarzenegger has spent a record amount of time raising a record amount of political money, far exceeding Davis' best efforts.

Aren't Arnold's actions in that recall effort enough to convince any California resident that he was the wrong choice? Our constitutional recall provision is not bad in-itself, but shouldn't we save it for truly criminal actors and punish ineffective leaders in elections? Gov. Shwartzenegger's ineffectiveness as governor, his misguided and costly special election effort, and low current popular support should speak for themselves.

Let's vote for our own interest in November, and put this Experiment in Arnold back where it belongs.

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