California must be in really bad shape. Every day I read something that highlights that point, but the Golden State’s deep problems might be indicative of the group of politicians running for governor this year. And if you don’t know the cast of characters then you haven’t been watching much TV, because Meg Whitman’s ads are on almost more than “Friends” reruns. I’m trying to keep count but to this point I think there are 29 reasons why I shouldn’t trust Steve Poizner, according to Whitman.
Conventional wisdom would lead one to believe that the, to put it nicely, uninspired job current Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did with his time would open the flood gates for potential Democratic challengers. After all, California is one of the more liberal states in the union, even though our voting results are sometimes anomalous. So why is it then the only serious Democrat in the field is former Governor Jerry Brown, and when I use the word former, get out your calendar because it was three decades ago.
Brown has been deemed a liberal champion during his political life. He has been ahead of his time on environmental issues, opposes the death penalty and strongly objected to the Vietnam War. The nearly 72-year-old candidate doesn’t scream fresh perspective, but maybe his ideas will prove to be young at heart and his resume includes the governorship, three-time presidential candidate, mayor of Oakland, and attorney general of California.
It is assumed Brown will run without any serious primary challenge, made more likely with the early termination of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign. Thus, he will wait for his general election opponent after the Republican primaries are held on June 8.
Poizner, the state insurance commissioner, is kind of a mystery candidate, even though somehow I am on the campaign’s mailing list and get messages from him everyday. He worked for a long time in Silicon Valley and had a hand in protecting infrastructure after the 9/11 attacks, but his politics seemed to be saturated in trying to make up for the huge monetary gap between him and his competitor, Whitman.
The most visible candidate up to this point has been Whitman, the former CEO of eBay who is reportedly worth $1.4 billion dollars and yet still refuses to relinquish her tax documents. It will be interesting to see if her wealth will be enough to buy votes, because she expected to pour millions of dollars into her own campaign.
Her ads say California needs to do three things, 1. Create jobs, 2.Cut government spending and 3. Fix education. She is a proponent of cutting taxes, however she also wants to build world-class infrastructure and make our state more energy independent. If taxes are cut, in a time of economic ruin, then in no circumstance will the infrastructure in our state be built.
Money for such endeavors comes directly through taxes, which was illustrated really well by Schwarzenegger a few weeks ago on “This Week,” when he called for more stimulus money allocated specifically to re-build our infrastructure.
Whitman also states on her Web site that she will “Use the authority of line-item veto and the veto pen to reduce and control the size of government and burdensome regulations.” That shouldn’t be surprising for an individual who operated a multi-billion dollar company to not want any kind of regulations as to stint their profit margin or regulate working conditions for its employees.
California’s deficit unfortunately includes the number of candidates we have to chose.
But as the old adage goes, if the plane is going down I’m not going to turn to the richest person on board to pull us back up, I’m going to seek out somebody who has had some successful piloting experience.
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.