October 3, 2003


How Stupid Do You Think We Are?

California’s recall is a bigger joke than when Davis says ‘Si Se Puede’

By El Chavo

¡Orale Raza! What’s going on in the hood?

Things are crazy around here, and it’s not only in the boxing ring, but in our political system as well. We all have to deal with this pendejada called The Gubernatorial Recall. Not only are we dealing with a vertically challenged child actor and porn star who makes me forget about La Chilindrina in a second, but we are also having to deal with the mockery that is being made by Republicans to our democratic values.

I’ll be one to admit that I didn’t vote for Gray Davis in last year’s election (my ballot was a little green that year), but even though he didn’t win the election with a majority of the vote, he was the one who received the plurality and ended up being re-elected. When faced with the idea of having a businessman with no political experience who shared Arianna Huffington’s tax philosophies become the new Governor, California chose to stick with Davis and see what he can do to help fix the state’s problems.

But here we are today, with a recall financed by a Congressmember who made his riches from car alarms, and with about 135 people from throughout California who feel that they have the credentials necessary to manage the fifth largest economy in the world and with a population big enough to rival that of many countries. When you start to think about some of the clowns who are running to replace Davis, it’s not hard to wonder why society has the problems that it has.

Let’s start with Trek Thunder Kelly, a guy who looks like a cowboy stunt double for Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, who pledges to legalize prostitution and all drugs. Then we have Robert Cullenbine, a fool who took his photo for the LA Times wearing what appears to be the official outfit for ClownProfessionals.com, who said he is running just to oppose the recall (yeah, that makes sense).

Then there’s probably the most well-known candidate among the least likely to win. She’s not known for her policy issues, but rather for the fact that she changes her position in bed more times than Davis did on the driver’s license bill. I’m talking about Mary Carey, who proposes taxation on breasts implants and putting web cams in the Governor’s Mansion to raise revenue for the state. Need I say more???

Well, when you get past the 130 or so little known candidates, you get to the top five candidates who have attracted enough donors and media attention to hopefully come in with a percent point or two on October 7th. Although State Senator Tom McClintock, Peter Camejo, and Arianna Huffington (who pulled out of the race) have made a strong presence throughout the campaign, it has really come down to two candidates who are in the heat of the battle to lead California if the recall effort succeeds.

First off, we have the Terminator himself, Ahh-nold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger is the biggest hypocrite amongst all the candidates on the ballot. For years, he has used his celebrity status to fight for many issues. He has dedicated many years to helping inner-city youth through the Inner-City Games and spearheaded last year’s Proposition 49, which will help set funding from the state’s budget aside for after-school programs (but won’t do much for several years to come and will put restraints on future state budgets).

But with all of this, he had previously openly come out in favor of Propositions 187 and 209, both of which targeted those same youth who have been helped by the Inner-City Games. Aside from all this, one of his main advisors is the Cucuy himself, Pete Wilson. Praising Pete Wilson in most Latino households is the equivalent of using La Virgen de Guadalupe’s name in vain. Arnold’s political views as a conservative Republican are hard for me to swallow as a Liberal Democrat, and it’s definitely hard to breathe while driving behind him while he drives his Hummer.

With all of this, I would have to consider voting for him for Governor if it wasn’t for the fact that he has avoided being placed in situations where his Terminator one-liners would not be effective responses to important questions about the issues facing our great state. There isn’t any public appearance where he doesn’t use “terminate” or the famous “I’ll Be Back” line. He avoided all but one debate (the one where he was given the questions ahead of time), and has failed to give any substantive plans to show how he plans to deal with the problems that face our state, such as the budget crisis and dealing with the large number of uninsured residents. It’s hard to vote for somebody when you don’t know what they plan to do once they take office.

Next, we have Cruz Bustamante. Among the replacement candidates, he brings to the table the most impressive political resume. Having served in Sacramento as an Assemblymember, Speaker of the Assembly, and now as Lieutenant Governor, he knows the ins and outs of the State Capitol to make things happen. He played a role in the elimination of SP-1 and SP-2 within the UC System, which prevented the use of financial resources for outreach and recruitment based on race. He was also up in Governor Davis’ face when Davis tried to mediate a court fight over Proposition 187, which was ruled unconstitutional and would have been detrimental for undocumented immigrants. That initiative was promoted with the use of a campaign based on fear.

The problem is that aside from that, it’s hard to put a finger on anything else that he was involved with that has benefited many throughout California. He’s been behind the shadow of Davis since he became Lieutenant Governor, failing to be at the forefront of important issues and has failed to make his legacy among other Latinos who have walked the path of an elected official. Congressmember Hilda Solis is a legend for fighting for environmental issues, both within the State Legislature and in Congress. Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa is a champion for working families with the establishment of the Healthy Families Program. State Senator Gil Cedillo never let politics get in the way of his mission to get driver’s licenses for the hard-working immigrants who contribute to the stability of the state.

Can you say anything about Bustamante??? I know I can’t.

Also, the way that he used the tax loophole in campaign accounts to raise money from Indian Casinos makes me wonder how low will he go. Even though he pledged to spend those donations to combat Proposition 54, I have a problem trying to figure out which commercials out there are for his Gubernatorial campaign and which are to fight Prop 54! For example, in one of the anti-Prop 54 commercials they make a reference to Bill Clinton supporting Cruz Bustamante, who is against Prop 54. When you hear it, it doesn’t sound like if Bill Clinton is against the proposition, but rather that he endorses Bustamante. All the footage used in his anti-Prop 54 and his gubernatorial campaigns ads are from the same event, with the editing of the commercials making them look identical to one another. At the end of the commercial, they show a huge face shot of Bustamante with a small image of a girl holding a “No on Prop 54” sign.

I am not stupid. This is just a blatant way for him to look like he’s making good on his promise, which he’s not.

So come October 7th, 2003, we are faced with the question of whether we end up sticking our middle fingers up at Davis and tell him to look in the Classifieds for a new job, or if we stay with the person who not that long ago, was elected by the voters of California to lead this state for another four years.

I’m going to vote no on the recall and vote for Cruz in the second part. I might have decided to once again vote for Camejo, but this election is not about deciding who will lead us for the next four years, but rather how we as Californians cherish our democratic process and how far we are willing to go to protect it.

Do you know how you are going to vote on parts 1 and 2??? I’m interested in knowing. I can be reached via e-mail at chavo@elchavo.com. I hope to hear from you soon.

(Reprinted from LatinoLA.com, Oct. 1, 2003).

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