Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Stick a Fork in Him. . .

Interesting report yesterday from one of my well-connected sources in California. It seems Gray Davis’s political operatives have been trying to buy off the recall petition signature gatherers--who typically get paid about $1 a signature--by offering them $5 a signature to have them get signatures for Davis’s anti-recall petition instead. $5 a signature is unheard of. But it is turning out that even at $5 a signature, the petition gatherers are finding they can’t get anyone willing to sign, so they dump the pro-Davis petition and quickly go back to the recall petition at $1 a signature.

The recall effort is reaching a critical mass that is very reminiscent of Proposition 13 in 1978. Which reminds me of a story from that famous incident. I came home from college for the summer a few days before the Prop. 13 vote, and asked my cautious, responsible dad about it. He was at the time on the school board in my home town (back when school boards actually ran school districts), and my old school district was heavily dependent on the property tax. The district was facing major cuts if Prop. 13 passed. My dad said Prop. 13 was a "meat-ax approach" to the problem of high taxes, and would wreak havoc on the school budget and the local town’s general government.

Me: "So, are you going to vote for it?"

Dad: "Hell yes."

Another famous story involved a state legislator who went around attacking Prop. 13, and changed his mind after he noticed that when he said Prop. 13 would cripple local government, most people in the audience just smiled. It is similar with Davis; all the arguments against recalling him only serve to fuel the fire to pull the lever against him.

Recall petition signatures are apparently now coming in at a rate of 125,000 a week, which means it will qualify easily in another few weeks. I suspect there is some chance that the Democratic party might pressure Davis to resign, and turn over the office to the Democratic Lt. Governor (a Latino), rather than risk losing the governor’s office to a Republican.

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