According to a new LA Times poll, published yesterday, Gov. Gray Davis has lost a tremendous amount of support among California voters. The momentum in the final week of the campaign seems to spell trouble for the Governor and could, by extension, be devastating for the state of California (at least in my opinion).

I strongly urge a "NO" vote on the recall of Governor Gray Davis.

To be sure - I am not a fan of Mr. Davis'. Not by a long shot. Some would say he's the poster boy for the stereotypical slimy politician. This caricature was solidified for me late last month when, under the weight of a recall campaign, Davis signed the bill (vetoed on the first go-round) that will give undocumented immigrants drivers licenses. That the Governor so blatantly pandered to a group of people who can't even vote for him disgusted me; never mind that such a policy could prove to be a huge security breach in so far as homeland security is concerned. For me, the signing of that bill brought me thisclose to voting "yes" on the recall question.

But then my senses got a hold of me; and this is why...

For all the charges against Gov. Davis, none of them make the case for dumping him in mid-term. NONE. He won re-election - fair and square - less than a year ago. Though the Constitution of the State of California permits a recall any time enough petitions get signed, it truly ought to be reserved for graver offenses - for serious breaches of public trust or illegal activity. Such evidence is plainly absent in this effort.

This circus gained steam - and Republican financial backing - only after Gray Davis, despite approval ratings around 40%, was able to win a second term last November in a contest that the Republicans fumbled. (I'm sure the unexpected good fortune of other Repubs around the country that election night didn't help matters.)

Should the recall advocates win this the precedent set could be devastating and could knock California - and the nation - head first into a generation of bloody political games (the politically motivated impeachment of President Clinton will look like childs play). If this recall succeeds, how many more governors will face recalls this year alone? Really! Think about it! 46 states are in the same boat as California. The process of governing could get horribly ugly. And, how many more Republicans will abuse the democratic process in order to remove a legitimate Democratic official from office? Where will the circus end??

To his credit, Davis has been a decent steward of the social agenda. Education funding, protection of the environment, a hard line on crime, and health insurance for poor children are all issues where Davis has shown strong leadership. California enjoys a more inclusive and enlightened social climate under Gray Davis - a point that should weigh heavily when you vote on Tuesday. (My Points West colleague, Paul Hogan, stressed Davis' progressive record when he argued against the recall on September 20th)

As for the second part of the recall question, I believe that the only choice here is Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. He is the second in command and, similar to presidential succession, should automatically assume the duties of Governor should Davis be recalled by voters. (Reports earlier today indicated that Bustamante may drop out of the race. Bustamante denies the reports in the Palm Springs Desert Sun .)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has based his campaign solely on sound bites and glib, idiotic one-liners from really bad movies. He's not ready for Sacramento. Nowhere near it.

For the sake of the future of California, indeed for the sake of the PEOPLE of California, I strongly urge a NO vote on recall.



Shake Your Grove Thang

Yes, good people, Lloyd Grove is back! Some of you may remember that Grove helped give us here at Points West quite the kick-off with a mention in his Reliable Source column at The Washington Post this past July, and then -- POOF! -- he's off to The Big Apple! Note: You can read the archives of those oh-so-younger months here.

Well, I guess he's finally settled in, and as of this week his new Lowdown column is finally running in The New York Daily News!

From today's column:
GOP minds its Ps and FAQs

Millionaire Republicans who've been losing sleep over the meaning of life and other mysteries can relax.

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign has just issued a helpful "Frequently Asked Questions" memo to its New York fund-raisers:

Question: "Can I use my personal aircraft for campaign business?"

Answer: "No, you may not use your personal aircraft for campaign business. Corporate aircraft may be used, but only if each person boarding the plane pays the equivalent of a first-class airplane ticket."

Q: "Can I have a fund-raising cocktail party for my friends at a private club or hotel and pay for the party?"

A: "No. You may have them come to your house and treat them up to $1,000 in expenses per adult in the household without it counting against your $2,000 contribution limit."

Q: "Can I use my executive assistant to help with my fund-raising activities?"

A: "Any person can volunteer to help. Employees may volunteer a maximum of 1 (one) hour per week during working hours and an unlimited amount outside of the office."

I'm glad that's all settled.
Of course, we've added a handy link to Lloyd's Lowdown on the left. So shake your Grove thang, Lloyd and welcome back!

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