We’re in Full Election Mode in California now. Candidates have been criss-crossing the State. But, the real push will begin after labor day. But, it is turning out to be quite a show–and a comic one at that. On the one hand, there is the Jerry Brown v. Meg Whitman battle to take the top spot. ThereÂ are ofÂ course the rest of the top tickets (Lt. Governor, Attorney General, etc.) plus the State Legislature and a whole host of local races.
Of all the races so far, the one that really cracks me up is the race for Treasurer. On one side, we have one of our own, Mimi Walters, who wants to now be Treasurer. I find it so strange that she touts herself as an outsider because she thinks that Bill Lockyer’s 37 years as a Public Servant is simply too much and that he should be retired. She tells us that she has some great ideas and she will bring a sense of vitality and freshness to the campaign. What she fails to point is that she has been around for quite some time. She was was a leading light in the City of Laguna Niguel and then went on to the Assembly and the State Senate. So, this notion of being an outsider is frankly laughable to say the least. She No one should be chided for making the choice to be in Public Service. It seems to me that we need ideas–not attacks. Yet, Ms. Walters has started with this tagline to somehow be different.
I dropped in on Ms. Walter’s website to assess the ideas she had. As noted in her campaign website (http://www.mimiwalters.com), she tells us that she has the following key priorities in mind:
* Reduce taxes
* Rein in government spending
* Protect private property rights
* Maintain infrastructure
* Hold government accountable
As Treasurer, she will have the responsibility to go out and actually raise money for the State. I have to ask how she intends to do all of that as Treasurer. I do welcome her pledge to hold government accountable in light of the debacle that is being faced in the City of Bell.
There is of course the Governor’s Race. Meg Whitman continues to invest heavily in the campaign. Her ads continue to blanket the state touting her as the White Knight coming to the rescue. I suppose as a very successful businesswoman, she believes that the investment is worth the effort. The problem is that many of her proposals do not seem to make the grade in terms of reality. I am intrigued by her ideas about defending the 2/3 spending cap and turning the legislature into a part time institution. The problem is that it has been this very provision that has caused the paralysis in Sacramento that has caused major problems throughout the state. I would also suggest that the legislature has been out to lunch for quite some time. The dysfunctional nature of State Government is something that I believe everyone agrees with. I do believe that her push to bring State Government into the 21st Century is quite poignant and should be pushed along whatever the election outcome will be. Her push, though, to build more prisons while wanting to Fix Education is something that I have a profound problem with. California spends $ 50,000 per prisoner. Yet, California seems to have a tough time spending $ 7,000 per child. Simply lifting the cap on Charter Schools and doing block grants will simply not do.
I view her opposition to the legalization of marijuana also goes directly against the prevailing wind. When the ex-President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, comes out for legalization of Marijuana, I would suggest that Ms. Whitman has to rethink this. Furthermore, if the war was truly successful, then why is it that the State and the Country seem to be breaking records in busting illegal drugs. For instance, in the County of Riverside alone, they have continued to break records hauling away illegal Mariju8ana plants. Those savvy growers have been using public land and have been tapping in to the Water Supply. Just the cleanup cost itself is costing the State dearly. This report is quite telling: http://www.kcet.org/socal. Instead of a blanket opposition to this, it seems to me that there ought to be a different way of thinking on this subject. There is a proposition on the ballot that may help settle this after all.
As The Whitman juggernaut marches on, Jerry Brown continues to stay somewhat silent. Ms. Whitman has been quite vicious in her attacks on Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown, though, has been bidding his time and has been leveraging the power of his office. It was interesting how he leveraged the Bell Fiasco to his benefit and got quite a bit of mileage out of it. After a period of silence He has laid out his plan, yet he continues to stay silent as the Whitman Bullet Train marches on.
Whitman has spent an estimated $ 104,000,000 on the campaign so far–and it is only August. This is just a symptom of the problem of getting involved in politics today. Does power mean that much that folks will do anything to get elected? What about that sense of service and equity that truly allows all to participate? Where will it all end? Does the average man on the street truly matter?