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ISSUE 117 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/26/2003

Recall lacks sufficient support

By Peter Gloviczki
Staff Writer

Friday, September 26, 2003

Amidst a storm of controversy, the California governor’s recall election is slated to take place on Oct. 7. While the 2003 recall has garnered a great deal of media attention as a result of high profile candidates such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry Flynt, the San Jose Mercury News reports that the concept of a gubernatorial recall is not a new concept for the state of California. In fact, there have been 31 previous attempts to recall the governor in the state of California. To date, none of these attempts have been successful.

The 2003 recall is a result of a petition drive by Ted Costa, an anti-tax activist from Sacramento, Calif. Costa declared that he was fed up with the governor’s lack of fiscal responsibility. In a Feb. 5 interview with the Washington Times, Costa stated that the recall represents “the people of California saying we are sick and tired of being asked to pay the bills for everything [Davis] comes up with. ... We are recalling him for gross mismanagement of the state's finances."

Costa is correct in stating that the budget spending in California has risen out of control. According to the 2003-2004 governor’s budget summary, published by the California Department of Finance, the state’s budget deficit currently stands at $34.6 billion dollars. While this is certainly an exorbitant sum, the budget situation does not warrant the recall of Governor Davis.

For a governor to be recalled, California law requires that 12 percent of the individuals who voted in the last election must endorse the petition for a recall election. Since there were more than 7.4 million voters during the last gubernatorial election in California, held in 2002, Costa needed at least 897,158 signatures. He collected more than 1.6 million signatures. While this number may seem quite large, we must consider that there were more than 7.4 million ballots cast in the 2002 California gubernatorial elections. Therefore, the California recall is proceeding with the support of only 21 percent of registered voters.

While the fact that roughly one-fifth of Californians have voiced their opinion and stated that Davis should be recalled should make Davis take notice, it is not sufficient for him to be recalled. In fact, the recall of a governor is nearly unprecedented. The only gubernatorial recall in U.S. history occurred in 1921, when Lynn J. Frazier, Governor of North Dakota, was recalled.

Not only is the recall rare and unwarranted, but according to the San Jose Mercury News, it is also costing the state of California an estimated $35 million. While supporters of the recall claim that Davis is fiscally irresponsible, the high cost of the recall would seem to suggest that he is not the only one spending too much money.

Less than a year ago, in Nov. 2002, Davis received 48 percent of the votes cast in a six-candidate election, returning him to the governor’s office. In roughly three years, when Davis’ term expires, Californians will be able to exercise their democratic freedom and elect a new governor. Until then, Davis should be allowed to remain in office.

Staff Writer Peter Gloviczki is a sophomore from Rochester, Minn. He majors in political science.

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