A bloated system of voting measures that have no funding mechanisms, government mandates, and not enough money to make it all work put California out there as the leader of dysfunctional living.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger supporters mounted a recall campaign to derail former Governor Gray Davis, 54% of voters backed this effort in an October 2003 election. Arnold was to step in and save the nation’s most-populous state and the world’s fifth-largest economy from bad leadership. ” I will not fail you,” said Schwarzenegger after winning the election.
Total Recall of this promise is not so forthcoming today, as Schwarzenegger takes on the state budget shortfall, and media outlets ask, “Is California too big to fail?” Blaming problems on everything but his own leadership style or capabilities, the governor, right or wrong, has been the target of similar recall campaigns.
Last fall the California Correctional Peace Officers Association presented Governor Schwarzenegger with a petition of intent to recall, which didn’t succeed. At that time, former Gray Davis was asked about such recall efforts. Although Governor Davis was himself recalled in the election which gave Arnold Schwarzenegger the job, he said the precedent of using recalls to express unhappiness with a politician’s positions was not the right answer. Absent of egregious violations or criminal behavior, such disputes ought to be settled by voting in regular elections, he said, expressing concern over the chilling effect that threats of recall might have on the legislative process.
The irony of Schwarzenegger’s election to Governor is that his administration now faces a budget impasse similar to what Davis faced at the time of his recall. Disputes have arisen over proposed taxes and cuts in social and other government programs. The delays set a new record last fall with the budget more than 70 days overdue. And this week, the state may begin issuing IOU’s on everything from vendor invoices to state employee paychecks. While the media asks if California is too big to fail, why not ask if California is too big to succeed?