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No, no -- and no


If the polls are correct one week prior to the election, Gov. Davis will be recalled and Schwarzenegger -- another likeable, nice-guy actor -- will take his place.

I hope the polls are wrong.

Recalls are a radical and expensive means to remove someone from office mid-term. And, as we said this summer, recalls should be used for misconduct or malfeasance -- not because someone with a great deal of money (Republican Darrell Issa) doesn't like the results of the last election. (More on the recall process)

One very positive thing that has come out of the recall is the media attention on what's wrong with the state and how to fix it. The "debate" last week touched on nearly every major issue, superficially at least -- health care, workers' comp, the power shift away from cities and counties to the state in the early 1990s, the need for campaign reform.

Print coverage has been much better. I particularly liked the "Davis scorecard" last weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle on "the 4 E's" -- the economy, energy, education and the environment.

On the economy, the article notes that although Davis did not cause the boom and bust of the last five years he has been at the helm, he failed to react quickly when economic predictions fell short, delaying painful budget-cutting decisions. However, his true performance, measured by overall job creation and growth in personal income, shows California outpacing the nation in the same time period. The economic doom-and-gloomers just aren't telling the truth.

So where did the "boom" money go? Ask Humboldt County educators and they will tell you Davis has kept his promise to make education his "first, second and third" priority. Spending per pupil is still below the national average, but it's up significantly.

The environment? Environmental protection has improved steadily since Davis took office, even though Davis is viewed as a little too business-friendly by liberals. And energy? Californians were certainly victims of fraud by the energy companies. To his credit, Davis negotiated 20-year contracts with energy suppliers to ensure an uninterrupted and adequate supply. To his discredit, Californians are now saddled with a very expensive light bill.

The Davis scorecard is a little mixed, but not bad and certainly no grounds for a recall. We strongly urge you to vote no.

The tougher -- and the wildly unfair -- part of the ballot is the second part. (It's unfair because it could allow Schwarzenegger with 30 percent of the votes to oust Davis with a hypothetical 49 percent approval.)

Purists -- like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whom we very much admire -- are taking no position on the second part since this recall is wrong, wrong, wrong. But given the current set of circumstances, we recommend you vote your ideals and your heart. For most Republicans, that's McClintock. For liberals and other Greens, Camejo is a strong and articulate candidate. For Latinos and Democrats trying to thwart a Republican coup, Bustamante.

This is not a cop-out: We are recommending anyone but Schwarzenegger. This madness of electing unqualified, untested leaders because they are rich and/or famous has got to stop. The governor's chair is not entry-level public service.

Regarding Propositions 53 and 54, we urge no on both. Micromanaging the state's budget by earmarking funds under Proposition 53 is not good government.

Proposition 54 is a much tougher call, one proposition we would like to support. In fact, we look forward to the day of colorblindness; it just isn't here yet. Perhaps we should give public agencies 10 years to collect all the data they want and then rise up and say, no more. After all, even Proposition 54 backer Ward Connerly is not truly "African-American." He's French Canadian, Choctaw, African and Irish American.

There is simply no box to check on any form that will cover the multicultural reality that is California today.




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