Monday, November 07, 2005
California is the most powerful state in the Union. It's the most populated and richest state then why are we so poor in leadership? Has our governor's mansion become the plaything of Hollywood?
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has put his limited political capital on the line with four initiatives that will go before voters tomorrow. Many believe that Schwarzenegger would not have won the recall election two years ago if it was, in fact, a standard primary. But, in three months, a lack of time to gain any substance and his considerably fame was too much for former governor, Gray Davis.
Since then, Californians have seen a governor that is a near duplicate of the one they controversially booted out of Sacramento. Kah-LEE-fornia, as the Governor calls it, is preparing for a re-election of its body-building governor next year with a dearth of formidable candidates. What has happened to the land of prosperity in the West?
Thus far, Democrats have countered with a unknown and underwhelming candidates such as Steve Westly and the dour Phil Angelides.
Last Saturday, during a campaing stop in San Diego for Schwarzenegger's initiatives, a band of protesters led by actors Warren Beatty and Annette Benning tried to crash the proceedings. As the San Francisco Chronicle describes it, aides to the Governor ordered the hangar where the rally was held to close the doors on Beatty. Afterwards, the Fire Department ordered the doors reopened for safety reasons.
Beatty's presence at Schwarzenegger's rally is no coincidence, nor is it a concern Californian protesting the establishment. Beatty has intimated to many in Hollywood that he is interested in running for Governor in 2006. With likes of Westly and Angelides on the Democratic side, the horror of an all-actor gubernatorial election pitting "The Terminator" versus "Bulworth" is quite possible.
California's role in our nation is enormous. Legislation and ideas from the Golden State reverberate all over the country. If California passes legislation on topics such as curbing energy consumption, gay marriage and health care to name a few, the rest of the country takes notice. Conversely, when California elects a former action hero with a funny accent, the nation laughs. How loud will this howls be when the governor's mansion pits two overaged Hollywood actors to guide it for the next four years?
Is California's economic problems, bursting classrooms and high housing prices so much of dilemma that we cannot enlist a true politician trained to tackle these problems instead of men more accustomed to playing such roles on celluloid?
Where is Sen. Dianne Fienstein? Where is Gavin Newsom? Where is Willie Brown? Where is the ghost of Edmund Brown?
Governor Brown cradled the growth of this state during the 1960s. He built the world's finest state university system flowing the knowledge for a generation from one end of the state to the others. He built freeway system that facilitated enourmous growth and he watered the dark soils of the Central Valley that feed the state and the country.
The visionaries such as Brown have given way to ego-maniacal thespians with a dearth of casting calls and a boatload of hubris.
Let's hope that the Governor is furthered weakened tomorrow with a political defeat at the polls. Maybe then, the real reformers will find some encouragement in ending Hollywood's love affair with the Governor's mansion.
Posted by Steven Tavares at 11/07/2005