Manassas Journal Messenger | The recall law

Is there anything that is not strange about the process to recall California Gov. Gray Davis.

The recall of an elected official is rarely a pretty process but the situation in which Californians are considering replacing Davis is beyond ridicule or parody. The truth is much more laughable.

The Golden State’s constitution allows citizens to recall a governor if enough of them sign petitions to get the measure on the ballot. With that process complete, citizens will go to the polls Oct. 7, where they will be asked two questions. The first is whether they want to recall Gray Davis. If a majority of voters choose “Yes” then they can select who they believe should take over as governor.

Because California’s constitution allows candidates access to a recall ballot with just a few dozen signatures and some cash, more than 150 candidates have been certified. This list could swell to 250.

Actor and GOP supporter Arnold Schwarzenegger heads the list of possible Davis successors. Also applying are the likes of former Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and Hustler Magazine Publisher Larry Flynt. Another “Arnold,” Gary Coleman, has also entered the race.

Davis is blamed by opponents for his lapse in leadership as private companies have fled the state due to over-regulation and high taxes. The state, once turning out budget surpluses, today posts record shortfalls.

Critics of the recall process are now complaining that broadcast networks cannot show movies featuring Schwarzenegger, unless equal time is allotted to the other candidates. The same is probably true for showing reruns of “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Though the rules are being followed in this recall effort, Davis supporters call it an attempt to overturn last year’s election and an attack on that state’s constitution. The latter argument could be no further from the truth.

California’s constitution has historically welcomed voter initiatives because of that state’s problems with big business influences beginning in the 1800s. Voter initiatives were considered a great equalizer to the influence of the railroads.

As strange as the process may be, this recall is well within that state’s constitution. And unless the citizens of the Golden State agree to amend that document, future governors will be exposed to the same fate as Mr. Davis.

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