Governor's Race: A Primer

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 6, 2006


Marty Keller says four more years with Governor Schwarzenegger would be good for business.  Keller is Executive Director of the Sacramento-based California Automotive Business Coalition.  He showed up at the maintenance garage of an area Ford dealership for a Schwarzenegger campaign event:

“I think he understands the nexus between career education, not raising taxes and making sure our automotive and transportation sector are healthy.”

The Governor has pledged not to increase taxes….while also advocating for a massive influx of bond spending into the states roads, levees and schools.   It was a bi-partisan effort to place the measures on tomorrow’s ballot.  Sacramento State University Communications Professor Dr. Barbara O’Connor says whether the measures pass or not will largely define the next four years.  She says if re-elected, they’ll be key to Schwarzenegger’s legacy.

“And so if it passes we’ll be building, building, building and I think that’s part of the governor’s mission, to leave the state in better shape than he found it.  If it doesn’t pass,, then more collaboration with the legislature.  We now call him the collaborator”

Collaborations this year included a landmark bill to curb greenhouse gases.  

At a recent visit to a Sacramento-area high school the Governor said the legislation is in line with his business-friendly policies:

“We have to do everything that we can to be pro-economy and pro-environment simultaneously.   There are many people that have questioned that and have said no, you can only be pro-economy or pro-environment.  I think we have proven them wrong.”

The bi-partisanship of this year is in stark contrast to last year, when Schwarzenegger called lawmakers “girlymen” and accused them of not doing their jobs.  The year culminated in a disastrous special election – and an apology from the Governor.  O’Connor says he’s evolving:

“I think you have  better educated Governor than you did when he first came in both about the mechanics of government and the political pitfalls of Sacramento, which I think he grossly underestimated and admits that he did.”

O’Connor saysdon’t be surprised if some of the same issues – like re-drawing the legislative district map – or reforming the budget process – resurface.   

None of that really resonates with high school Senior Sholanda Nelson, who was in the class the Governor visited last week.  She says she’s not a Schwarzenegger fan – but admits she was affected by his star power.

 “Over the news, he seems like he’s a bunch of bull, but right now, it almost had me in tears. I was like, wow,”

If she were voting Tuesday, she says she wouldn’t cast a ballot for the incumbent….but says she’d still like his autograph. 


For Phil Angelides it’s been months of hard going on the campaign trail, at some points acknowledging his struggle to capture the public’s attention….

“Look I’ve been an underdog in this race for (sic) day one…”

Being an underdog is a situation they understand well at the Health for All Clinic in downtown Sacramento…That’s where Physician Assistant BeHang Woods-Mai is checking up on 15-month-old Kyla, who’s had an ear infection.

The clinic’s mission is to provide care to the medically underserved…
Health for All’s Executive Director, Doctor Richard Ikeda is a staunch Angelides supporter.  He says he’s the man to consider the needs of the poor. 
“Phil has always been focused on really taking care of all Californians I think he wanted to make sure no one was left out…”
But Angelides’ campaign pitch has focused largely on the middle class.  He’s proposed tax cuts for families making less than 100-thousand dollars, and a tax increase for couples making more than 500-thousand a year.  Jean Ross with the California Budget Project examines fiscal policy and its effect on low-and-middle income Californians. 

 "I think the treasurer is trying to say there that he believes there ought to be a redistribution of who pays taxes in California. That the wealthy ought to be a little bit more and families with children pay a little bit less.” 
Angelides has also promised to reduce college tuition, revive efforts to make large employers provide workers’ health coverage and cut taxes for small businesses.

The proposals have been roundly criticized by Republicans who say businesses will be driven from the state…    Still the Democrat has maintained that his ideas will prevail. 
“This is gonna be a great contest between a show horse and a race horse and I’m prepared to run the last leg of this race for the people of California.”
But recent polls show an ever-growing gap by which he trails his opponent….his supporter Richard Ikeda acknowledges this too…

 “I think all of us whether we’re democrats or republicans, whether it goes our way or not we just roll up our sleeves and work hard for the next go around.”
For those election watchers “the next go around” at least for Governor, won’t be until 2010.