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KPCC 89.3 Fm Southern California Public Radio
Feb 14, 2005

by Jamie Court - Commentator

A Special Election For Special Interests

The following commentary by FTCR President Jamie Court, was broadcast on KPCC 89.3 FM (Pasadena, CA) on Monday, February 14, 2005. Click here to listen to the audio of the commentary.
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Call it off, governor. What's the rush? By forcing this special election, all you're doing is further cementing your reputation as the man who's putting California government up for sale.

Why can't we wait until the statewide election in June 2006 -- saving the $60 million dollars a November special election would cost? Is it because you can't wait a few more months to pass ballot initiatives that read like a wish list for many of your big industry donors?

You want a special vote on privatizing public pension funds -- similar to what President Bush has in mind for social security. Then there's your initiative to abolish nearly 100 pesky, citizen-run boards and commissions that regulate businesses like hospitals, builders, and accountants. And of course there's your supposedly bipartisan plan to redraw political boundaries more to the benefit of Republicans.

You claim you're not doing this for your financial supporters, that you're so rich you cannot be bought. That's why it's supposedly ok for the guy who was supposed to terminate cash register politics to raise $80,000 per day -- or a cool 40 mil since becoming a candidate. That's twice Gray Davis's take.

On top of all that, you're pushing for this special election, for which you say you'll raise another $50 million in campaign cash.

I know you won't take my advice, governor. Campaign finance laws bar you from campaigning on behalf of big budget initiatives when you're also on the ballot seeking re-election -- and that's where you'll be next year. That's why you can't wait.

That's why you've been barnstorming at legally questionable meetings across the state, asking 100 grand for dinner and a photo.

Who's writing the checks? You can bet it's industries that don't want to be regulated,. Businesses that want to curb workers' power. Followers of Karl Rove, A.K.A. the special interests you were gonna sweep out of Sacramento.

And this week, you'll go back East and to talk to Wall Street about making good on your promise that a good chunk of the $50 mill in campaign cash will come from out of state. The investment banks stand to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in new business if you succeed in turning public pension fund dollars into 401ks they'll manage. Fortunate 500 companies would benefit by getting corporate reformers at public pension funds off their back.

All this from a guy who claimed as a candidate, and I'm quoting: "Any of those kinds of real big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something." I know you're going to go ahead with this special election, governor. But if you do, I think the public should consider a sequel to one of your blockbusters -- Total Recall.

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