Will the governor’s mansion move from Sac-town to Tinseltown? (Yes. Jasyn Jones)

By By Jasyn Jones

By Jasyn Jones

California is a big-ass state. It’s not physically as large as Texas or Alaska, but it is monumental nevertheless.

California has the highest population of any state in the Union. Almost one American in eight is a resident of the Golden State. It has an economy so large that, if it were a separate nation, it would have the fifth-largest economy on Earth. It takes a big-ass man to lead a big-ass state.

Leadership and management are not the same things. A leader guides and inspires. A manager follows and implements. A leader sets policy, a manager carries it out. Leaders are charismatic, managers meticulous. Managers are best suited for times of peace and prosperity. Leaders are needed in times of adversity and challenge.

The best U.S. presidents-Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan-were leaders. FDR led the nation during Word War II, with sheer force of will and a can-do attitude. What California needs right now is a leader, someone who can inspire the citizens to solve the state’s problems.

California has a huge economy. According to the World Almanac of the U.S.A., California has more businesses than any other state (740,583).

California is responsible for 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. With so much money flowing to California, one wonders how it can have a $38 billion budget deficit.

The problem can be found in its out-of-control spending. From 1997-2002 (according to sources cited in USA Today), California’s spending “rose 32.5 percentage points a year higher than inflation and population growth.” As the California Journal said, the budget crisis is “a calamity rooted entirely in Sacramento.”

California has a highly politicized redistricting process, which lumps Democrats and Republicans into “safe” districts, thus encouraging the idealogues in both parties to run. The Republicans, the minority, run on tax breaks and less spending. Democrats, the majority, run on increased spending and higher taxes. The California Journal quoted former California Assemblyman Fred Keele, a Democrat, as saying, “Democrats get rewarded for providing services.”

In the middle of a three-year budget crisis, the California State Assembly and governor included a 34 percent salary hike for state prison guards (spread over three years). Other unions have received similar, though not as generous, pay hikes. Social programs have received boosts, as well.

The runaway spending on state employee unions and social programs has crippled the state’s budget. To put it into perspective, California’s budget deficit is larger than the whole budget of every other state, save New York.

The state’s financial woes have weakened Gov. Gray Davis’ support. He has a 22 percent approval rating. This has lead to the historic recall election.

In 1911, leftist Progressive Gov. Hiram Johnson enacted the recall measure. Since then, 31 different recall attempts have been fielded-almost every California governor has faced such a challenge. No recall had been certified, until now. More than a million signatures (14 percent of registered voters) were gathered by recall supporters and, sans another Federal Court diktat, the vote will be Oct. 7.

The two front-runners are Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both have had colorful pasts. Bustamante referred to blacks as “n*****s” during a speech to celebrate Black History Month. Arnold is a Hollywood powerhouse, an Austrian immigrant and the son of a Nazi Party member.

Both are social liberals who support abortion rights. Bustamante is a classic leftist liberal, Schwarzenegger a Gov. Ventura (Minnesota’s professional wrestler Independence Party governor) supporter.

California needs a leader. Davis is the perfect embodiment of a manager but of the two, Schwarzenegger alone seems to have the magnetism that overcoming California’s knotty political impasse requires.

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