By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Bader is “different,” say those who know him. It seems that he only comes out at night, as the head of Issa’s new recall committee, David Gilliard, acknowledges. Which, if Issa is our would-be Batman, makes a perfect match.
Before Issa, the recall was sputtering. Recall leaders variously claimed that 200,000 petitions had been downloaded from the Internet, then 70,000 petitions, then it was 450,000 petitions. But when Costa and former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian (who the Weeklyrevealed was fronting for former Bill Simon campaign chief Sal Russo) called an event last week outside the Capitol to announce that they were turning in the first big batch of signatures, they claimed only 100,000 or so. Though their forces were outnumbered by pro-Davis demonstrators, they pointed to the boxes of signatures they said marked a historic event. Previous gubernatorial-recall attempts never got to the point of turning in enough signatures to be counted.
As it happened, the boxes of signatures to recall Davis were actually empty, as empty as the claims that the effort was on track. At that rate, considering that perhaps a quarter of the signatures gathered for ballot measures are invalid, the recall would take another 12 months to qualify, and there are less than four in which to do it and make the November ballot.
Unintentionally entertaining as the anti-Davis side is, the pro-Davis team is in its own disarray. Though Sacramento consultant/lobbyist David Townsend and San Francisco lawyer/lobbyist Jeremiah Hallisey have been important advisers and string-pullers, it’s unclear who would run the public pro-Davis drive in the event of a recall election. Garry South wants to move on to presidential politics, and there was dissension on the Davis team in the closing days of last November’s election over Davis’ decision to cut his positive TV ads in favor of negative advertising that depressed Simon’s vote, and his own. Right after the election, a story appeared crediting Bill Clinton rather than Davis himself with the strategy of taking out threatening moderate Republican rival Dick Riordan in the primary election.
Then there is money. The Weeklyconsistently had the highest estimates of Davis’ spending on his re-election, ending at $70 million just before the election. Actually, Davis spent $78 million, leaving him with only $1.4 million in the bank. He’s broke. Since then, though the word has gone out to supporters that the recall could be a serious threat, he has had no fund-raisers, but he does have one later this month, a private golf-tournament event hosted by Clint Eastwood in Carmel. It costs $5,000 to get in. A Platinum Sponsor has to contribute $25,000, which buys eight golfing slots and, of course, face time with the governor. Which raises an interesting question. Will Dirty Harry and the Terminator face off this year over the fate of the Gray Guv?
Unless the hard-nosed Issa unaccountably takes a dive and the recall somehow does not qualify, the chaos theory for 2003 is endless. But Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be in position to take advantage. A meticulous planner, Schwarzenegger had pegged this as a big business year, with Terminator 3 out for the Fourth of July and a string of exercise clubs and another blockbuster in the works. So perhaps the colorful Mr. Issa or someone else you don’t know will end up as our governor. You never know. All it takes is a majority vote to oust Davis and a plurality of votes in the simultaneous election to replace him. Is your wheel locked?