By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
I don’t really know. What I’m saying is that I would definitely look at that very carefully.There was talk about you and Green Party candidate Peter Camejo possibly combining your support. Is that possible?
Absolutely, yes. This state, and this country, cannot afford a Republican governor or a Republican president.Were people wrong to vote for Ralph Nader?
I wouldn’t say they were wrong. It was just nobody knew how destructive George Bush would be.
To what extent, if any, is Cruz Bustamante better than Gray Davis?
I’m not saying he’s better than Gray Davis. I’m saying he’s better than Schwarzenegger.Why not just oppose the recall?
Even if you oppose the recall, you need an insurance policy. I would say 80 percent of the people giving me serious money are against the recall. I tell everybody: Vote your conscience on the recall. Vote for it, or vote against it, but vote for me in the second part of the ballot.How are you voting on the recall?
I’m voting for the recall. Because I want to be governor.What is your principal complaint against Gray Davis?
Well, my principal complaint is that he is somebody who’s brought a tremendous amount of ingenuity, creativity and passion to fund-raising, but not to governing. And, you know, somebody who’s raised $77 million to run against Bill Simon — not exactly a compelling candidate . . . You know, that takes a lot of time. I’m running to change the system. And that’s why I’m running in this particular time, where there is an opportunity for somebody who’s not self-funded, who’s not taking special-interest money, to nevertheless win.If Cruz Bustamante were elected, would the reform atmosphere of the recall become a dead-end process?
Well, first of all, I think that getting the recall ballot certified would not have happened were it not for Darrell Issa’s millions, and the Republicans wanting to overturn a legitimate election. But having said that, no amount of money will get Gray Davis recalled. It’s only the popular anger at him that in the end, if he’s recalled, will be responsible for his recall. And it’s not just Gray Davis. The anger is at the system. Talk to people. Gray Davis has become a symbol for a broken system. So let’s say Cruz Bustamante becomes governor. I think there’ll still have been reform energies unleashed. If we make sure that they just don’t evaporate, they will lead to fundamental change.Can you talk about how the media coverage had the effect of trying to marginalize you as a candidate?
Well, definitely the media want to sort of narrow the field before the voters are ready to narrow the field. They’re comfortable with a two-man race. They know their game. They broadcast it like a horserace. So I definitely saw the attempts to marginalize me early on. Which I find stunning, given that I have a record of writing on these issues. Compared to Schwarzenegger’s record?What other voter initiatives would you pursue besides campaign finance?
The other initiative is closing all the corporate tax loopholes. Having spent two years researching corporate abusers, I just saw how everything I learned about the national scene [also applied to] California, when we look at what business is paying in taxes, and when you look at the way Prop. 13 has been abused, with all the loopholes and tax shelters. So that will be my second proposal.What about health care?
I will support Sheila Kuehl’s reform [a single-payer system] over John Burton’s reform [requiring large employers to provide insurance], because it’s broader, and it could basically pay for itself, and save us money.Are you in favor of raising taxes on the wealthiest Californians?
That’s definitely on the table. I would basically start the other way around. First of all, I would fundamentally change the way we raise revenues for the state, which is changing Prop. 13. And I don’t mean just the corporate taxes on property.
I would never increase tuition for colleges. That would be off the table.How do you feel about vouchers and charter schools, and education reform in general?
I’m against vouchers. I’ve done a few columns in which I’ve quoted that great line about vouchers being the Schindler’s List of public education: You can help a few kids, but it doesn’t really affect what happens to public education. I am a proponent of public charter schools. I really believe in the way that public charter schools can affect the whole system as well as affect a lot of children directly. When we see what’s happening here with the Accelerated School in View Park, and the great impact they’ve had. And that’s why I would be in favor of some changes that would make it easier to start charter schools.