Vote “No”on the Recall on October 7

By Wilbur Sato

The economic and political chaos brought about by the recall election is a disaster for the State of California. Wall Street analysts, corporations and business employers are nervously watching the unfolding meltdown. Our ability to issue bonds for State indebtedness is severely impacted. California faces great problems in transportation, energy, water, health care, education and the environment. Initiatives passed by the State’s voters have encumbered almost 44% of the California General Fund budget, leaving only 56% for the State legislature to prioritize. How we face these problems will have grave consequences on the economy. More employers will leave the state and take the jobs and the tax revenues with them if we entrust these issues to a person ill prepared to address these problems.

Financed by one man, an ambitious millionaire seeking to become governor, and qualified by a petition process requiring only one million signatures, the recall initiative is obviously flawed. This recall endeavors to eliminate a bona fide general election and will cost the taxpayers 70 million dollars. If voters are dissatisfied with the winner, they could again seek another recall election at an additional cost of 70 million dollars for the already economically
impaired State.

While I support the right to recall elected officials, I believe that there need to be revisions of the recall statute to include the grounds justifying the recall of an elected official, such as malfeasance or crime. In addition,
we must consider the budgetary consequences of statewide initiatives.

With 135 candidates for the office of Governor, there is little time to assess their experience or competency. There is insufficient time for the discussion of issues, solutions, compromises, networking, public input, etc., etc. before the October 7 election. Moreover, a successor can be elected by 15-20% of the voters because the winner is determined by plurality rather than by majority. We should not gamble California’s future on a flawed process. Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist, offers this wise observation, “What we are witnessing is not a civic weakening, but a further descent into the hell fires of modern society. The worst elements of politics, media, and pop culture have converged to deliver a lurid spectacle, rife with candidates who seem plausible only because our standards have sunk so low.”

Gray Davis admits to having made mistakes, and he should take steps to correct them. To place the entire blame for the State’s problems on him is wrong. California is not alone in facing financial crisis. Although the spotlight is on Gov. Davis and California, the nation overall has undergone fiscal problems that have sent many states reeling. The
energy price-fixing scandal that severely impacted California was not Gov. Davis’ fault, but was the result of a national problem of energy and other corporations feeling that they could overcharge with impunity. The current
state budgetary crisis is largely due to a substantial reduction in revenue from state taxes on personal and corporate income Overall personal income has been reduced across the nation; this is not Gov. Davis’ fault. The Governor was elected last November by 3.5 million votes. He should complete his term.

Wilbur Sato is a resident of Torrance, member of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress.

Don’t Throw Up Your Hands—Vote No on Prop 54

By Nikkei for Civil rights and Redress (NCRR)

The California Special Election—it’s been called everything from a circus to the laughing stock of the nation. But amidst the media hoopla and endless campaign commercials, we need to stay focused. Don’t throw up your hands. Do your part. Get out and vote against Proposition 54. Here’s why: ( Adapted from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center)

Prop. 54 wipes out data health professionals need to develop effective prevention programs, and save lives. Racial and ethnic groups experience differences in treatment, have different rates of risk behavior, and respond to different prevention methods and messages. For instance, Hepititis B is a silent killer in the Asian American community. Asian Pacific Americans are 4% of the U.S. population yet they account for 60% of the nation’s infected cases. Yet, Prop. 54 makes it illegal for public health agencies and the University of California to track diseases and health issues by race or ethnicity. Without data, it would be impossible to tailor preventive and cost-effective programs for specific cultures and communities. The California Medical Association, California Academy of Family Physicians, Kaiser Permanente, and many other healthcare organizations oppose Prop. 54.

Prop 54 will undermine the States’s effort to hold schools accountable. The California Public School Accountability Act is designed to achieve high standards of learning for all children. This initiative lets school administrators off the hook when they fail to close the achievement gap. The California State PTA, the California Federation of Teachers, the University of California, and the State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell, and Community College Trustee Warren Furutani all oppose Prop. 54.

Prop. 54 hides discrimination in employment. Less than 0.3% of senior executives in Fortune 500 companies are of Asian decent. It is already against the law in California to give preferential treatment in jobs and contracting. Without data, it would be impossible to challenge unreasonable job requirements or glass ceilings that discriminate against Asian Pacific Americans. Chinese for Affirmative Action, The Council of Asian American Business Association, Assemblymembers Judy Chu, George Nakano and the entire API legislative Caucus, and many other community leaders all oppose Prop. 54.

Prop. 54 makes it illegal for the state to collect information law enforcement and local communities use to combat hate crimes and prevent racial profiling. More than 1150 hate crimes based on a person’s race or ethnicity were reported in 2000 alone. The APA community has been a constant target for these crimes since 9/11. The initiative prevents state agencies from collecting and analyzing data to ensure racial profiling does not happen. The California State Attorney General, law enforcement groups, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and the Anti-Defamation League all oppose Prop. 54.

The simple but vital collection of racial and ethnic data needed by our hospitals, public schools, law enforcement and civil rights organizations allows us to protect and further the well-being of our communities. According to Robin Toma, Executive Director of the LA County Human Relations Commission, “If we cannot identify the race of crime victims, we will no longer be able to address problems such as hate crimes, discrimination or racial profiling. Prop. 54 could be devastating to our goal of promoting better race relations.”

Every vote counts. Make it a point to visit the polls this Tuesday and help defeat this deceptive measure. Do your part by Voting NO on Prop. 54.

(The Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress endorses the statement by the NO on 54 Coalition)