A West Los Angeles Democratic Club “Swat The Governor’s Propositions” rally at Penmar Park in Venice Saturday, October 8th, drew a variety of political leaders to send a “No Confidence” message to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The event was designed to urge voters to become active in the special election and to vote no on Propositions 73 through 78, and yes on Propositions 79 and 80 in the special election Tuesday, November 8th.
Approximately 150 attended the event.
Foes of the governor’s special election used fly swatters that had the governor’s face surrounded by flies and the message “Swat Arnold’s Propositions.”
The other side of the fly swatters carried the message “Props 79 and 80 Yay. All the Others Go Away.”
The special election was called by the governor after he claimed that the State Legislature wasn’t working with him to improve the California budget.
The keynote speaker at the Venice rally was Phil Angelides, California state treasurer and a candidate for governor next year.
Angelides told The Argonaut that he has decided to run for governor in 2006 because, “In my heart, the day Governor Schwarzenegger first announced his budget in January 2004, I thought it was unconscionable that he turned away over 25,000 young people from state colleges because there was no money, and he eliminated funding for academic preparation programs.
“I knew then that the governor wasn’t looking to the future and was not on the side of our young people,” said Angelides.
Angelides alleged that “The Right” is waging an assault on civil rights and freedoms and that state voters must make certain that that doesn’t happen.
“I stood up to Arnold at the beginning, when his ratings were high,” said Angelides.
“The State of California is ranked 48th out of 50 states in educational achievement,” he said.
“Arnold’s administration is costly and wasteful, and bringing the Bush-Cheney agenda to California,” Angelides alleged.
Angelides claimed that Proposition 73 — which requires a waiting period and parental notification before termination of pregnancy of a minor — would require a constitutional amendment and it puts women at risk.
Schwarzenegger hasn’t proposed a balanced budget and has taken away funds for new teachers, textbooks and schools, Angelides claimed.
Regarding Proposition 75, which would require the approval of public employee members of a union before a union representing public employees could use union dues for political purposes, Angelides said:
“Arnold’s actions are right out of the Bush-Cheney playbook, and Proposition 75 takes away the right of unions to organize, while corporations pour millions into the Republican campaign,” Angelides alleged.
“Yesterday, he vetoed a healthcare bill for California’s children, and vetoed raising the minimum wage by $1,” said Angelides.
Angelides joked that he is the “Anti-Arnold,” and that while Angelides isn’t an international film star, he would become governor in 2006 and star in his own movie, Revenge of the Nerds.
“Look at this body, what you see is all real, no steroids,” said Angelides, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.
Other speakers at the rally included State Senator Debra Bowen, who said the governor is a lame duck and he should “get over it.”
“Just say no to Propositions 73 through 78,” said Bowen.
Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles chief executive officer Mary Jane Wagle told the audience that she is furious that a special election was called.
Wagle told the audience that Proposition 73 is deceptive, and has a hidden agenda.
This proposition is about amending the constitution to redefine an embryo as “a child conceived and not yet born,” not just about notifying parents about abortions,” Wagle claimed.
“Good family communication can’t be legislated or imposed by the government, and it’s up to parents to discuss appropriate sexual behavior,” Wagle added.
Wagle also claimed that a pregnant teenager from a troubled or abusive home could be in danger if she reported to her parents that she was pregnant.
UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) president A.J. Duffy told the audience that unions will be strong again and do what’s right for public education.
“There are two things that have to happen before the school system gets better,” said Duffy.
“The first is to lower the class size and the second is to raise per-pupil spending, and California spends less on education than most states,” Duffy asserted.
Regarding Proposition 74 — which would extend the number of probationary years for a new teacher from two to five years before tenure is granted — Duffy said that teachers are the voices of the students and the parents, and that allowing a teacher to be fired after two “write-ups” would keep the “brightest minds from becoming teachers.”
A surprise guest, Roy Romer, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent, former governor of Colorado and former chair of the national Democratic Party, also addressed the audience.
Romer alleged that corporations in the U.S. outsource not just simple tasks but also sophisticated computer jobs to China and Japan because “they know how to do math.”
Romer said that schools in the LAUSD district are old, fire alarms are not up to code and there is still a shortage of seating for students and concerns about asbestos.
“There’s only one way to bring fairness to the educational system and that’s by improving health, education and skill levels,” said Romer.
Other speakers included recently elected 53rd Assemblyman Ted Lieu, 49th District Assemblywoman Judy Chu, 48th District Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, and, Los Angeles District 11 Councilman Bill Rosendahl.
Jamal Watkins of Health-Access California alleged that the big pharmaceutical companies had raised a record $93 million against Proposition 79.
“We’re sick and tired of high prescription drug costs, and Proposition 79 will not harm insured individuals,” said Watkins.
“We want to send a message to the oil companies and other large corporations that we don’t want any more Enrons in our environment,” said Ridley-Thomas.
Eric Bauman, Los Angeles Democratic Party chair, said the governor has broken his promises to the people of California.
The masters of ceremony at the event were The Young Turks — Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz — who host a nationwide liberal radio talk show.
Entertaining the audience with barbs and witticisms aimed at the Republican Party, they pointed out that “mainstream media is finally doing its job, reporting on Tom DeLay’s indictments.”
“In The Red States, Republicans have driven out all the Democrats, but in our ‘Blue State’ of California, we’ve gotten complacent,” said Augur and Mankiewicz. “We say our Republicans are okay because they’re moderate or liberal.
“Make no mistake, Arnold is beholden to the extreme right wing, so if you vote for a Republican in California, you’re really voting for Tom DeLay.”