Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why I'm Supporting John Garamendi for Governor of California

I have in my head a detailed article that I will write someday about everything that is wrong with California's government and how to fix it. Ever since I met him in San Diego at a BBQ in 1993, I have been a fan of John Garamendi. At that time, he was pitching high-speed rail as a way to revitalize the then-ailing state economy. It was clear that he wasn't interested in incremantal changes or toeing the party line - he had "the Vision Thing" (as G. Bush sr. famously called it). As Insurance commissioner, Garamendi forced implementation of Prop 103 to reduce auto insurance rates and was a vicious fighter for consumer rights.

Garamendi a true progressive. He has been a stalwart opponent of fee hikes at the public universities, calling the most recent round a "very stupid tax." Garamendi got into the Lt.Gov's office largely because he had a big enough name as (twice elected) Insurance Commissionner that somebody had to open a slot for him. He favors gay marriage. He's an environmentalist who served as Deputy Sec. of Interior under Clinton. Yet he currently runs his family's cattle ranch. He's got an MBA from Harvard, but he and his wife served in the peace corps in Ethiopia. Internationally, he returned to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps to lead a peace mission in 1998-2000, and is currently working Congo in the same capacity. His official biography reminds everyone that he was a wrestler and football player for Cal. No whiff of personal or financial scandal hangs over him yet.

Garamendi is also a party outsider in CA. He's not really "in" with the Latino caucus, the teachers' unions, the prison guards, the indian tribes, or any of those groups whose money and influence drain Sacramento. It will not be easy to fight against all the money and support that will go to Villaraigosa or Newsom, should they choose to run.

In other words, Garamendi is the progressive/independent governor that a lot of people thought they were getting when they voted for Schwarzenegger.

I'm not blind to the man's ambition or his close relations with the Clintons that continued through this recent set of presidential primaries (endorsed HRC on 1/11/08, after the NH primary) but I think this is what California needs. Someday I'll write that article.


USwest said...

LTG, I hope you write it. A state as financially wealthy as this one with he resources and brain power we have in this state should not be so damn broke!And it shouldn't be as exposed to economic booms and busts as it is.

I have always liked Garamendi. And I said back during the governor's race when Villaraigosa ran that I was really tired of the same old faces being forced on us by the state Democratic Party.

And we definately don't need Jerry Brown to come back on the scene!

Raised By Republicans said...

Sounds like a good guy. I hope he wins. Who are the other Demcorats in the mix?

The Law Talking Guy said...

Gavin Newsom (aka Mayor McHottie), Antonio Villaraigosa, Jerry Brown, and I don't know who else.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Hear, hear! Garamendi would be a good choice. But with the 2/3 super-majority budget requirement, can any governor actually govern? Sigh...

Raised By Republicans said...

Villaraigosa has too much baggage now. Haven't I seen reports from LA that he's had some nasty little scandals? Same story with Gavin Newsom. Jerry Brown is on a nostalgia trip.

Dr. S. is 100% correct. No governer will be able to do anything unless their party gets a 2/3 super majority in the Assembly too.

RE: UC fees. The state butchered the UC budgets after Enron and their Texan friends (curses be upon them) created the electricity shortage in California and robbed California of tens of billions of dollars. Since then the 2/3 budget requirement has prevented the funding levels from returning to normal. The regents may find it easier to raise fees themselves than wait for the Republicans to stop blocking funding for anything other than prisons.