Archive for Saturday, August 9, 2003

Crazy California

August 9, 2003

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The current recall election circus is one trend Kansans would rather leave on the coast.

Kansans are pretty accustomed to various trends starting at the East or West Coast of the United States and working their way into the heartland.

Hopefully, the fiasco of the California recall election won't get this far.

Like many things that happen in California, the nutty affair has some entertainment value, but many Californians probably aren't amused.

Californians apparently have decided that almost any governor would be better than the one they have. They have successfully called an election on whether to recall Gov. Gray Davis from office, and the potential replacements who have thrown their hats into the ring are a motley crew. The best known candidate probably is actor and former body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the ballot also will include Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, columnist Arianna Huffington and other notables.

One of the quirkiest aspects of this election is that the recall vote to decide whether or not Davis will remain in office is taking place simultaneously with the election to pick his replacement. So people who votes against recalling Davis still will be asked to hedge their bets by casting a vote for his replacement. And, although Democrats across the nation are insistent in their opposition to Davis' recall, at least a couple of Democrats will put their names on the ballot to replace him, "just in case."

Just for the record, it couldn't happen this way in Kansas. Our constitution provides for the recall of a governor, but in a far more orderly manner. If 40 percent of the voters in the last general election signed petitions to recall the governor, a recall election would be called, but the only question on the ballot would be the recall -- no replacement candidates.

If the governor were recalled, the vacancy in that office would be filled in the same way as it would if a governor died or resigned. The lieutenant governor would move into the governor's office and appoint a new lieutenant governor. They would complete the current term and the seats would be filled in the next general election.

Any time a governor faces a recall election, there is bound to be a certain amount of upheaval, but the Kansas process is reasonable and workable. California never fails to do things -- even crazy things -- in a big way, and this recall election is no exception.

It's just an example of why, even though the beaches and mountains of California make it a great place to visit, you might not want to live there.

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