A terrible precedent

In a statement denouncing the gubernatorial recall in California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein warns of "dark repercussions sure to follow."

Published August 6, 2003 5:10PM (EDT)

"I am very flattered by the many elected officials, community leaders, and constituents who have urged me to place my name on the recall ballot as insurance should the recall be successful. I want to thank each and everyone who called, especially members of the House Delegation and the State Legislature, who are deeply concerned about our states future.

After thinking a great deal about this recall, its implications for the future, and its misguided nature, I have decided that I will not place my name on the ballot.

First and foremost, I deeply believe the recall is a terrible mistake and will bring to the depth and breadth of California instability and uncertainty, which will be detrimental to our economic recovery and decision-making. This recall demonstrates that virtually anyone with $1.5 million can hire professional petition gatherers certain to produce enough signatures to force a future recall of any state elected officials. It sets a terrible precedent which ought to cause us all to think very carefully.

Additionally, it is now becoming apparent that there may well be dozens of candidates on the recall ballot, most of whom have no background or knowledge of the states enormous portfolio of issues -- whether it be the $99 billion budget, the numerous pieces of legislation awaiting signature or veto by the governor, or the thousands of pending appointments to critical judgeships and important state posts.

Indeed, few of these candidates know much about the law enforcement needs of the state or the security risks we face in the war against terror.

Few understand the myriad of challenges facing Californias public schools.

And, I would hazard a guess that if you asked these candidates what the Healthy Families program is, how it is funded, and how it benefits the state, the vast majority would have no idea what you are talking about. And thats not to mention the enormously complicated Medicaid issues that face the state.

And yet, if the recall is successful, the next governor could well have but 15 percent of the vote -- certainly not a mandate for tough decision-making.

This is a time when our attention should be focused on working in a bipartisan manner to solve the states fiscal crisis, to fix our public schools, to increase public safety, and to restore Californias economy.

Sadly, the state is instead going to be engaged in an election that is becoming more and more like a carnival every day.

Nine months ago, 3.5 million Californians voted in a fair election to reelect Governor Davis. I believe he should be given the opportunity to finish his term. I strongly urge all Californians to vote against this recall.

I hope as the next two months unwind, the frivolous nature of this recall will become more apparent as well as the dark repercussions sure to follow.

Finally, with a decade of experience in the U.S. Senate, I believe I can be most helpful to California as its Senior Senator.

Critical legislation we are working on includes the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban, a Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment, a new National Cancer Act, key measures to prevent identity theft, and most importantly to California, a major water program to help ensure that the energy crisis is not repeated with water. It is important to me to see these efforts through."

By Salon Staff

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