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Editorial -- Bustamante would be the worst choice

California Democrats may feel that they have no choice but to vote for current Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in case Gov. Gray Davis gets recalled in October. They should remember that they felt that way when they voted for Davis in the regular election.

Bustamante is just another politician on the take from special interests, especially the gambling industry and its Indian tribe shills.

For Sonoma Valley residents, Bustamante's election would virtually guarantee us no chance against any serious casino proposal for local land. He is owned by that lobby and will do whatever they want.

The last thing we need is another self-serving creature of the Sacramento swamp running our state. Politicians like Davis and Bustamante have run it into the mud.

That is not to say that Arnold Schwarzenegger would do better or that he is the best choice of those offered.

Whoever is elected governor, it cannot be just a celebrity, or a warmed-over version of what is already there. And the "chosen" candidate of either major party should be automatically rejected. It is the leadership of the Democrats and the Republicans, both of them, who have gotten our state in trouble. Dominated by the extreme left and extreme right they do not reflect their respective constituencies. It is party politics, played down and dirty, that is ruining our state, and Bustamante is now being pushed by the Democrats simply because he is the only one with the potential to beat Schwarzenegger. It doesn't matter that he would be a terrible governor, every bit as bad as Davis. They support him because he's a Democrat, and he can win.

Selecting candidates for the wrong reasons is how we got into this mess.

A moderate of either party, with no obligations to party leaders or major contributors, would be the best choice. Unfortunately, a moderate with proven ability probably cannot win the election. It is possible that Schwarzenegger is a moderate, but his proven ability as movie star gives us little to go on with regard to his potential as governor.

Peter Ueberroth appears to fit the moderate description also, but it remains to be seen if he can get his message out and compensate for his lack of celebrity, when compared to Schwarzenegger, and his lack of support from a major political party, as compared to Bustamante.

Ueberroth is an independent-minded Republican with the kind of business acumen and leadership skills that are badly needed in Sacramento. But even if by some miracle he were to win, he would be powerless to change anything as long as the two major parties practice their "take no prisoners" politics.

Both parties would sink our ship of state, rather than join the other party in helping it stay afloat. That is why whoever is elected after Davis is recalled will probably not do any better than Davis would have done had he stayed in office.

But there is no doubt that it will be worse if Bustamante gets in. That is why it is so important to pay attention to what the various candidates are saying, and to look at who is behind them.

It is going to take a miracle not to come out of the recall worse than when we went in. And beyond that, it is going to take a very active and astute electorate to force the kind of changes in the state legislature that must happen before state government can become functional and responsive to the people.

- Bill Lynch, Editor

Rob's comment
The notion that casino tribes are fronting for the "gambling industry"—that they aren't pursuing gaming for legitimate economic reasons—is about as ignorant as it gets. To ask a few of the more obvious questions:

1) Were tribes "shilling" for the gambling industry when they ran their modest bingo halls decades before the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988?

2) How do tribes "shill" for the gambling industry when they have no connections with the major players (Harrah's, MGM Grand, Trump, etc.) in the industry?

Related links
The critics of Indian gaming—and why they're wrong

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