California Recall: Democracy in Action
A California teen thinks that the Recall of Governor Davis is
good for the state and for democracy.
|| On October 7th, less than
a year after Governor Gray Davis was re-elected to a second term,
Californians will be going back to the voting booth to decide whether
or not he should be removed from office.
in a time of crisis
Even the Governor has admitted that the citizens are angry. The
Golden State is currently in a $38 billion budget deficit and
unemployment is higher than the national average.
Many have argued that Davis has failed to manage the state with
the fifth largest economy in the world. I would have to agree.
Quite frankly, I am convinced that he does not have the leadership
skills needed to solve this mess.
Three years ago, Davis was very slow in responding to the California
power crisis. This inaction resulted in the infamous rolling blackouts.
In a panic, Davis signed expensive contracts with power generators
that cost the state billions of dollars. Today, every Californian
family has to pay a higher electric bill due to the actions taken
impact on teens
The poor state of affairs has negatively affected me, as well
as millions of other Californian teenagers. To reduce the state
budget gap, Governor Davis announced that the car tax would be
tripled. Many of my friends work after school to buy their first
used car. This extra tax burden will mean that they will have
to add many more hours of work at Target or Old Navy.
The massive budget deficit has compelled the state legislature
to cut enormous amounts of funding for public schools. Even before
the latest cut California only spent $ 6,298 per student each
year, below the $6,835 national average reported by the U.S. Census
Bureau. In contrast, New Jersey and New York states spend more
than $10,000 for each student in their respective states.
The impacts of these cuts on my school district are clear. Last
year, nearly all of the new teachers at my high school were given
pink slips, only a few returned for a second year. Also, my school
cannot even afford paper to copy handouts for students. The misfortunes
that teenagers in inner cities are experiencing are even worse.
In many of their schools, they are using old textbooks, and their
educational facilities are in horrible condition.
The future is also bleak as far as colleges are concerned. Governor
Davis has increased the tuition by as much as 35% at the California
State University and University of California systems. Many middle-income
families now find it an extreme challenge to pay for higher education.
Even the tuition at community colleges has increased significantly.
Instead of dedicating his efforts to running California more
effectively, Governor Davis has focused his governorship on aggressive
fundraising and establishing close relations to special interest
groups. According to the Associated Press, Governor Davis received
a $251,000 check from California's prison guard union only weeks
after he granted corrections officers a 33.7 percent raise. The
San Jose Mercury News reported that state officials allowed a
refinery, owned by Tosco Corporation, to increase toxic discharges
into the San Francisco Bay shortly after the company donated $70,500
Some people argue that the recall is a threat to democracy.
However, the system of checks and balances is one of the most
valuable assets of California's government.
Regardless of what happens in the October recall election, the
unique recall process is imperative for the stability of California
and it is an integral part of our state's democratic process.
With the upcoming recall election, California's teenagers will
have a better chance to succeed in life.
Kevin Zhou is a sophomore at Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA