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What's All the Fuss about California's Governor?

More of this Feature

• Part 2: Ballot and Polls

Part 1: Some Facts

The news these days is full of talk about California and the drive to recall its governor. Why is that?

Here are some facts:

  • California has a huge budget deficit right now. Estimates show that the state will have to come up with an extra $8 billion to pay for all the expenses earmarked for next year's budget. That means either new taxes or big cuts in spending.
  • Governor Gray Davis is wildly unpopular in the state, partly because he hasn't done a whole lot to make himself liked.
  • The budget that was approved and ultimately led to the deficit problems that exist now was passed by a divided Legislature, from which both sides are taking this opportunity to blame each other for the current mess.
  • California law allows for a state official to be recalled in between elections if enough signatures urging recall are collected.
  • To get on this special election ballot, people have to have collected only 65 signatures and have spent the $3,500 entry fee. For many of the 135 people on the ballot, this is their only chance to get to run for such a big office.
  • One of the candidates being talked about the most in the past few weeks is actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is running as a Republican but has some Democratic views. He has no political experience but is thought to be a sound businessman and a good salesman for educational and physical fitness.

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