Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Democrats Conspire to Re-Elect Arnie?

Okay, I'm not serious. I don't think that the California Democratic Party is deliberately trying to help re-elect Governor Schwarzenegger. I just think that is the likely end result of the current primary battle between Phil Angelides and Steve Westly. As the ads between the Democratic front-runners get nastier in this final week before the election, Schwarzenegger must be sitting back, laughing, and taking notes.

At the beginning of the primary season, I was actually have a small twinge of regret over not being a registered Democrat so that I could participate in the primary. But, they have proven once again that I was correct a decade ago when I changed my party registration to Green.

The latest attacks from Westly focus on Angelides' friendship (and the attached $9 million in contributions) with Angelo Tsakopoulos, a major Sacramento area developer. The implication is that by taking $9 million from Tsakopoulos, Angelides might be in the pocket of the developer and his pro-growth, anti-environment agenda.

Developer gives millions for Angelides - Gifts not directly to campaign, but to groups backing candidate (SF Gate)

I'll stick up for Angelides here. I don't think the $9 million will change his point of view or potential stance on any issues pertaining to development. "Why not?" you ask. "How can you be so naive?" Here's why: Angelides doesn't need Tsakopoulos to tell him to favor developers. He's a developer himself.

Angelides would have you believe he's the dedicated public servant running against the evil businessman, Steve Westly from eBay. The truth is that even with all that eBay money that Westly may have, Angelides is actually the richer of the two men, and he made that money through suburban sprawl. One need only drive south from the state capitol through Elk Grove and the surrounding environs to see the handiwork of Mr. Angelides.

Not that being a developer should disqualify somebody from holing public office. Just if you would like to encourage some sustainable growth policies, like re-using urban brown fields, recycling existing developments, and leaving the main watershed alone.

If you liked Gray Davis, you'll love Phil Angelides. He's grayer than Gray.

Now, does all this mean that I think Steve Westly is any better or cleaner? Probably not. But, until the barrage of negative ads I would have given him a better shot at defeating Schwarzenegger. Now, I think the primary is a waste of time because they've already assured Schwarzenegger's re-election.

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