Nine years ago, California Democrat Gray Davis became the first U.S. governor in 82 years to be recalled by voters. The state’s 20 million taxpayers still bear the cost of his four years and 10 months on the job.
California voters veer hard to the right on law-and-order issues, as politicians from both major parties have learned, defying stereotypes of a state of loony leftists. In recent months, attitudes have shown signs of changing.
California is parched. The state’s worst drought in decades has left its reservoirs half-naked, if not skeletal. Officials say 17 communities could run out of drinking water this summer; some are considering mandatory rationing; and 500,000 acres in the state may be left fallow.
Arnold Schwarzenegger swore after his first month as California governor that he’d rip up the state’s credit cards. Instead, the Republican former action- movie hero pushed through at least $52 billion of borrowing.
California Governor Jerry Brown has amassed $17 million from a well of donors including Exxon Mobil Corp., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and even porn mogul Larry Flynt for a re-election campaign without saying he plans to run.