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Candidate Questionnaires

There are two questionnaire databases below presented in different orders.

The first questionnaire database is in order of candidate with the questions, answers, and my comments on those answers.

The second questionnaire database is in order of the question, with all 70 or so candidates for which a questionnaire was filled out.

Table

Primary Sort Criterion

Secondary Sort Criterion

1

Candidate First Name-Last Name

Question and Answer Number

2

Question and Answer Number

Candidate First Name-Last Name

I say “for which a questionnaire was filled out” because I filled out some of them for two very different reasons.

The first is that the candidate or the candidate’s staff referred me to their web site for answers! Well, I hope they like the results!

The second is that they were playing the Recall Election for laughs and wouldn’t respond to my request for answers to my questions. I thought it only fair since they had cost us all at least the marginal, incremental expense of the ink and all associated expenses for a mere $3500 in return, that we could have some fun with them. All of the Joker Candidates have to some degree or another, commercial motivations. How do I know this? Easy! They’re selling things on their web site. Some of them do not have purely commercial motivations, but they do have impurely political ones!

The column label fields in the first of these two databases are the following:

Candidate's First Name-Last Name

Name of Candidate (used for sort order)

Q&A#

The number of the Question and Answer.

Question

The question of course corresponding to the Question number.

Answer

The answer of course (if any) corresponding to the Question.

Comment

The comment (if any) corresponding to all of the foregoing.

The second database order varies the order of columns. It seemed to make better sense to have the question number column come before the Candidate name column for that presentation order.

The Candidate Questionnaires which I sent out had 9 questions, 0 through 8. Yes, I know there shouldn’t be a question 0! But, it didn’t start out that way! I had a Question 4 that was too complex for all but one candidate. It asked who they would prefer to receive the most votes for Governor if they weren’t elected. Of course I didn’t realize that they would take a vote against the Recall as a vote for Governor, the current one, Davis. To make things worse, I broke the questions into two cases: the recall succeeding or the recall failing. This crossed their eyes—all except for one William Tsangares in fact. So I broke it down into two questions, 0 and 4 which you will see explained below. I had to go back to those who had already responded and try to get an adjustment to their responses. But, getting responses from candidates is like herding cats! So, it was a struggle. And they still didn’t understand! Sigh.

The Meaning of the Questions and the Range of Answers

Question 0. Do you want to be governor. And if not, who would you prefer to be Governor?

You see, I encountered candidates that were running, but didn’t want to be Governor, even if they were in favor of the Recall. Of course if you are opposed to the Recall, you don’t want to be Governor. But, if the Governor is recalled, then of course you are available, unless you don’t want to be Governor even then! Confused? That’s only natural. The Candidates are often both confusing and confused as to motivation!

If you are a minor candidate, and are opposed to the Recall, the only rational reason I can think of to run is that people will be afraid of your election and will therefore defeat the Recall! But my assumption was that you are a minor candidate with no realistic chance of election; so, anyone fearing your election is themselves irrational!

What might be more likely is that if someone likes you, likes your platform, your category, or just your name, you will draw votes! Then welcome aboard! You will draw votes from the chronically confused! I wish they wouldn’t vote anyway. They will also probably vote for the Recall, just to have some excitement in their life and to justify their choice of a replacement.

Of course because of the change of questions, some Candidates simply did not answer this question, leaving you and me to guess. I tried to figure it out and label any speculations as such.

The second question is question 1! Oy weh! Just add one to the question number to determine the whichth it is.

Question 1. Do you favor or oppose the recall of the Governor? (Favor/Oppose?)

Now it turns out, that not every Candidate was comfortable answering this question. Politicians are typically weasels. Some of the Candidates, it seems, have a real flair for politics—in its more unsavoury aspects that is!

Oppose and Favor were not sufficient choices it turns out. There were Candidates who intended to abstain and (logically enough) recommended abstention. There were those for whom no position could be determined. Either they wouldn’t answer; they had no web site; or would take no position, piously folding their hands and saying, “It is up to the will of the People!” Some recommended abstaining. Some were indifferent to the outcome. I called such a response, “Neutral.”

Question 2. Do you have the endorsement of any organizations or parties and if so which ones?

Almost all of the Candidates (especially in a field of 135) are by the nature or the contest, Minor Candidates. There aren’t very many official parties (eight I think) and not all of them have or will endorse a candidate. Some unofficial parties, such as the Socialist Equality Party, endorsed a Candidate who was listed as an Independent.

Surprisingly (if you are unaware of the political situation in California) there were few organizational endorsements for any but a few candidates. Many of them could get a lot of personal endorsements, but not organizations, or they didn’t try, or the ones they might have been in good with typically take no positions on such matters.

The sad fact is that most candidates now-a-days are volunteers. They are not put forward by grassroots action and they are not supported by grassroots organizations later either. A volunteer organization organized by the Candidate is NOT a grass-roots organization.

This volunteer situation comes from the typical neutrality (especially among Republicans) among volunteer nominees from their party who are selected in Party primaries. A Primary held at public expense does not necessarily imply official Party neutrality towards the nominee. Party caucus states spare the expense of publicly funded Primaries. I personally favor broadly based privately organized Party caucuses to select candidates with a single instant runoff (Australian ballot), publicly funded, general election. This would save us the expense of one election and further weaken the Parties, already greatly weakened (some would say emasculated) by Hiram Johnson’s reforms.

Question 3. Why are you running?

Now some candidates took this as a psychological question and others took it as an opportunity to dump their campaign statement on me with a mini-bio, a statement of the problems they say and even an outline of their solutions.

Some were running because someone else had asked them too. The ones who claimed this were often leaders in minor parties who got the job of running because of that leadership, or because they drew the short straw!

Many were running to save us. Some were running as a joke. Some were running to oppose the Recall! Go figure! They sure didn’t!

Some were running for sweeping and noble reasons, for instance to restore a republican (that’s little ‘r’ republican) form of government to the people.

Some were running because “Couldn’t we all just get along?”

Some were running to restore honesty to government. That’ll be the day! In fact that’ll be the day, that You the People vote your convictions instead of letting the media and special interests herd you in the direction they want you to go using fear and bandwagon psychology.

Many were running because they’re the greatest. It is just up to us to recognize that self-evident fact!

Some were running for pure self interest, but they didn’t say so unless they were playing their candidacy for laughs. Then they were likely to tell the truth about many of the other candidates who were not being entirely frank with us shall we say about their ignoble motives.

Question 4. If you aren’t elected, who would you like to be Governor?

Some of the smarter Candidates declined to state. Others were undecided. Others were frank about the fact that they had no chance and shared their true opinion with us. Some (perhaps most) of them were as uninformed as the rest of us and had no opinion. Some wanted someone of their party, sharing their convictions or solutions to win if they lost. Some wanted someone so much like themselves, that there wasn’t anyone but themselves who would fit the bill!

This was the complicated two-case question, before I changed the Questionnaire and it in combination with Question 0, it still was. Candidates tended to repeat their answers to question 0 here, because they had answered this question there, mistaking the intent of question zero’s second part which was only to be answered if they had answered ‘No’ to the first part.

Question 5. What are the legitimate functions of government?

This question establishes the guiding principles of government. It tells us where the Candidate is “really coming from.”

It is difficult to rid ourselves indeed of illegitimate functions of government, for once implemented, they tend to create their own constituencies for their preservation. This question is central to the battle between republicanism and socialistic corruptions of democracy.

The answers to this question help me tell friend from foe. And most are foes, for they have lost their sense of justice, and their taste for liberty. They are no longer fit to be citizens of the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free—nor to lead them. Those who depend upon government are not brave. Those who have an addiction of any sort are not free—though Libertarian proponents of freedom of addiction would have you think so!

Misunderstanding of the nature of this question was rampant. What I really wanted was a principle that would allow one to ask this question of any actual or proposed function of government, and answer it yes or no, namely, “Is this function of government legitimate?”

That seems simple enough doesn’t it? What I got were laundry lists, quotes direct from the Preamble to the United States Constitution. Only a small minority of the Candidates were interested in protecting your rights. Only a small minority thought to place any limits on government. Those who quoted the Preamble were generally not prepared to state the restrictions on “promoting the general welfare” stated in the body of the Constitution or in its Amendments, even after prompting.

Many of the Candidates mistook mode for function. They were going to be honest, efficient. What the functions of the government whose affairs they were going to conduct honestly were, they could not say. I wanted a noun, and they gave me an adverb. And who said parts of speech wouldn’t come in handy!?

Some who did answer a functional question were over broad. They were going to serve you. One at least was frankly a leveller, intent on redistribution of wealth. Many others were going to distribute the tax loot fairly or for the benefit of this or that class of people or project. They forgot that for those who do not create wealth, the distribution of it is always redistribution!

What is sorely lacking in almost all the Candidate’s responses is a proper understanding of the nature of government. I am fond of asking people that question, “What is government?” It seems like an even more fundamental question than what its functions are, unless you are going to define it in terms of its functions. Unfortunately for that, there is no function of government that is unique to it, which is not served in some way by individuals or NGO’s (non-governmental organizations). Whatever distinguishes government from other organizations is not function. I can hire private guards, buy a fire extinguisher, carry a gun (in some States still governed by the United States Constitution) all designed to serve primary functions of government. If you look at the so-called ‘welfare’ functions of government, which of them may I not attempt myself or with others on a voluntary basis?

George Washington perhaps said it best, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force!” What it is also is an organization whose support, membership in which, and obedience to is not voluntary. Whatever is not voluntary is subject to force, to coercion.

So the question of the legitimate functions of government come down to this, “What are the legitimate uses of the collective force of society?” Can you answer it? Did you ever think of it that way? If your answer is “nothing,” then you’re an anarchist!

If you took a clue from what I just said about government, you might conclude that its function was to conscript you into its ranks, force you to do things, and take things away from you! When you think of it that way, then looking for the proper limits to its inherently forceful means seems like an urgent task—if you are anything but a natural born slave or a would be tyrant!

Many Candidates indicated that government should serve the interest or will of the People. This is different from the Marxist view that the government inherently serves the interests of the ruling class. This is certainly true, a tautology, if you aggregate those in whose interest the government rules and call them the ruling class! And, just who would that be in this State today? Well, government employees, non government labor unions, and many single issue pressure groups united primarily by a devotion to government solutions. The answer is that here in California the government itself forms the bulk of the ruling class! The interest of the public employees is increasingly distinct from and contrary to the interests of the public at large.

Well, I’m not going to answer my question here. Look at my comments on answers to this question in the Questionnaire database for some notion of my views. I will place a separate document on this web site that will answer Question 5 and all the others as I believe they should have been answered by the Ideal Candidate, at least by my lights.

Question 6. Why should we or should we not recall the governor?

This question is related to Question 1, “Do you favor or oppose the recall of the Governor?” just as questions 0 and 4 are related. Given this relationship, we have a check on the consistency of the Candidate, and even more than that, an insight into whether they are capable of reading carefully and making ordinary distinctions.

This could easily be taken as an invitation to expand upon a simple answer to Question 1. If the Candidate had gone on at length in answering Question 1, then they were likely to refer back to it, or to repeat it here. Those who oppose the recall generally do not like to do so on the basis that the Governor has done a good job. Nor do they really try to say why the job isn’t all that bad. Instead they say that you do not have a right to recall a disastrous executive, or that too few of you will select his replacement, or that the person who paid for (not the initiator by the way) was self-interested. Few have advanced the penny ante objection of expense. Perhaps the extreme ratio of deficit to expense has prevailed on that one issue at least!

Or sometimes they say that criminal or civil offenses are the only legitimate reasons for a recall! But for such we have civil or criminal processes. They seem to miss the point that the Recall mechanism is intrinsically political. We had the right to put the Governor in the position he holds. Who else should exercise the right of removal, but the original appointer? If I hire, I should be able to fire.

And, who would want judges to remove Governors?! Are those who say that serious? Haven’t they had enough judicial lawlessness and tyrany already? Evidently not!

The best objections to the Recall lie in the critique of its electoral mechanisms. Our primary system does a rough and ready job of sorting candidates and producing almost everyones first or second choice as the winner. An even more efficient form of voting is the instant runoff where you rank the candidates in order of preference. In that case it is good to have several different choices, so you do not have to give any rank to those whom you abhor!

This method is called an Australian Ballot. In the era of computers, all that whining about its complexity seems rather dated, by the way. What you do in this system is redistribute the votes of voters for the candidate receiving the fewest votes in that round. In the next round you repeat this procedure until there is only one candidate. This can in principle still produce a successful candidate with fewer than half of the votes. It is inherently fairer though than our current two phase plurality system. You can modify it to require a runoff between the last two remaining candidates in the rare event, that the highest vote getter got only a plurality. That gives those who had not considered a choice between these two evils sufficient consideration to further inform themselves.

I personally advocate this system for all of our elections. I have no particular affection for parties although I adopt them as an expediency, a means to an end, an end which is a noble objective—Liberty and Justice for all!

Question 7. What are the most important problems facing California?

There are a fair variety of answers to this question. Some Candidates went on at great length. Some failed to provide solutions to problems they raised, or incapable of separating the questions of problems and solutions very clearly. Not a single Candidate noticed the overlap between Question 6 and 7 and separated problems primarily to the Governor’s mismanagement and corruption from ones either of longer standing or primarily caused by others.

Question 8. How would you solve or encourage the solution of these problems if you should become Governor?

Some Candidates gave extremely long answers to this one. I personally would have preferred a summary. How much attention do they expect people to pay to their ideas? Just how long do they think their attention spans are?

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."     2nd Peter 1:21