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
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
The number of the Question and Answer.
The question of course corresponding to the Question
The answer of course (if any) corresponding to
The comment (if any) corresponding to all of
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
Do you want to be governor. And if not, who would you prefer to
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
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.
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.”
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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?