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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« June 24, 2003 | | June 26, 2003 »
June 25, 2003

A preference by any other name...

Californians might have thought their race-neutral admissions standards in higher education were safe from the Supreme Court’s “split-the-baby” decision in the University of Michigan case. But state Sen. Richard Alarcon, acting on behalf of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, is asking Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer to opine on whether the decision would somehow allow race preference advocates to get around California’s own Proposition 209. Maldef, Alarcon says, wants to know if California’s ban on preferences still means what it says even though the high court now says numerical preferences are bad while vague indefinable preferences are good. Seems unlikely. Maldef and Alarcon are forgetting that the beauty of 209 is that it bans not only preferences but also discrimination based on race or ethnicity. And even Sandra Day O’Connor admits that the stuff she approves of is discrimination. It’s just, in her view, good discrimination. Sorry, that flaky stuff they’re putting out in Washington won’t fly here in sensible, grounded, down-to-earth California.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:19 PM

Davis heightens counterattack

It’s generally not a good sign when a candidate for governor has public safety folks demanding that he “make public his full criminal record.” Which is what Rep. Issa is facing today in the wake of the story disclosing a second arrest for auto theft in his past. And Issa may yet go down in the face of the nuclear bomb the Davis folks are dropping on him. But I think Davis is better off with Issa in the race than without him. If Issa were to drop out of the running for governor, Davis would be left trying to persuade voters that they should oppose the recall because they never would have had a chance to vote for it if not for a twice-charged (though never convicted) car thief. That’s not going to fly. But if Issa is still there, with a chance to be governor if Davis is thrown out, then you have the ability for the governor to once again portray himself as the lesser of evils, his personal specialty.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:07 PM

Radanovich bows out

Another Central Valley Republican Congressman – George Radanovich – has just taken himself out of the running for the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer next year. His announcement follows a similar one by Rep. Doug Ose a few weeks ago and leaves the potential Republican field thinner and thinner for a seat once thought to be ripe for the picking. Still a possibility: U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:13 AM

More alarm bells for Issa

The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Rep. Darrell Issa was charged in a 1980 auto theft case in which the charges were later dropped. The never-before reported allegation was the second time that Issa was charged but not convicted of car theft. The first incident was made public at the time of his 1998 campaign for the US Senate. Both cases involved Issa’s brother William. The new report stems from a San Jose case in which Issa was charged with falsely reporting the theft of a Mercedes that his brother had sold to a San Jose car dealer. Issa, who was an Army officer at the time, said the car had disappeared from the Monterey airport while he was out of town. He denied knowing that his brother, posing as Darrell Issa, had sold the car.

While this story is classic political character assassination, it’s also something voters should know about the history of a guy who’s trying to take down the governor and get himself elected to the job. Issa says he’s always been up front about why he went into the car alarm business, which is the source of his personal fortune: “My brother was a car thief.”

But it remains to be seen whether the voters will trust that explanation. And if Issa, who more and more is becoming the public face of the recall, is taken down, will the recall fall with him?

Posted by dweintraub at 6:57 AM



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