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The Local Losers

Our definitive rundown on the people who will definitely, positively not be your next governor. So why are they running?

By Metro Staff

'LONG SHOT" MIGHT very well be every candidate's nickname in the burgeoning pool party that is the California recall--with the exception, of course, of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who already enjoys his share of overblown nomenclature, and Cruz Bustamante, unless Davis' minions pick him apart like jackals on a wildebeest in the next couple of weeks. Seeing as bookies are offering astronomical odds on the 133 non-Terminator, non-Cruz candidates, Metro had to wonder: why run at all? What point are these candidates trying to make, in their race to become gubernatorial losers? Why throw out good money just to see your name in chad-pocked print?

Celebrity long shots such as Larry Flynt and Gary Coleman evidently have their own agendas for infamy, but what about the little guys, the local guys, who have tossed their chapeaux into the ring? Could it be that they have answers to the mind-boggling California economic dilemma? Or is it just that "gubernatorial candidates" looks good on a résumé? In pursuit of answers to these questions, we contacted all the local candidates to test their masochistic mettle. Behold, the losers.


Photographs By Michael Belkin

Robert Cullenbine
Democrat
Palo Alto
Retired Businessman

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"Well, I really found the entire recall process to be a real farce. I thought that this would be an opportunity to use my candidacy as a platform to exploit that and argue for a 'no' vote on it."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I'm retired. This is a one-time shot."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"Zero dollars."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I hope so. I will be putting links on my website to really good writers who oppose the whole idea of a recall. That's where people can primarily see the argument that I want to make."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"I'm a worried voter. I'm really worried about the direction of the country and the state; we're moving way, way dangerously to the right. ... I'm becoming a radical moderate."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"No, I'm going to vote no on the recall. I'm going to vote for Bustamante. ...I'm probably more qualified than Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that's not saying much. There's four people on my block who are more qualified than Arnold."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"I have a degree in economics from Stanford, and I wouldn't even begin to think I could solve the budget crisis."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I'd try and make a deal with him: look, Arnold, if you won't challenge me to arm wrestling, I won't challenge you to a battle of wits."


Scott Davis
Independent
Palo Alto
Business Owner

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I've always been politically involved. I had a number of people involved who thought I should run because I had good ideas for government, for fiscal responsibility. ... Obviously, the chances of me winning are quite slim, but that doesn't mean I can't make an impact."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I'm going to continue to run my software consulting company. Politically, my aspiration would be something like city council, local government or state government. I certainly have targets on state Legislature."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"Probably a couple of hundred thousand, maybe more if we can raise more."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I think disaffected voters will go for the Gary Colemans. I'm not doing this to be part of the mockery; I'm doing this to make a difference. I'll get votes from people who think I have good ideas. Also, my last name, Davis, might get some attention. My goal is to get 1 percent of the vote."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"I'm disaffected in the sense that I don't think California is being run properly. I've never voted for a joke candidate."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"At this point, yes."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"Part of my job is to teach manufacturing companies to procure goods cheaper and better--I'd use that same philosophy. I want to increase revenue through more jobs and not through more taxes."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"How would you terminate Gray Davis?"

Robert 'Butch' Dole
Republican
Milpitas
Small business owner

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I had to do that to get on the ballot. It was harder to come up with the signatures. Most of my friends turned out to be Democrats."

What do you hope to be when you grow up? Do you plan to run for other offices in the future?

"I may retire with one defeat."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"As little as possible. I'm a frugal person. That's basically what this is all about, about being frugal."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I'm hoping I will lure all voters. Those who are disaffected and those who are not."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"No, not really."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"I plan on voting for myself. The whole purpose of this is to get into office."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"The first thing I'm going to do is take a 20 percent pay cut and request the rest of the politicians follow suit, and then we'll have to work on getting small businesses back."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I'd ask him if he wanted to arm wrestle."


Diana Foss
Willow Glen
Democrat
No occupation listed

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I was so mad. The structure of the recall was the best way to protest it. It was too easy to get on the ballot."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"This might lead to more political involvement ... in local politics."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"It's going to be free media all the way. I'm going to get my message out to whoever pays attention."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I hope to reach the anti-recall people."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"I have voted in every election I've been eligible for. ... I do understand why people don't want to vote. But people do make a difference."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"I haven't decided. ... I do want to keep a Democrat in the governor's chair. Davis was elected less than a year ago. Then, not for not committing any crimes but just because Ted Costa was mad at him, he has to face this recall election."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"I want split-roll property taxes. The threshold in the Legislature for passing the budget should be changed to 55 percent. We should have multiyear budgets."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I want him to be more specific. It's easy to say you're going to march into Sacramento and clean house. But how do you plan to work with this Legislature?"

Stephen L. Knapp
Republican
Los Gatos
Engineer

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"The regular person on the street has never had a better chance to become governor of California. I think I'm a smart guy, and I have a lot of common sense."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I'm happily employed as a laser engineer, so I'll continue with my career."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"I've agreed not to spend more than $1,000. My wife is my campaign manager."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I stand for the average person out there."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"I've always believed in voting, but I have not actively campaigned for anyone before."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"Yes."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"We have a lot of work to do to cut down that deficit. The big two are health care and education. We need to take a hard look at those systems and streamline them. We're pouring money into the schools and still getting poor performance."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I'd ask him how he expects to be the people's governor. I've heard no stance on any issues."


Dick Lane
Democrat
Sunnyvale
Educator

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run, knowing success is such a long shot?

"I reject the premise--I don't think it's a long shot. I'm running to win."

What do you hope to be when you grow up?

"My plans are to become governor of California, nothing more."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"I'll spend what is necessary. This is something that is strange to me--the four top people on the Republican ticket are all multimillionaires. The average wage in California is $33,000 a year. So you tell me why a person making $33,000 a year would vote for a multimillionaire who promises, 'I will work for you.' Mr. Schwarzenegger promised to sweep the Capitol--he doesn't even sweep his own house!"

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"Of course."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"No. I've participated in all elections. Mr. Schwarzenegger hasn't voted in the past five out of 11."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"Yes ... and I'll twist the arms of everybody I can to vote for me."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"Consolidating various [duplicated] state agencies such as the state teachers retirement system and the public employees retirement system. ... Cut out a lot of waste. Prioritize what we spend on. When you and I have a budget problem ... we have to decide what's important. In terms of California, I think the most important thing is higher education. I teach at San Jose State, and the situation is a disaster. 30,000 students will not find a place in the system in the coming year. One of the things I'd promise to do is to fire the chancellor, Charles Reed, who has led this system to a disaster."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I'd ask Arnold if he really knows how many Republicans there are in the Senate and Assembly--it's ridiculous to think he can get things done as a Republican governor in a Democratic-led state. ... Out of the 130-something running there are only three of us who have won an election--Cruz Bustamante, McClintock and I. My experience is what I'm offering the people of California."


Bryan Quinn
Republican
San Jose
Businessman

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I'm a strong believer that government needs to be run like a business. Any business that has the debt-to-income ratio that California has, their board of directors would say, 'We need to reorganize ourselves.' The way to do that is through bankruptcy."

What do you hope to be when you grow up?

"I'd like to start my own business, work with a pre-IPO company, and get into politics later in life. I do not want to be a career politician; career politicians become corrupt."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"As much as I can. ... I know it takes money to win. If I had $10,000 I think I could run a successful campaign."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I think so. Especially younger Californians. ... this [recall] is something the nation has never seen before; I think we'll be looking at one of the highest voter turn-out rates this country has ever seen."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"No, not at all."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"Yes, I am. If you're not planning to vote for yourself, why are you running? ...I'm a Republican, I'm very conservative; too many people take these things very lightly."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"Gray Davis has gotten into so many special interest groups that it's been chaining California down for years to come. He's allowed companies like Oracle and Enron to take California to town. Only the federal courts have the ability to declare a contract unfair and to renegotiate."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"'How on earth do you think we can solve the economic crisis?' That's the same question I'd ask any single candidate--not one has answered this question."


Sharon Rushford
Independent
San Jose
Commercial construction company owner

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I'm not a celebrity, but that doesn't mean I can't get in there and do some good. ... When was the last time Arnold Schwarzenegger sat behind a desk and worked hard? I know what it takes to run a business. [And] I want to bring justice back into managed health care."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"Retired."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"Less than $1,000. ... Not everyone can get a billionaire's backing to run for governor."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"No, I think they're too afraid to vote for someone like me. People are afraid of change. It's just in their nature."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"No."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"Yes."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"You have to get in there with regard for the good of the many without disregard for the good of the few."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"Why didn't you just answer the question and tell them what you thought [about gay marriage]?"


Georgy Russell
Democrat
Mountain View
Software engineer

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I think that Californians deserve a candidate that's willing to speak candidly about things like the budget crisis and controversial issues like gay marriage and abolishment of the death penalty."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I want to be somebody who has an impact."

How much do you plan to spend on campaigning?

"I'm not going to spend much of my own money."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"I hope so, yes."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"Yes."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"Mmm, hmm."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"I would first of all eliminate borrowing at high interest rates and pursue alternative sources of revenue. [For example:] A temporary tax increase on wealthy individuals making over $280,000 a year. Make sure you put the word 'temporary' in there."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"I would ask him what he's going to do to solve the current budget crisis and what he's going to do to ensure long-term economic stability in California. And I would ask him where he stands on gay marriage."

Daniel Watts
Green
San Jose
UC San Diego college student

Why did you fork out the $3,500 to run?

"I'll probably have to pay a little less than half of that. [By gathering extra signatures.] The reason that I wanted to run was because of the fee increases in public colleges in California."

What do you hope to be when you grow up?

"President of the United States. When I plan to run for serious office, I think I'll start with city council or something."

How much do you plan on spending for campaigning?

"Less than $1,000."

Do you think you will lure disaffected voters?

"No, I don't think I'll lure any voters except for my friends and family."

Are you a disaffected voter?

"Not really. I think the whole recall process is fun."

Are you going to vote for yourself?

"It's my only chance to vote for myself running for governor, so I might as well."

In 25 words or less, how would you solve the budget crisis?

"I would reduce spending across the board so it kept pace with inflation and immigration. ... Except for UC, I'd probably increase spending there. I would raise property taxes on corporations, or something like that. I haven't thought of that. My platform is just lower UC fees."

If you got into a debate, what would you ask Schwarzenegger?

"Can I have your autograph?"


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From the August 21-27, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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