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09/07/2003 Entry: "No parade for Schwarzenegger"

"LOS ANGELES, Sept. 7 Race and politics, two of the unsolvable riddles of California life, collided this morning at the corner of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Indiana Street during the Mexican Independence Day parade.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger, who until two days ago was to be the grand marshal, was unceremoniously dumped when organizers rescinded his invitation. Instead, it was Gov. Gray Davis in attendance, the hero of the moment in the Latino community for having signed a bill on Friday that gives illegal immigrants the right to hold driver's licenses.

"Parade organizers said Democratic politicians had put pressure on them to drop Mr. Schwarzenegger, but Mr. Davis's camp denied any involvement.

"'Absolutely not,' said Peter Ragone, the governor's spokesman. 'We had no contact with anyone.'

"Today's contretemps capped a week of racial pandering and wedge-issue politics in the California recall race that left none of the top candidates unstained.

"Mr. Davis was tagged by his critics as a toady to Latinos and the far left when he signed the driver's license bill. Only a few months ago, before the threat of his recall, Mr. Davis vetoed the bill because, he said, it lacked safeguards to stop criminals or terrorists from changing their identities by acquiring a California license. It does not require a background investigation and other measures Mr. Davis requested.

"'I am honored to have signed it,' Mr. Davis said today.

"Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante, who has run on the platform that the governor should not be recalled, but that if Mr. Davis is recalled he is the best choice to replace him, opened the ethnic can of worms last Sunday, when he accused Mr. Schwarzenegger, an immigrant from Austria, of being anti-immigrant.

"Mr. Bustamante, the grandson of Mexican immigrants and the first Latino elected to statewide office in California in a century, found himself accused of being a hypocrite. As a state assemblyman in 1993, he voted to deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, who had held the privilege for decades.

"And Mr. Bustamante was pilloried for exploiting the campaign finance laws to accept $1.5 million from an Indian tribe that runs a casino."
Ethnic Issues in California Recall Play Out at Latino Parade, by Charlie LeDuff, NY Times, September 8, 2003 (ID: hackenbush PW: hackenblog or vice versa)

You can say a lot of things about California, but you can never say it's dull.

And it's not easy being a California girl these days, I must say.

Oh, and click here for more Schwarzenegger fun!

 

 

 

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