Jewish World Review June 25, 2003 / 25 Sivan, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
Gumby vs. Mayor Mike
Which politician is more reviled by his own
constituents -- California Gov. Gray Davis or New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?
The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll
found that a measly 28 percent of Californians
approve of Davis' handling of his job. Hence the
movement to recall him.
In New York, the bloom is off hizzoner's rose. A New
York poll found that Bloomberg's approval rating -- 24
percent -- was at a record low.
California critics describe Davis' approach to
governance as "nonstop fund- raising" -- another way
of saying barely governing. Davis has worked his
whole life to be governor. Once elected, he went light
on doing the job.
The New York Daily News sums up Bloomberg's
approach to governing as his "nonconfrontational
style" -- a euphemism for ineffective.
Both pols are facing big deficits in their budgets.
California state coffers have a $38 billion hole. New
York's shortfall is about $3.8 billion.
Californians are angry at Davis because he spent too
much time fund-raising and campaigning last year,
when he should have been paying more attention to
the state's growing revenue shortfall.
New Yorkers are miffed with Bloomberg because he
has spent too much time telling other people how to
behave -- as in the city's new ban against smoking in
bars in restaurants -- when he should have been
making Gotham's government run better.
Changes in workers' compensation laws under Davis
have driven California employers' premiums through
the roof, hurting employers and jobs.
New York businesses are being dinged as city
workers fine them under an obscure law for such
offenses as displaying illicit signage on awnings.
Awnings with the words "cold beer" -- rather than
simply the establishment's name -- can earn a fine of
Both politicians also show a deficit in their
Sacto wags call Davis "Gumby." Even the statewide
officers who say they won't run in a recall election
have made it clear they don't like Davis.
New York tabloids have dubbed Bloomberg "Mayor
Mike." The citizenry call him puritanical, prissy, a
grinch lookalike and a busybody.
Davis has been happy to allow others to take the
credit for tax hikes. Just before his own finance
director Steve Peace raised the vehicle license fee --
at an average cost of $158 more per car owner --
Davis told the Sacramento Bee the decision was "up
to the financial officers of the state."
Bloomberg has shown himself willing to take the heat
for higher parking tickets, hiring more ticket writers
for parking and business infractions and calling for
unpopular budget cuts. His methods for enhancing
city revenues have small business owners furious
with Bloomberg for balancing the city budget on their
Last year, Davis spent some $77 million of other
people's money to win re- election, but he won after
chasing 1.3 million voters away -- 3.5 million
Californians voted for Gumby in 2002, as opposed to
4.8 million in 1998.
Bloomberg spent more than $50 million of his own
money to win the mayor's seat. Now Gloomberg is
so unpopular that there are unsubstantiated rumors
that Bill Clinton will replace him as mayor in 2005.
In California, tongues wag that Arnold
Schwarzenegger will pummel Davis if there's a recall
election, which could happen this year. The bad
news for Davis is that the more he spends to keep
his seat, the less he governs and the more likely he
is to lose.
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06/16/03: Feeling sorry for Hillary
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate