California Yalies weigh in on recall vote by absentee ballot



Although he had already picked up his final rebate check, Phil Kenney ’05 made sure he checked his post office box last week.

Kenney, a resident of La Canada Flintridge, Calif., had requested an absentee ballot for the California recall vote. He said he has closely followed the recall despite being 3,000 miles away.

“It’s much more difficult to keep up with it here,” Kenney said. “I was back in California over the summer and it’s all over the news there. I did watch the debate on Wednesday. Other than that, I’ve been checking online and my parents have been keeping me updated.”

In the recall, which will take place on Oct. 7, Californians will decide whether Gov. Gray Davis should keep his office and, if not, who will succeed him. On the East Coast, Yalies from the Golden State have mixed opinions about the recall election and whose name they will punch on their absentee ballots.

Some people think the election is being perceived as a joke because several well-known actors and other nontraditional politicians like middleweight sumo wrestler Kurt E. Rightmyer (who “wants to cut the fat out of the budget so he can eat it”) have entered the race.

“I don’t know. I mean it’s funny that the recall is happening and it’s unbelievable that your state can be such a joke,” said Tre Borden ’06, a Sacramento native.

Borden said the notion of Arnold Schwarzenegger running the state is a scary one. Nevertheless, when it comes to filling out his absentee ballot, Borden intends on choosing the candidate with experience in recall — “Total Recall,” that is.

“Oh, I’m voting for the Terminator,” Borden said. “I think that would be awesome. I mean, he’d have good people working for him, and he’d be an awesome figurehead. We’d outdo Minnesota for the most off-the-wall governor.”

Borden added that the recall has merit as “a good exercise of the democratic process.”

Kenney, who mailed out his ballot Monday, agreed.

“I think it’s great,” Kenney said. “There are college students and even an amateur sumo wrestler running. I don’t like career politicians to begin with. I could see why people might think it’s a farce, but that’s democracy.”

Nora Kurose ’06 of South Pasadena was not as forgiving.

“The recall seems to be a complete waste of time and money,” she said. “The money that’s being spent on this recall could be much better used elsewhere.”

Kurose said she thinks the recall is absurd. Like many students, she mocked the elections.

“I’m just a relatively liberal girl who feels like actors should feel free to try to pursue a right-wing political position — just not in my state,” she said.

Sandy Sanchez ’06, of San Diego, joked about using the recall as a vehicle to launch her own political career.

“Yeah, I should be running for governor,” Sanchez said.

Although only jesting, had Sanchez filled out some paperwork, obtained 65 nomination signatures and paid a $3,500 filing fee (or collected 10,000 signatures and skipped the fee entirely), she could have declared her candidacy. Her name would have appeared on the ballot, along with Larry Flynt, Mary Carey and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.

In any case, as Borden explained, there is something uniquely “Cali” about the recall.

“What other state would have a porn star, a porn king, Gary Coleman and the Terminator on the governor ballot?” Borden asked. “Where else could you get away with this craziness and not have to secede from the union out of shame?”

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