A Berkeley physician has launched a recall of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Dr. Kenneth Matsumura served a recall petition on Governor Schwarzenegger Friday, October 7, in Sacramento.
The governor has 14 days to make a formal reply to the petition.
After California’s Secretary of State Bruce McPherson verifies the validity of some 100 signatures on the petition to determine whether it qualifies, the process of collecting the 1.4 million signatures of registered voters required to force Schwarzenegger into a recall election will begin.
Two years ago, when then-Governor Gray Davis was forced into a recall election, Schwarzenegger defeated Davis and a handful of other candidates to win the governorship. He has announced that he will seek re-election in next year’s general election.
In addition to his medical practice, Matsumura is the chairman and research director of Alin Foundation, a Berkeley biotech concern that was founded in 1962. The bio-artificial liver he invented was listed as an Invention of the Year by Time Magazine in 2001. When asked if he would run for governor, Matsumura said, “Recently, I also discovered a new drug that is eliminating toxic side effects of cancer chemotherapy in clinical trial patients. My patients will kill me if I run for an office!”
At a press conference in Berkeley, Matsumura said that he was filing the recall petition “on behalf of the poor and the students of California, who have been greatly harmed by Schwarzenegger’s policies of making cutbacks without raising taxes.”
According to Matsumura, “Shortly after taking office two years ago, Schwarzenegger coped with a multi-billion dollar state budget shortfall by transferring to the state money that is usually available to cities for all their programs, from healthcare and fire services to library and sewer maintenance. Both cities and the state of California had suffered revenue losses due to the economic downturn after the burst of the internet ‘bubble’ of the nineties, and in the aftermath of 9-11.
“When Schwarzenegger campaigned for election, he pledged to protect the public schools’ budget. However, soon after taking office, he took over $2 billion from the budget for public schools to fund other state programs – even though voters had in 1999 passed Proposition 98, mandating that the education budget be protected from economic ups and downs. With billions missing in their budget, schools have had to lay off experienced teachers and eliminate programs such as art and music classes.”
Matsumura also alleged that Schwarzenegger tried to scuttle the legislature’s guidelines that reduced by one the number of patients a nurse must care for during a shift, saying, “As a physician, I know how dangerous this is. Research has shown that overworking the nurses often leads to hospital errors, patient injuries and death.”
Matsumura also claimed that “Hospitals and healthcare facilities that care for the poor are on the verge of closing because Schwarzenegger refuses to raise taxes.”
Matsumura went on to say that it makes more sense for him to work for a recall than to just keep struggling for programs for the poor.
Matsumura also noted that the cost of a special recall election could be avoided by including the recall vote in the June Primary elections. “The 2006 legislature will still be in session for three months after the primaries. By ousting Schwarzenegger in June, and electing a more sensitive, mature governor, we can rescue California from the disastrous course it is on now.”
If the recall campaign is successful, it would be the second time in California history that a governor was removed, out of 32 recall attempts in the 94 years since the recall provision was enacted.The website at www.recall2006.com contains the complete text of the petition, with a list of grounds for the recall.