Will Jeff Adachi save San Francisco? CA wants Gray Davis back

Adachi is Public Defender in San Francisco. He is also the agent of SMART Reform, a coalition of community, neighborhood and business leaders committed to Sustainable, Measured, Accountable, Result-oriented and Transparent (SMART) reform.

In May, SF SMART Reform embarked on its first project: putting a measure on the November ballot to reform the city’s retiree and healthcare benefits for city employees. The proposed charter amendment, known as the “Sustainable City Employees’ Benefits Reform Act,” would require all city employees to pay 9-10 percent into their pension funds, without changing their pension benefits. It also requires city employees to pay 50 percent of their family’s healthcare cost instead of 25 percent.

Good and necessary ideas. But it is not clear that California is ready for self government. A new survey by Public Policy Polling suggests that Californians want Gray Davis back. TPM reports that the new survey gives Arnold Schwarzenegger an approval rating of only 19 percent, with a whopping 71 percent disapproval. By contrast, Gray Davis's personal favorable rating is 32 percent, with an unfavorable rating of 44 percent. Respondents were asked: "Who would you rather have as Governor now, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Gray Davis?" The answer turned out to be Davis 44 percent, Schwarzenegger 38 percent.

Arnold was brought in on a random moment of hysteria during the invasion of Iraq when Californians thought they were better off with a Big Man. Being a movie actor, it figured that he must be the new Ronald Reagan. Makes sense, no? No?

There is not now and never has been any question in my mind that the Governator would one day ride the white horse to Washington, D.C. in a Palin, Romney or any other kind of Republican presidency. Quite possibly before I would guess. It would be strategically sensible for his pal Obama to poach him first and he can do that when the governor’s term is up in 2010. And Jerry Brown, well ahead of Meg Whitman now in the polls, will then take back CA just as he did when Ronald Reagan went to Washington. There is a certain twisted symmetry to it.

Maybe CA is still getting ready. Still awaiting the dawn. Getting ready for the “there” to appear there. It doesn’t seem to have arrived yet, but Adachi offers a start in the right direction.