I know that, perhaps, it is futile to ask Democrats not to vote for Gray Davis in the coming election. Nonetheless, I cannot in good conscience sit by silently while the governor is re-elected because of the weaknesses of Bill Simon. Davis is surely of no stronger character than Simon.

Any economist could have told – and some did tell, if I remember correctly – Davis that the “energy crisis” was manufactured by the energy companies in order to create extraordinary profits. Common sense could have told Davis that it was manufactured. California goes from a perfectly functioning energy infrastructure with no brownouts to a collapsing industry with rolling blackouts in one year?

I think not.

But then, Davis does not appear to think too hard about much other than raising campaign funds and slinging mud at his opponent. That must be the case, or else he would not have signed a bill guaranteeing higher energy prices – and thereby guaranteeing profits for energy companies – for a fixed period of time. Does anyone really want someone that oblivious in charge of California in general, let alone in a crisis situation?

Furthermore, I do not believe Davis will keep his promises to the voters. I remember when he campaigned the first time and said his first priority was education, his second priority was education and his third priority was education. Davis won my support with that speech.

And then he took office.

Two years into his term, I was a senior in high school in Monterey. The only new education legislation anyone could bring to mind was a bill that required strenuous exit exams for high school seniors. Bravo. Now a high school diploma from a California public school may be worth something. But does that affect the quality of education the students receive? No. It was merely one step in a long, necessary process to heal California’s educational system, but the media championed it as though Davis had solved the education problems in the state.

Then came Monterey’s educational crises. The first of a series of massive budget deficits struck the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, and the ceiling in one of the classrooms of Monterey High actually collapsed on a class of students, injuring two and causing two buildings to be condemned. The “education governor” came to a neighboring high school in the same district during these crises, and all he talked about was proposed legislation that would provide incentive to future teachers. When he was asked what he thought about the budget crisis, he dodged the question, and one of his lackeys announced that his busy schedule required him to leave, even though he wanted to continue the discussion.

So please, I beg all Californians to not vote along party lines in the race for governor, but take a chance with Bill Simon. Davis has proven himself to be unfit for office in times of duress and morally lax with regard to promises. So I leave off my tirade with a quote from Mae West: “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”

Justin Cunningham is junior political science/economics double major.