A week before California’s historic gubernatorial recall election, the groping allegations against candidate Schwarzenegger began to surface. In the world of dirty politics this was no surprise.

Certain state lawmakers sympathetic to Gray Davis came out to denounce the leading candidate that posed a threat, preserver of their brand of politics. One of these was our local State Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson.

At a local anti-Arnie rally in Santa Barbara the Friday before the historic election, Mrs. Jackson made a public statement to reporters, questioning Arnold’s character as well as his accountability based on the accusations of what I refer to as “Gropergate.”

The day after the people of California spoke via the ballot box, Hannah-Beth Jackson gave another statement to the news media, in which she wished to express her willingness to work with newly elected Governor Schwarzenegger and that he has her full support.

Oh, how the tune changes when things don’t go your way.

It is a fact that we all say things we tend to regret later. But to make accusatory statements in public such as those made and to make them on allegations is dangerous to a political career. And then to completely switch positions on the previous sentiments shows some shady tendencies. Looks to me like somebody is trying to keep her job.

In recent polls Mrs. Jackson’s rating among local voters dropped significantly. The reasons could be many, but the attacks on a candidate’s character just before a big election may play into them.

Then there is a hypocritical and yet predictable side to it all, and it happened just this summer during the recent budget crisis. This occurred back in July when a group of 11 Democrat lawmakers – this group included Mrs. Jackson – met behind closed doors and plotted to intentionally delay the passing of a new state budget.

The reason for the delay was to further Democratic Party goals for the next election year. This is an all too common ploy, but what really hurt were the words of one lawmaker present with regards to prolonging the budget impasse: “To see the pain on their faces.” This comment was intended for Republican lawmakers, but the only faces with pain on them were those of the average California taxpayer.

So how do we know the contents of the meeting? A chamber microphone was left on and they didn’t know that the meeting was being aired throughout the state capitol building.

Everybody heard the intentional delay strategy and all other comments made. The lack of brilliance and accountability in this act alone is phenomenal. Showing even less accountability was the feeble attempt at explaining to all Californians any valid reason for the delay and the nature of the vicious comment, other than for personal or partisan goals.

Watching lawmakers such as Mrs. Jackson backpedal to explain this mishap was somewhat amusing. Even more amusing was the anger expressed by the same lawmakers, not at the fact that they committed wrong, but that they got caught in the act.

There’s an election coming up, voters don’t forget and the number one official in the state has just been fired by the will of the people. All these should amount to some cooperation between lawmakers and the new governor, should they want to continue their tenure as our representatives. The memory of voters in the state of California has always served them well.

Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident.