In the face of great scrutiny after the Gray Davis recall election fallout, Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven that he is serious about California politics. His detractors have continually questioned his commitment to education and the environment, but his actions have proven stronger than his opponents’ words. Under Schwarzenegger’s term, close to $2.6 billion was allocated to the construction of 540 new school buildings, while several important decisions were made about the University of California school system. Many have chastised Governor Schwarzenegger for the rising costs of a University education, but these critics forget that the increased fees are the result of our previous governor’s ineptitude. Any student who graduated from high school in 2004 knows this to be true, as it was Gray Davis’s mismanagement of funds that caused the UC to turn away more applicants than ever before. Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger has made great strides to reduce the impact of our previous governor’s failures. He has stuck by the 2004 UC and CSU compact to slow down the rate of tuition increases and his 2006-07 budget eliminates the scheduled 8 percent tuition increase.

In the environmental sector, Schwarzenegger has shown he is ready to make California a leader in conservation and pollution control. In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger spearheaded the Green Building Program, which mandates that all public buildings become 20 percent more energy efficient by 2015. Schwarzenegger has also provided a path to hinder the effects of global warming. Under his plan, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced to the levels they were at in 1990 by 2020, and in 2050, greenhouse gas emissions would be 80 percent lower then they were at in 1990. In contrast, despite his endorsement from the Sierra Club, Phil Angelides violated the Clean Water Act by building on flood plains during his early years as a real estate developer.

While the majority of the Daily Nexus editorial board consists of registered Democrats, it was very difficult for the staff to find anything appealing about Phil Angelides. The Daily Nexus feels he has nothing to offer other than his socially liberal ideals. Angelides’s campaign is riddled with empty promises and inconsistencies. For example, Angelides argues that “California’s prison system is the nation’s most expensive … and least effective in reforming and rehabilitating criminals,” yet he supports Proposition 83, which would cost the state millions of dollars to place GPS tracking devices on sex offenders – an operation which will likely be ineffective in lowering incidents of sexual assault and rape.

Although Arnold Schwarzenegger wasted the state’s money on a special election last fall that failed in every which way imaginable, he – unlike California’s past two governors – admitted that he was wrong. In the slimy world of politics, the Daily Nexus feels the governor has more integrity than his predecessors or his opponent. Perhaps the Democrats should have selected Steve Westly