We Post Transcript & Sound Clips Of CA Senate Debate & Vote On Motion Demanding Apology From Gov. Davis For "Shouldn't Be Gov. Unless Can Pronounce Name of State" Remark: See Recorded Vote
(Sept. 9, 2003) -- LBReport.com posts below a transcript (unofficial) and sound clips of today's debate in the CA state Senate on a motion by Senator Jim Brulte (R., Rancho Cucamonga) to demand an apology from Governor Gray Davis for a remark aimed at recall candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger that "you shouldn't be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state."
The vote in the 40-member Senate was 19-2...with 19 not voting. All fifteen Republicans and four Democrats (Senators Martha Escutia, Gloria Romero, Dede Alpert and Liz Figueroa) voted for the motion. Two Democrats (Senators Shiela Kuehl and Gil Cedillo) voted against the motion. Nineteen Democrats did not respond on the roll call vote and were recorded "not voting." They included LB area state Senator Betty Karnette and southbay-LB area state Senator Debra Bowen.
The transcript below was prepared and provided by Sen. Brulte's office. We monitored and recorded the audio sound clips via the Senate internet audio server. To launch the sound in MP3 format, click the hyperlinked text.
[Senator Brulte moved that the Senate demand an apology from the Governor for
his anti-immigrant remarks last weekend.]
Romero - Members. Senator Brulte has moved that the Senate demand an
apology from the Governor for his anti-immigrant remarks last weekend. The
motion was continued until today. Is there any discussion or debate?
Recognize Senator Brulte. Will you open?
Brulte - I would like to say that this Senate, on a bi-partisan basis has
historically taken the position that those types of comments are
inappropriate. We have demanded an apology in the past. We have done that
on a bi-partisan basis. In the interest of bi-partisanship, I have removed
the word "condemn" from my motion. But it just strikes me that as we stand
here today, the question for the Senate is, are we going to be consistent?
Are we going to demand that this Governor apologize for the inappropriate
remark? Or are we going to put to lie all the other condemnations that we
have made in the interest of integrity?
Romero - Senator Murray.
Murray - Senator Brulte yesterday referred to a congressman that was
condemned and we have yet to hear what it was that congressman said, so that
we can, frankly, compare it to what was said by the Governor. And then, I
wish to also point out that the Governor referred to Mr. Schwarzenegger's
pronunciation of California and quite frankly, he could have been referring
to his intellect as opposed to his accent. But I would like to hear this
Brulte - I actually thought we gave that to the desk yesterday. But I'll
bring that down. It was in the analysis of Assembly Joint Resolution 30
that was carried by Senator Vasconcellos on this floor.
Murray - ...yesterday that David (Senate Clerk) read it. So let's hear it.
Brulte - Let's get it to the clerk. But Mr. Murray, having voted to condemn
and ask for the resignation of that congressman based on his statements, one
would presume you read his statement before you voted to condemn it.
Murray - That was then and this is now. You are asking for my vote now. I
would like to know the details that you referred to yourself. Let's have it
Brulte - I will get (interrupted).
Murray - The argument does not make it any more intellectual.
Romero - Members. We're going to go one at a time. We're going to go one at
a time. Senator Alpert.
Alpert - Yes, Madame President. I wonder if I might make a suggestion to
Senator Brulte. Senator Brulte, I wonder if I took responsibility with you
jointly and actually preparing a letter that we might send to the Governor,
if that might be a more appropriate action to take if you might consider
that as a possibility. And then we could bring it to the membership on the
floor and perhaps, get sign-off from the members on the floor.
Romero - Senator Brulte.
Brulte - You know Mrs. Alpert, I think my reputation around here is one of
trying to find accommodations and make things work and if that's the
ultimate outcome, that may be something that's acceptable. But the question
I would ask is, when a Republican makes a statement that is inappropriate,
why is it appropriate for this floor to publicly condemn them and put them
to a vote? When Mrs. Honeycutt made a racial statement that was
inappropriate, why did the Democrats in the Legislature at the time demanded
she rise to the floor and publicly apologize? When Mr. Knight did it, why
did he have to publicly apologize? But when it's the Governor, when it is a
Democrat, obviously, the rules changed. And I am fine with whatever outcome
you want. But don't stand and appear to be pious and condemn Republicans
when they make remarks that you say are anti-immigrant or racial slurs. But
then when we want to apply the same standard you apply to the Democratic
Governor of this State, you say, oh, well that standard shouldn't apply here,
that's politics. I'd rather have you defeat my motion, put the lie to every
motion and vote you ever cast in this regard than work on a letter.
Romero - Senator Kuehl.
Kuehl - Thank you Madame President. Two things I guess. The Legislature of
the State of California and, indeed, every other Legislature and the
Congress are mostly in the business of drawing lines. That's what we do.
We say, if you act a certain way, you are within the law. If you act
another way, you are outside the law. That's what we do. We draw lines.
And yesterday, when we had this issue bought up, the request that we
reviewed the act that led to the condemnation of the statements of a Member
of Congress by the Legislature, we were asked to review that language. And
I will tell you where I draw the line. When a group of people who have been
placed in an interment camp are referred to or where a group of people who
have been placed in jail by the INS are referred to who have no recourse -
no one representing their point of view. That's one thing. Where a man who is
powerful enough to be running for the gubernatorial seat of the State of
California is referred to, that's another thing. I feel the guy can
take care of himself. And that was the referral. He's not individually an
oppressed group. Far from it. Far from it. And I'd draw the line there.
In the midst of a gubernatorial campaign, I believe that the candidates that
I prefer have also been slurred in one way or another. No one has asked for
condemnation of the language aimed at them. And we have heard references to
"aztlam." We have heard references to Mr. Bustamente's membership in MEChA,
an organization for which I was first advisor at UCLA because there were no
deans of color in our office at the moment and I said sure. I'll advise the
Black student union too and I did. They didn't want a whole lot of advice
in the late '60s but, hey, I was there.
My second point is I believe there had been, proposed by the President Pro
Tem of this body, a conversation between Mr. Brulte and Ms. Romero, Dr.
Romero, Senators both, as to what might be a proper outcome. I believe
Senator Romero, though she cannot speak because she's chairing at the
moment, had asked that a letter be sent to the Governor which might be
circulated for us to sign and reiterated by Senator Alpert. And I think
that's a better outcome. So before we start yelling at each other about
who's been offended by what and what consistencies there are, I think we
ought to look at what the request was, what the offer is, and maybe, calmly
find a way through this.
Escutia - Thank you very much Madame President and Members. I was here
those few years ago when Ms. Honeycutt made those comments and when Mr.
Knight made those comments. And yes, they were very painful. And yes, I am
not going to deny that when the Governor made fun of Mr. Schwarzenegger's
accent, it was very, very painful, especially someone like me who speaks
with an accent. And many times, I say, Cal-ee-fornia also. I would just
hope, Mr. Brulte as I indicated to you yesterday, that, if ultimately, what
you're seeking is some type of apology because I know that is what's in your
heart, then I think which ever way you get that apology should really not
make a difference. We spoke about this yesterday and you said you would
gladly go for a letter that could circulate. I told you yesterday that I
would sign a letter seeking an apology from the Governor. Ms. Alpert has
committed herself to help you draft that kind of letter. And I would assume
that she would also consider signing on to it. Some of us Democrats are
offended by that. I just hope that that as politicians we can realize that
in such a crazy heated time that we are in right now in terms of the recall,
we make some stupid, bone-head mistakes. And that statement was sheer
stupidity. And I would hope that we treat it as that - as sheer stupidity.
If I were the Governor's people, I would say, c'mon apologize quickly, get
it over with and let's get down to sustance of the day, let's get down to business. Again, Senator Brulte, with
all sincerity, I renew again my effort that I asked you yesterday, my
request that we can do this by way of a letter. And I, myself, as a good
Democrat would put my name down to it, Senator Brulte. Because I have told
you before, I am not going to hold this Governor to a different standard
than have held other Governors in the past.
Romero - Senator Brulte, do you wish to respond?
Brulte - Yes. Just to respond to Senator Escutia and I appreciate the time
we took yesterday to try to walk through this. To follow up with my
conversation, I did call the Governor's office and I let them know that my
motion would be withdrawn and the Senate would not be asked to vote on it if
the Governor simply did what Mr. Bustamente did when he made a mistake, what
others have done when they make a mistake and I was told that an apology
would not be forthcoming. So I tried to do it outside of public view based
on our conversation. And I am here today to just.
Romero - Senator Johnson
Johnson - I move the previous question.
Romero - All in favor of the previous question say aye. All oppose.
Previous question has been put. Senator Brulte, you're recognized to close.
Brulte - I ask for an aye vote.
Romero - Secretary, call the roll.
AYE - 19
NOES - 2
NOT VOTING - 19
|Aanestad, Ackerman, Alpert, Ashburn, Battin, Brulte, Denham, Escutia, Figueroa, Hollingsworth, Johnson, Knight, Margett, McClintock, McPherson, Morrow, Oller, Poochigian, Romero||Cedillo, Kuehl||Alarcon, Bowen, Burton, Chesbro, Ducheny, Dunn, Florez, Karnette, Machado, Murray, Ortiz, Perata, Scott, Sher, Soto, Speier, Torlakson, Vaconcellos, Vincent|