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Contact: Dr. Kenneth Matsumura at knm@saveCALnow.com
For Release Wednesday September 13, 2006
Governor's Recall Focused on the Working Poor
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week signed the Sally Lieber Bill AB1835 raising the minimum wage in California to $7.50 in 2007 and $8.00 in 2008, making these wages the highest in nation. Schwarzenegger had vetoed a similar legislation two years in a row. What changed his mind?
In September last year, just three days after he vetoed the minimum wage bill, an angry Berkeley physician held a press conference announcing that he was launching a recall of Gov. Schwarzenegger on behalf of the poor.
The recall initiator Dr. Kenneth Matsumura said that he could no longer stay silent watching his working poor patient diluting their medications to make it last to the next pay day.
To the surprise of many, the media went into a feeding frenzy giving this announcement by a relatively unknown inventor of the bio-artificial liver prime time coverage. News traveled worldwide, even to the governor's home town in Austria.
Dr. Matsumura reported at his website Recall2006.com that, to his amazement, over 10,000 people had volunteered to collect recall signatures once the petition was approved by the Secretary of State.
With coverage by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, the governor was dogged with questions about the recall by the press and by supporters such as at the meeting in October last year of the California Manufacturer's Association.
With his image tarnished by the recall threat, Gov. Schwarzenegger's approval rating fell to below 30%. In November, he suffered a triple defeat at the polls on initiatives he sponsored that threatened teachers, nurses and the unions.
On December 15, Matsumura's recall website published a list of demands, in which the passage of the raise in the minimum wage was at the top.
In January, on the eve of the Secretary of State's approval of recall petition to begin circulating for signatures, Governor Schwarzenegger surprised many by delivering a State of the State speech declaring that the raise in the minimum wage for the working poor would become his leading goal for 2006. He addressed the California legislature saying, "send me the bill right away!"
Dr. Matsumura issued a statement at his website praising and thanking his recall volunteers: "The governor took the recall seriously adopting our call for the raise in the minimum wage and for the control of global warming. Our group will stay together to make sure that the governor does not change his mind as he has repeatedly in the past. For now, let's rejoice that we have done well for the poor."
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For Release Friday February 3, 2006
PRESS CONFERENCE FRIDAY 10:30 AM, CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS THIRD FLOOR
Contact: Kenneth Matsumura, MD Email: knm@saveCALnow.com
The Recall Schwarzenegger Campaign launched their statewide signature gathering drive today declaring that the public schools and the poor cant wait a whole year. "Help us get a new governor by this Summer," Berkeley physician and recall organizer Dr. Kenneth Matsumura told his volunteers at his website Recall2006.com .
Against the backdrop of budget crises and impending teacher strikes on both sides of the Bay, Dr. Matsumura called a press conference to announce that the recall petition can now be printed off his website.
"People who say, Its the election year, why not wait, dont have any children and they arent poor. They just dont know the crises the schools and our poor face," Dr. Matsumura said.
Dr. Matsumura announced last September that he was launching the recall because he could no longer watch his working poor patients water down their medications to last to the next pay day, living every day under the risk of family bankruptcy from illness, while Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the raise in the minimum wage twice, the last time just two days before Dr. Matsumuras announcement.
"The $3400 extra every year from the raise in wages could have bought a minimum health insurance," Dr. Matsumura complained. "All that Schwarzenegger is interested in are his wealthy friends."
Charging that Schwarzenegger-appointee, Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson dragged his feet two month in approving the printing of the petition, Dr. Matsumura called on his volunteers across the state, now at 10,000 by his count, to accelerate the pace of signature gathering to avoid a special election.
If the required 1,040,000 qualified signatures can be gathered in the months of February and March, the recall election can coincide with the June Primaries. Already a large volume of petitions is arriving at the Recall Arnie Campaign headquarters in Berkeley.
Even some members of the state Democratic Executive Board have joined the recall effort. Shirley Walton of Riverside said, "If Schwarzenegger is re-elected, we dont know what he will do next," referring to the set of initiatives the Governor sponsored last November which many said were his attempt to grab more power.
Dr. Matsumura said, " The recall campaign has already done a lot of good. We turned the tide before the November election by tarnishing Schwarzeneggers image, and now weve got him reading our website, giving concessions to appease recall volunteers."
Recall tables began appearing last weekend in Sacramento in advance of todays official launch. One volunteer, state worker Jaime Feliciano, said he was mobbed at a recent union gathering, by people wanting to sign the petition. Union treasuries were drained by the recent expensive battle against the Governors Proposition 95 on the November ballot which would have seriously hampered unions ability to use union dues for political purposes.
Teachers across the state comprise twenty percent of volunteers, according to Dr. Matsumura. Scott Duncan, a history teacher and a member of the Board of Directors of the Hacienda La Puenta Parents Teachers Association in Los Angeles said, " The recall campaign brought hope to thousands of Californians who are fed up with Arnolds incompetence and divisiveness while he takes money from wealthy corporate special interests."
Dr. Matsumura said, "This is truly a grassroots campaign. Ordinary people who have never been active in politics have volunteered at our website saying that Schwarzeneggers offenses were egregious. They cite the theft of 2 billion dollars from the public schools as well as his irresponsible heavy borrowing to deal with states budget crisis."
Governor Schwarzenegger recently offered to return about a third of the money he took from the publicly mandated school funds to balance the state budget in 2004 when he took office. "If a burglar took a $1000 and offered to return $333, would you praise him?" Dr. Matsumura asked.
The Governor also recently offered to sign a bill to raise the minimum wage. "He saw that in our list of demands and he did that to placate the anger of our volunteers so that they dont recall him. We dont trust him, and hes already said he wont allow for annual adjustments to the wage for inflation. Its too little, too late!" Matsumura said.
At the time of economic downturn, the poor usually suffer the most. Margo Reynaud, an artist in Felton, a small community outside Santa Cruz, said that recent cutbacks have been particularly difficult for her. She is circulating the petition this weekend.
One volunteer in Los Angeles, Dorothy Reik, whose name appears on the Recall Petition, put it simply, "They dont want him in his birthplace in Austria. We dont want him here, either!"
The following Recall Volunteers have consented to the use of their names and to being interviewed: Please call Dr. Matsumura for their contact information.
Shirley Walton, Riverside, a member of the state Democratic Party Executive Board
Scott Duncan, history teacher, and member of the Board of Directors, Hacienda La Puente Parents Teachers Association
Jaime Feliciano, state worker, Sacramento County coordinating volunteer
Dorothy Reik, long-time activist, Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles.
Margo Reynaud, artist, Felton
****If the media desire to film signature gathering activities in their locality, we have other volunteers who have expressed willingness to be interviewed. Please first contact Dr. Matsumura. Many will be tabling on Saturday, weather permitting.
The following are older releases:
For Release September 28, 2005 10 AM
Contact: Dr. Kenneth Matsumura
TEL (510) 548 1516
(Berkeley, CA) A Berkeley physician announced today that he is launching a recall of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dr. Kenneth Matsumura said that he was serving a recall petition on Governor Schwarzenegger this Friday in Sacramento.
The governor will have 14 days to make a formal reply to the petition. California 's Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson will verify the validity of some 100 signatures on the petition to determine whether it qualifies; then begins the process of collecting the nearly one million signatures of registered voters required to force Schwarzenegger into a recall election.
Schwarzenegger himself is the beneficiary of another gubernatorial recall just two years ago, when Gray Davis was ousted. Schwarzenegger declared his candidacy for a second term just 6 days ago in San Diego.
At a press conference in Berkeley, Matsumura said that he was filing the recall petition "on behalf of the poor and the students of California, who have been greatly harmed by Schwarzenegger's policies of making cut-backs without raising taxes."
Shortly after taking office two years ago, Schwarzenegger coped with a multi-billion dollar state budget shortfall by transferring to the state money that is usually available to cities for all their programs, from healthcare and fire services to library and sewer maintenance. Both cities and the state of California had suffered revenue losses due to the economic downturn after the burst of the internet "bubble" of the nineties, and in the aftermath of 9-11.
In recent months, Schwarzenegger has been dogged at all his speeches and fundraisers by demonstrations by school teachers, nurses, fire fighters and others angered by his policies.
When Schwarzenegger campaigned for election, he pledged to protect the public schools' budget . However, soon after taking office, he took over two billion dollars from the budget for public schools to fund other state programs. - even though voters had in 1999 passed Proposition 98, mandating that the education budget be protected from economic ups and downs. With billions missing in their budget, schools have had to lay off experienced teachers and eliminate programs such as art and music classes.
Matsumura pointed out that Schwarzenegger also tried to scuttle the legislature's guidelines that reduced by one the number of patients a nurse must care for during a shift. He commented, "As a physician, I know how dangerous this is. Research has shown that overworking the nurses often leads to hospital errors, patient injuries and death." Schwarzenegger further angered nurses by proposing that California transfer regulatory powers from the Board of Registered Nursing to the Director of Consumer Affairs. His proposal would have made California the only state in the union lacking a regulatory nursing board.
Matsumura added, "Hospitals and healthcare facilities that care for the poor are on the verge of closing because Schwarzenegger refuses to raise taxes. When it comes to health care for the poor every time we take one step forward, we have to watch Schwarzenegger force patient to take four steps back." Matsumura said he concluded that it makes more sense for him to work for a recall than to just keep struggling for programs for the poor.
Schwarzenegger popularity in polls has continuously dropped, as he has managed to offend more and more constituents, including groups of workers whom he labels "special interest groups." He had proposed a reduction in widows' pension of fire fighters and police officers killed in the course of duty. More recently, he endorsed Proposition 75, which would muzzle public worker's unions requiring them to get written approval from each member before spending union dues for political purposes. Much of California's labor movement has organized to oppose Schwarzenegger.
If the recall campaign is successful, it will only be the second time in California history that a governor was removed. There have been thirty-two recall attempts during the 94 years since the recall provision was enacted.
Embargoed For Release to the Public: October 7, 2005 11:30 AM PDT
(WE WILL BE SERVING THE GOVERNOR WITH OUR PETITION AT 11 AM on FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 7, 2005, AT HIS OFFICE.)
Matsumura said that the cost of a special recall election can be avoided
by including the recall vote in the June Primary elections. "The 2006 legislature
will still be in session for three months after the primaries. By ousting Schwarzenegger
in June, and electing a more sensitive, mature governor, we can rescue California from the
disastrous course it is on now," Matsumura said.
According to the Recall2006 website, the goal is to find 30,000
volunteers to collect 40 signatures each. Matsumura said that on his first day of
signature gathering, he was mobbed by staff members and poor patients at a county hospital
in Oakland, all eager to sign.
The following statement was posted on Schwarzenegger Recall website Recall2006.com for release to the press.
'To borrow the disgraced governor's own words, 'the People have spoken." Californians have gone to the polling places in record numbers Tuesday to say, 'NO!" All of Schwarzenegger initiatives are failing, and the voters' outrage against Proposition 74 through 77 is helping defeat the anti-abortion Proposition 73, for a complete sweep against the conservative agenda.
Legal due diligence is proceeding to prepare for the printing of the Recall Petition served on the governor last month. In the meantime, the Recall Campaign has now a network of over 10,000 volunteers statewide ready to circulate the petition. The volunteers include ordinary people distressed seeing the deterioration of public services in their communities as well as veteran political leaders like Democratic central committee or state Democratic executive board members.
In September, only five weeks ago, many of the initiatives were expected to pass, according to the polls at that time. The Recall Schwarzenegger Campaign, which launched on September 28, believes that it helped 'turn the tide," to borrow the words of one wife of a firefighter captain who telephoned the Campaign headquarters. The wide-spread media coverage that included the New York Times and the Washington Post helped mar the image of Schwarzenegger as the invincible 'Terminator" and underscored the claim of Dr. Kenneth Matsumura that the recall was necessary because the poor are suffering desperately under Schwarzenegger.
The Recall proponent Dr. Matsumura said that he is seeing a historic grassroots uprising as a flood of volunteers log onto the Recall2006.com website. 'We will end Schwarzenegger's rampage so that the 2006 legislature can re-enact all bills the governor vetoed in the past two years. Only then can we finally rescue our cities, and re- build the morale of public workers who guard our welfare and safety."
Matsumura also blamed Schwarzenegger for failing to restore the