Tuesday’s Column (The recall of Anthony Adams)

Paul Horcher Monday had some advice for Anthony Adams: “Hire a good lawyer.”

Adams, a Republican who represents the 59th state Assembly District is facing a recall that will probably end his political career.

Adams had better surround himself with only the most able advisors, Horcher said.

“I’d tell him, `you can defeat these things,”‘ Horcher said. “`Get a good campaign organizer who can do good polling.”‘

As for the opposition Adams will face: “They will get very serious. They mean business,” Horcher added.

He should know.

A Republican who once represented Diamond Bar in the state Assembly, Horcher earned the distinction of being the first state legislator recalled by voters in 80 years. No one remembers who the other guy was.

Horcher’s recall came on the heels of his vote to make San Francisco Democrat Willie Brown speaker of the California State Assembly.

The vote against the GOP and its leader Jim Brulte cast Horcher as a key figure in a battle of political ideology that reverberates through the state to this day.

Term limits, continued gerrymandering and total Democratic control of the state legislature since the late 1990s likely stemmed from that one vote.

“I was just a middle of the road individual,” Horcher said. “Both sides try to run me over.”

Nonetheless, the GOP mounted a recall that ended in Horcher being tossed from office by a conservative electorate ticked off over higher taxes and scared of the Bogeyman they saw in Brown.

Last week for voters in the San Gabriel Valley, it was deja vu all over again.

Voters in Adams’ district (and around the state) got ticked off when the assemblyman broke ranks with his party and voted for a state budget that includes the most onerous tax increases ever imposed on Californians.

In the 1995 recall, the campaign to oust Horcher was led by a spurned Brulte and a Republican Party which marshalled money and the political might to throw their former colleague out of office.

After a lopsided loss, Horcher left Sacramento and took a job as Sanitation Commissioner under Willie Brown when he became mayor of San Francisco. Horcher’s semi-retired now and splits time between the City and and a home in Diamond Bar.

A mere 14 years ago, the Internet, still powered by 56k modems and a loose collection of ham radio-type geeks, played a minor role in politics.

Talk radio pretty much stayed out of the fray.

How times have changed. Elected Republicans seem to be siding with their colleague Adams. They’ve poured no money into the recall effort and the GOP leadership has given no visible support to the groundswell of righteous anti-tax sentiment.

Instead, the call to recall is coming from the grassroots, stoked by anger over taxes, Internet bloggers and the powerful talk radio duo of John and Ken.

As Horcher sees it, Adams faces an uphill battle.

“Probably the only thing he can do at this point is find a good judge,” Horcher said. “That’s probably the only way he’ll ever derail this thing.”

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Tuesday’s column (head on a stick)

In the face of a rising tide of constituent outrage, State Assemblyman Anthony Adams on Monday defended his vote for a state budget that will force Californians to pay more taxes.

Adams argues he had to support the scheme. There was no combination of $42 billion in necessary cuts that would balance California’s bloated and out-of-control budget.

Instead, the deepest cuts will be in our wallets – $12.2 billion in tax increases.

“It wasn’t a vote I wanted to make,” Adams said Monday. “It was a necessary vote. Specifically the state was facing insolvency and there was no literal good that could come from letting the state run out of money. There were no foreseeable solutions.”

The idea that we will all bleed the death of a 1,000 cuts to our income has fueled a taxpayer revolt unseen in California since the Jarvis and Gann Prop. 13 of the 1970s.

Some might argue that the new revolt is being led by KFI’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou. The pair gathered thousands of their listeners in a Fullerton parking lot Saturday to let Adams and his Sacramento cronies know enough is enough.

Their campaign is called “Head on a Stick.” It supports the recall of Adams, R-Claremont; state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria; and state Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona.

Adams doesn’t really care for the campaign.

“It makes me embarrassed that we live in a society that thinks someone’s head on a stick is a joke.” Adams said. “We should be able live in a society that is not violent when it comes to disagreements.”

Kobylt replied Monday.

“That’s how people react when a lying thief steals $50 billion of their tax money,” Kobylt said.

In recent days both Kobylt and Chiampou have accused Adams of admitting to a backroom deal among Republicans in Sacramento, who wanted a budget deal and realized three of their own would have to be sacrificial lambs.

Adams said the talk show hosts misrepresent what he said in an interview on public radio several weeks ago.

“That’s just nonsense,” Adams said. “They read into the comment … I was explaining why the deal was a good deal. I was explaining as a leadership we don’t want to have more than three vote for the budget. It’s all that was necessary. They’ve taken it to mean it was some kind of backroom deal.”

When the budget vote came up: “Every member voted their own conscience,” Adams said. “I voted mine.”

At one time, the district that Adams represents may have been the most conservative in the state. I remember when Dick Mountjoy used to boast that he voted no on every budget that came down the pike.

Mountjoy saw it as his duty to limit tax hikes and protect his constituents. And no matter what anybody thought of him, he did just that.

While Adams proclaimed his hatred of taxes on Monday, he admitted he was not Mountjoy’s heir.

“I’m Anthony Adams,” he said. “I am my own man.”

Unfortunately, he’s not the taxpayers’ man.

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