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IF you take a look at the candidates running for state office this year, it's clear that even though some titles might change in Sacramento, little else will. The same old career politicians are merely hoping to swap jobs with one another.

Some of this is standard promotional stuff -- professional pols trying to claw their way up the ladder as they always have. The state's controller and treasurer, Steve Westly and Phil Angelides, are running for governor. And a slew of active and former legislators are seeking to upgrade to statewide posts.

Then there are the pols who aren't so much trying to move up as to hang on.

Jerry Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983 and is currently the mayor of Oakland, now wants to come back to Sacramento -- as attorney general.

The current attorney general, Bill Lockyer, is seeking a lateral move into the state treasurer's office.

Cruz Bustamante, our incumbent lieutenant governor, is pursuing a demotion -- from the state's No. 2 to its insurance commissioner. And the man Bustamante hopes to replace as insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, is running for Bustamante's soon-to-be former office.

The job-swapping extends to the Legislature. Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, D-San Fernando, is battling Los Angeles City Councilman Alex Padilla for the state Senate seat of Richard Alarcon, D-Van Nuys. As for Alarcon, he's running for Montanez's old seat in the Assembly.

This is the ugly side of term limits -- political musical chairs. Having grown accustomed to the perks of elected office, incumbents will take whatever job they can to stay in the game and on the payroll.

Still, it's an improvement over the old system, where the same pols held the same posts in perpetuity. At least now they have to apply for a new title every few years, and eventually, when they're term-limited out of every attainable position, they have to return to the private sector and make room for some fresh blood.

Their desperate need to hang on may be a little pathetic, but have pity on them. They're only politicians.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 14, 2006

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