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THINGS NEW AND STRANGE IN DAVIS COUNTRY.

Byline: ERIC MOSES

IT's official: We are living in Gray's kingdom and we'd better get used to it.

Last week the monarch of the Golden State came down from his throne in the Capitol and decreed that his 20-point victory in November's election gave him supreme reign over the state.

In his moment of regalness, Davis told the serfs in the Legislature exactly what he expected from them: total compliance and periods of genuflection.

``People expect government to reflect the vision that I suggested,'' he said, impugning his fellow Democrats. ``Their job is to implement my vision. That is their job.''

The comments, made in an editorial board meeting at the San Francisco Chronicle, were Davis' most strident in his on-going, and until now behind-the-scenes, scrap with Democratic leaders.

Every week something new and strange is reported about Davis' leadership and administration.

If the GOP had a legitimate candidate to put up against Davis in 2002 they'd be drooling by now. They probably wish California had a parliamentary form of government so they could take advantage of the Democrats' once-muted and now very vocal displeasure with the governor and his reign of terror.

Since he took office, Davis has failed to show what he's learned in his decades of public service.

He has set up an amateurish administration that has been unable to close the party ranks. Seven months into the four-year term, there are still vacancies in a variety of statewide commission and high-ranking administration posts. There is a power struggle among Assembly Democrats, and he's been unable to control it.

Now Davis is stepping out on his own, riling and confusing his political allies in Legislature - the very people who he says must implement his vision.

``They have a totally different view of the world than I do, totally different,'' Davis said.

Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles was bewildered by the comment, while Senate President pro Tem John Burton of San Francisco indicated Davis appeared to be rejecting the theory of government upon which this nation and state were founded. Both lawmakers were already upset with the governor over his arm-twisting on health care legislation.

Davis argued that he assumed control of the state's heart, mind and social well-being on the heels of his big election victory. Certainly, it had nothing to do with the fact that his opponent, former Attorney General Dan Lungren, was so out of touch with the electorate he couldn't spell e-d-u-c-a-t-i-o-n to save his political life. Furthermore, most people feared Lungren would be the one to turn to totalitarianism, not the big Gray whale.

In his wide-ranging diatribe, the super-sensitive governor actually whined that the Chronicle buried coverage of the bill-signing ceremony of his assault weapon legislation inside the paper, while the New York Times carried it on Page One. And then he used foul language to deride a Chronicle story on his avid fund-raising abilities.

Somebody ought to tell Davis that just because he's governor does not mean he can control the media.

What's so perplexing about the comments is that Davis has so far failed to produce any evidence that the course he has set to improve the schools systems up and down the state is the right one. He only has a good won-loss percentage on legislation.

Moreover, Davis inherited a state that had collected so many taxes he looked like the Candy Man handing out the surplus to eager cities.

It's also odd that a long-time elected official, and especially one who worked his way up the political ladder, would so easily seek retribution for the years of abuse he shouldered playing second-fiddle to Gov. Pete Wilson.

He immediately paid off the labor unions that got him elected, doing away with several of Wilson's labor laws that he felt restricted union members' abilities to make more money.

When will Davis stop? It's hard to tell. In the fairy tale, people were afraid to tell the Emperor about his new clothes.

The good news is, he has yet to run through the Legislature yelling, ``Off with their heads.''
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:VIEWPOINT
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 25, 1999
Words:680
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