California Governor's Address of November 13, 2003

Mr. Chief Justice; Governor and Mrs. Davis; Governor and Mrs. Wilson; Governor and Mrs. Deukmejian; Governor Brown; legislative leadership; constitutional officers; my fellow Californians:

I am humbled, I am moved – and I am honored beyond words to be your governor.

To the thousands of you who came here today, I took this oath to serve you.

To others all across this state – Democrats, Republicans, Independents – it makes no difference. I took this oath to serve you.

To those who have no power, to those who have dropped out – too weary or disappointed with politics as usual – I took the oath to serve you. I say to everyone here today and to all Californians, I will not forget my oath and I will not forget you.

Let me first thank Gov. Davis and Mrs. Davis and their entire administration for a smooth transition. There's been a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, and I thank you for that.

My fellow citizens: Today is a new day in California. I did not seek this office to do things the way they've always been done. What I care about is restoring your confidence in your government.

When I became a citizen 20 years ago, I had to take citizenship test. I had to learn about the history and the principles of our republic.

What I learned – and I've never forgotten – is sovereignty rests with the people, not the government.

In recent years, Californians have lost confidence. They've felt that the actions of their government did not represent the will of the people.

This election was not about replacing one man; it was not replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of our state.

Everywhere I went during my campaign, I could feel the public hunger for our elected officials to work together, to work openly and to work for the greater good.

The election was the people's veto – for politics as usual.

With the eyes of the world upon us, we did the dramatic. Now we must put the rancor of the past behind us and do the extraordinary.

It's no secret I'm a newcomer to politics. I realize I was elected on faith and hope. And I feel a great responsibility – not to let the people down.

As soon as I go inside the Capitol behind me, I will sign my first order as governor.

I will sign Executive Order No. 1 – which will repeal the 300 percent increase in the car tax.

I will issue a proclamation convening a special session of the Legislature to address California's fiscal crisis.

I will issue a proclamation convening a special session to reform our workers' compensation system.

I will call on the Legislators to repeal SB 60 and I will work to reform government by bringing openness and full disclosure to public business.

I enter this office beholden to no one except you, my fellow citizens. I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests.

So I've appointed to my Cabinet Republicans, Democrats and Independents - - because I want people to know that my administration is not about politics. It is about saving California.

The state of California is in crisis.

As I've said many times, we spent ourselves into the largest budget deficit in the nation.

We have the worst credit rating in the nation.

We have the highest workers' compensation costs in the nation.

Next year we will have the highest unemployment insurance costs in the nation.

And we have the worst business climate in the nation.

But even thought these problems are staggering, they do not even compare to what Californians have overcome in the past.

Our state has endured earthquakes, floods and fires. The latest fires have destroyed lives, homes, businesses, and devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of the land that we love.

On behalf of my fellow citizens, I salute all those who have served on the front lines of the battle. Firefighters, emergency workers, law enforcement officials, National Guard and thousands of volunteers. As we watched the firestorms raging, we saw bravery that never faltered and determination that never wavered in a fight that never flagged.

To the families of those who gave their lives and those who have lost their lives, your loss is ours. As Californians, we mourn together, we fight together, and we will rebuild together.

And just as California will come back from the fires, we will also come back from fiscal adversity.

I know there are some of you who say that the Legislature and I will never agree on solutions to our problems. But I've found in my life that people often respond in remarkable ways to remarkable challenges.

In the words of President Kennedy, "I am an idealist without illusions."

I know it will be hard to put aside years of partisan bitterness.

I know it will be hard to overcome the political habits of the past.

But for guidance, let's look back in history to a period I studied when I became a citizen. The summer of 1787. Delegates of the original 13 states were meeting in Philadelphia.

The dream of a new nation was falling apart. Events were spiraling downward. Divisions were deep. Merchant against farmer. Big states against small. North against South.

Our founding fathers knew that the fate of the union was in their hands, just as the fate of California is in our hands.

What happened in that summer of 1787 is that they put their differences aside – and produced the blueprint for our government; our Constitution. Their coming together has been called "the Miracle of Philadelphia."

Now, the members of the Legislation and I must bring about the "Miracle of Sacramento" – a miracle based on cooperation, good will, new ideas – and devotion to the long-term good of California.

When we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing.

What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know. And California is like that, too.

We are stronger than we know.

There's a massive weight we must lift off our state.

Alone, I cannot lift it. But together, we can.

It's true; things may get harder before they get better. But I've never been afraid of the struggle. I've never been afraid of the fight and I have never been afraid of the hard work.

I will not rest until our fiscal house is in order.

I will not rest until California is a competitive job-creating machine.

I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives, not a roadblock to their dreams.

Today I ask all of you to join me in a new partnership for California.

One that is civil and respectful of our diverse population.

One that challenges each and every one of us to serve our state in a joyful, productive and creative way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an immigrant's optimism that what I have learned in citizen class is true: The system does work.

And I believe that with all of my heart.

I have big hopes for California. President Reagan spoke of America as "the shining city on the hill." I see California as the golden dream by the sea.

Perhaps some think this is fanciful or poetic, but to an immigrant like me, who, as a boy, saw Soviet tanks rolling through the streets of Austria, to someone like me who came here with absolutely nothing and gained absolutely everything, it is not fanciful to see this state as a golden dream.

For millions of people around the world, California has always glimmered with hope and glowed with opportunity. Millions of people around the world send their dreams to California with the hope their lives will follow.

My fellow citizens.

I have taken the oath to uphold the Constitution of California. Now, with your help and God's, I will also uphold the dream that is California.

Thank you very much.

God bless you, and may God bless California.

Thank you, thank you.

This work is created by a government unit (including state, county, city, and municipal government agencies) that derives its powers from the laws of the State of California and is subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (Government Code § 6250 et seq.). It is a public record that was not created by an agency which state law has allowed to claim copyright and is therefore in the public domain in the United States.

Records subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Government Code § 6250 et seq.) "Public records" include "any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics." (Cal. Gov't. Code § 6252(e).) notes that "[a]ll public records are subject to disclosure unless the Public Records Act expressly provides otherwise." County of Santa Clara v. CFAC California Government Code § 6254 lists categories of documents not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. In addition, computer software is not considered a public record, while data and statistics collected (whether collected knowingly or unknowingly) by a government authority whose powers derive from the laws of California are public records (such as license plate reader images) pursuant to EFF & ACLU of Southern California v. Los Angeles Police Department & Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and are not exempt from disclosure and are public records.

Although the act only covers “writing,” the Act, pursuant to Government Code § 6252(g), states: “Writing” means any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.

Agencies permitted to claim copyright

California's Constitution and its statutes do not permit any agency to claim copyright for "public records" unless authorized to do so by law. The following agencies are permitted to claim copyright and any works of these agencies should be assumed to be copyrighted without clear evidence to the contrary:

County of Santa Clara v. CFAC held that the State of California, or any government entity which derives its power from the State, cannot enforce a copyright in any record subject to the Public Records Act in the absence of another state statute giving it the authority to do so.
Note: Works that are considered "public records" but were not created by a state or municipal government agency may be copyrighted by their author; the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents state law from overriding the author's right to copyright protection that is granted by federal law. For example, a state agency may post images online of the final appearance of a building under construction; while the images may have to be released by such agency since they are public records, their creator (eg. architecture/construction firm) retains copyright rights to the image unless the contract with the agency says otherwise. See: Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual: To what extent does federal law preempt state law regarding public inspection of records?.
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