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San Francisco State experts offer analysis before and after Oct. 7 election



Christina Holmes
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 405-3803
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Reporters welcome into several classes to interview students about recall election

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6, 2003 -- San Francisco State University offers knowledgeable political experts to provide analysis before and after the recall election. In addition, on the evening of Oct. 7 reporters are welcome into several journalism and public administration classes to interview students about the recall outcome. To arrange for visits or for assistance in reaching faculty members, please call the Office of Public Affairs.

Robert Smith, professor of political science, is an expert on American politics and its history. Smith can be reached at (415) 338-7524 or (510) 222-7273 or via e-mail at
"The recall is reckless and contrary to the American republican tradition (Madison and the other framers of the Constitution would surely recoil in horror at this process). Indeed, the idea of the immediate recall of elected officials is a Marxist idea, advanced by Marx and Engels in their radical theory of democracy," he said.

Francis Neely, assistant professor of political science, is an authority on the election process. Neely can be reached at (415) 386-3748 or (415) 338-1522 or via e-mail at
"The California recall brings to light questions about direct democracy and the means by which we practice it. In theory, direct citizen input seems appropriate and valid; in practice, aggregating citizens' preferences can be tricky. Our unusual rules for recalling state officials should be changed to avoid another election like this one," Neely said.

James Martel, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on American politics and political theory. Martel can be reached at (415) 405-2162 or via e-mail at
" I think this recall situation is fast turning into an example of the constitutional crises that periodically wrack the country. The constitution and our subsequent system of government are not particularly well suited for very difficult political decisions -- as many have famously said, we tend to 'muddle through' rather than make definitive decisions. As a result, many problems fester and remain intractable or are 'resolved' by means other than passing laws," Martel said.

Corey Cook, assistant professor of political science, is an expert in California politics. Cook can be reached at (415) 405-2471 or (510) 336-0978 or via e-mail at
"Unlike a governor elected in a 'normal' general election, there will be no time or money for a transition, they will face a legislature whose leadership and entire membership is already in place (and the vast majority of whom represent safe districts), and extraordinary demands within the first several months of the term. Rather than seizing the reins of political power, if indeed Governor Davis is removed from office, the next governor will have to find a way to fit himself into a preexisting government," Cook said.
Note to editors: Cook is only available for print and radio interviews.

Jillian Sandell, assistant professor of women studies, is an expert on women's issues and how women could impact the outcome of the recall election. Sandell can be reached at (415) 338-1516 or via e-mail at
"The concept of the 'women's vote' is weak, because even though it is possible to count the number of women who vote for a particular candidate, it is not possible to extrapolate that these women voted solely 'as women,'" Sandell said. "It is weak as a tool of analysis because there are significant differences -- race, class, region, etc. -- among women as a group that shapes how they vote. For example, does a Latina fall under the "women's vote" or the "Latino vote?"


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Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs