Candidate Plans ‘Democracy Tour’ of Afghanistan

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From Times Staff Reports

Badi Badiozamani, one of the 135 people running for governor, has invited four of his fellow candidates to accompany him on a mission to Afghanistan, where they hope to share the lessons from the campaign trail with a country struggling to create democratic institutions.

“I would like to tell them about the democracy we have, that ordinary people can run for any position,” said Badiozamani, a nonpartisan candidate from San Diego who moved to America from Iran in the early 1980s.

He said the trip was being planned under the auspices of the Center for East-West Understanding, which he runs.


Dick Lane, a Democrat from Sunnyvale; Frank Macaluso, a Democrat from Visalia; Lawrence Strauss, a Democrat from Sherman Oaks; and Jon Zellhoefer, a Republican from San Jose, have volunteered for the trip.

All of them have been involved in the Candidates Forum, a loosely organized group of gubernatorial hopefuls that has held meetings and debates throughout California.

Badiozamani, who said Afghan friends had contacted him with the idea of a democracy tour after seeing one of his appearances on an Iranian television station, said the tour might include a lecture series at Kabul University, as well as town hall meetings for citizens and electoral hopefuls.

“One thing I would tell them is that they should get rich friends to help them buy air time and come up with some new ideas,” he said.

Behind-Scenes Views of the Campaign Trail

As reporters quizzed Arnold Schwarzenegger during a news conference Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, a dozen media photographers formed a semicircle around the candidate. Among the camera-toting hordes was a familiar face: Schwarzenegger strategist Mike Murphy.

The professional political operative is a hard-core amateur photographer who carries his cameras on the campaign trail.


He has pulled out his Leica at some Schwarzenegger events, but his specialty is black-and-white, behind-the-scenes photographs from the campaigns he works.

Murphy’s archive includes shots from inside the reelection campaign of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), even the failed U.S. Senate campaign of Oliver North.

Murphy said he has been taking campaign pictures for more than a decade -- since he worked for John Engler’s successful run for Michigan governor.

“I’ve always been a photography fiend,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Schwarzenegger -- who is so wary of commercial exploitation by employees that he made campaign staffers sign confidentiality agreements -- will own and control all pictures Murphy takes of him.

“Anything I shoot of Arnold, Arnold is going to own,” he said.

Murphy said he is compiling a coffee table book for friends. “I have no commercial aspirations,” he said.

Number Who Signed Recall Petitions Unclear

How many people signed recall petitions?

The question has become a source of some dispute on the campaign trail, particularly among Republicans. Arnold Schwarzenegger typically says that 1.6 million Californians signed petitions to recall the governor -- nearly twice the number required under the state Constitution.


But state Sen. Tom McClintock refers to more than 2 million Californians. And in endorsing Schwarzenegger Friday, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said he was supporting the actor “on behalf of the 2.5 million people who signed the recall petitions.”

“It’s proof we’re the true conservative in the race,” joked Schwarzenegger spokesman Rob Stutzman. In fact, each number has some validity. The Schwarzenegger campaign uses the number of petitions certified by the secretary of state.

But Ted Costa, the original proponent of the recall, continued to send to the state all completed petitions, even after the recall election was certified.

Costa has said that he felt an obligation to anyone who signed a petition to have it counted.