If you were like me, you quit answering your telephone the last
two weeks before the special election. If you were like me, you
were fed up with the deluge of special election related calls from
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Gov-Arnie), from various teachers,
nurses, and everyone else who had a stake in one of the ballot
By Gil Mitchell
If you were like me, you quit answering your telephone the last two weeks before the special election. If you were like me, you were fed up with the deluge of special election related calls from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Gov-Arnie), from various teachers, nurses, and everyone else who had a stake in one of the ballot initiatives.
I am still waiting for that call from Gov-Arnie in which he apologizes for trying to be the action hero who jams his idea of reforms down our throats. I am not waiting for an apology from the teachers and nurses. They were in the fight for their lives and they were pissed off.
Things were a lot different two years ago. The status quo, professional politicians getting nowhere in Sacramento, had been disrupted by a new face and what was perceived to be a new perspective. I was not a big fan of action hero Arnie, but I was hoping that Gov-Arnie would have a new approach that really would effect change which would lead to improving public education, helping impoverished people get back on their feet, improving the infrastructures that are going to hell in this state, and helping local governments who are strapped for cash.
Instead, we have had a steady diet of “we must cut spending” and we have had a steady diet of intimidation.
I am all for cutting spending if we have waste, duplication, or a misappropriation of funds. But cutting spending is only half of the equation. Sooner or later we have to deal with the “revenue” side of the equation. When the voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978 they damaged our public education system and our local governments. They damaged the revenue side of the equation. We need leadership and not intimidation to bring about change. We need sources of revenue. We don’t need to go back to pre-Proposition 13, but to say “no to taxes because it will hurt the middle class and poor” is just a scare tactic. We can structure revenues so that they come from the people who stand to benefit. We can structure revenues so that they are seen as being “for the common good of all citizens of California.” If you believe that Gov-Arnie’s loans he entered into more than a year ago are our salvation then stick around. You will feel the hurt from those in a few short years.
Last January, in Gov-Arnie’s State of the State address, he played the intimidator. He dangled the special election in front of the legislature and said “do things my way or else”. I groaned. Gov-Arnie was reverting back to the action hero. Nobody likes to be intimidated, and everybody has their own way of digging in their heels when intimidated.
We now have had the special election and everybody agrees that it was a flop. All told, the election cost almost .3 billion dollars. That includes our .05 billion dollars and all the money that was wasted on media material by everybody who came out of the woodwork to support or to not support the initiatives.
It is true that Gov-Arnie wasn’t responsible for all the initiatives on the ballot. But if he hadn’t forced the election the other four initiatives may have made their way through the legislature or would have been piggybacked onto the November 2006 election for much less money.
If Gov-Arnie were a football player he would be a cornerback because ever since the election he has been backpedaling. Talking about how he has to work with the legislature and how reform has to be done with the help of the legislature. Well, duh. I truly hope that he believes that. I am hoping that deep down inside he means well, and I hope that deep down inside he throws away the action hero script and he writes a script of his own. One that is a little less bold, one that includes facts and figures that are bi-partisan and unbiased, one that includes more revenue and more efficient government, one that does not threaten people but empowers them, and one that will save his political life.
Maybe he is too busy getting his act together to make that phone call. Let’s hope so.