huffington post’s joseph palermo on california budget, 2/3 rule and the eye of the republican storm bearing down on sacramento

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Sticking It to “America’s Best”

Newspapers are falling by the wayside and there’s very little coverage of state government aside from some good reporting in the Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times,and San Francisco Chronicle. Few Californians are paying attention to the kind of reckless brinkmanship Schwarzenegger and his Republican allies are playing in Sacramento. And this lack of attention doesn’t mean what’s happening is not going to change the social climate of the state. Normally, with divided government a legislature throws bills on to the executive’s desk and sends the ball into the governor’s court to veto them and take the political heat. But in California the two-thirds rule in the legislature means the Republican minority can kill any bill before it reaches the governor’s desk thereby shielding the Terminator from being the focus of the voters’ wrath.

Schwarzenegger can sit back and point fingers at the Democrats without suffering the political consequences that his authoritarian demands and cruel budget cuts would elicit if the public could see what he’s doing. A strange, Austrian sadism has surfaced as Schwarzenegger reaches the waning period of his first venture into politics. The sooner the state is rid of this man the better. The correctional officers’ union last fall had the right idea when they launched a short-lived effort to recall Schwarzenegger. I wish the rest of the labor unions in the state had had enough sense to join them.

Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts are going to be devastating to the city of Sacramento because there are over 80,000 state workers in this region. At a social gathering this past weekend I spoke to a California Highway Patrol officer who is worried about the local layoffs of sheriffs and police and how they are going to increase his work load. Another person I spoke with is a probation officer and he told me his work load is going up from about 105 cases to 180, and most of those are just going to be more paperwork without any real outreach because he has to spend the bulk of his time tracking sex offenders. I met two other people who are “furloughed” from their state jobs and since they’re a couple their family has been hit with about a 25 percent cut in pay (and Arnold is threatening even more furlough days for state workers). It’s a Republican wet dream in the Golden State and they’re not even in the majority!


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