June 14, 2005


Governor Puts Agenda on the Ballot: Three special-election initiatives would wrest power from legislators and public employee unions. The political battle will be costly, with a deal unlikely. (Jordan Rau, June 14, 2005, LA Times)

His ultimatums rebuffed by lawmakers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday ordered a Nov. 8 special election that could trim the power of California's Legislature and dampen the influence of the public employee unions that help finance its Democratic majority.

Along with Schwarzenegger's agenda, the ballot is expected to include initiatives that, if approved, would change the way minors obtain abortions, electricity is sold and prescription drug prices are set.

But at its heart are three measures that Schwarzenegger hopes will alter — in his favor — the way Sacramento operates. The centerpiece initiative would give him much more power to cut state expenditures, a change he said was essential for California's fiscal health.

"Without reform, we are destined to relive the past all over again: $22-billion deficits, higher car taxes and the threat of bankruptcy," Schwarzenegger said in a 3 1/2 -minute address broadcast from his Capitol office. The speech was bypassed by many television stations consumed by the Michael Jackson acquittal.

Coming a year before he is up for reelection, the speech was a blunt acknowledgment of how much Schwarzenegger's relationships with state lawmakers and many groups have eroded in the 1 1/2 years since he took office.

Other initiatives he endorses would delay teachers from gaining tenure — a slap at one of Sacramento's most powerful interests — and stop legislators from designing districts that ease their reelections.

Hard to get too much done anyway when the other party controls the legislature, but in Steven Malanga's new book, The New New Left he lays out the damage done by public sector unions and their allies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2005 7:27 AM

I still agree with No Illusions that rather than tax reform or adjusting the power of the legislature, a better mechanism for redistricting would be a superior choice for fixing the governance of California.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 14, 2005 10:51 AM
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