Wed, 20 May 2009 18:31:14 +0000 – By Patrick DorinsonPolitical Commentator
Five out of six initiatives that Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature placed on a special election ballot have been resoundingly defeated by the voters. -- And it wasn't even close. The only thing that passed was a measure to deny elected officials salary increases when there was a deficit. And it passed by a margin of 75% in favor to 25% against the initiative.
These measures were supposed to save the state in its hour of need but the voters utter lack of trust in politicians were their downfall.
The people of California have spoken. And their message to the permanent political class that runs the state was their patience has run out and they want the legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger to do their jobs and stop asking the voters to do it for them. If they refuse to heed this message, I predict the voters will put initiatives on the ballot in 2010 and make more changes to how they are governed.
California voters are beyond angry-- they are livid. I do political analysis for KFBK, one of the largest talk radio stations in Northern California, and as I was waiting to go on the air last evening to discuss the election I got to listen in to a few of the callers vent. And I can tell you that their thirst for the blood of the politicians will not be slaked by these election results.
I am sure the East Coast media looking at all this from afar will label this voter revolt as simply about whiny Californians not wanting to pay higher taxes. But if they do, they will be wrong.
The rejection of the five budget related ballot initiatives was more about a voter revolt against a "do nothing" legislature and a governor who in 2003 vowed, and yet so far has failed, to put our state's finances in order. In my opinion, it was also a revolt against the gridlock in Sacramento that has thwarted any efforts to reform California's hopelessly broken political and governmental systems.
As Californians have seen a steady rise in taxes over the years they have also seen an equally steady decline in our schools, the delivery of critical services and a crumbling infrastructure. -- There isn't a politician in the state that has the guts to tell the voters the real cost of what it will take to fix things.
Everyone gripes about higher taxes. But if the government is living up to its end of the bargain by providing the services, educating our kids and making sure our infrastructure is up to date and voters can see what their taxes have bought, they don't complain as loudly.
But when they witness the years of neglect that have left California as a shell of its former self and they see this paired with an elitist attitude of entitlement by the politicians and their special interest patrons, the people will rise up and say enough is enough.
For years California's permanent political class avoided making the tough calls. But the clock has run out. There are no more quick fixes or gimmicks to paper over our self-inflicted problems.
And if you folks in other states want to revel in our misfortunes, just wait until California asks for a federal bailout from the Obama administration. Then our problems will be your problems.