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My Sunday Column: Facing the State’s Day of Reckoning — When Tyranny of the Super-Majority Has Its Day

Gov. Pete Wilson suffered a power outage over his Prop. 187 assault on illegal immigrants. Gov. Gray Davis self-destructed over runaway spending policies that hurt just about everybody. And the politically ambivalent Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s big ideas went up in the cigar smoke emitted from the tent where he schmoozed with cronies from both sides of the aisle.

Gov. Jerry Brown is in a different position. Having been there before, and now with super-majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, he can do just about anything he wants. So what happened in the recently concluded legislative session offers some guidance about where California is headed.

Take for instance the multitude of issues affecting the quarter of the California population who are legal or illegal immigrants from other countries — about twice the national average. From what went down in the state Legislature, you might think they mattered more than the 75 percent who are actually U.S. citizens.

The most significant legislation on the subject was a bill that was revived and passed at the last minute with the approval of the seemingly all-powerful governor and even a few Republicans.

It would allow those here illegally to get driver’s licenses that would be marked in some way to identify their status so that, theoretically, they couldn’t be used to get work, public benefits or vote.

Despite the complaints from some that this is a reward for illegal behavior, it is long overdue. It will prompt a lot of the 1.4 million eligible immigrants without proper documentation to provide photos and fingerprints to get licenses, buy real insurance and register their vehicles — and leave those without licenses facing legal consequences including fines and 30-day impounds, laws that have been shelved in Los Angeles and other sanctuary cities.

In a lot of places in California, unlicensed drivers account for up to 25 percent of all drivers and a lot of them are responsible for giving the state the highest rate of hit-and-run accidents in the nation.

Other legislation, like allowing legal immigrants to serve as jurors, poll workers and lawyers, seem more like a slap in the face to those who take citizenship seriously.

Do we really not have enough lawyers, poll workers or jurors? Don’t people involved in these roles have to have a clear sense of what America is about as the land of the free as well as an allegiance to the Constitution?

And what possible benefit to public safety and public interest is there in the state banning local jurisdictions from holding arrestees in this county without permission until Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents can process them? Don’t we want to get them out of the country, rather than back on the streets?

It really doesn’t matter much, since the governor was full in charge of the legislature in a way we haven’t seen in a long time; so he felt the need to offer no more justification for the preoccupation with immigration than that he was sending a message to Washington to pass a long-overdue immigration reform bill.

In fact, he was giving the left what it wanted on largely secondary issues — like making it harder to fire bad teachers and muddling the rules on student testing, like requiring overtime for domestic and home care workers, and making serious youth offenders eligible for early parole unless they got life sentences.

By pandering to the left on these issues, Brown — with a long history of canoeing a little bit left and a little bit right — was able to hold the reins on the legislature’s runaway spending proclivities while giving the business community everything it wanted, with one exception: He agreed to a 25% hike in the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

As usual, the governor and legislature left a lot of important issues in a total mess — issues like prison overcrowding and the expanded funding of schools with income from Proposition 30 and sales tax increases. Voters bought the school funding plan believing it would restore harsh cuts imposed on every school district. But instead of delivering on that promise, the governor chose to redistribute the money from good schools to bad schools and left school officials everywhere in the dark about how much money they will actually get.

Still, the day of reckoning is coming, the day when the total domination of California politics leads to the fulfillment of the long-ago prophecy that the nature of democracy in America would inevitably lead to a tyranny of the majority.

That is already true in Los Angeles, where the political system has total and absolute control without effective countervailing power unless dissidents have the resources to go to court.

The real question at this point is when that will happen in the Legislature.

Brown has been able to able to forestall pressure from labor and business to write loopholes into Proposition 13 and the state’s environmental laws, and he may even have been able to put them off through the 2014 elections, when it appears the 75-year-old governor intends to seek re-election and the Democrats are likely to retain their super-majorities.

So then what?

When business and labor are as happily in bed with each other as they appear to be, you have to wonder how the 88 percent of workers who aren’t in unions and the 99 percent who are not capitalists will fare.

That leaves the fate of California in the hands of Republicans. They could field candidates in swing districts with centrist views that appeal to mainstream voters or they could continue to demand the same ideological purity that we see pushing the nation to the brink of catastrophe in Washington, D.C.

Personally, I believe in a world where everybody is worthy of respect and inclusion, even those I disagree with, if they are sincere in their beliefs.

Why do I feel so alone?

(THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED SUNDAY IN THE GLENDALE NEWS-PRESS)

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12 Responses to My Sunday Column: Facing the State’s Day of Reckoning — When Tyranny of the Super-Majority Has Its Day

  1. anonymous says:

    Ron,
    You “believe in a world where everybody
    is worthy of respect and inclusion……if they are sincere in their beliefs.”
    Thank you for your sincere, well-intentioned belief. However,
    this mode of non-critical-unreasoned-mushy-sentimental-thinking
    assures we, and even those we disagree with, will all be doomed.
    With age should come wisdom. Time to wise-up.
    Have courage. Keep up the good fight.

  2. teddy says:

    Ron, you ask why you feel alone. When it seems so corrupt, it is. It will take
    a revolution to clean up this messs.

  3. Rita-of-Sunland says:

    I live for the day when the fate of this state will actually be in the hands of Republicans, Ron. You idiot Democrats are determined to only serve government workers, unions, illegal aliens, the homeless, criminals and BIG DEVELOPERS who are willing to sell out to your socialist/communist/redistribute the “wealth” of the middle class ideals.

  4. teddy says:

    G’MORNING, RITA. We need to share our values. That means not only voting as a party, it means voting as an American, One for all and all for one. That is the way we need to vote. Ask “How can we make our country the way our forefathers thought of it – Land of Freedom?

    Nowadays it seems the only thing that is important is to beat the guy or gal.

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      Sorry, Teddy— I’ve long since left political altruism behind. I don’t give a flying flip about “freedom” and “founders” and “framers” and “forefathers.” All I care about is NOT getting my taxes raised, sustaining my quality of life, and doing whatever I can do to avoid becoming an endless ATM for liberal/leftist agendas. Wake up. Your naivety will do NOTHING for you. That whole “One for all and all for one” battle-cry just doesn’t apply nowadays when we live in a place rife with conflicting cultures, different economic strata and disparate values.

  5. teddy says:

    Folks, today it seems that we are voting for people who have discovered a new source of riches. Once elected you can make a career of it, And live a life of leisure at the expense of the public. .What about being a volunteer like we once did in PTA , Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League?

  6. ex valley says:

    Ron writes: “That leaves the fate of California in the hands of Republicans. They could field candidates in swing districts with centrist views that appeal to mainstream voters or they could continue to demand the same ideological purity that we see pushing the nation to the brink of catastrophe in Washington, D.C”.
    So all the problems in la and ca are the fault of republicans? What do you mean by centrist views is that you want a republican who votes the same as a democrat, just has an r after his name. Kind of riordan.
    And who are these mainstream voters you are talking about? The same who elected brown, re-elected Villar, boxer, Feinstein etc. they don’t vote republican, Ron.
    They want their government provided goodies, they like the pandering to their special interests like law licenses and drivers licenses for illegals. They are a lost cause.

  7. Wayne from Encino whose posts await moderation because of weenies running things says:

    Ron on one hand wants ICE to take out the illegals to deport them from local police custody YET wants all illegals in California (even terrorists) to get a Driver’s license with the Scarlett Letter on it (Illegal Alien?) Won’t it be nice someday when we see the next terror attack come from some schmuck with one of these California “Driver’s Permits?” How about a bill to allow non-citizens to VOTE in STATE ELECTIONS? Why not Ron? Sounds reasonable to me! That’s YOUR PARTY’S GOAL AND OBJECTIVE, RON! The million and billion-aires WILL LIVE ON THE COAST, SURROUNDED BY PARKLANDS OWNED BY THE MOUNTAIN’S CONSERVANCIES, so no one can EVER BUILD A HOME NEAR THEIR HOMES, as their values skyrocket. Meanwhile, in the cities, the SCHMUCKS (like you Ron) will live in 20 story buildings where you take the bus, train, or ride a bike or “green vehicle” to your PART-TIME job. See how this modern-day TALE OF TWO CITIES is shaping up, RON BOY!?? Mayor Eric Garbage’s job is to get more schmucks to take residence in those “Down-town Lofts.” It all adds up to what you see.
    There is only one real solution—So many People are so damn medicated on pills, pot, and other crap that causes their brains to shut down. Everyone will have to toss away the meds, pot, and other junk their shoving down their pie-holes and SOBER-UP for a few weeks. THEN, they’ll look in SHOCK in what’s happened to California and L.A. But so many are dumbed down on meds and other crap like that (legal stuff) they have impaired reasoning skills. People will suffer from allergies, pain from back and other physical ailments without the meds, but the body adjusts and people can live without dependency on the crap their doctors are shoving down their throats. That’s why I call them DUMBO-CRATS! Democrats are FOOLS AND STOOOOOOOPID.

  8. H Wood says:

    Perhaps the most serious problem and a major reason you feel alone is Accounting Control Fraud.

    We can protect ourselves from bears in the woods and we know that terrorists who fly airplanes into high rises are dangerous, but who feels the treat from Accounting?

    The biggest threat is that we will fall asleep before someone finishes saying the word, “accounting.” Let the nation has been under persistent attack by Accounting Control Fraud and because its name is some boring bland, no one feels the danger. The only bipartisan thing in Washington DC is ACF. It unites the tea baggers KnowNothings with hatred of regulations, as if the economy is something that just spontaneously operates with no rules, with the Wall Street crooks. When it comes to ACF one cannot distinguish the GOP from the DEM.

    Oh, how the crooks love it when the GOP blames the DEMS and the DEMS blame the GOP. The biggest danger to the GOP-DEM crooks is that they will die laughing at the Ignoranti as they blame the DEM and then blame the GOP.

    The Ted Cruz Show is great — if you can divorce the spectacle from the villainy.

  9. teddy says:

    Taxpayers provide goodies.” Indeed. Now the Legislature is discussing raising property taxes. The bill is called ACA8. This Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 and needs to be defeated.

  10. teddy says:

    Aren’t we getting tired of increasing an inflated government?

    We need to start deflating costs and then eventually we will be able
    to afford to live here.

    • H wood says:

      Small government, big government. That’s not a reasonable way to evaluate government. That’s like rating your food bill at Ralphs while paying not attention to what you get for your money. If you spend $125.00 and get a small bag of rice, then the bill is too big, but if you pay $10.00, and you eat for a week, the bill is OK.

      About 99% of the people have no idea how the government spends the money. Instead, they rely on myths and lies.

      Every so often, we do get a glimpse of what’s bad. Giving $1/2 Billion to a developer is bad government spending. Burdening the City with about $11 Billion by the defunct CRA, which did no one any benefit, was a horrible waste of money. But that didn’t stop people from electing Garcetti who supported every CRA project he saw and who took billions from the schools and gave it to the CRA developers.

      When looks at the waste which we can see in government, we see that the voters approve it. Why else would they elect Garcetti and the same councilpeople until they’re termed out?

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