A couple of years ago that would have been unthinkable and I'd have probably thought all movement in my voting arm would be gone forever by now. Permanently crippled by my treacherous alliance with an unspeakable evil. It didn't happen, though.
The good news is my voting arm still does what I ask it to, with the proof being that I can type this post. I've been spared the expense of a trip to Lourdes.
You have to wonder, though. Just how bad do things have to get in California before people will cast votes to change something? The public school system is nearing collapse, deficits and debt continue to pile up year after year, our corrupt state legislature basically hands over our wealth to whomever can guarantee it the most political support and basketball tickets, unemployment is at near historic highs, and what happened this election? While the rest of the country regularly throws out whoever is in power every two years like clockwork, in California the same people keep getting returned to office like we are living in the Golden Age.
And not just that, California has apparently become pretty much a one party state. With the passage of Proposition 25 there will now be nothing or nobody that will in any way slow down the dominant political party here. It will do whatever it damn well wants to with your money, utterly and completely unchallenged. It is going to be the Jerry Brown and Darrell Steinberg show 24/7. I don't think that there has been 2 more completely empowered people ever in this state. So why those two?
We've just handed complete power over to a pair of doofuses I wouldn't trust to run a used car lot, much less the 7th largest economy in the world.
Joe Mathews, who writes often for that Fox & Hounds site I try to talk people into reading once in a while, showed up last night on the equally excellent PROPZERO blog, which is run by KNBC News, of all people. In an article entitled The Results: Californians Won't Embrace Change, he ruminates thusly on these mighty matters:
(This) also sends a remarkable message about politics in California. Even at a time of persistent governing crisis, and record high levels of public discontent with government in California, voters aren't willing to embrace change here.
Brown's restoration to power (on a campaign platform with strong echoes of the incumbent Schwarzenegger's policies) and Boxer's re-election to a fourth term are the least of it. California won't make changes to its Congressional delegation, even as Congress sees a huge shift in power. The partisan make-up of the state legislature will stay the same. Most initiatives appear to be going down.
While the rest of the country throws out the bums every two years no matter who or what they are, here we reward them with power for life. Irregardless of how awful a job they do.
Mathews sketches out these reasons for California's oligarchy for life:
1. Lack of alternatives. In a two party system, it's up to the minority party to come up with acceptable challengers. And the California Republican Party is losing members and financial support. The institution that should develop challengers is in trouble.
2. Many Californians have given up on voting. At least 60 percent of the 23.5 million Californians eligible to vote didn't cast votes this fall. After years of frustration and persistent crisis, Californians are dropping out of the electorate.
3. Voters have no way to make change via elections. The system of legislative elections is broken; because of its size and scale and gerrymandering, voters can't change the party in control of the legislature. And they don't know their representatives. The ballot initiative process is open only to the rich people and interests with the millions of dollars needed to qualify measures and run campaigns.
If last night showed anything, it is that California managed to have a very important statewide election in troubled times and changed nothing. In 2010 that was a very hard thing to do.
With one exception, the 59th Assembly District
There is a quote attributed to Tim Donnelly that made the news almost everywhere around Happy Valley. From the Pasadena Star News to the Sierra Madre Patch (which I think has posted it three times now), it was cited as something fearful and most uncivil. Not to mention the obvious decorum issues. And certainly something the good people of Duckberg would never ever want to associate themselves with in this our most perfect world.
Here Frank Girardot trots it out once again for today's PSN:
"I'm going to Sacramento to start the war," (Donnelly) told supporters in Barstow. "I'm not going there to reach across the aisle and make friends. I'm going there to reach across the aisles to the enemies of freedom and annihilate them and pound them into the ground and take back our power."
So the good citizens, having read this statement in their newspapers, not to mentions on the Patches of this world, must have been aghast. With the result being that this ruffian was cast off into the wild from which he most obviously came?
Well, not exactly. He won. Not only did he win, he did it with a larger percentage of the vote than his Republican predecessor. And despite the fact that his opponent and her handlers made this quote practically the basis of their entire campaign.
Some numbers to back this up. (From the CA Sec'y of State site - 100% reporting.)
2008: Anthony Adams (R) 51.1%, Donald E. Williamson (D) 40.7%, Maureen K. Keedy (L) 8.2%
2010: Tim Donnelly (R) 57.3%, Darcel Woods 37.0%, with the Libertarian and AIP candidates splitting the remaining 5.7% of the vote.
Tim Donnelly comes from a town in San Bernardino County called Twin Peaks. Apparently it is a place where folks have somehow retained their traditional American zeal for making strong statements. Something that translated well even here on the Los Angeles County side of our bizarrely shaped Assembly district.
I think I'm going to have to go and check Twin Peaks out soon. I'll be sure to remain polite when I do.
Back to Sierra Madre tomorrow ...