Monday, February 27, 2006

Why No One Ever Learned Anything From Sunday Talk Shows

Wait, are you serious? Please say "no." Really? Schwarzenegger for, really? I--I--I'm speechless; I'm without speech.

OK, not really. It's nice to see Jerry can still maintain that boyish naivete in which a politician can be "self-effacing" in a cleanly scrubbed talk-show appearance and receive Jerry's endorsement. Methinks my esteemed co-senior writer from New York hasn't been reading his home-town newspapers, as surely any awareness of the havoc Arnold has wrecked upon the Golden State would cause him to think twice before such public affiliations. To begin with -- and the true cause for my profound surprise -- is that nothing will change the fact that the governator spent almost the entirety of 2005 taking a huge dump on the chests of the state's public teachers, as well as all public sector employees. Of all the issues facing California's residents, Arnold decided the top few included removing important political abilities away from nurses, firefighters, police officers and, yes, teachers. I won't get into the woefully failed iniatives, Props. 75 and 76, but here's a site that neatly spells out what Arnold fought tooth and nail for.

In any case, no bit of political see-sawing is going to bring back Arnold from public-perception hell. As we all know, an incumbent needs 50 percent approval to seek out re-election -- Arnold is squarely at 40 percent. Jerry calls him a "bipartisan leader" which is a fun label to give a politico, but it doesn't fit in this case. In trying to have his cake and eat it too, Arnold has managed to piss off both parties. This is not the work of a leader bringing the state's flanks together; instead he's confusing everybody by not holding true to any "core values". He's pandering, and not doing a good job at it. That "toxic partisanship" Jerry referenced? Yeah, that's Arnold fighting with the statehouse. (The Republicans in Sacramento are mostly experts at compromising at this point -- but it's Arnold who continuously fights the fights that needed no fighting.)

Of course, if the governor were to introduce sound policy, it would certainly help his chances. But this $222 billion bond measure is paving Hell with good intentions. I don't care about being in debt for the next few generations -- I just wish the money were allotted wisely. There's no mitigation for how some of the infrastructure dollars get spent. The big push in California is smart growth -- with parks, walkable communities and New Urbanism mixed use -- but there's no such direction in this pot of money. One would think this massive, massive bond proposal would include funds for affordable housing or a boost to bring fleeing companies back in order to ensure we can afford this. Zero dollars are allotted to either of these needs. He's wholly depending on corporate taxes and real estate revenues to pay for his plan, which is inherently unstable. Good thing there's no signs of a possible plummet, eh?

Of minor importance, but a pet issue for me, Arnold did include $2.4 billion to construct charter schools. Department of Finance officials told the SF Chronicle they arrived at that figure by only consulting with charter-school organizations. The Chron then wisely, and a bit understatedly, notes that "parties with a more objective interest in charter schools should also be consulted."

As for the two Democratic challengers, I'm not sure I agree that either man is a "political hack." To begin with, Westly hasn't been in politics long enough to become a hack. (If anything you can slam the eBay officer-turned-comptroller as "in over his head" or "buying his way to the governorship," but I don't know about "hack.") And as for Angelides, who has my vote, I can list his positive attributes later as this has gone on long enough. I hope I've made my opinion known to Jerry, who -- upon further reflection -- may be the only public school teacher in the country to publicly endorse Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Post a Comment

<< Home