“I’m Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore!”
That was the famous line that won Peter Finch the first Oscar awarded posthumously until Keith Ledger won the Oscar last night. It seems a fitting opener to report on calls from the left coast here for a California Constitutional Convention by an odd collection of groups including the Bay Area Council.
Last week as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pleaded for just one more vote to pass the state budget then 106 days late he seemed to sum up the disillusionment when he told the legislators, “People are asking if California is governable,” Arnold said. “They wonder about the need of a constitutional convention. They don’t understand how we could have let political dysfunction paralyze our state for so long. In recent years they have seen more gridlock in Sacramento than on our roads, if that is possible.”
There is more likelihood California will suddenly discover a new Sutter’s Mill goldmine than that Legislature would allow angry voters to hold a constitutional convention. That is why the Bay Area Council, a coalition of business executives, is using the issue to poke a sharp stick in the eye of the Sacramento political class. You can read all about it at www.repaircalifornia.org.
There is more than a little irony that some of the most committed supporters of Barack Obama in Silicon Valley are also behind this move to take back control of California State Government. In many ways what California has been through over the past decade since the dot.com bust may actually be a preview of the Obama Administration strategy for digging out of the recession by pouring money on the problem. It didn’t work here in California and seems unlikely to work on a national scale either. Even the new stimulus bill faces revolt from a few Republican Governors (not Arnold) with the temerity to point out that taking the Federal money amounts to a massive expansion of the cost structure that got the states in the mess they now face. Two years from now when the Federal money runs out none of those Governors want to face that music.
As you drive north on I-5 to the Oregon border you will see billboards for the State of Jefferson north of Redding to about Ashland, Oregon. The mythical state of Jefferson is the pseudonym for the regional chamber of commerce but it also accurately reflects the political views of the folks who believe that Thomas Jefferson had it just about right when he said that a little revolution now and then was a good thing.
Patience is wearing thin with non-solutions to big problems because at its best it suggests our leader do not know what to do to solve the problems we face. At its worst it represents a cynical use of the current economic crisis to implement a political agenda the American people are not sure they really signed up for when they voted for “change”.
That’s why you should watch what happens with the California Constitutional Convention idea. Who knows maybe one of the proposal will be to rename the place the State of Jefferson.