In the L.A. Weekly, Marc Cooper ponders the descent of Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez into the "black void" that California politics has become. An excerpt:
Almost certainly, Fabian will soon resurrect as a private-sector lobbyist, most likely with his Big Telecom friends. But as a political figure, the markers he will leave behind are 10,000 extra slot machines we never needed. The most Núñez can now expect from history is that every time someone tosses a quarter into the black void of one of those machine's bottomless bellies, he will recall how Mr. Speaker threw away his once-bright political career.
In January, I sat and watched as Núñez introduced Governor Schwarzenegger's "escort committee," the legislators who would accompany the governor as he entered the Assembly floor to deliver his State of the State address. In less than a minute, he managed to mangle the names of two of the Republican members - "Strickland" became "Strickler," and "Hollingsworth" became "Hollinsberg." At the time, it was difficult to decide whether the gaffe was the result of shameful ignorance, or just shameful arrogance. The one certain thing was that it was shameful.