The less said about the California budget mess, the better. I suppose one could call the California Legislature the Lehman Brothers of Legislatures. And the governor isn't any better, demonstrating a shocking lack of vision coupled with ineptitude on an epic scale. Put it all together in a bag and shake it up, and what you're left with is something that falls somewhere on the disaster scale between the Titanic and the Hindenburg.
For a life-long Democrat such as myself, the most disappointing aspect about the entire debacle has been the utter lack of ability by the majority party to use that majority to leverage anything that they want in the budget debate. Senate President pro Tem Don Perata basically threw in the towel, and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has barely registered on the radar. I'm willing to concede that they are well-meaning individuals whose service is based on a dedication to their constituency - not just in their districts, but across the state. But even with that concession, the bottom line is that they failed their constituency in 2008. And if they have a vision for how to pull California out of this downward spiral, it was not readily evident during this year's debate.
It's hard to have hope, and if the trend continues, the results are truly frightening to contemplate. There is some hope in the form of incoming Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, but to date I've yet to hear him talk about how he and his colleagues are going to pull themselves out of this hole. He needs to get it out there, and soon.