Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fiddling While Rome Burns

Despite a rare joint session of the California Legislature yesterday, where members heard how bad things are in California from State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, State Controller John Chiang, State Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, and State Finance Director Mike Genest, the California Legislature seems bound and determined to run the state into the ground, and count on something like divine intervention to turn things around.

It's hard to know at this point which party is most to blame, and which party is most ill-equipped to develop solutions to the myriad problems facing California. But since I shot some barbs Darrell Steinberg's way last week, today I'm going to send some the way of Assembly Republican leaders Dave Cogdill and Mike Villines. With no due respect, at this juncture they both have their heads so far up their arses that it's hard to fathom how they will ever again see the light of day.

Of course, they will tell you that their intransigience is all in "defense of the taxpayer." Well, gentlemen - that's all well and good, and probably very appealing to the dwindling base that still supports the Republican party in this state. But, last time I checked, people of all political backgrounds, colors and creeds were looking for solutions - for leaders who know the art of compromise, who know how to fashion a plan that can appeal to the broadest coalition possible while still turning the state in the right direction.

Villines in particular has been a profound disappointment. In the early 1990s, when he was a resident of Elk Grove, I served with Mike on the Franklin-Laguna Area Planning Advisory Council. At the time, he was a dedicated, open-minded public servant, one who strove to hear all points of view before reaching a decision. I'm not sure what happened between now and then, but his view has become so narrow that there is barely room in it for one point of view, much less any others.

All in all, the whole thing is a sad and degrading spectacle, and all 120 of them will deserve a lump of coal in their stockings if they can't get moving on something soon.

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