Monday, December 01, 2008

An Open Letter to Darrell Steinberg

This isn't going to make sense to any reader outside of California, but so be it...

Dear Senator Steinberg:

Congratulations on your ascension to the position of President pro Tem of the California State Senate. Your career of public service is one of which you can be justifiably proud. I believe you are uniquely suited to lead the State Senate in this time of fiscal crisis - as well as serve as a leader for the entire membership of the Legislature.

As you know well, the stakes have never been higher, and your moment arrives at a time when the public's confidence in the Legislature has never been lower. Put frankly, the performance of the California Legislature has been an embarrassment for some time now, but never more so than in the past year. There is no other word for what transpired in the Capitol this past year than failure. And while it is fair for the governor to share in the blame for that failure, it is also time for the Legislature to step up to the plate and assume responsibility for its own role in that failure.

But more than that, it is time for the Democratic Party to prove that it stands for something. As a lifelong Democrat, I am ashamed to associate myself with the party that has proven to be so impotent in the seat of power. It is all well and good to blame the governor and the minority party for their respective shortcomings in developing long-term solutions to the current economic situation which the state now faces. But the Democrats hold the cards, and have for some time. It is nothing less than shameful that the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy has proven to be nothing more than a paper tiger in this budget debate. It is hard for any objective observer to escape the conclusion that the party really stands for nothing more than holding power.

Fair or not, the burden now lies on your shoulders. It is time to turn things around. It is time to craft solutions that will appeal, not only to your Democratic brethren, but also to the elected leaders who sit across the aisle. No more blame. No more failure. The people demand answers. Democrats and Republicans alike demand answers.

And if the answer once again is failure, then you will have one less Democrat to worry about pleasing, because I'll be leaving the party to become an Independent.

Good luck, and Godspeed.

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