Thursday, November 10, 2005

Reform Blockage in California

Voters Reject Schwarzenegger's Bid to Remake State Government - Los Angeles Times

Just having arrived in Los Angeles from discussions in Washington its impossible to avoid the debate about the severe setbacks to Governor Schwarzenegger in no less than four important ballots the day before yesterday.

Schwarzenegger had called for two of these these popular ballots in order to get around the resistance from the Democrat-dominated Californian legislature. But since his measures were about trimming expenditure and making changes in the public sector in order to get the finances of California in somewhat better order he got into an expensive and angry confrontation with the trade unions - and lost.

That's certainly not good news. California has its obvious attractions, but it's been a badly run place for too long, and Schwarzenegger is trying to get some order to the place.

But for the time being it failed. Now it's back to the efforts to get things moving through the legislature in Sacramento. And the risk is of course that the Democrats will now just try to block everything in terms of reforms.

That would be - as the Los Angeles Times puts it in its editorial comment - "a shame. Voters really want better schools, a balanced state budget, safe communities and better streets and highways. But they are really tired of being asked to pass all the laws themselves."

For the time being there are clouds on the horizon for the megastar of American politics.

But otherwise I can testify that the sun shines over southern California.