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Letters and “Memos” on the State Budget

In a hostage situation when a dialogue has begun, the kidnappers usually come forth with a list of demands or else the hostages will get hurt.

With the Republican Senate minority holding the state budget hostage, and millions of Californians depending upon services from the state government, we still don’t know what these Senators want.  The demands seem to keep changing. 

Is anyone in charge over there? 

The refusal to place duty to the citizens of California over party politics, being encouraged by sites like the Flash Report and Orange Juice’s right wingers is simply a shame.  No budget is perfect.  But these California Republicans, who tout themselves as representing freedom, are heartless bean counters who place numbers ahead of the needs of real people.  The Republican Governor needs to move these Republican senators in line.

But back to the title of the post. Below, is a copy of the letter Senate majority leader Don Perata sent to Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman.

July 21, 2007

The Honorable Dick Ackerman
Senate Republican Leader
State Capitol, Room 305
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Ackerman: I’d like to memorialize my announcement on the Senate Floor this morning so there is no ambiguity.The State Budget is 21 days overdue. The Governor and three legislative leaders have reached a bipartisan agreement on a budget that has a $3.4 billion dollar reserve – the largest reserve in state’s history. This is our “rainy day” fund for unforeseen economic problems. This budget requires a minimum of two Senate Republican votes in order to send to the Governor.Candidly, for weeks, we have been unable to understand what you want. Specifically, your criteria for a livable operating deficit have changed repeatedly – and as recently as this morning, it dropped from $250 million to zero. Your caucus has been unable to provide a list of cuts to meet your objectives. Additionally, you have raised new policy and language concerns with the budget each time all of your previous issues have been resolved. In a phrase, “the goalposts keeps moving.”

It has become clear that Senate Democrats and our Republican Governor can’t continue to guess at what might meet your objectives.

That’s why I recessed the Senate until Wednesday at 9am: to give your caucus time to develop your own budget plan, complete with trailer bills. This plan must be one that all 15 members of your caucus can support, as well as 12 members of my caucus. If it meets these criteria, we can send it to the Assembly.

When you have a budget prepared and unanimous support of your caucus, we will resume negotiations. Naturally, we will meet every day until this task is completed.

Above all, please be advised: This is no drill. You must accept responsibility for delaying a state budget for reasons unknown. But until you produce a budget, neither Democratic members nor staff will meet. The burden falls to you.

Sincerely,

DON PERATA

Nice letter.  There should be a reminder that the party doesn’t make decisions for the of the state.  We have a republic form of government after all.Monday morning, the Flash Report’s Jon Fleischman wrote a different kind of fiction than he usually writes (you know, My friend John Doolittle would never do anything wrong, only Republicans are the party of freedom, Democrats are idiots…. blah, blah, blah). 

Nice letter.  There should be a reminder that the party doesn’t make decisions for the of the state.  We have a republic form of government after all.Monday morning, the Flash Report’s Jon Fleischman a different kind of than he usually writes (you know, My friend John Doolittle would never do anything wrong, only Republicans are the party of freedom, Democrats are idiots…. blah, blah, blah).

Nice letter.  There should be a reminder that the party doesn’t make decisions for the of the state.  We have a republic form of government after all.Monday morning, the Flash Report’s Jon Fleischman a different kind of than he usually writes (you know, My friend John Doolittle would never do anything wrong, only Republicans are the party of freedom, Democrats are idiots…. blah, blah, blah).This time it was a memo from Gale Kaufman and Matt Dowd, consultants of Assembly leader Fabian Nunez’ measure to amend the term limits law to Nunez ghosted by Jon.  In his fantasy world, Jon thinks that the budget hijacking is really a dispute of sorts between Nunez and Perata.  He overuses quotations around terms like Trojan Horse and Bait and Switch and Landing Spot as though readers don’t understand what these terms mean (does he?).  No mention of a disconnect between a Republican Senate minority and their Republican governor (you know, the one who keeps hiring former Davis administration officials).

My favorite paragraph:  We recommend that you call a meeting of all of your termed-out Democratic colleagues in both houses, and remind them that Republican legislators hold all of the cards in this debate, and that you all have EVERYTHING to lose.

Actually, it’s Republicans who don’t know what they want.  It’s Republicans holding up the budget.  Hell, some Republicans have never voted for a budget.  Perata turned the deck over to Ackerman.  What do you think is easier Jon?  Getting two Republicans to flip or 12 Democrats?  It’s still a very blue state.  Running hard to the far right is a losing ticket.  And if the budget continues to be held up, the people will blame the Republicans for it.  I want to see what they want to cut.  But none of these mouth breathers is showing any cards or balls for that matter.

For what it matters, I’m against term limits.  We already have them.  They are called elections.  And ask George Allen, Rick Santorum or Conrad Burns if being an incumbent made their seat safe.  I’m against term limits even if it means Chuck DeVore would always be my assemblyman.  As millions more move into Orange County and the Inland Empire, and the vast majority of these new residents are Latino, I have to believe the number of Democrats is going to increase and turn these Red Counties purple and then blue.

Since 1.1 million signatures were turned in, 400,000 more than needed, the term limit initiative is on the ballot.  Hate Nunez? Hate Perata?  Run someone against them that can win. 

But make no mistake here.  This is a budget held hostage by the minority party who represent a minority interest of a minority of people in this state.

Nice letter.  There should be a reminder that the party doesn’t make decisions for the of the state.  We have a republic form of government after all.Monday morning, the Flash Report’s Jon Fleischman a different kind of than he usually writes (you know, My friend John Doolittle would never do anything wrong, only Republicans are the party of freedom, Democrats are idiots…. blah, blah, blah).

Nice letter.  There should be a reminder that the party doesn’t make decisions for the of the state.  We have a republic form of government after all.Monday morning, the Flash Report’s Jon Fleischman a different kind of than he usually writes (you know, My friend John Doolittle would never do anything wrong, only Republicans are the party of freedom, Democrats are idiots…. blah, blah, blah).