Usually I find the Orange County Register’s Brian Joseph to be an objective reporter. He covers the State Capitol beat and today he posted a report on Total Buzz With budget negotiations stalled, lawmakers debate … food?Â that seemed to me to be straight out of the Steven Greenhut school of reporting. Yes, I know that Greenhut writes commentary rather than news. That’s my point.
While negotiations have deadlocked on the $26.3 billion deficit, state lawmakers have moved on to other important things, like debating the definition of honey, talking about a blueberry commission and discussing pomegranate juice.
Seriously. Legislation on those three topics are being heard in committee today while banks are threatening to not accept state IOUs after Friday.
Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggerâ€™s office said this morning that the big guy was going to reach out and call Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who refused to attend a meeting with the governor on Monday because she was upset with him.
Sorry to break it to you BrianÂ but the state budget crisis, which even James Dotti at Chapman University says is overstated, is not the only business that needs to be taken care of in Sacramento. Assembly and Senate committees have specific deadlines to pass legislation out of committee during the legislative year. The fact that Governor Schwarzenegger and the Republicans in both houses of the Legislature refuse to discuss real solutions should not hold the rest of the legislative business hostage.
Now I have to admit that the definition of honey, talking about a blueberry commission and discussing pomegranate juiceÂ do seem inconsequential (and humorous) in the context of the problems the Governor and Republican legislators want to ignore, but that is not the fault of Speaker Bass and the Democrats.
And to paint the refusal of Speaker Bass to meet with the Governor to discuss things other than solving the budget crisis as her being upset with him comes off a bit misogynst to me. The phrase “oh don’t worry about her she’s just upset, must be her time of the month” comes to mind.
So while our girly man Governor is content to recline in his bubble bath with a stogie while our state burns, the Democrats are at least trying to get something done. And just for the record, there are plenty of important bills that were passed out of committee today. Among those wasÂ Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torricoâ€™s legislation to reverse the trend of declining state support of Californiaâ€™s higher education system which passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee 5 to 3 today.
The bill, AB 656, would place a tax on oil and steer the revenues to Californiaâ€™s three higher education systems, the California State University, University of California and California Community Colleges.Â The bill now goes to the Assemblyâ€™s Revenue and Taxation Committee.