If the recall campaign did one positive thing, it focused California's attention on state government. Now there's a new opportunity for reforms that would enable state and local governments to deal effectively with a rapidly changing state.
In 1971, nothing was more contentious than welfare reform. Gov. Ronald Reagan railed at welfare cheats and wanted to trim the rolls. Bob Moretti, the late Democratic Assembly speaker, sought to boost payments to the needy. He later recalled saying, "Look, Governor, I don't like you particularly and I know you don't like me, but we don't have to be in love to work together." That touched off two weeks of intense negotiations that led to a landmark welfare reform supported by both parties. The breakthrough factor? Both men later said it was that they trusted each other.
October 8, 2003
Picture this: The governor, flanked by beaming community and business leaders and elected officials, signs into law a $1.5-billion package of tax relief for motorists, businesses, families and seniors. Is this Arnold Schwarzenegger in a few months, carrying out his promise to solve the fiscal mess in Sacramento and restore California's economy? Nope, it was Gov. Gray Davis on July 7, 2000, doling out what he called "the largest tax rebate in California history."
October 12, 2003
In his campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger missed the target with many of the vague darts he tossed at "the mess in Sacramento," but he hit the bull's-eye with this television ad: "Special interests have a stranglehold on Sacramento. Here's how it works. Money comes in, favors go out. The people lose."
October 26, 2003
Perhaps just once this year did the California Legislature look more ridiculous than during its rancorous budget debates. Back in June, lawmakers came within two votes of defeating a resolution to honor fathers on Father's Day. Fourteen lawmakers refused to vote at all, afraid of going on the record.
November 2, 2003
All the energy and interest in the political system generated by the recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis will be wasted if Sacramento slips back into deadlock and polarized politics-as-usual. Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he is bent on preventing that, promising "action, action, action, action" on taking office Nov. 17.
November 9, 2003
Schwarzenegger, introduced to Capitol's gridlock, shouldn't be dissuaded in his effort for a budget compromise
December 8, 2003
The "politics as usual" scorn aimed at Sacramento this week, emphasized by a downgrade of California's investment quality, appears to be moving the boulder of partisan stubbornness. Legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to bargaining Wednesday. They were reportedly closing in on a possible compromise to put a $15-billion bond to finance the state's debt on the March 2 ballot, along with new limits on future spending.
December 11, 2003