As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Special Election Would Happen May 19th?

I've been trying to get confirmation on when a special election would take place if and when this horror show of a budget was to get passed. Well, the actual language in the budget bills (via Around The Capitol) states that the five ballot measures are being scheduled for a May 19, 2009 ballot. There would be Los Angeles city general election on that date for any seat that doesn't get a 50% +1 majority in the March 3 primaries, so with that large election already scheduled it makes a bit of sense. Still, that is fairly soon, and earlier than expected.

You can read and weep at the other bills here - actually 23 of them in the Senate and 22 in the Assembly have to pass to finish this budget deal.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has taken notice of the madness, which means people in LA might actually read about it.

The state of California — its deficits ballooning, its lawmakers intransigent and its governor apparently free of allies or influence — appears headed off the fiscal rails [...]

After negotiating nonstop from Saturday afternoon until late Sunday night on a series of budget bills that would have closed a projected $41 billion deficit, state lawmakers failed to get enough votes to close the deal and adjourned. They returned to the capital late Monday morning only to adjourn until the afternoon, though it was far from clear whether they would be able to reach a deal.

California has also lost access to much of the credit markets, nearly unheard of among state municipal bond issuers. Recently, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the state’s bond rating to the lowest in the nation.

This is something that's not clearly understood. We can't borrow money and that market will not snap back even if we pass a budget, especially since it hinges on must-pass initiatives that won't be resolved until May. And yet $11 billion of the budget is based on, yes, BORROWING.

By the way, Abel Maldonado's effort to get an "allow Abel Maldonado to be able to win a Republican primary" rider tossed into the bill takes major chutzpah.

Democrats, who had already given into Republicans’ long-held dreams of large tax cuts for small businesses and for some of the entertainment industry and a proposed $10,000 tax break for first-time home buyers, balked at Mr. Maldonado’s request that the legislature tuck a bill into the package that would allow voters to cross party lines in primary elections.

Mr. Maldonado, who is also seeking a constitutional amendment to prevent lawmakers from getting paid if budgets are late, defended his request that the open primary bill be included in the budget package.

“There needs to be good government reforms in this budget, and no member should be getting pet projects,” he said. “I think with an open primary, we would have good government that would do the people’s work.”

While he's at it, why not a law making his votes count three times as much as any primary opponent? I mean we need good government reforms like that.

...CapAlert reports that Maldonado has a "list of demands" - open primaries, no pay for lawmakers any day after a late budget, bans on legislative pay raises and per diem increases in down years, and "cutting out the pork" in the budget, which is just a revival of his nonsensical John Chiang feud. In other words, Maldonado wants some populist notches on his belt, and he wants the laws of the state tipped in the direction of his statewide electoral prospects. This part made me laugh out loud:

He wants an open primary system similar to those used by local governments in which the top two vote-getters regardless of party run in the general election. The system is said to favor moderate candidates, such as himself, rather than encourage primary hopefuls to woo voters at their party's extremes. He acknowledged he plans to run for statewide office, but sold the open primary as more of a "good government reform."

Um, yeah, Abel, if you are making up LISTS OF DEMANDS as a condition for your vote, the last thing I'd call you is "moderate".

The Senate is now scheduled for a floor session at 6pm, depending on how much tissue is needed to keep Maldonado from crying.

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