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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly]

Kooky, Extremist, Fringe Democrats with Goofy Ideas
Unfortunately, they're in charge...
[Ray Haynes] 7/28/03

The biggest story this past week (besides the recall) was the “secret” meeting of several Democrats in which they plotted to hold up the budget for political gain. This would cause people pain, so they would then try to blame Republicans for shutting down the government, and hopefully increase the pressure sufficiently to force Republicans to vote for tax increases. Of course, they held this meeting in the Capitol, and left the microphone on in the meeting room. Just about every office, the entire press corps, and most of the lobbying community then heard the discussions held in their secret meeting. I guess you could chalk up another political blunder to term limits. The entire event was a rookie mistake.

In trying to defuse the situation, the Director of Finance from the Governor’s Office, referred to them simply as “kooky, extremist, fringe democrats with goofy ideas”. Many of my Republican friends have speculated that the Democrats in the Assembly are extremist, and we know that their ideas are goofy, but it is nice that a long-time Democrat legislator finally publicly acknowledges their extremism and goofiness, even if it was only to try and make light of a grievous error.

The only problem is that these goofy people run one house of the Legislature. They are the chairs of the Education, Natural Resource, Long-Term Care and Aging Committees, and their decisions actually affect people. When they plot to hold up the budget, which would hurt people, they have enough votes to make it happen. They accuse Republicans of wanting to destroy California, but Republicans barely have enough votes to stop a tax increase, much less change policy in California.

That is why this “secret” meeting was such an interesting event. Three months ago, Assembly Republicans proposed the first complete budget plan for the Assembly. Democrats had been having meetings for months, but took no action. Republicans decided to take the initiative to prove that the budget could be balanced with no new taxes. They also said that the details of the budget were negotiable, and invited the Democrats to sit down at the table and negotiate. Assembly Democrats stood silent. They refused to negotiate.

Last month, the Assembly Republicans fine tuned their proposal, and once again invited the Democrats to negotiate. The response of the Democrat majority was to put the budget on the floor, and spend four hours bashing the plan. During that entire time, they proposed no plan of their own, refused to negotiate on our budget proposal, and, quite frankly, chose, once again, to take absolutely no action on advancing the budget.

The problem with that approach to the budget is that they are the majority party. Nothing can happen unless those in the majority want it to happen. They have the votes; they run the house. If they do nothing, the state goes bankrupt, and they are doing nothing. They have chosen to attack Republicans rather than negotiate in good faith.

That is a compliment to Republicans in the Assembly. A party that is confident in their agenda and ideas can take the criticism. A confident majority allows the minority to criticize, works with them where they can, but take responsibility for their actions when they can’t. If the majority knows the public is with them, they do not fear the exercise of power.

The purpose of the acquisition of power is to implement a policy agenda. If the elected official is afraid the implementation of that policy agenda would cost him or her power, then they have a choice. They can be honest with people and abandon the agenda, or lose power. If they cannot be honest, and keep power, they have the wrong agenda.

Republicans had the courage to stand behind their agenda. Democrats ran for the hills. Under those circumstances, who should be running California?


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