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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]

Murder-Suicide in Sacramento
Anger and paranoia in the Capitol
[Ray Haynes] 9/9/03

We’ve all seen tragic murder-suicide headlines and stories over the years. Somebody who is angry, depressed and sees no hope for the future either at home or in the workplace decides not only to take his own life, but to lash out at those around him, as a last desperate gesture to get back at the people who made him miserable.

The signs of a political murder-suicide are now present in Sacramento. We have an angry, depressed, paranoid man in the Governor’s office who is reading the polls and likely losing all hope of surviving the upcoming recall election. Despite a whole career in which he never took positions on legislation before it reached his desk, he’s had a sudden personality change and is now talking about all the things he’s going to do to taxpayers and businesses in this state as he contemplates his own demise. Not content to go out quietly, he’s now planning to go out in a blaze of glory, leaving a path of destruction in his wake, leaving citizens and employers in this state behind to pick up the mess he leaves.

He has already started by signing a bill (SB 60) granting drivers’ licenses (and thus, legal identification) to illegal aliens. Despite widespread opposition to this plan state-wide, and the fact that he has twice vetoed similar bills because they did not do enough to protect Californians from the threat of criminal aliens and terrorists, he is now ready to sign a bill that has even fewer protections for law-abiding citizens than the ones he previously killed. Aside from the dangers of allowing criminal aliens and wannabe terrorists valid state identification, and aside from the fact that it will make it increasingly difficult for employers to verify whether an applicant has a right to work in this state, under the state’s DMV-driven motor voter law, it will result in increasing numbers of illegal aliens registering to vote, creating growing electoral havoc in this state years after this Governor has gone away.

Another idea that he has vetoed in the past that he is now threatening to sign would increase the burden on homebuilders, new business development and local governments in the name of Native American heritage preservation. At the time he endorsed the bill (SB 18), it would have drawn an arbitrary five-mile circle around traditional as well as previously unknown Native American sites statewide on as little evidence as an oral history of gatherings at these sites. It would require any development by anyone to go through an additional level of regulation in which they would be forced to negotiate an agreement in the form of either protection of the sites, or outright extortion paid to the local tribes in order to bring new homes, businesses, parks or schools to an area. This bill has since been weakened, but still will put significant new obstacles to development in most areas of the state. The only difference between last year and this year is his desperation and need to raise millions of dollars from tribal casinos as Cruz Bustamante has so successfully done.

The most dangerous threat he has made has been to sign a bill similar to SB 2, which would place a severe new tax on our already battered employers in this state. In the name of healthcare, this proposal would cost from $2 to $10 billion per year on our state’s job creators and put perverse incentives not to grow into place in California. Right now, business is struggling under the costs of a workers’ compensation system that has tripled during Gray Davis’ time in office and impending unemployment insurance taxes that Davis also has been responsible for increasing, among other new regulations and fees passed in the last five years. An expensive new mandate like this will not be the shot in the arm our economy needs, but more of a homicidal shot to the head delivered by an angry, desperate man who has clearly lost all hope of gaining support from the productive sector of our state.

It’s not too late to stop this murder-suicide. On the one hand, we could try to impress on him the damage he will do to this state if he does what he’s threatened to do, but I’m not sure we can ask a man who has lost all hope to sympathize with those who still want to survive. So maybe we could offer him some hope. While we obviously can’t afford to offer to let him stay in office, maybe if we promised him stable future employment after he leaves, he’d be more willing to let bygones be bygones and leave quietly. A future Governor Schwarzenegger could offer Gray some of the movie roles he wouldn’t be available for anymore, but I doubt people would be willing to pay to see him do anything but leave. A more likely job would be if a future Governor Cruz Bustamante could pull some strings with his Native American friends and get him a gig as a greeter at a tribal casino. For Gray Davis, shaking people’s hands and then watching them lose all their money will seem just like the good old days. Maybe it will even be enough to prevent the ugly political murder-suicide we fear in the coming weeks in Sacramento.


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