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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]

The Revolution Has Only Just Begun
The Legislature ignores the law and makes up its own rules...
[Ray Haynes] 10/14/03

When Boris Yeltsin removed Mikhael Gorbachev as the President of the Soviet Union, it was hailed as a major change in the direction of that Communist Government. Much like the recall in California, the people of Russia rose up against the leaders of that country, and, in a bloodless coup, removed the leader of that country.

But Yeltsin’s work was not over. Even though Yeltsin became the President of the renamed Russian Federation, the legislative branch, known as the Duma, was still under the control of the communists. Yeltsin had considerable difficulty changing the direction of the country because the communists still controlled the Russian Legislature.

Well, by analogy, even though California has changed its leader, the communists are still in charge of the California Legislature. Not that I am calling my Democrat colleagues in the Legislature communists (well—no I won’t say it, I will just stick with calling it an analogy), but California’s revolution has only begun.

Governors can’t change laws. They can do many things. They can set agendas, they can drive policy, they can marshal public opinion, and they can push bureaucracies. They cannot, however, change laws. Only Legislatures can do that, and California’s Legislature is firmly under control of those who now have a vested interest in the status quo.

Governor-elect Schwarzenegger has promised to come into Sacramento and clean house, but his biggest problem is that there are a lot of people here who like the house just the way it is. Many of them owe their positions of power and influence to the same interests that have messed up this state. Trial lawyers, public employee unions, environmental extremists, and other politically connected left wingers have indulged their every legislative whim in the last five years, and we are experiencing the hangover. Our budget is seriously out of balance, our businesses are leaving the state in droves, our workers’ compensation system is broken, our freeways are overcrowded, our houses cost too much, and we are running out of gasoline, water, and electricity. By allowing those who need government to survive to control the levers of power in the government, we have seriously degraded the quality of life in this state.

These interest groups will not sacrifice their power willingly. They need the law, and state policy to force people to pay them money. They then use that money to keep their power, by electing people who are sympathetic to their desire to control the law and state policy. Breaking that cycle of the law, money, power, and control is the challenge the new Governor will face.

They will at least finally be forced to consider Republican opinions. Because while there is little our Governor-elect can do without the legislature’s assistance, there won’t be any more Democrat bills passed without Republican participation, either. If the Democrats wish to continue business as usual by ignoring Republican issues and concerns, I predict they will face a flurry of vetoes. If they wish to work with us to craft an agenda to help California’s economy and to advance the quality of life of our citizens, then they will find willing participants on our side of the aisle and in the Governor’s office.

The dance has already begun. If you listen closely to the comments by Senator Burton, the Democrat leader of the Senate, and Herb Wesson, the Speaker of the Assembly, you will hear these words--“We’ll work with you if you agree with us.” One Senator has even threatened to quit, saying that California no longer “needs nor deserves” him. That is typical of their approach to politics. They will not compromise with the new Governor until it costs them their power. That is why the revolution has only just begun. Things will change in this state when the entire power structure changes. That hasn’t happened yet.


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