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The Unarmed Gladiator
It's not all perfect, but get behind the Governor...
[by Ray Haynes] 11/8/05

The despotic Gray Davis managed to run up a $34 billion dollar deficit, tripled the car tax and signed a bill into law that would have granted drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Californians then took the first step towards reform by recalling Davis and electing Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Under Schwarzenegger’s leadership, the deficit has been remarkably reduced, drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens was repealed, and subsequent attempts vetoed, the illegal car tax was repealed and workers compensation laws were changed to encourage businesses to stay in the state. Although he was empowered with a mandate by the people, he was not given adequate tools to accomplish needed reforms. His Propositions will give him tools to aid his reform effort.


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][go to Haynes index]

A friend and I were talking about the special election, and my friend was recounting the problems with the initiatives. Take Proposition 74, my friend said it didn’t do enough. It wasn’t the end-all solution. It wasn’t perfect.

OK—so it isn’t perfect, I said, but it is something. We both agreed that the school system is broken. We both agreed that significant changes were needed. We just couldn’t agree on every aspect of a solution. Then it hit me. Any change has strengths and weaknesses. Of course, when the defenders of the status quo have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend, they can point out the weakness, and there is no one to point out the strengths. I think people understand that something is wrong, and that there is something right about reforming tenure. They are just not sure that this is the right reform.

Well – we’ve got to do something. If we let “perfect” become the standard in this election, we will hand the defenders of the status quo a victory from which we will never recover.

Yes—there are flaws in Proposition 74, but it is a step in the right direction. Making teachers wait three more years before they get a permanent lifetime job is not a bad thing. Making them prove that they are competent won’t fix the entire problem, but it is a start.

The same is true with the other initiatives. My right-to-work friends don’t like Proposition 75 because it only affects the dues portion of the payments that government employees are forced to pay unions. That is only about two or three dollars a month. The other $30 to $40 a month, what is known as the agency fee, is required to be paid, and no one can get out of that. The state should eliminate the whole thing, my friends say. In fact, the big lie being told by the unions in the anti-75 campaign is that employees who quit the union still have to pay that union 90% of what they would have to pay if they were members of the union. Some just believe it is stupid not to join.

Well, yes, we should get rid of the agency fee as well, but let’s start somewhere. Requiring some permission to use dues for political purposes is a good start, and we’ve got to do something if we are going to break the power of the unions in Sacramento.

Proposition 76 suffers from the same criticism. I personally want a hard spending cap. Proposition 76 doesn’t have a hard spending cap. But it has spending limits and controls. That is something, and it is certainly better than what is in place today. And no—it doesn’t give too much power to the Governor. It just requires the Legislature to act, to do its job. That is a good thing. The Legislature got us into our fiscal problem. They need to act to get us out.

Proposition 77 has flaws too. Will retired judges be subject to political pressure when drawing the lines for the Legislature and Congress? Of course, but they won’t be drawing the lines that determine their own money and power. The current system allows those who benefit from the system to draw the lines for their advantage. At least the judges are one step removed.

Two years ago, California was drowning in debt. The People of California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger to fix California. But, he was sent to Sacramento without the tools needed to fix the problems. Even actor Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” was given a sword to fend off his foes. Give Schwarzenegger the ability to start reforming California. Are the Propositions perfect? No – but they are better, and Sacramento needs better. CRO

Mr. Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to


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