Monday, June 13, 2005

Schwarzenegger Trembles Before Satan

In a little less than 13 hours, California President Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to announce that he is going to force the cash-strapped state (actually, the even more cash-strapped counties) to shell out $70,000,000.00 or so to hold a special election on November 8, 2005, because we just can't wait seven whole months to decide whether or not to change the rules for public school tenure, re-draw our legislative boundaries in an unprecedented (except in Texas) mid-decade redistricting, and pass a binding requirement that the state government find enough pixie dust to balance the budget, even knowing full well that the Legislature lacks the conejos cojones to either raise taxes or cut services. Our highways are crumbling, we don't have enough public transit to provide a solid alternative to private cars, our schools rank #47 out of 51 states (including D.C.) — thank goodness for Texas and Mississippi! — and we have literally millions of residents with no access to medical care except through the emergency room.

So why are we spending $70 million on a special election, when there's a regular election only seven months later? Because Governor Schwarzenegger's personal political calculus is more important than a few hundred new calculus teachers. Because redrawing legislative districts six years early is more important than repainting the lane stripes on our decaying highways. Because giving the governor an opportunity to yell at nurses as a "special interest group" is more important than providing healthcare to homeless children.

Or just maybe because Arnold Schwarzenegger is afraid that if he waits until June 6, 2006, the right-wing Christian lunatics who are a significant part of his power base will be afraid to go out and vote on 6/6/06. C'mon, Arnie, you're not really afraid of a black cat, are you? Maybe we could hold the special election on January 13th instead. (Hey, it's even the day before a full moon. Very auspicious.)

At 5:00 p.m. today, we will find out whether the governator is going to govern, or whether he's going to just play at being an action hero.