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California Voters Get an F

May 20, 2009

Yes, Tuesday’s election saw a vindictive electorate voting down every proposition except 1F, the state legislature anti-pay raise measure which was least likely to give significant funding to the state. While this may be a setback for California’s haphazard attempts at balancing its nasty budget, it’s not a particularly big one as none of the propositions would have made the budget significantly better. Maybe someday in the distant future we will see responsible fiscal management at the state level; hopefully this can be done without all public services being scrapped and sold off on Ebay, a company whose CEO is incidentally running for governor.

The silver lining of this week’s otherwise dim spate of news is President Obama’s recent decision to make California’s fuel economy standards national. If you ask me, it’s about f**ing time. Apparently, the Governator was so elated by this news that he decided to leave the Golden State on election day to thank Obama for this. Or, maybe he just didn’t want to be around to watch all his propositions tanking.

Rounding out the local elections, Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich beat the hell out of Jack Weiss, perhaps mistaking him for a gang member. In the 5th District, Paul Koretz holds a narrow lead over David T. (for “Ty”) Vahedi, as of 2:24 this afternoon. We’re all eagerly awaiting the results.

It remains to be seen how LA will be affected by budget woes at the state level. At the risk of stating the obvious, the jeopardized state budget is going to have the biggest impact on state-run institutions, the discontinuation of which affects everyone everywhere in the state. But the state also provides nominal levels of funding for municipal-run services many cities statewide. For LA, this may mean a scaling back of grand transportation plans, as a loss of state transportation money may require measure R money to be used to plug the budget hole. Education, as well as Police and Fire Departments, may not feel an immediate hit, but don’t count on class sizes staying the same size for long.

No one is sure how California will get out of these budget difficulties. The only answer we have right now is “not very soon”. But hopefully everyone in the state will be able to summon their collective ability to think in terms of long-term solutions – for once – and we can pull ourselves out of this mess.

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