Have you noticed how quiet and peaceful the political climate is in Sacramento these days? Not one political fight has broken out between Democrats and Republicans. Every single piece of legislation easily passes through the committee process then on to the full Senate and Assembly and then is signed by the governor. You could almost call it a love fest. Let’s all sing kumbaya?
It certainly is a significant change from the old days just several years ago when state budgets were bitterly fought over. Increasing taxes was a big issue between the two parties and the state budget would even be days, if not weeks, late. But not today.
Love happens when one party owns all of the levers of government. Today the Democrats are in charge of all the statewide constitutional offices from the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state down to the state attorney general. In addition, up until a few days ago, they had a supermajority of two-thirds in both the Senate and Assembly. The result is that there has been no effective dissent from the Republicans. They are blocked from introducing any meaningful legislation and even if they could object, the bill would most certainly die in a Democrat controlled committee.
This is why you have not heard a word about repeal of the illegal rural fire tax that was imposed upon us who live in Del Norte County and all the other rural counties. The rransgender bill that originated in the San Francisco Bay Area that allows genetically different school boys and girls to shower together is going to be put into effect as planned. By the way, in last week’s Triplicate, Superintendent of Schools Don Olson, when asked about the new law, said he didn’t know of any transgender students attending Del Norte schools. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen when he discovers one. But I digress.
It got me to thinking that’s how efficient it is with most governments that have one party control. Some examples come to mind, like the old Soviet Union or Iran or even closer to home, how about Cuba? I read the other day that Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea, was elected with 100 percent of the vote. Not one voter voted against him. What a country! I wonder if they celebrate with a love fest every day? Unfortunately for these countries the penalty for dissent is death. Luckily, we are not there yet, but one thing you have to give them is that there are no political arguments, just like in Sacramento. Sing kumbaya.
However, all is not right in the kingdom of California. Earlier this month the Democrats lost their supermajority in the state Senate because it seems that at least one state senator, Ronald Calderon, had his hand in the cookie jar and got caught taking bribes of about $100,000 in exchange for his vote on legislation. He is not the only one. State Sen. Rod Wright was convicted of eight felonies for misrepresenting his address on candidacy and voter registration papers. The notable thing about both is that, until a few days ago, they retained their senate seats. Fortunately, the Democratic leadership in the Senate bowed to public pressure and forced both of them to take a leave of absence.
Yes, you are still paying full salaries for both of them. Why is that, you ask? It’s because they have just taken a leave of absence, eliminating, for now, the prospect of Democrats being asked to vote to expel two of their own. So you have one senator who may be going to state prison and another one who is under federal indictment for bribery. The ironic thing about Sen. Calderon is that while under investigation for taking bribes, he continued to take “gifts” from special interest groups.
With Calderon and Wright’s leave of absence, the Democrats could find that they might even have to debate bills with Republicans, and who knows how messy that could be. They probably would not lose votes on these bills, but the nature of the bills would be exposed to the light of scrutiny and even the Democrat-friendly press would have to report on the controversy over the bills.
Yes, things get messy when you have a slight crack in the wall of total control of all of the levers of power, but this is the way our forefathers intended a republic to work. It should never be an easy process when a government has control over every aspect of our lives. They wanted every proposed law to be exposed to scrutiny and fully debated. That’s why they left us with a government that has built-in checks and balances.
Benjamin Franklin said it best. When Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Franklin also said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
So, the question is will we be able to keep this republic or will we descend to the darkness of one party dictatorial rule in Sacramento?
Ultimately you will be the one to decide our fate at the ballot box. Sing kumbaya.
Bob Berkowitz is a Crescent City resident and president of LifeStyles Research Co.