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Busted: California Leadership and Budget

June 29, 2003

If anyone has any reservations left as to whether The Times is left-leaning, they should be dispelled with "Insane Brinkmanship" (editorial, June 26). After reading it I am staunchly in support of the "no tax increase" position of the Republicans. I find it odd that the Republicans are referred to as "leaders undeserving of the title" and a "tyrannical minority," yet the Democrats are respectfully described as "Democratic legislators" who "did spend too much of the windfall."

Your suggestion that the right is putting its ideology before the welfare of Californians is misguided. It is putting the welfare of its constituents before the destruction of California. When will you and the Democratic legislators get it? Curb the damn spending. Show some leadership and maybe Republicans would be a little more willing to negotiate. Gov. Gray Davis can start by rescinding the prison guard agreement that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. That would be leadership.

Gregory P. Williams

Lakewood

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Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) and Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson (D-Culver City) need to immediately introduce bills to their respective houses that will deny all pay, including per diem, to all members of the Legislature, effective July 1. No pay will be retroactive; when you snooze, you lose. The legislators have a constitutional requirement to enact a budget by June 15. Since they didn't, they should not be paid. They must be required to stay in session until they meet their responsibilities.

They are not the least bit concerned about the hardships to which they are condemning the state, its schools and its employees. Let them share the burden. We have no need for a full-time Legislature. Many important laws seem to come from referendums. Senate GOP Leader Jim Brulte will not allow the members of his party to vote their consciences; let's see if they will vote their pocketbooks. We need a referendum to get rid of the two-thirds majority rule on the budget to get rid of future stalemates by a useless and effete minority.

Patricia L. Diaz

Victorville

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I followed the advice of your editorial and called the state Senate and Assembly leaders. But not for the reason you suggested. It is time to end quick and temporary fixes. The state is broke financially and is leaderless. The founders of this country were adamant that when a government system no longer worked the people had a right, even a duty, to end it. It is time for the state to declare bankruptcy and start over.

Alan Test

Toluca Lake

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Having a state budget passed on time has always been a myth to me, but that doesn't make it right. Even if the date were moved forward, I as a state employee of many years don't believe that the Legislature would move any more quickly than it does now.

Grandstanding seems to be the legislative leadership's modus operandi. This year should have been different, with a deficit of $38 billion and the state having to borrow just to pay off last year's obligations. There seems to be no sense of urgency and no ethical obligation to uphold the California Constitution. It's time that the legislators' pay and per diem are suspended indefinitely, and once the budget is passed, they shouldn't receive a retroactive payment. The consequence of their inaction should be harsh. Maybe instead of recalling the governor, the legislative leadership should be recalled.

Janet Raffalow

Valley Glen

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