Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

An End, a Beginning

October 08, 2003

Riding a wave of legitimate voter anger against the usual political games in Sacramento, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger has won the office of governor. He must follow his pledge to lead all of California, and the politicians who opposed him must now work cooperatively. We do not believe that the recall was the best way to achieve fundamental reform. (See the editorial below.) But the campaign is over. The governing must begin.

Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger will have to form relationships with other politicians. Gov. Gray Davis failed to do that, and look where it got him. Democratic leaders who scorned "Arnold" had better know that any attempt to obstruct the new governor through lawsuits, new recalls or openly partisan "payback" will earn them nothing but the voters' contempt. The voters were asking for more than a new governor. They wanted a different way of doing business, and Democrats ignore this at their peril. The same goes for Republicans who found the actor-candidate not purely conservative enough for their tastes.

However, all the comity in the world won't erase the state's fiscal problems or make Schwarzenegger's rather sweeping campaign promises come true. The budget is still the key issue, but the new governor won't get much out of his promised audit. State figures are already more transparent than corporate accounting. Next year's budget process will be underway by the time he takes office, probably near the end of the month.

At the outset, the new budget will be up against an $8-billion shortfall. If Schwarzenegger is able to carry through on promise No. 1, to retract the car tax increase, that would deepen the hole by $4 billion, an amount likely to come out of the hides of county and city governments. If education is sacrosanct, what then to cut? The budget cannot be made without wiping out whole programs, and not just the arts council. The state's credit rating won't bear another round of phony borrowing and cost-shifting.

Schwarzenegger will have to outline his promised program to attract jobs. If that involves regulatory change, he'll need the Democratic-dominated Legislature to make it happen. He'll also need to keep and attract as much experienced governing talent as he can.

The Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento have been like two bickering spouses trapped in a loveless marriage. As Dr. Phil would say, "Is that working for you?" It isn't working for the people of California. Let the recall be the start of an "intervention" that takes California on a more productive path.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|