Courage, Under Fire

Seriously people — and don’t think we don’t know who you are — you should be following CalWatchdog on Twitter. This is a good thing, and absurdly easy to do. Just go to our Twitter page and click “Follow” or do whatever it is you need to do, and then you’ll get regular, timely, sometimes humorous, sometimes not humorous updates and Tweets about all things CalWatchdog.

Seriously, we’re addicted to Twitter. For instance, it’s how we found this press release from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announcing that former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, former Senate Republican Leader Mike Villines and current state Senator Dave Cogdill just today won a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award (I think I’m supposed to put the little trademark “TM” symbol here after “Award,” but I don’t know how to do that and could not actually care less anyway).

“Faced with the most difficult choices and a budget crisis of unprecedented magnitude, these legislative leaders had the courage to negotiate a compromise that they felt was in the public’s best interest,” John F. Kennedy Library Foundation President Caroline Kennedy said in the release.

Please, people — hold your applause until the end. See, these four esteemed “legislative leaders” won this esteemed award for all their esteemed work last year on our esteemed $42 billion budget gap.

“In February 2009, amid one of the worst budget crises in California’s history, an imploding economy, and potentially catastrophic partisan deadlock, the state’s Republican and Democratic party leaders came together to address the financial emergency,” states the official award press release. “After weeks of grueling negotiation, the legislative leaders and Gov. Schwarzenegger reached an agreement on a comprehensive deal to close most of a $42 billion shortfall, putting an end to years of government inaction and sidestepping of the difficult decisions necessary to address California’s increasingly dire fiscal crisis. The deal was objectionable to almost everyone; it contained tax increases, which the Republicans had long pledged to oppose, and draconian spending cuts, which brought intense criticism to the Democrats.”

Whew. Glad it all turned out okay and those brave legislators cleaned up our budget mess. What? Oh wait, guess I should have kept reading:

“The two Republicans were ousted from their party leadership positions over the agreement,” the release continued. “Voters defeated the budget referendum in May 2009. In June and July, the state of California began issuing high-interest IOUs to vendors in lieu of payment. In 2010, California’s budget problems go largely unresolved. The Pew Center on the States has ranked California dead last among the 50 states on fiscal health.”

So to recap: Last year four brave “legislative leaders’ stood up and signed a budget deal that everyone hated and was ultimately trashed by the voters so didn’t really fix anything, and now our state government remains about $20 billion in the hole and the economy still sucks like a Hoover upright. And for that, we are honoring those four “legislative leaders.”

Kinda puts those Assembly staff pay hikes into perspective, huh?

-Anthony Pignataro

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  1. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 17 March, 2010, 07:55

    This is why we end up with a legislaature that totally lack balls. The ew who TRY to do the right thing end up in the toilet.

    I think California needs to replace the VOTERS.

    Reply this comment

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