On Thursday, Arnold Schwarzenegger used a taxpayer-funded press conference to scare the bejesus out of the general public.
Smelling failure at the polls, Schwarzenegger threatened recalcitrant voters with a scheme to fill a projected $21 billion dollar budget gap by immediately laying off 5,000 state workers, releasing 20,000 "low risk" offenders from prison, selling off some of the state's landmark buildings, and (my personal favorite) expanding oil drilling off the the coast of Santa Barbara for the first time in 40 years.
Oil drilling. In a state that doesn't charge a dime for the oil taken out of our state now. (Compare that to Texas, which took in over $2.7 Billion in 2007.)
Oil drilling. An idea so asinine, that rival candidates for the CD36 Democratic primary both went on the record to Venice For Change, without hesitation, in opposition.
Jane Harman, "I have always opposed drilling off the California coast and in the ANWR. The Governor's proposal is pedaling backwards and threatens a sensitive marine ecosystem. The best way forward is to focus on a green economy - building green jobs, pursuing energy independence and efficiency. California is good at this. That's what the Governor should be promoting."Marcy Winograd, "I remember the nightmare of 1969, when an oil blow-out off the Santa Barbara coast spilled 100,000 barrels of crude into the channel, clogging the blowholes of dolphins, causing them to hemorrhage, soaking diving birds in tar, poisoning other sea life and driving tourists away from black gooey beaches that left barefoot visitors aghast. The only up side to the spill was the birth of Earth Day and the momentum it gave to the environmental movement, which will -- undoubtedly -- roar a mighty roar should the Governor go anywhere near our coastline with a drill bit."
Yes, I know there's more to this craptacular budget mess than just that, but I can think of no symbol that more perfectly encapsulates the insanity of our Governor and his Republican posse in the Sacramento legislature at this moment in time. If allowed to get their way, our state will spiral downward into a hole so deep it could take a generation to dig our way out.
With closed libraries, crappy schools, unaffordable college, and mass unemployment, few business in their right mind would want to relocate here. As other states plan for the 21st century by moving toward green transportation and new investments in education, California is locking itself into a late 20th century model that has already failed.
Vote no on May 19th. Vote no on everything.