Experts Expound

Experts Expound

An amazing move: The controller, on his own dime, blocks lawmakers’ pay. A great decision and a boon for Brown or the first move in a constitutional crisis?

The only decision. Legislators: Shut up and deal.

Neither, the controller was in a proverbial box.  No clear deal in sight, but certain litigation follows.

Given that legislators’ ratings, at best, reach 14 perecent, you’d think they’d see this as a boon for themselves. It’s a chance to man up, feel some pain alongside average Californians, and leverage sacrifice to gain public credibility. Instead, they whine. Boo hoo, boys. You should start looking for your next jobs – this isn’t going to fly with voters.

What it is is a great victory for the “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore crowd,” and that encompasses a lot of Californians of all parties and persuasions. The controller will still be “John Who?” until the ads for his next campaign surface. Then, what a treasure trove of newspaper headlines will he showcase!  

Brown’s veto and Chiang’s decision are the two most encouraging acts in recent history. Brown did what he was elected to do, and Chiang simply followed the people’s will when they voted for Prop. 25. As the Chronicle said, it’s hilarious now to watch the Democrats’ whining about passing their budget “…similar to a child claiming to have cleaned his room by stuffing everything under his bed.”

It makes him the most popular kid on the block and shines a light on the real problem which is a leadership crisis.

Well the Republican legislators by and large are much, much wealthier than the Democrats. It is far less of a personal financial crisis for Republicans, and so plays right into their hands.

Guess Chiang feels no legislative endorsements are unnecessary for a run at another statewide office.

The loud public objections to this move by liberal bigwigs Leno, Steinberg and Perez shows it’s a political win for Gov. Brown, (who suddenly has new leverage with Democrats), and John Chiang, who fired the first shot of the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary on an issue voters care about and are paying attention to.

Both – Chiang’s decision helps him politically and pushes budget negotiations.  It also highlights the significant disconnect between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Chiang’s decision is both.  The blocking of pay produces both time pressure on a budget solution, support for Jerry Brown as the broker and it also tees up a test of the balance of power for the three branches of state government.  The courts will ultimately decide the outcome-post budget solution.  It also makes John Chiang the public’s favorite politician at the moment.

Another brilliant PR move by Chiang. He and his shrewd staff have deftly redefined the office of controller. Yes, Chiang may be helping Gov. Brown in the short run (and his own political ambitions in the long run). But the public cares less about lawmakers whining over a ‘constitutional crisis’  than seeing someone, anyone hold their feet to the fire. OMG! Lawmakers are forfeiting pay! Asm. Mike Gotto has to explain to his wife and daughter they ‘won’t be able to pay their bills.’ Where’s my hanky? Geez. Get to work, you bozos.  

We’re talking about the controller. Translation: controller wins! But yes, victory to Brown, too, who gets to play good cop to Chiang’s bad cop on this issue.


Andrew Acosta, Elizabeth Ashford, A.G. Block, Mark Bogetich, Barry Brokaw, J Dale Debber, Peter DeMarco, Mike Donovan, Jim Evans, Kathy Fairbanks, Jeff Fuller, Rex Frazier, Ken Gibson, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Sandy Harrison, Bob Hertzberg, Jason Kinney, Greg Lucas, Mike Madrid, Nicole Mahrt, Steve Maviglio,  Adam Mendelsohn, Barbara O’Connor, Bill Packer, Kassy Perry, Jack Pitney, Adam Probolsky, Tony Quinn, Matt Rexroad, Matt Ross, Roger Salazar, Dan Schnur, Will Shuck, Ralph Simoni, Sam Sorich, Ray Sotero, Garry South, Kevin Spillane, Robin Swanson, Angie Wei, Rich Zeiger


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