Big Daddy

Ask Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
Did you survive this year’s house of origin deadline? What do you think of this year’s deadline madness?

Observing in Ojai

Hey Observing,
I watched, a little. And I threw my shoe at the TV screen. Then I had a drink. Then I turned it off. Then I had another drink.
Does anybody else out there think the Legislature should not be doing any other work until this budget mess is behind us? I mean, really, do we need 3,000 new laws this year? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

There are too many lawmakers who have too short a time here in Sacramento to be running around. So, yes, I watched as both houses stayed late, and did the people’s business. I watched as the mod squad flexed its muscles, and the elected representatives of the people of California acted on remote caller bingo, beverage recycling, waste tire hauling and guide dogs for the blind.

Am I missing something here? It all had a very deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic kind of feel to it. But I get it. Since this budget deal is going to be cut in some kind of senior staff meeting anyway, legislators need something to do. But watching this all go down is a bit surreal. It’s as if lawmakers are living in two different universes, both at the same time.

Well, make that three universes. Because after this is all done, they all head out to the local watering holes and shake lobbyists and their employers down for thousands in political contributions. The whole thing is a bit unseemly. Sure, sure, you can give me all your reasons about why fundraising needs to happen, how money equals speech and all that jazz. But if any of these folks are ever wondering why people have lost all faith in the Legislature as an institution, a quick read of the headlines in Rough and Tumble followed immediately by a run-down of the Daily Bread section of the Capitol Morning Report ought to shed some light.

Sure, we’re going to eliminate welfare programs and health care for poor kids and access to community colleges and college financial aid. But hey, if you want to talk about it, I’ll be hanging out by the shrimp puffs at Masons for $1,000 a plate.
Even I find it all a little unseemly.

Finally, a quick correction to what must have been an editing error, since this column does not make mistakes. Last week, in my tirade against whatever I was ranting about, I mentioned something about the governor appointing three former lawmakers to the Integrated Waste Management Board. In fact, the governor did appoint former Senator Carole Migden to the board. But two other former lawmakers, John Laird and Sheila Kuehl, were appointed by the Legislature.

Sufficed to say, the editor who injected that bit of nonsense into my flawless prose will be taken out and flogged.

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