Experts Expound

Experts Expound

“There’s a lot of hand-wringing about last-minute deals in the Legislature. Does it really matter? Is an 11th-hour deal any better or worse than one hammered out in the previous June?”



A deal, as your father should have told you, is a deal. 


Two words — Energy Deregulation.


It’s the nature of the beast. Big deals always come together at the end because no one who compromises wants to get the crap beaten out of them by both sides for weeks before the end of session. It’s that simple.


A deal’s a deal. The reason that the 11th hour is so attractive is not because of the secrecy – which is what the media would have you believe – but because of the time frame. The longer a deal is around, the easier it is to fall apart. So you do it late in the day.


Eleventh-hour deals are one thing; playing “hide the sausage” in the Sausage Factory and hiding behind rule waivers and mocked-up amendments is another. The whole process begins to smell like uncooked sausage left out in the heat too long.   


Yes, it absolutely matters that the Legislature tries to cook up special interest deals at the end of session to avoid prolonged scrutiny by the public and media. If legislators acted in the best interests of the state, they would not need to resort to this type of chicanery.


The time element doesn’t matter. By the time the spin doctors get done with the pre-deal negotiations and the final plan is announced to sell to the public, everybody has taken sides anyway and it rises falls based on spin. The idea of public transparency here is a joke.


Lots of people object to last minute deals as “bad process” until they benefit from one.  Then they attempt to justify their deal as virtuous and the only way to make progress on a contentious issue that is subject to gridlock.


Much better. Less time for transparency and the messy process of public input. 


11-th hour deals are a disserve to the public, an middle finger to the press and an f-you to anyone who cares about honest, open government. It’s simply too easy to make a mistake or slip by something sneaky.


A legislative body is always prone to last-minute deal-making, but the California Legislature is worse than most. Especially galling is the “gut and amend,” in which an existing bill is gutted, and subject matter usually completely unrelated to the original bill is inserted and passed. This completely cuts the public out of the process, and the maneuver ought to banned.


You do the deed when people are not on vacation.


Take every deal in which the state ultimately got screwed and you’ll find a last-minute deal.

People from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, 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, Angie Wei, Rich Zeiger



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