The Skinny

So, with all the talk about budget reform and a special election, are we looking at a replay of the 2005 special election next spring? Not likely. Democrats are optimistic that labor groups — led by the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union — will lead the charge against the budget reform that is headed to the ballot with the help of some Democratic votes. But discussions with labor leaders reveal a determined lack of enthusiasm about cleaning up the budget mess enabled by Democratic votes. There will likely be some kind of campaign against the tightening of the state reserve, but how serious it is remains to be seen. As for the thought that other measures could make the ballot — such as a proposal to eliminate the 2/3 budget vote requirement, which has been talked about in Democratic circles — the political clock is working against them. It would take months, and millions, to qualify something for the June ballot through the initiative process, and some of those same donors who might push such a change are ambivalent at best about rushing to spend all that money. Speaking of which, the governor has parlayed the budget standoff into a sales pitch for Prop. 11, his proposal to change the state’s redistricting laws. But what about the No on 11 campaign? People are beginning to ask just who is going to fund the effort to stop the governor. Don Perata has a committee open, but the money raised thus far does not compare with the millions raised by the Yes on 11 side. Could this finally be the year that California voters approve redistricting change?

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