By Mike Madrid
As of this morning it appears that the Governor and the Legislature won’t be able to come to terms on anything related to water or health care. Shocking. And shameful because the state government has been meeting for weeks now during a special session to tackle these two major policy challenges facing the state.
Most insiders will tell you that the special session was called for political cover, allowing both the Governor and lawmakers the opportunity to say they “tried” to get something done. The truth is they had all year to work on these issues but could never focus enough on any one thing to accomplish much. Remember, we live in a state where “accomplishment” is defined as the Legislature mustering up enough votes to put something on the ballot for voters to approve.
I want to know when cities are going to figure this ruse out. When will cities call “special sessions” to address significant issues facing a city knowing full well that they will debate the issue for a few weeks and then punt it to the voters?
Don't get me wrong, I have no beef with an occasional issue of such great importance as a new housing project or big box store coming before the people, especially if it will forever define the character of the community.
What I do object to is the illusion of these politicians actually trying to solve problems. Then putting their work off to the voters. Then complaining about the ballot measure process that they’ve exacerbated. Then slyly seeking to extend their terms because they’ve done such a good job of not doing their job.
City governments aren’t afforded this luxury and they shouldn’t be. Imagine calling a special session of the council to try and hammer out a shopping cart ordinance because you can’t count to the three votes needed to move it off the dais. But , in an exemplary act of political courage, you can vote to place it on the ballot and have the voters weigh in on it – with a 5-0 vote no doubt.
In Sacramento that’s called “accomplishment”, in city hall it’s called grounds for a recall.