By John W. Lillpop
California has been in the political doldrums for so long that it’s as though the fate of the Golden State has become the exclusive province of far-left lunatics, and certain death for conservative values and common sense.
An exaggeration, you say?
Well, consider the fact that the Democrat Party has enjoyed a super majority in both the California state legislature and Senate, AND that the Governor’s mansion is controlled by Jerry Brown, known notoriously, but accurately, as “Moon Beam.”
That awful political reality has been aggravated by a devastating drought which threatened to leave California facing a shortage of water of a gravity last seen 500 years ago, or so.
Hideous? Hopeless? The end?
Well, perhaps not!
Just last week, the god of global warming went on a coffee break for a few days and left the skies over California unguarded. As a result, it rained, rained, and continues to rain. Not enough to put the drought to rest, but enough to convince some of us that God is still in charge!
And then as mother nature was blessing California with gobs of wet stuff, another miracle surfaced.
As reported at the reference, corruption and crime, mainstays of the Democrat Party in California as it is all across the nation, finally caught up with liberal rascals in Sacramento:
SACRAMENTO — It took Democrats more than a century to win a supermajority in both houses of the California Legislature, but a pair of high-profile corruption cases has now cost them their dominating two-thirds majority in the state Senate in little more than a year.
State Sen. Ronald Calderon’s decision Sunday to take a paid leave of absence while he fights federal corruption charges will eliminate the supermajority his party won in 2012, threatening the policy priorities of some Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Proposals to create a new rainy-day fund and tax oil companies operating in California would have sailed through the Democrat-controlled Legislature last year, but now, the majority party will be forced to drum up some Republican support for those and other plans that require a two-thirds vote.
“Suddenly, Republicans have leverage they didn’t have a week ago,” said Bill Whalen, a former aide to Republican Gov. Pete Wilson who works as a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. “They’re now in a position to name a price, and the question is: Do they have a price in mind?”
The legal troubles of two Southern California Democrats — Calderon and Sen. Roderick Wright — have turned the fortunes of Republicans, who lost their relevance in the 2012 election that gave Democrats an iron-grip on the Legislature and every statewide office. While Republicans have been forced to the sidelines, Brown has been careful to urge Democrats to use their power judiciously, holding the line on major new spending despite an improving economy and rebounding state revenues.
Senate Republicans are currently considering plans to formally suspend Calderon and Wright, D-Inglewood, said Peter DeMarco, a spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff. Wright was granted leave last week after his conviction on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud.
The legislative impact of the Democrats’ withering supermajority is “the furthest thing from his mind now,” DeMarco said of Huff’s priorities.
On Sunday, Calderon said he sought a leave of absence to focus on his legal defense and to minimize distractions. Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other offenses.
“This is not a resignation since I still have my day in court,” Calderon said in a statement. “However, due to the nature and complexity of the charges, and the discovery materials that I will have to review, I expect this to be a lengthy period of absence continuing until the end of the session in August.”
California law requires that proposed constitutional amendments, new taxes and fees and ballot propositions initiated by the Legislature win support from two-thirds of the lawmakers in each house. That threshold does not change when lawmakers volunteer or are forced to vacate their seats.
For the first time since 1883, the Democrats had been enjoying a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, but they hardly had to use it to advance those kinds of proposals.
A bill sponsored last year by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, to put a $75 document recording fee on real estate transactions such as refinancing loans needed and won support from two-thirds of the senators, all of whom were Democrats. That may be the only time the supermajority was needed to advance legislation in the Senate. Lawmakers can pass the budget with a simple majority, but they now need Republicans for other priorities.
Gov. Jerry Brown in January proposed a constitutional amendment that voters would need to approve to create a new rainy-day fund that limits when the state can withdraw money and links deposits to capital gains revenue. He has called it “essential,” pledging that it will gird the state against future financial meltdowns.”
Bottom line: As the rain drops fall and corrupt Democrats bail, Californians are obliged to look skyward and give thanks for a desperately needed visit from serendipity!