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Yet another California hero

The field of politics is not known for its production of heroes.

A number of people who have attained the genuine status of “hero” in other endeavors (e.g., John Glenn and John McCain) later enter politics. The actual work of politics, with its deal-making, compromise, special interests, “pork barrel” projects, and other features seems to run contrary to the American concept of hero. The lyrics of the song, “Politician,” by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown and performed by Cream describe the “fluidity” :-) of many politicians:

“I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’, leanin’ to the right
I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’ to the right
But I’m just not there when it’s coming to a fight.”

My favorite poet, e.e. cummings, stated in his book “1 x 1” (1944) that “a politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man” (…or woman, to keep this “gender-neutral” :-) ).

Not exactly “hero” stuff….

Today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state budget for California that is designed to meet the projected $42 billion deficit for the next year and a half. Although Arnold, a hero, superhero, and sometimes supervillain, in films, deserves much credit for his patience and moderate political stance in working with a Legislature full of both Democratic and Republican extremists, he is not the hero of this blog entry.

The hero of this story is State Senator Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, who cast the deciding single vote yesterday to yield the required 2/3 majority for passing a budget for California. In doing so, Maldonado defied the will of the Republican caucus, and placed the “common good” of the people of the state of California above ideology and partisan politics. Other Republicans who joined Maldonado in voting “yes” for the budget were Senators Roy A. Ashburn of Bakersfield and Dave Cogdill of Modesto, who was voted out of his role as Senate Republican leader by a divided GOP caucus early Wednesday. These two gentlemen should ALSO be recognized for their courage and for the commitment to serving the state of California. (And of course, all of this talk of “caucus” brings to my “network-thinking” mind, the caucus race in Wonderland…. It seems that Lewis Carroll did not think much of caucuses.)

In partial explanation of his action, Senator Maldonado showed a photo of that icon of Republican conservatism in Calfornia, Ronald Reagan, signing a large tax increase that he believed was necessary for the good of California.

In the Assembly, the three Republican votes that were needed to pass the budget were cast by Mike Villines of Clovis, Roger Niello of Fair Oaks, and Anthony Adams of Hesperia.

An “open primary” measure that was promoted by Maldonado and is expected to reach the ballot next year, was applauded by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Senator Abel Maldonado is the oldest son of immigrant farm workers. His family eventually purchased a half-acre strawberry farm and used their earnings to send Abel Maldonado to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Crop Science. His education helped the family to grow the strawberry farm from one-half acre to a 6000-acre (24 square km) farm that employs 250 people and ships products worldwide. More about the life of Senator Maldonado can be found in the Wikipedia entry and elsewhere.

Thank you Senator Maldonado, for your heroic actions on behalf of the people of California. Your act of political heroism is appreciated by thinking people of all political persuasions, who understand the critical need for the approval of a state budget at this time.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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