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Sounds of Sacramento

I awoke this morning to a strange sound in the air… the sound of whining from Sacramento!

This time, it was the Democrats, whining about the current need for a 2/3 majority to pass a budget. (California is one of the few states [5] that has this requirement, or needs one!) And please don’t get me wrong – whining has nothing to do with your political party; it has to do with your personality type. People with the same personality types wind up on “both sides of the aisle,” becoming Democrats, Republicans, or members of some of the minority political parties in the U.S.

According to the Contra Costa Times, Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Oakland, is convinced that the only way to avoid long budget stalemates in the future is to “strip the minority party of what he calls its out-sized influence.”

There is at least one other way (actually, there is an infinite number of ways), of course. It is what Sesame Street called “c-o-o-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n!” :-)

The Contra Costa Times article quotes Swanson as saying that “California is being held hostage by six members of this Assembly. That’s the tyranny of the minority. Six members have disproportionate influence.”

What about the “tyranny of the MAJORITY?” :-)

The same article quotes Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, as saying, “The time has really come to take a new look at this 70-year-old constitutional amendment.” The reason… because the “public doesn’t understand” that the Democratic majority can’t put a budget on the governor’s desk because of the 2/3 majority requirement. (Note added August 20, 2008: Some of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution [e.g., The Bill of Rights] are SUBSTANTIALLY older :-) than 70 years, and they have served the country very well [although there are members of the California Legislature who have tried to erode and weaken some of the articles of the Bill of Rights, as well. I personally think that the latter folks value “power” more than they value “liberty.”)

Well, I guess that I am one of the public who does not understand. Maybe it is just because I did not grow up in California, where extreme political views (on the Right and Left) seem to outweigh the responsibilities of the members of the California Legislature to serve the people who elected them, and to pass a budget for the “common good.” (Is that being too pragmatic?)

I have heard these arguments before; unfortunately, they were on a baseball diamond filled with 4th graders! Let’s translate…

“I don’t like the rules, because I can’t have my way! Since most of my friends feel the same way as I do, we must be right. The few people who disagree with us represent a minority opinion anyway, which is not important. Let’s change the rules, so that I can have my way!” :-) Oh, punctuate this with a whining majority. :-) Add more whining because “I MIGHT miss my party’s national convention, which is certain to be a lot of FUN!” :-) (This last bit of whining could evoke harmony from the minority Republicans, who may ALSO miss their convention.)

Is that what everyone else (in the public, who does not understand) is hearing… or is it just me?

I don’t mean to be hard on the Democrats, because Republicans whine too! My belief (hunch?) is that the 2/3 majority requirement exists in part because:

1) money matters are very important

2) financial decisions are important to ALL Californians, not just a “simple majority” :-) and should incorporate (dare I say the word?) “compromises” to make such decisions as fair as possible to all concerned

From what I have seen in California, asking for politicians to be “pragmatic” and “make compromises” is asking a lot!

However, if the politicians (that the public has elected) CANNOT do these things, it is time for the public (who does not understand) to elect politicians who CAN! It is not time to change the rules.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

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