Ammiano: State Budget Possible Today

The financial crisis has helped Tom Ammiano craft one of his best one-liners yet
Reached in his Sacramento office during a rare down moment, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano told SF Weekly he's hopeful the "Financial Armageddon" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger warned about (apparently lifting liberally from his old scripts) may well be averted -- today.

The San Francisco assemblyman said there is a light at the end of the long tunnel, though it may be a train. "And the conductor of that train is [Abel] Maldonado," he added.

Ammiano is hopeful the Republican state senator from the Los Gatos-Carmel-San Luis Obispo region will eventually provide the one vote needed for a state budget -- "but first he had to make an 'ask.'"

As Maldonado is hoping to run for controller, his primary "ask" was that both houses have a vote regarding instituting an open primary in California (which Maldonado apparently felt would help him win the office while running as a Republican). Ammiano noted that that was rejected "across the board," so now everyone is on pins and needles waiting for Maldonado's second ask.

Ammiano, for one, feels Maldonado played this one strategically. One's first ask "is something like 'A date with Brad Pitt' -- you know it's not going to happen. So the second thing becomes more do-able becuase the first one was so out there. [Maldonado] knew that even his own party was not in favor of an open primary." Ammiano felt that, if not today, Maldonado's vote will give the state a budget by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. "I feel this guy is going to do it. What's his price? That's it."

If Ammiano is correct, it would stave off the eventuality of more 24-hour legislative sessions. On the other hand, that experience did give the assemblyman the chance to note, "I haven't slept with so many people since the '70s."

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