California Voters Emulate Mel Brooks Song. Yes, Things Have Gotten Out of Hand.

Categories: Politics

Let's put it this way: When the Howard Jarvis anti-tax zealots are crowing in victory and San Francisco voters roundly reject a series of ballot measures -- well, something was out of kilter in this election universe to begin with.

The straightforward portrayal of this as an anti-tax voters' uprising -- already under way -- is simplistic. A wide variety of liberals, libertarians, and conservatives soundly defeated these measures -- because they were crap. Not that we're in for good times as a result, and not that many of us bothered to weigh in (locally, only 21 percent of registered San Franciscans cast a ballot). You've got to love a system in which scant quantities of voters, many of them ill-informed, cast their ballots in a manner reminiscent of the above scene from Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I -- only without any "yeses." Yesterday's "escorts," it seems, were far less comely.

Here's what comes next:

A series of painful budget sessions -- and, likely, more quips from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano as fully dressed lawmakers "sleep together" on the floor of the legislature -- are in our immediate future. Regarding Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's threats to appropriate funds from the cities -- decried as a pre-election scare tactic -- our understanding of the law is that this move would require the declaration of a state of emergency as well as the approval of two-thirds of the legislature. And, speaking of two-thirds of our lawmakers, how often in the near future will Democrats and their supporters bemoan the two-thirds majority rule required to pass a state budget? If we had a buck for every complaint, we could solve this deficit.

And please shed any misplaced, manufactured nostalgia for the simple joys and togetherness of hard times. What comes next, whatever it may be, will not be fun.

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