The six years of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration have not treated California well. We have lost our jobs, lost our houses and lost the services that were supposed to protect us and build a stronger state.
While Governor Schwarzenegger has read a well-written script about post partisanship and teamwork, he has consistently failed to deliver on these promises siding time and again with conservative interest groups that do not represent California”s values and proposing quick fix paper solutions instead of doing the hard work and showing the real leadership that is necessary to achieve real progress.
While it is laudable that after years of cutting education budgets and increasing prison populations, the Governor has come to realize this is not a sustainable, wise or just course of action, we need to see actual leadership to reverse the course the Governor has set and to overcome the numerous shortcomings of years one through six of his administration. There are hard decisions that need to be made and important values that need to be protected. To date, Schwarzenegger has not shown the ability or desire to fight for Californians.
We are particularly concerned with the Governor”s proposals for closing the budget gap. Funding he has predicted from the federal government is unlikely to materialize. Further cuts to our social safety net are unethical and irresponsible and will prove a further drag on our state’s fragile economy. His call for prison privatization shows a profound lack of understanding for the complexities of the issues affecting our state, ‘kicking the can down the road’ to leave the problem for another Governor, while failing to address the real policy problems that are causing the crisis. The DPSC will consider a resolution to address this issue at its February meeting.
Our top priorities need to be jobs and education. The Governor claims these are his priorities, but his actions speak differently. While the Governor gives speeches about jobs, his furlough program deprives Californians of thousands of jobs, leaves hundreds of thousands more under employed and stops the government from effectively using stimulus funds and other available tools to help build the economy and create new jobs. While the Governor hosts elaborate press conferences on ‘Education Reform’, he has repeatedly cut education budgets, ignoring the state’s need to build a stronger workforce and shifting the burden to the poorest among us.
Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to bring change to Sacramento to ‘blow up boxes’ and embolden ‘girly men’ in the name of fiscal responsibility and more accountable government. After six years, the truth is clear. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a real leader; he merely played one on the silver screen. Instead of leading the state through this fiscal crisis, he has consistently resorted to ‘kicking the can down the road.’ California”s best days remain ahead of us but we will not get there without leadership and a willingness to go beyond ideological dogma to build consensus and a stronger future. After six years, there is no doubt; the state of the state will be much stronger when Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to Hollywood.