Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thankfully Cine-minimalist

Nothing shocking here, but I will applaud the Governor for a well crafted, well delivered speech that was, to date, the best thing I’ve seen him do. Aside from a few indirect nods to past cheesy references early on – and one reference to last year’s unblown-up boxes, he stayed blessedly cine-minimalist.

He outlined the same reforms we’ve read about this week, plus a few others, and some old standards: 1) Financial situation, 2) Pensions system, 3) Education of our children, and 4) Making California’s elections democratic again (ie: Redistricting reform).

That pension and redistricting got the least amount of lip service speaks to their inherently unsexy nature (well, I think redistricting is one hell of a sexy topic, but I’m a raging nerd). Factor that with their presentation sandwiched between popular, populist-friendly budget and education reform rhetoric, and you have the best indicator yet that the administration’s current plan likely involves offering redistricting reform as a small piece of a large package of reforms.

Most shocking moment: his reference to a possible SUMMER special election. That’s very soon. The good news is it’s, from what I can figure right now, much too soon for Costa to qualify his language (unless the legislature chooses to use his language, which they won’t). The bad news is – that’s really soon. Too soon for well-reasoned proposals.

A lot of smaller proposals were mentioned – some of which – like his prescription drug plan – I’m not sure how he’ll pay for. I loved his commitment to transportation issues, freeways and roads, etc, but wonder how far we’ll get, since he says we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. (Talk about glass half-full/half-empty land).

I think Schwarzenegger is finally finding the right balance of chest-thumping, hey I’m a immigrant movie star, opting this time for more gentle references to the romance of not just the American Dream, but the California corollary to that dream – one a bit more special and golden. He did refer to his immigrant background, using it effectively to describe his shock at gerrymandering and shoring up his outsider status a few years into his term.

Last year’s boxes remain unblown, he admitted, but claimed victory for having “lit the fuse.” I think that lets him off the hook too easily.

It’s interesting to note, at this point, the disjuncture between his speech as delivered, and the immediate local coverage of the content. Much more focus on redistricting than he had in his speech. That’s the magic of sound-bite journalism, I suppose. I’m sure the papers will focus on the deeper reforms than the window dressing issues peppering (yeah, alright, they’re all mixed metaphors tonight) the address.

While I wait for the “pros” to deposit their two-cents, I’m going to get dinner and let you read the text of his address (minus some premeditated ad-libs that clunked anyway), in the comments section below.

We’ll be back with more on the policy, proposals, and populism later . . . (and oh what populism there was).

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