Congratulations to new Democratic Assembly members Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills, Marty Block of San Diego, Joan Buchanan of Alamo and Manuel Perez of Coachella. In the first important vote of your careers, you demonstrated that all the fancy words from your campaigns about “changing the system” and “not a career politician” as well as “ready to go to work” and “performance not politics” were as empty as California’s bank accounts.
The four of you, joined by wily political veteran Charles Calderon of Whittier, abstained from voting on the tax hikes proposed by your own party. You didn’t vote yes or no, you abstained. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary says that to abstain means, “to refrain deliberately and often with an effort of self-denial from an action or practice”.
Is it because you all got elected from swing districts and you fear the wrath of the voters in two years? Is this about maintaining “political viability” for higher office and are worried about future campaign attack ads that would include you vote for higher taxes? Did Speaker Bass give you “get out of jail free” cards on the vote because she knew it would not pass without three Republicans, and therefore you would not have a “tax increase” vote on your record? Or is it that you don’t have the guts to stand up and vote “yes or no” because you believe it is the right thing to do, political consequences be damned?
I don’t know your motives, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that it was, dare I say the word, politics – pure politics.
And the final insult to the voters who elected you – you joined your fellow Democrats, and as Jim Sanders said in his article in the Sacramento Bee yesterday, “After it became clear the proposals would not pass, Democrats removed their votes so they would not appear on the official record.”
Shame is the only word that comes to mind that is fit to print for your behavior and that of your cohorts.
Before Speaker Bass says one more word about a lack of Republican support for the budget, I suggest she get her own house in order.
And for you newly minted legislators, Huber, Perez, Block and Buchanan, you have exhibited cowardice under fire and are derelict in your duty. Just so you’ll know, the questions get harder, not easier, from here on in.
Either do your duty and stand up for what you believe in and what you think is right, or find another line of work.