Years blur in Sacramento.
Every year, the governor makes a State of the State speech. Every year, the Legislature fights with the governor about something related to the budget. Every year, one or two silly bills garner far more attention than they deserve.
It’s the same old, same old. Except this year, it’s not. This was a year of historic elections and searing scandals. Here’s the top events in state politics – from a San Diego perspective – of 2014.
San Diego’s First Assembly Speaker
When Toni Atkins was elected Assembly speaker in March, she made headlines as the first lesbian to lead the Legislature’s lower house. But it was another first that mattered most to constituents in San Diego: She’s the first San Diegan to hold the top spot in the Assembly.
In a political environment where legislative leaders typically come from Los Angeles or the Bay Area, Atkins’ rise to power is a boon to America’s Finest City. Her stature means greater visibility for San Diego-specific issues in Sacramento and greater access to state funding.
And, really, her term is just starting. Atkins took the helm in early May, right when the election season was kicking into gear. The Legislature adjourned for the year at the end of August. She only had a short amount of time to show what she can do – and much of that time she was distracted with trying (unsuccessfully) to defend the Democrats’ super-majority in the Assembly.
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My prediction is that Gov. Moonbeam will, despite all the obstacles, legal and otherwise, get some track laid for his legacy project and we’re off to the races with one of the great boondoggles of all time as “high speed” rail becomes a joke when local considerations inexorably increase the travel times and make the project ever more costly.
Meanwhile, the budget “surplus” will be overwhelmed with the need to shore up pensions and retiree health care for state employees including teachers, who’s pension plans are gravely underfunded.
All the resultant problems will be blamed on Republicans for not cooperating to pass every piece of the legislation the Demos dream up. One party rule is seldom healthy, and we’ve had it for a long time.
Teachers are just fine thank you and have been since 1906 . The 160 billion dollars in the fund will go a long way. Abuses, and I repeat abuses, are in other unions not mine.