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The next special election: April? May? June? Soon.

bondsBrownleybudgetelectionslotteryschwarzeneggerspecial electionvoters

Brownley, elections, special election, schwarzenegger, bonds, lottery, budget, voters If the state Legislature ever adopts a budget, it will come with an extra price tag of $50 million to $100 million -- the estimated cost of yet another special election which voters must face as part of whatever deals are being brokered.

Although you haven't yet heard anything about this election, and no date is set, it's coming soon. And it will be a big one.

Four ballot measures, all of them from the Legislature, are ready to go. Not yet identified with proposition numbers, these were ostensibly on hold until the June 2010 primary election. In reality, they'll be added to the next statewide ballot. And we'll have one this year, well before the 2010 gubernatorial primary, just to deal with the budget mess.

The bail-out-California ballot will include Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, and no one could blame you for having forgotten this one. It's the scheme to sell future proceeds of the state lottery for a lump sum now, which would be used to make up for various cuts to the state budget. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger floated this last year as part of the budget solution that was adopted in September and fell apart in November.

Senate Constitutional Amendment 13 is Schwarzenegger's budget reform package, including a "rainy day fund" and a mechanism to stabilize revenues, so that fat years aren't quite so fat and lean years aren't quite so lean. The Times was, shall we say, skeptical.

Along for the ride on the same ballot are AB 583, the plan from Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) for publicly funded "clean money" elections for the secretary of state, paid for with higher fees on lobbyists (see the Times editorial against it), and SCA4, a prohibition on revaluating new construction for property tax purposes when it's being done to seismically retrofit existing buildings.

But wait, there's more -- or at least, there could be. Republican lawmakers may insist on a spending cap measure. Democrats may insist on measures to get rid of the two-thirds requirement for adopting a budget.

Finally, from the what-world-is-she-living-in department, comes AB 220 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, for another school bond. It has yet yet to include a dollar amount. Brownley introduced the bill on Feb. 4, a day after Standard & Poor's downgraded California bonds to the lowest rating of any state. California is unable to sell the bonds voters have already approved.

It's too late to coordinate the state special election with the March 3 election being run by Los Angeles and numerous other municipalities. Other likely dates, when other cities and school districts are already voting, include April 7, April 14, April 21, May 19, and June 2.

Photo: Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (4)

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I added all these dates to this calendar:

2009 ballot measure calendar.

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica

In answer to your rhetorical question, I live in a world where construction workers are collecting unemployment checks, while children attend schools built in the 1950s that are seismically unsafe and outdated. Just last year, hundreds of Chinese children were killed when their schools collapsed in an earthquake.

Today’s students will be tomorrow’s jobseekers in a globally competitive marketplace that requires workers with high technology skills. Classrooms need to be equipped to teach them those skills.

As your own newspaper reported Sunday, employers like hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient clinics are hiring even in these bad times. Most of those employers require workers with at least a high school diploma. By 2020, only half of California’s workforce will have high school diplomas necessary to qualify for job openings.

California, even in good economic times, has relied on bonds that require voter approval to build, remodel and repair schools. New construction funds will be depleted this year.

The bill I introduced at this point in the legislative process is a placeholder bill, meaning it enables a bond to be placed before voters if and when the Legislature decides to do so. Facility needs, economic stimulus and California’s ability to borrow additional funds without putting the state in jeopardy will all be factors in the decision.

What world do you want to live in? I want to live in a world where students attend safe schools and where we put the unemployed back to work in a fiscally responsible way.

Robert Greene

Assemblywoman Brownley, thank you for your comment, which although pointed is gracious and need not have been, given my snarkiness. I want to live in the world you describe, but we seem many light years away from it, even if you and your colleagues adopt a budget this week. Voters have passed bonds (and we at The Times have supported them) because the costs always have appeared manageable, but the recession and the budget stalemate have now put default in the realm of the possible. We must decide how to go on: paying more (whether it's called investing in our future or raising taxes) or doing less. And Californians so far appear unwilling to pay for the level of state service they demand.

Leslie Tenney

According to recent polling, a majority of Californians are quite willing to pay more taxes to pay for state services. It's the Republicans who have taken a no-new-taxes vow who are unwilling to do their jobs. Their oath to uphold the state constitution should preempt their oath to Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh, but apparently they don't think so. The will of a large majority of Californians is being thwarted by the tyranny of a bunch of windbag ideologues who are in a state of denial about the anarchy that will result when we no longer have state services to protect us.



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