big plans for post-partisan california

I’ll say one thing for Arnold Schwarzenegger: at least he focused almost entirely on California state issues during his State of the State address this week.

And he brought up some great points: cutting vehicle green house gas emissions, setting new standards for oil refineries, moving forward with stem cell research, universal health care for all California residents, and a comprehensive state prison reform plan.

All worthy endeavors, indeed. But it seems like a long list. And a complicated one. Even with his self-proclaimed “post-partisan” M.O., he’s got a lot of work ahead of him, and he’s going to need all the help he can get.

He said that he’s seen California schools with sheets hanging over windows instead of blinds, and he’s seen teachers conduct class in a locker room instead of a classroom because of overcrowding. The state, he said, needs to invest in education, but also needs to revamp the entire state prison system to handle overcrowding. That’s two incredibly large investments in time and resources. How are we going to do it? And when? What long-term sustainability program will be put in place to ensure long-term success in both school and prison improvements?

Aside from his odd comparisons of California to the city-states of Athens and Sparta, I thought the speech was well-crafted, intelligent, positive and hopeful. But I’m curious about specifics. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How? Oh, and where is the money going to come from? Bonds? Yikes.

And what’s with the pandering to liberal Democrats? Republicans in Sacramento have got to be scratching their heads wondering whose side Schwarzenegger is on. The Democratic tide is rising, and he’s gonna ride that wave all the way to shore.

Lastly, I’m wondering what has changed since the costly recall election of 2003. The state kicked Davis out on his ass, but how much of the state’s deficit has been chipped away since, under Arnold’s leadership? All of the issues brought up in the State of the State were also issues under Davis, so what’s changed? What’s improved? What’s gotten worse?

When is the new Bay Bridge going to be finished? When will new classrooms be built, and will the bidding process be fair? When will California have universal healthcare? When will we expand prison space? Call it post-partisan California all you want, but I’m wondering when things are going to happen.

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