...“This year we’re spending 10 percent less on higher education than we did 10 years ago, parks and recreation 40 percent less, environmental protection 80 percent less,” Crane told me in the fall of 2010, “while spending on pensions is up 2,500 percent. So when Democrats realize what is happening and act in the interest of the people they represent, they will address the pension problem in California.” Like so many other reformers, Crane is a registered Democrat who supported Jerry Brown.
The Democratic Party has folded Sacramento into one of the tightest one-party grips in contemporary American politics. In November, bucking the national trend, Democrats in California won not just the governorship but 51 Assembly seats to Republicans’ 29, 24 state Senate seats to Republicans’ 14, and every statewide office. With the passage of a referendum lowering the number of legislative votes required to approve a state budget (from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority), California is that rarest of land masses for the 2011 Democratic Party: conquered territory. State Democrats have freedom to rule virtually unchallenged by the scattered, rusticated Republicans. Click here to read more.