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Which Way California?

Many thanks to Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee for visiting Hometown Radio today. We had a nice 1-2 discussion with Sam, and then Jeff Bliss about his essay in Fortune magazine. Neither guest wanted to sugarcoat the situation California is in at the moment.

Five of the six ballot initiatives failed on Tuesday, yet another setback for Arnold. As Sam explained, the budget deficit is now closer to $24 billion. He was blunt in his prediction: expect deep cuts and expect them soon. Nothing is being taken off the table.

Meanwhile, Jeff seemed especially frustrated that Sacramento never put away money for a rainy day back in the heady days of the ’90s. We spent, spent, spent. Now we have nothing. For Jeff, the answer lies in a mixture of ideas: redistricting to make it harder for incumbents to keep getting re-elected, improving the business climate in California, figure out a way to cut taxes, and break the gridlock in California. Jeff, a student of California history, says it’s never been this bad.

We heard from Rod in SLO, a local businessman, who is seriously considering leaving the state. I have a feeling he is not alone.

I don’t claim to have the answers. I voted against those propositions that failed on Tuesday — they were not the answer. My biggest complaint remains the wasteful levels of state government — the prime example remains education. We fund both a Department of Education and an Office of Public Instruction. Why?

Sam has called for a new state constitutional convention. That may be the answer. We may have to blow up California politically in order to save it.

Good discussion. Thanks to Sam and to Jeff and to all the great callers. Catch the podcast if you missed it. Mardi will have it up next week.

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