I resented the fact that Proposition 93 was placed on the February 2008 ballot so that, if passed, the once termed out legislators, could than file for the primary in June of 2008. To me, it seemed underhanded and self-serving for the legislative members that might benefit from it.
But then I heard that Governor Schwarzenegger "flip-flopped" on Proposition 93 and I seriously had to take a step back. I asked myself, "Do I want a Governor who flip flops and justifies his flip flop with a terrific editorial or do I want a stoic governor who never changes his mind?" I had to answer, truthfully, that I want a governor who is willing to grow, listen, and change. One who can intellectually support his position with logical reasoning. Schwarzenegger has done that.
True, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger flip flopped on Proposition 93 mainly because he likes working with the current legislature. Now, Schwarzenegger is in a unique position because he was elected in a recall election and will never serve out 2 four year terms. With that in mind and knowing that his term is over at the end of 2010, I understand his position of not wanting to work with a new legislature but one that he is used to. Sure, he was originally against Proposition 93, but he changed his mind. Who hasn't?
And wouldn't I be a hypocrit if I did not hope that he flip flops on the issue of gay marriage if the California Supreme Court voids the anti-gay marraige initiative? Yes, I do want Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to flip flop on gay marriage if permitted to do so by the California Supreme Court sometime this year.
So while I do not support Porposition 93 in its current form, I do respect Governor Schwarzenegger's position of wanting to complete his term with a legislature he is familiar with.
Here is his editorial. Please make up your own mind:
The folowing is used with permission of Governor Schwarzenegger. It appeared in the January 15, 2007 edition of the Los Angeles Times.
"He backs Prop. 93, the governor says, because it will improve government.
By Arnold Schwarzenegger
January 15, 2008
I have long advocated reform in Sacramento, and I am proud of what has been accomplished since I took office in 2003. Now we need to take other important steps to make state government even more responsive to the people we serve.
We need redistricting reform to make the political system more competitive and more representative of the citizens of California. We need campaign finance reform to limit the influence of money in politics, and it is time to reform legislative term limits.
Term limits have been on the books since 1990, and I strongly support the idea of restricting the number of years politicians can spend in office. Elected officials who serve for decades lose a sense of urgency to make things better, and they often fall out of touch with the public. But we went too far and need to make some important refinements, as we do all the time with legislation that needs to be corrected, because the people are not well served by the current system.
In fact, the current system of term limits -- which allows members of the Senate to serve two terms (eight years) and members of the Assembly three terms (six years), with a total maximum of 14 years -- is contributing to Sacramento's problems rather than fixing them. I am endorsing Proposition 93, which would lower the total number of years a member could serve to 12, but also allows him or her to divide them between the houses as they choose. I am convinced that this would result in the people of California getting a more experienced, more independent Legislature.
It takes time to learn how to govern effectively. Under the current system, our elected officials are not given the time they need to reach their full potential as public servants. Just as they get seasoned in one house, they know their time is beginning to run out, and they must start positioning themselves to run for a new office.
Imagine what would happen if we told a big-city police chief or a sheriff he could stay in the job just long enough to start mastering it and then had to move on. Or if we told teachers they had to switch careers just as they started to accumulate enough experience and wisdom to really connect with their students.
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