Pavley speaks on governor’s turn to the right

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The assemblymember says Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal for cuts would be harmful if approved.

By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor

Assemblymember Fran Pavley talked about a tougher, more conservative Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when addressing the Malibu Democratic Club on Saturday. Pavley said Schwarzenegger has changed from the moderate man people thought they elected in 2003, as she described some of his proposals for the November ballot and the cuts he has proposed for the 2005-06 budget, to a man more on the right.

“It didn’t sound like the man who ran last year during the recall against Gray Davis in the revolution here,” Pavley said. “He has taken a step to the right this year, dramatically.”

Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal includes cuts to education, transportation and healthcare programs. Pavley said these cuts would be harmful if approved.

Additionally, the governor has proposed five major measures that he either wants the Legislature to approve or he will seek the necessary signatures by April 19 to put the items on the November ballot. Since the Democratic-dominated Assembly and Senate are unlikely to honor the governor’s request, there will be a number of items on the fall ballot. According to Saturday’s Los Angeles Times, in addition to the governor’s items, nearly 70 other issues have been proposed for the November election. However, it is unlikely that all or even most of them will actually get the required number of signatures to make the ballot. But even if a small percentage of them make it to November, it will mean a heavy campaign season.

Schwarzenegger’s five proposals are redrawing congressional and legislative districts, creating a merit-based pay system for teachers, forming a 401(k)-like system for state employees’ pensions, imposing severe penalties for overdue state budget approvals and granting the governor greater authority to restructure state agencies. Pavley spoke about four of the items.

Pavley, a former teacher, said paying teachers based on merit would create an arbitrary system. She said that redistricting was a plan by Schwarzenegger, who says he wants to make elections more competitive, to get more Republicans in the state legislature.

“I believe the governor and the Republican Party were very upset that they weren’t able to effect a change in either the Assembly makeup or the Senate makeup,” Pavley said.

Democratic strategists, Pavley said, have determined that Schwarzenegger’s redistricting plan would gain four to eight seats for the Republicans in the Assembly, making it about 50/50 Republicans and Democrats. But redistricting could allow the Republicans to take over the Senate.

As for Schwarzenegger’s plan to create a partial 401(k) system for state employees’ pensions, Pavley said that was a way for the governor to give business to Wall Street.

Pavley took exceptional issue with Schwarzenegger’s proposal to require the Legislature to pass a budget no later than 30 days after the deadline. If they do not, cuts will be made across the board, with no priorities as to what will be reduced.

“If I were a Republican who really didn’t care about roads and schools…and healthcare, I would love this,” Pavley said. “They can just hold out. Why would they even come to the table and compromise with the rest of the Legislature?”

Pavley said it is an uphill battle for Democrats because the media are more likely to side with the personable Schwarzenegger. She encouraged people to write letters to the editor to support the Democratic agenda.

Also on Saturday, the Malibu Democratic Club elected board members and officers for 2005. The officers are President Ralph Erickson, Vice President Heather Anderson, Treasurer Nita Rodriguez and Secretary Kathy Wisnicki.