In a repeat of last year’s end-of-session gamesmanship, Governor Schwarzenegger is threatening to veto most of the 700 bills sitting on his desk this week unless the Legislature whips together a package of bills dealing with California’s water crisis. And, he’s made it clear that not just any package will do; it must include state funding for new dams.
The San Francisco Chronicle put it best: “Governor, you’re making yourself look petty, petulant, even irrelevant.”
It’s the Governor’s duty under the State Constitution to review the bills passed by the Legislature, judge them on their merits, and either sign or veto them. However, Schwarzenegger seems to have taken a cue from the current Republican legislative caucus’ playbook: hijack unrelated policies to extract favors for special interests.
There are several important bills on the Governor’s desk that would improve our state’s air and water quality, protect our parks, and help us become less dependent on fossil fuels. If Schwarzenegger follows through on this threat, lawmakers face the depressing prospect of starting from scratch on these concepts next year. But if the Legislature gives in to the Governor’s demands our state will be faced with an even greater loss – the prospect of sinking billions of tax dollars into building new dams, the most expensive, least efficient, and most environmentally destructive water management strategy available. We hope the Legislature stands firm against the Governor’s pressure.