Oh to be a fly on the Big 5 Wall As Hollingsworth Brought Out His Ransom Note

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s previous career had him as a man of action, who blew stuff up first and asked questions later. He didn’t frequently negotiate detantes, save for settling a dispute or two in Kindergarten Cop. It’s Not a Tumor!

So, perhaps that’s why he isn’t really that good at actually doing the job of being the Governor. On occasion it is important that you actually have the ability to talk the parties back off the ledge. But as the Governor is usually the one playing the brinksman’s games, you can understand that negotiation isn’t a skill he’s refined too well.

And apparently Arnold was once again not up to the task yesterday as the Big 5 Meeting blew up when Sen. Hollingsworth brought out his ransom note.

A private meeting of legislative leaders and Gov. Schwarzenegger ended abruptly Tuesday amid bad blood between Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta.

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Earlier, Hollingsworth said he would not put up votes for the bills until Democrats agreed to a list of demands that were laid out by Russell Lowery, Hollingsworth’s chief of staff, in an e-mail to senior Democratic staff on the morning of Sept. 11, the last day of the legislative session.

“Senator Hollingsworth and others were party to conversations where it was agreed that Ready Return and the homeowner’s tax credit issues would be completed before the end of session,” Lowery wrote in an e-mail to Steinberg’s senior staff on the morning of the final day of the legislative year. “It is my hope that we might get some movement early on these issues in order to avoid a train wreck on some important two-thirds legislation at the end of session.”  Lowery also mentioned pending legislation providing home buyers with a  tax credit.(CapWeekly 10/06/09)

Maybe he was just yelling at everybody to shut up, but he really should have learned his lesson on that particular method from the movies.

By the way, the words “Ready Return would be completed” doesn’t mean that this solid program would be permanently funded or otherwise enacted into law, nope, this meant that Ready Return would be killed so that Intuit could make a few more bucks off of poor people.  Intuit’s role is California politics in the last few years has quite frankly, been disgusting.  They have spread cash over politicians like Southern Pacific in the Hiram Johnson days, and held up the budget all to kill ReadyReturn, a program that would simplify tax returns for lower to middle class Californians with simple taxes. Of course, the hypocrisy of this coming from the Republicans, who claim to support tax simplification, would be funny had it not endangered the lives of many Californians.  But I guess campaign cash is a more important value to these Republicans.

And Hollingsworth claimed to have had some agreement with Steinberg that these issues would be handled, a deal that Steinberg said never happen. Some would call that illegal vote trading.  And, according to the article, apparently Speaker Bass suggested that his ransom note actually had nothing to do with the bills at issue.

Meanwhile, Arnold is still being Arnold, demanding a water deal by Friday or he’ll veto all the bills. The deadline for his veto is Sunday, or the bills will automatically become law.

This, my friends, is a dysfunctional government.