Tag Archives: Juan Arambula

It’s That Arambula DOESN’T Matter That’s The Problem

With Juan Arambula apparently leaving the Democratic Party, a day before both chambers were scheduled to vote on the Democratic alternative budget, it’s striking how little difference this will make.  Because the legislature will not vote to enact a budget but to revise it, on everything but tax increases they need only a majority vote.  And the way that the Democrats structured their version, less than 10% of the bill include solutions requiring a 2/3 vote.   And Assembly Democrats still hold a 49-29-1 advantage even if Arambula becomes an independent.  What’s more, the leadership structured a fallback option should those oil and tobacco taxes go down, along with a couple repeals of corporate tax breaks passed in February.  Presumably they would simply shrink the budget reserve and pass the same budget, and that could also be done on a majority-vote basis – actually they could pass the oil and cigarette taxes through a majority-vote fee swap, if they really wanted to, although I reluctantly agree with this article that Democrats are probably posturing, knowing they don’t have the votes and hoping to at least fork some Republicans on “voting with Big Tobacco and Big Oil.  It’s simply good politics to do so, but that’s a small consolation to those who may see their services cut as a result.

There is a cost to passing these revisions by majority vote, however, because anything done in this fashion will take effect 90 days out, while a 2/3 vote for any revision would take effect immediately.  Obviously, with a 90-day lag the savings will not be as robust on the cuts, requiring yet another go-round of this at the end of the year, which was probably inevitable anyway given the lack of revenue filling state coffers.  And of course, that will be on the heads of those Republicans who don’t vote for these solutions, those “fiscally responsible” types who will cost the state money by failing to fast-track these revisions.  Let’s hope, beyond hope, that actually reaches the headlines.

The point to all this is that the Democrats’ budget will provide a significant amount of pain, which is why they don’t have to put up too much of a fight to get it passed.  The side-by-side comparison of the two budgets shows pretty clearly that Democrats accepted a substantial amount of the cuts, and also some of the gimmicks that the Governor had in his plan.  They added a couple tax increases but not the broad restructuring of government necessary to protect the most vulnerable.  They repealed a couple corporate tax breaks for CEOs but not as many as they could have.  If you’re going to engage in what George Skelton calls Kabuki theater, since you’re delivered a fallback plan, don’t compromise the Kabuki and instead create the real vision for the state that you desire, something that the grassroots, just getting their feet wet in this fight, can rally behind.  Or maybe, the Democratic caucus DID, a somewhat terrifying thought.

Asm. Juan Arambula Leaves the Democratic Party

Assemblyman Juan Arambula has ditched the Assembly Democratic Caucus.

Arambula tells Action News he is changing party affiliations from democrat (sic) to independent.

Arambula says he made the change because of differences with the Democratic Party over how to solve the state’s budget problems. (ABC30 6/22/09)

Arambula is termed out in 2010, so it’s not really all that dramatic, but it will make for some interesting media spin in the next few days.  I’ve confirmed the story, and it seems that the issue is more about the geographical East-West split than the budget per se.  Yes, the budget is part of it, as it is part of every decision made in Sacramento these days.  

However, every issue in Fresno these days is about water.  Farmers, farmworkers and the entire community is dependent upon water for agriculture. It’s why Arnold got an earful during a speech in Fresno intended to be about the budget. Arambula is most assuredly hearing the same kinds of comments.

As for the budget, this most assuredly will play a role in how the Speaker proceeds.  In votes requiring 2/3, she will have to make a more concerted effort to get Arambula’s vote and perhaps this makes majority vote measures more important.

Get Yer Scorecard

The Capitol Weekly did their first annual legislative scorecard of members of the State Assembly and Senate.  They go into detail about their methodology and recognize that devising these types of scores is more art than science.  In addition the voting sample size is fairly small.  But I still believe there’s some value to them.

The full list (PDF) is here.  Some interesting tidbits on the flip:

You can pretty obviously see that we have an ideologically rigid legislature.  8 Republican Assemblymen have a “perfect” 0 score on legislation (fully conservative), and 13 Democrats have a 100 (fully liberal).  In the Senate, there are 2 Republicans with a 0 score and 5 Democrats with a score of 100.

The Republicans, however, are FAR more unified.  There are no Assembly Republicans with a score above 20, and no Senate Republicans above 30.  Put it this way, the 2nd-most “moderate” Republican in the legislature is right-wing loon Tom McClintock, I guess because he is occasionally libertarian.

By contrast, a handful of Democrats dip into the other side of the ocean.  Here are the Democrats with scores under 50.

Cathleen Galgiani 20
Nicole Parra 20
Juan Arambula 50

Lou Correa 40
Mike Machado 45

All 3 Assembly Democrats live in the Central Valley (Galgiani’s from Stockton, Parra’s from Bakersfield and Arambula’s from Fresno).  Mike Machado is also from this area (Stockton, Tracy).  Correa is the only exception to this rule.

Galgiani’s election site features the line “I’ll never raise your taxes.”  Machado endorsed Steve Filson in last year’s Congressional primary against Jerry McNerney.

I’m not making value judgments, this is all just somewhat interesting stuff and I’m trying to make sense of it, particularly in the context of yesterday’s discussion about the Central Valley.  The spotlight is not usually shined on this area; is that how we end up with Democrats like this?

Have a nice life, Juan Arambula

Merry Christmas, Fresno!  Juan Arambula’s decision not to run for re-election in 2008 is good news for working families in his district and throughout the state.

Despite the (D) attached to his name, Arambula has been a consistent opponent to workers fighting to make Fresno a pro-labor town.  When union public school teachers backed school board candidates who fought to put more resources into the classroom, Arambula attacked them, claiming — strangely — that they were failing to put children first.  In a debate on a right-wing radio talk show, Arambula asserted that school board candidates should not support workers when they join together to form a union. 

Nor has Arambula been an ally to the party’s efforts to build an enduring progressive majority in California.  Rather than using campaign funds to defeat vulnerable Republican candidates like Bonnie Garcia, Arambula put his anti-worker agenda first, and diverted those funds to support anti-union Fresno school board candidates who wanted to increase administrative spending at the expense of classroom spending.

His legislative record has been equally regressive.  He abstained from voting on a bill to ensure safe staffing in California hospitals, and he was one of three key votes against Mark Leno’s bill for marriage equality.

This November, Fresno voters rejected four Arambula-supported anti-worker candidates for school board, and elected pro-teacher candidates instead.  Fresno working families deserve a representative in the Assembly, as well, who speaks for them.  They may not need to wait long.

Blog Roundup 12/29/06

THis will be a quick one.  Not a whole lot going on, but there were a few things of note.  The blogs are pretty quiet so a bunch of MSM stories here.

Teasers: Sacto is sooo bipartisan, Juan Arambula, redistricting, $200 million for the FTB, new laws, new schedules, new year.  And oh yeah, the 49ers.

  • The CA Majority Report has the scoop on Juan Arambula (D-Fresno) announcing his intention to not seek re-election in 2008. He’s not termed out until 2010, but opted not to seek his final possible term.  Steve Maviglio says the seat is safe for Dems with Fresno City Councilman Henry T Perea.  Perea looks to be a solid candidate, he previously worked with Nicole Parra on Congressman Cal Dooley’s staff, and the seat is generally a fairly safe D seat, at least for Fresno.
  • Frank at the CPR also noticed the LA Times article on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s payments to staffers from campaign coffers, and calls for “Hiram Johnson” reform on the practice.  Hiram would likely go all railroad on the big money.  Or something like that.
  • Nik Bonovich argues that “communities of interest” for redistricting must be real communities of interest.
  • On the MSM side, the SF Chron reports that a bunch of gay rights legislation will go into effect Jan 1.  Most notably, domestic partners can now file state taxes jointly.  Other notable laws include the requirement for state contractors to offer DP benefits and protections against discrimination in housing.
  • Many more laws go into effect on Jan 1 (SF Chron), including animal protection measures, drug discounts, and most notably, the minimum wage will go up by 75 cents from $6.75 to $7.50.
  • Some taxpayer paid a $200 MILLION settlement with the Franchise Tax Board almost singlehandedly keeping the state’s deficit under $100 million.  That’s a lot of money and one seriously rich person who decided to come clean during the state’s amnesty program.
  • Oh hmm, it seems the 49ers might not be THAT opposed to staying in SF, as long as they get a big payout. I’m really quite sick of cities giving sports teams money.  They should go where it is profitable for them and cities should provide only the support they would offer to any other business.  I hope both SF and Santa Clara hear that.
  • In a column that I missed on Xmas day, George Skelton argues that we should be exporting Sacto’s bipartisanship to DC.  Um, I really, really appreciate George Skelton, but I think this column is a bit off.  Mostly because Mike Villines is threatening to blow the place up if people don’t pay attention to his GOP minority in the Assembly.
  • School districts are giving longer winter breaks to help families who take long vacations, typically to visit family in other countries.
  • Behold the wrath of Nunez

    This is almost Willie-esque of Fabian.  When Juan Arambula fails to vote for the bonds package and toe the party line, Fabian takes away his committee chair and moves him out of his cushy office to a small one in the dark recesses of the capitol.

    A truce was called in the Assembly on Friday as Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, said he was reinstating Arambula, D-Fresno, as chairman of the Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy.
    Arambula abstained on all four bond votes in frustration that money for water storage wasn’t included in the $37 billion package, which was approved despite Arambula’s holdout. Voters will take up the bonds in November. Núñez was so angered by the move that he tossed Arambula out of his four-room office, forcing him and his staff into the smallest of Capitol digs.(SacBee 5/27/06)

    Now, that’s discipline!  Let’s see Rahm or Nancy try to do that to the House Dems.  Forget Willie, that’s almost worthy of Delay-esque.  I guess everybody know’s who’s the boss in the Assembly.