Skip to comments.Schwarzenegger, in Washington, meets resistance, partisan sniping
Posted on 02/17/2005 4:00:39 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON Thursday's much-touted meeting between Gov. Schwarzenegger and California's congressional delegation to map strategy for getting more money from Washington did not get off to a good start.
Partisan sniping occupied much of the day, as did complaints that Schwarzenegger upstaged the strategy meeting by later appearing with Common Cause officials to announce the group's support for his controversial redistricting plan.
"In California and around the country we have a broken system where elected officials are choosing the voters they want to represent instead of the other way around," said Common Cause president Chellie Pingree in an afternoon appearance with the GOP governor. "We need to put the power to draw political lines in the hands of independent, nonpartisan commissions."
Redistricting did not come up during a two-hour Capital meeting Thursday between California Democrats, Republicans and Schwarzenegger. But it did when the governor met privately with congressional Republicans. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, said Schwarzenegger might have convinced some Republicans who opposed his plan to reconsider.
"He proved himself a good listener, but also ... a strong advocate as well," said Rohrabacher, who supports the governor's plan. "I think he changed some minds."
Democrats, however, were not happy that the governor spent part of the day with officials of Common Cause, a government watchdog group that endorsed the governor's plan to take the once-a-decade job of drawing legislative and congressional boundaries away from California lawmakers and give it to a panel of retired judges.
"It would seem to me that our objective here in Washington, D.C., is to see how we can deal with the disproportionate funding in California ... not on the politics of a political power grab by Republicans," said California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-San Diego. "I think it borders on being disingenuous."
While Common Cause would prefer to wait until 2010 for redistricting reforms to begin, a source said the group's officials were willing to endorse the governor's plan for a mid-decade redistricting, which many Democrats and Republicans oppose.
During his meeting with California's congressional delegation, the governor discussed strategies for improving California's 79-cent return on each dollar it sends Washington.
California thrives under some federal programs. But in other areas, the state is shortchanged some $50 billion each year, primarily in Medicaid the health care program for the poor in grants for educating poor and disadvantaged children and in transportation and homeland security dollars. The governor also complains that Bush won't send enough money to help the state with the cost of jailing illegal aliens who commit crimes. This year, Bush proposed eliminating all funding.
The governor proclaimed Thursday's meeting productive and predicted success "the more coordinated we are, the more we work together to (not) let other states divide us."
Before the meeting even started, however, there were hints of disagreement between Democrats and the governor. The Democrats wanted a four-hour meeting; the governor wanted two. The governor wanted to discuss military base closings; Democrats wanted to talk strictly about getting more federal money.
Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Alameda, suggested that because California has the largest House delegation and six Republicans chairing key committees, that the state's GOP leaders should withhold their votes on spending bills unless they get agreements from other states' lawmakers to change formulas to better benefit California.
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Thousand Oaks, called for similar action in the meeting with Schwarzenegger.
"I challenged him to do more than just beg, because we didn't elect him to be a Beg-inator," Sherman said, playing on the governor's Hollywood role as the Terminator. "If we don't get ... a promise that we're going to be treated fairly, he should work with us to shut the House down ... to vote 'no' on everything except national security issues."
Asked if California lawmakers should go that far, the governor only replied: "We are not asking the White House, we are not asking the federal government ... to bail us out. We just want our fair share."
Schwarzenegger later had private meetings with California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, then met with Bush's new secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, to discuss Medicaid funding.
Schwarzenegger was expected to return to California Thursday night. The governor's aides said he could return to Washington in three or four weeks for similar meetings with congressional leaders and Cabinet members.
Yeah, political power grabs are only supposed to be done by Democrats. God knows when they redistrict it's all completely fair.
I don't mind partisanship; it's BS I can't stand.
I'd rather see them redistrict instead of this "nobody ever loses a seat" gerrymandering......on the first point, it is about time Calif gets a fairer share or at least what other states get....If Bush stops what little funding we get for the illeagals in prison, well if he doesn't protect the borders, we should send all those folk to federal prisons
OMG ... I actually agree with Common Cause on an issue. I guess even a broken clock etc. etc.
"the state is shortchanged some $50 billion each year, primarily in Medicaid the health care program for the poor in grants for educating poor and disadvantaged children"
read "Illegal Aliens"
Well, isn't that special.
There is no shortage of egg to go around out here on all the sides of the aisle and in the media and party leadership and speical interests up the ying yang..
The redistricting plan approved last go around was agreed to by both sides, btw. Now folks are trying to undo it five years later.. maybe california does need to beach the old ship and renovate itself before it can sail high in the water again.
If a rational person looked at how districts are constructed now , with some cities illogically split into multiple separate districts, districts a mile wide and 200 miles long, they'd say what is up with this?
RE: the spending.. between entitlements and mandates, we're screwed no matter what happens near-term.. ,, long-term, we are taking on too damn much debt...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.