A county employee whose panic disorder prevented him from meeting with people face-to-face applies for a promotion to a job that requires him to do so. He does not get the job. He sues. A court awards him $6.5 million.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:13 PM
With the bond deal dead for June and in danger of not happening at all, Schwarzenegger now risks looking like a hapless governor who can’t get along with Democrats but also can’t depend on his own Republican allies for votes when he needs them. If that image sticks and intensifies over the summer, he will find it increasingly difficult to win reelection in the fall.
What went wrong with the governor’s public works package? Many things. But here’s a start:
He put a number on it too early. The $222 billion price tag and $68 billion in borrowing spooked Republicans from the start. He would have been better off beginning with a description of the goals he was trying to achieve and then building the number in a consensus with legislators.
He took Republicans for granted. Schwarzenegger negotiated mostly with the Democrats and always figured he would be able to get the Republican votes for anything he and the Dems agreed to. He was wrong. In one meeting with Assembly Republicans, the governor stayed five minutes, said he needed their votes and then left. His aides distributed a briefing detailing the deal he had made with Democrats, then they left. What followed was a Republican revolt.
He tried negotiating individually with the leaders instead of all of them at the same time. Each time he came close to a deal with one legislative leader, the others who were not part of the discussions began to dump on the deal.
He was too secretive. Keeping the details behind closed doors increased the suspicion, especially among Republicans, that the governor was giving away the store.
He sent mixed signals on the timing. Nobody knew whether he really wanted the plan on the June or November ballot, until about 10 days before the deadline for June, when he began to focus on that date.
He insisted on a huge, comprehensive package. He probably could have won approval for a slimmed down package that he could have accepted and promoted as the first phase of his larger plan. As a campaign device, that might even have been better, since it leaves people wanting more, or at least thinking that there is more to come. In this case, not finishing the job would have given him something to talk about doing in a second term, with evidence already on the books that he could get it done.thus
But the real problem is that Schwarzenegger got himself into an almost impossible negotiating position from the start. By making this his top policy priority, and a highly visible one at that, he handed his fate to the Democrats, who thus controlled how the public would view him as governor this year. He could not really walk away from the table because he needed the infrastructure package to show the voters that he could govern, but the Democrats knew they could pull the plug at any time with little or no political fallout. That dynamic allowed the Democrats to take control of the package and shape it largely to their liking, which made Schwarzenegger’s job of getting Republican votes that much harder. It became a downward spiral.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:02 AM
Both houses adjourn until Monday after Assembly passes slimmed down bond package and Senate passes a pay-as-you-go measure for levee repairs.
Posted by dweintraub at 5:47 AM