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Shameful actions in Sacramento

Our View . Domestic violence

Posted: September 19, 2009 7:44 p.m.
Updated: September 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Anyone watching the political gamesmanship in Sacramento has seen it sink to a new low this month.

It’s no longer a matter of: “Play by my rules or I’ll take the ball and go home.” Now it’s: “Play by my rules or I’ll go kick that kid on the sidelines.”

The kid on the sidelines happens to represent some of the most vulnerable members of our community: battered women and their children.

But that didn’t stop frustrated Senate Republicans from administering some swift kicks.

We should note here that not everyone we send to our apparently insanity-inducing state capital is tainted by its influence.

Local Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth successfully reached across the aisle and forged bipartisan legislation with San Francisco Democrat Leland Yee to save funding for domestic violence centers statewide.

The legislation passed unanimously in the Assembly, signaling what Sacramento-watchers might have hoped was a new spirit of cooperation.

But in the Senate it hit a wall of partisan linemen — motivated not by a desire to prevent another tax hike, nor a desire to serve constituents as best they could in the current recession — but rather a desire to stick it to the other guys at any cost.

Even at the cost of sheltering some of their neediest constituents.

The Smyth-Yee bill would have shifted money to domestic violence centers, not imposed any new taxes.

But Senate Republicans apparently reasoned this way: “Democrats didn’t give us what we wanted — first-time-homeowner rebates, a state-run tax filing service and changes to the sales tax formula.

“Therefore, we are” — in the words of our own Sen. George Runner — “morally obligated” to deny Democrats what they wanted, even if it means shuttering a woman’s refuge when her husband or boyfriend turns violent.

Apparently, they believe two wrongs make a right.

We have to wonder if Sen. Runner, who has served his constituents well in the past, made this decision to ingratiate himself with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and other like-minded organizations to benefit his bid for the State Board of Equalization.

At any rate, it’s certainly not the first time Sacramento-watchers have seen bickering in the Capitol, and there’s no doubt many more such shows will be on tap from both sides of the aisle.

But now bickering has become more important than serving the people who sent them there.

We offer praise for Smyth’s efforts at bipartisanship and wish him success in the future.

And we remind all legislators, of either party, that we send them to Sacramento to represent the people’s interests.

This isn’t a football league, where you can improve your rank by trampling the opposition.

And those left wounded on the field aren’t helmeted, padded linemen. They’re battered women and traumatized, homeless children.

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