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Editorials

California Democrats have no sense of shame

Democratic lawmakers, who run our state Capitol in concert with Gov. Jerry Brown, are abusing their supermajority status.

But we’ve heard not a peep from Fresno area residents.

Are people content to allow the ruling party to do as it pleases without regard for the rules or a sense of fair play?

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Have people – long tired of the dirty games played in Sacramento – simply stopped following state politics?

Or is the national battle between the left and right (and the antics of President Donald Trump) sucking up most all of the political oxygen?

Whatever the reasons for the local disinterest in the shameful behavior occurring in the statehouse, it’s past time for voters to hold Democratic leaders accountable for treating the Golden State like it’s their very own syndicate.

Three events, in particular, stand out from the past year. They should concern everyone who believes that the loyalty of our lawmakers and constitutional officers should be to the citizenry and not to a political party.

▪ Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown was running short of time to qualify an initiative to overhaul part of the criminal justice system. At his urging, the Legislature appropriated $16 million to support county election officials who would speed signature verification. The initiative qualified.

▪ Last November, voters approved Proposition 54, which requires that bills be publicly available for 72 hours before they are put to a vote. Democrats in the Assembly, facing a deadline to approve bills, proceeded to pass 89 bills that were available for less than 72 hours, by the count of Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin.

Some of the laws they secretly rewrote involved dam-safety and gun regulations – legislation that the public surely would have wanted to vet and weigh in on.

We wrote on Sept. 28 of last year that Proposition 54 was “the right call for more transparency” at the Capitol. Nearly two of three voters agreed, and the proposition became law. A law that the ruling Democrats disregard without the slightest sense of guilt.

▪ With Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, facing a recall because of his support of the state gas tax and vehicle registration hike, Democrats came to Newman’s defense by jamming through a bill last week to alter recall rules in ways that would benefit him. The Democrats’ measure, Senate Bill 96, would not apply to other currently pending recalls. No matter. They only care about saving Newman.

What’s the answer here?

We’d like to believe that state Democrats would not dig into their bag of dirty tricks to pass budgets and maintain power. But they’ve clearly established that the rules don’t apply to them. Frankly, we are not surprised. As the 19th century British politician Lord Acton said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Thus voters must take matters into their own hands during the 2018 election and dilute the power of Democrats. That will be a tall order in California, where the Republican Party has lost its way by backing extremist candidates and taking far-right policy positions that frighten mainstream voters.

But there is great opportunity for reasonable Republicans who tell voters, “I know the difference between right and wrong, and I am embarrassed by what I see in Sacramento. Have you seen our state flag? It says, California Republic – not Banana Republic.”

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