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Instant Karma on the Terrace



Arnold leaves office, gets a parking ticket, and...

Jerry Brown's karma "is to inherit the collapse of so many institutions his father built" says Angela Oh, Buddhist priest and friend of Tom Hayden. That's even better than Meyers' comment Monday about Brown being reality tv to Schwarzenegger's action hero.

Key stat Hayden hones in on: the State's prison population, mostly grown by Gray Davis. It was 27,000 the last time Brown was Governor, and is about 150,000 today. But the State's general population hasn't even doubled in that time.

If there are that many bad people in California--and there might be--we must be doing something very wrong, and part of Brown's task is to figure out what it is. It may be time for the left to admit that the State can't support the level of urban lawlessness it does, and the right to admit that we can't support three strikes.

Pundits have associated Brown and karma before Hayden has, of course. Bill Whalen, a Hoover Fellow, did it on December 8, outlining the task ahead for Brown as selling the State that "a budget apocalypse is nigh." It appears that Brown is doing this.

Joe Mathews, one of those New American Fellows the local fishwrap has bought into, whose book on the "California crackup" offers amazingly facile solutions to the State budget crisis, skips the karma cliches but slips Brown a "Zen moment" in his inauguration speech:
Of course, the issues facing the state are timeless, in some sense, particularly education, budget and water. But what California faces governmentally are NOT "life's inherent difficulties." California has problems on issues but it has deeper problems of its governing and fiscal systems that are peculiar to California and not inherent in anything. Our inflexible initiative process is like no other process on earth. That's not inherent. We have more two-thirds vote requirements and other constitutional spending and tax mandates than any other state in the country. That's not inherent to life. And we have a broken election system that we could change (and are beginning to change).
Perchance Mathews is ready to get behind Mike Gatto's constitutional amendment permitting the Legislature amend most initiatives after four years; a proposal that already has the backing of six of the State's top newspapers. It should be clear by now that it's doubtful Gatto's proposal could get the kind of attention it has without a boost from the Governor's office. It may, in fact, be the very instant karma the Governor is currently seeking.