Governor makes politics local
Mike Parham, an Irvine Unified School District trustee, is the man in the blue shirt sitting next to Schwarzenegger in a television commercial as the governor touts his ideas as essential to the state's financial health.
Wendy Bokota, who chairs the Irvine PTA's legislative action committee, criticized the governor in Newsweek magazine after attending a rally at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim to denounce the governor's plan to alter the equation for school funding.
And when Parham dined in March with Schwarzenegger as a guest at an Irvine fundraiser, Bokota stood outside in the rain with 2,000 other protesters shouting, "Shame on you!" Her sign read, "Protect Prop. 98," an initiative passed by voters in 1988 that set aside 40% of state revenues for schools.
Schwarzenegger is proposing to change those minimum-funding guarantees, one of three proposals his allies have sent to the secretary of state for placement on a ballot.
Usually, the political machinations of crafting and adopting laws play out among the professionals in Sacramento. But by unilaterally drafting his ideas as initiatives, the governor shifted the debate from the Legislature to local communities, a strategy that has caused both sides to take to the streets.
And everyone is talking about what is going on. These types of things have not made the Governor popular with the legislature. That would be expected. However he has also not made himself popular amongst those who he thinks he is trying to reach. He believes if he takes it to the people he will find support. However, the people have already elected their representatives and the Governor's popularity has never been lower.