Governor Schwarzenegger and Speaker of the State Assembly Karen Bass were in South Los Angeles on Sunday. Both were looking for voters to support Propositions 1A through 1F on Tuesday's ballot. The six measures would raise taxes, expand the lottery, and shift mental health and child development funding to help address California's gaping budget deficit. They would also place a cap on future spending, and create a "rainy day" reserve. KPCC's Frank Stoltze caught up with the state's top Republican and top Democrat.
Frank Stoltze: We're in the motorcade with Governor Schwarzenegger and Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass on this Sunday before Tuesday's election involving the statewide ballot measures. The governor is visiting churches in South Central Los Angeles, pitching the propositions. Why churches in South Central Los Angeles this morning?
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: Well first of all, I think we need a lot of prayers to make sure that these initiatives pass (laughs) on Tuesday, so that's number one, but I think it is all part of the outreach program. I mean, we have been going up and down the state for the last two months.
Stoltze: You are asking voters to make some very difficult decisions. Voters right now, according to the polls, are not too inclined to vote for these. Are you not asking them to make the difficult decisions that you guys should be making, the elected leaders in Sacramento?
Schwarzenegger: This is the most common thing that I hear people come up to me and say. "Why don't you guys take care of it in Sacramento?" And I try to explain to them that, the way our laws work, if you want to make a constitutional change, it has to be approved by the people. We have to do it together.
So the people have a choice on Tuesday: do they want to go on with business as usual, or do they want to go and say, "Let's all work together, and let's fix these problems, because it's gonna benefit California, it's gonna save us billions of dollars, and this way, we never have to go and make those deep cuts in health care, make those deep cuts in law enforcement, make the deep cuts in education." That's really what it is all about.
Stoltze: What happens if these don't pass on Tuesday?
Schwarzenegger: Then we will automatically, from one day to the next, lose $6 billion that we have to make in additional cuts, and we will have to take $2 billion from local governments, to borrow that money, and that will mean also they will have to make more severe cuts in firefighters, in health care workers, education.
I think it's sad, and I think that Speaker Bass will agree, you should ask her, because she's sitting right to the left of you. You should set the stage here that you are actually sitting in a governor's car here, in a CHP car, and that you are sitting in the middle of Karen Bass, our Democratic leader, and Governor Schwarzenschnitzel (laughs) on the right, so you're flanked by the left and the right, so you can ask your question too.
Stoltze: Speaker, would you like to weigh in?
Speaker Karen Bass: (laughs) Sure! You know, we are out doing churches today in the African-American community. It's a longstanding tradition in our community, and I'm just really proud to be joined by the governor today as we appeal to voters in our community, the significance of the election.
And I recognize that people are confused by this, but these measures on Tuesday are absolutely vital to pass. We closed a $42 billion deficit, and we have to come to Californians and say, you know what? We did our part, but we all have to sacrifice here, and we all have to participate.
The way our system is set up, with the initiative process, any time you want to change an initiative, you have to go to the voters. That's exactly why we're coming to the voters this time. We need their help and participation in closing this deficit so that we don't have to have such drastic cuts in education, health and human services.