By now you’ve probably all heard about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent veto message spelling out a big “fuck you” to Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. If you haven’t heard about this, you might want to start paying more attention to state politics.
Ammiano’s bill, AB 1176, would have given the Port of San Francisco expanded powers to capture and use certain tax revenues to fund infrastructure projects and set aside a portion of the money for stuff like waterfront parks and environmental cleanup. The bill received unanimous approval in both the Assembly and state Senate, which is pretty incredible in our increasingly partisan state legislature.
Schwarzenegger vetoed this bill not for what it was, but for what it was not; it failed to address issues his administration considers most important, such as water reform, prison reform and health care. And, let’s be real, Ammiano probably didn’t help his cause by telling Schwarzenegger to “kiss my gay ass” at a San Francisco Democratic Party fundraiser last month.
The carefully penned veto message is full of bizarre language and doesn’t fit the standard pattern of most veto messages, which tend to justify the veto by detailing problems with the bill itself. Of course, Schwarzenegger’s spokesman swears up and down that it is just a “strange coincidence” that the first letters of each line combine to spell out “fuck you.” Yea, right.
Aside from a few bloggers, the media and, presumably, Californians, most have reacted with nothing more than a laugh and a wink. The Wall Street Journal said Schwarzenegger “just likes to have fun” as governor and went on to list other funny “pranks” he’s pulled during his time in office.
Am I the only one bothered by this?
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t give a shit about how the Port of San Francisco obtains funding or manages its money. What I do care about is the unprofessional atmosphere permeating our state government.
Last time I checked, the state of California actually has some serious, incredibly pressing issues to take care of. I’m pretty sure we’re in the middle of a crushing budget crisis, resulting in steep tax increases and major cuts to services statewide. Call me uptight, but I’m a little too distracted by our crumbling infrastructure, swelling prison population and the death of public higher education as we know it to laugh about our top officials throwing childish insults at each other. While Arnold “has fun” offending legislators with unnecessary vetoes and subtle insults, I’ll do my best to have fun paying my ever-increasing tuition to make up for a shortage of state funding to the UC. I’ll also have fun paying higher taxes for the rest of my life to make up for irresponsible spending now. And my new favorite thrill ride? Driving across the Bay Bridge as fast as possible to avoid falling chunks of debris, since CalTrans apparently doesn’t maintain useless things like bridges or roads anymore.
At best, Schwarzenegger’s veto message did nothing to help his relationship with legislators. At worst, it has added even more tension to an already touchy situation. In a state that literally cannot pass a budget bill due to partisan bickering (let’s not even talk about passing a reasonable budget or one that, you know, balances), any insult, real or imagined, cannot be anything but hurtful to the legislative process.
So I guess what I’m trying to say, Gov. Schwarzenegger and the entire California legislature, is fuck you. When you can manage to balance the budget without screwing my generation out of vital services or burying us with insurmountable deficits, maybe I’ll be able to manage a laugh or two.