Thursday, July 22, 2004

I Love a Man With a Billy Club 

You will recall the recent remark by Gov. Big Tits of California, who joshingly opined that Democrats were "girly men" because they refused to stand up to "unions and special interests." Well, look who bent over and spread 'em for the state prison guards' union:
Vowing to whittle the deal down, Schwarzenegger said he'd win back as much as $300 million in guard salaries and benefits to plug holes in the state's deficit-ridden budget this year.

Instead, it seems that Schwarzenegger gave away the store and, in the process, severely hindered chances to reform the nation's biggest and arguably most chaotic prison system.

For starters, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the guards' union, surrendered nothing. It merely deferred the raises, saving the state a meager $108 million over the next two years. In exchange, the guards get at least a 15 percent raise by this time next year, substantially more than 10.9 percent they were due under [ex-Gov. Gray] Davis' deal . . . .

The deal magnifies the union's clout, which has led critics to call the prisons out of control, plagued by cost overruns, staff intimidation, abuse of inmates and codes of silence that make misconduct probes virtually impossible.

No wonder U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson is threatening to put the prison system under federal control. Rather than desperately needed reform, Schwarzenegger's effort, Henderson scorns, is merely "business as usual."

"It's precedent setting in the worst kind of way,'' said Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough. "It ties the hands of policy-makers. The governor got snookered.''
UPDATE (via Zemblan patriot M.F.): Aaaaaaggghhhhh! Schwarzenegger was right!!

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