Editorial: Having our say in Sacramento

It’s not that we expect much from California’s Legislature. Come to think of it, a long holiday from the intense political activity that characterized the final days of the last session might actually be welcome. Think of it: You could plan your life without looking over your shoulder.

In fact, the real scandal of Sacramento’s last session centered on that which was perfectly lawful. Enough bills were enacted, as senators and Assembly members drew close to deadline, that the sheer tonnage, once fork-lifted into a big rig, would break the scales at the Suisun weigh station. And do you think any of the solons took time to read these voluminous efforts to regulate our lives?

With three weeks to go before the election, and because of the genius of modern gerrymandering, it’s safe to say that party alignment will remain about the same. Even with term limits, key leadership positions in both houses will stay in the hands of the Democrats.

It’s also a good bet — just ask the all-seeing, all-knowing Willie Brown, who already has called the election — that Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger will remain governor. Given his newfound mastery of triangulation, in which he subordinates the interests of either party to his own independence, the agenda will be his to set.

So what’s left for the San Francisco delegation to do? For starters, we’d like to see somebody push a real limit on the bills a legislator can propose, but we’re sure the talented and experienced folks who’ve won our endorsements have their own ideas. Maybe the governor will see that we’re blessed to have such representation.

Assemblyman Mark Leno is a thoughtful and able 13th District incumbent who has earned another turn. We have serious disagreements with him. His opposition to the initiative to get tougher with violent predators leaves us cold. And his recent impulse to send a Christian youth group packing from a conference it had scheduled in The City rubbishes freedom of assembly. But we detect in him a preference for compromise and conversation — a good model for legislative work.

Likewise, Fiona Ma, whose service as a county supervisor commends her to the Assembly’s 12th District. A steady source of moderation, she has looked after the interests of taxpayers and property owners, staying the hands of her colleagues when they were inclined to use their bludgeons. A former aide to the venerable former state Sen. John Burton, she also knows Sacramento.

Leland Yee, well known to San Franciscans, wants to move from the Assembly to the Senate’s 8th District. This child psychologist, a former supervisor, has built a distinguished career. His effort to keep violent video games out of the hands of children deserves the appreciation of parents throughout the state.

The Examiner endorses these three exemplary San Franciscans.

Part of The San Francisco Examiner's 2006 election coverage.

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