Make ’em, don’t break ’em

New Year’s resolutions for lawmakers

Elected officials aren’t mutants from an alternate universe sent to infect our world with madness.

They used to be regular folks anonymously striving to meet their monthly nut, not piss off partners (business or otherwise) and navigate life’s pothole-pocked path without major catastrophe.

That means—at least once upon a time—they made New Year’s resolutions like pledging to drop the balance on the Kohl’s credit card to zero and shed 7 pounds—starting right after Super Bowl Sunday—through the miracle of Nancy Pelosi’s kale and dichondra diet.

But now that they’re local, state and federal elected officials, they’re so swamped championing the interests of their constituents and just generally doing good deeds that most don’t have time for formulating frivolous resolutions—let alone fulfilling them.

Ever civic-minded, Capitol Lowdown offers some suggested resolutions for 2013:

1. Love my seatmate as myself.

Since two-thirds of the Assembly and the Senate are now Democrats, some of the few Republicans remaining in the Legislature must sit next to odious vermin from the noxious side of the aisle. Ask about their family. Smile benignly. Feign poor hearing. Try listening—it might lead to learning.

2. Get over it.

Mercifully, California isn’t a Nathaniel Hawthorne novella. Even if it were, branding a large “L” on the foreheads of GOP officeholders after the November election would graphically restate the obvious. Whatever Republicans are selling, voters ain’t buying. Find something new and constructive to yammer about or shut the hell up. Democrats should remember that just before being pancaked by a cascade of shit boulders, every hero in a Greek tragedy first stumbles over their wildly inflated ego. “Hubris,” the Greeks called it: “overweening pride.” Put another way by California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton: “Don’t fall in love with your own bullshit.” It’s a capital offense.

3. Improve comportment.

Jerry Brown’s score on the geniality meter can sometimes reach levels that would cause Dr. Hans Asperger to arch an eyebrow. The Democratic governor says he uses the “Socratic method.” But Socrates was such an annoying pest the Greeks ordered him to hammer hemlock. The governor might be the smartest person in the room, particularly when it comes to declaiming Latin, but lawmakers and decision-makers groove more on back pats and a periodic “non illegitimi carborundum.”

4. Resolve to reduce resolutions.

Resolutions have no effect except wasting valuable legislative time in debating and passing them. They are glorified letters. Two current examples: urging Congress and President Barack Obama to fix the nation’s “broken immigration system” and proclaiming the last week of January “National School Choice Week.” Enough already. Democrats bushwhacked Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby of Fullerton in November, returning him to the private sector he claimed to love passionately, so the mantle falls to Capitol Lowdown and others equally impatient to chide lawmakers into ending their oral onanism on these frothy bits of silliness.

5. Deal with some stuff on the Decade-at-a-Glance To-Do List.

Like the caliber of the UC and CSU campuses that have been slashed and cut and then slashed again for five years running—particularly CSU, which gets far more of its money from the cash-starved state general fund than the UC—institutional improvement is not predicated on more fee increases. Also, get the details right, so when the sea change in health-care delivery that is the Affordable Care Act crests in January 2014, Californians don’t get swamped. Here’s something novel: Treat addiction rather than incarcerating the addict. And pledge to get the governor’s mouthy, stump-legged corgi off Facebook and into some ads pimping spaying and neutering.

As to the coming year overall? May God have mercy.