California’s Central Valley is home to two "supposedly" more moderate Democrats in the California Assembly — Assemblywomen Nicole Parra and Kathleen Galgiani. Both candidates campaigned for office by stressing to voters in their districts their independence, and that they would look out for their districts. But the latest vote that took place last Sunday in the State Assembly on a budget bill jam-packed with massive tax increases (to the tune of $9.7 billion). and pork spending, the opportunity was presented for both of these ladies to vote against heaping new taxes on their constituents. Actually, going into the vote, if you were to take each of them at their word, you would have expected neither of them to vote for the budget. Galgiani voted for the bill, Parra did not.
Assemblywoman Galgiani (pictured left) campaigned on a no new taxes pledge. Up and through at least last month, her campaign website proudly boasted the following quote from her: "You opened your doors to me. You answered my calls. You said hello at church or wherever we met during my campaign. The best way for me to express my thanks it to keep my promises – I’ll never raise your taxes or cut your schools. I’ll make public safety my top priority and I’ll work really hard to represent you."
Needless to say, Galgiani’s promise to voters went out the window when the hammer of ultra-liberal Assembly Speaker Karen Bass was brought to bear. Suddenly the rhetoric that Galgiani used to get elected just wasn’t so important to her any more.
That quote on her campaign website has been revised, and it now reads, "Thank you for visiting my web site! My first term in State Assembly has been exciting and productive. It has been an honor serving the people of the 17th District, which lies in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and includes the region of Stockton to Tracy, Los Banos and Merced. …"
You can be sure that right about now, Galgiani is being praised and held up as a model within the Democrat Caucus — for her willingness to put aside minor issues such as campaign promises, and join in with her liberal-socialist colleagues from the Bay Area and Los Angeles — the very ones that she pledged to be independent. Right.
Contrast the utterly disappointing performance by Galgiani to that of Assemblywoman Parra (pictured right), who’s district is just south of hers in the Valley. Parra’s promise to her voters centers around the issue of water. Or to be more specific, there are many thirsty farmers in her district due to the fact that our state is facing a water crisis that has reached the point of being a crisis — primary because Democrats in the legislature refuse to commit financial resources to water storage and conveyance (that is to say that God is creating enough water, but we are not taking the steps to adequately move it and store it).
Parra sent a letter to the Speaker, that was in part re-printed in the Fresno Bee, that said in part, "I simply cannot support a budget without a solution to the Central Valley’s water supply. A vote on a budget that adequately reflects our state’s priorities is only half honest, unless we are simultaneously addressing the issue of water supply."
The Speaker’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Steve Maviglio, conveyed disbelief in Parra’s pledge at the time, telling the Bee that Speaker Bass "fully expects" Parra to vote for the budget.
Well, apparently this was because Speaker Bass knew to what extent she was willing to exact political pain on Parra, or any other Democrat who would vote against the nearly ten billion dollars in new taxes she put before them on Sunday.
Parra, unlike Galgiani, did not vote for the budget bill. And Speaker Bass’ retribution has already begun. Already Parra has literally had her Capitol Office moved — out of the Capitol. Yes, the smallest office in the Capitol (referred to as "The Doghouse" and currently occupied by Republican Todd Spitzer) was not small enough or remote enough to allow Bass to make her point — preferring to move Parra to another building all together. Also, it’s been reported that Bass has "frozen" all of Parra’s legislation so that it cannot move forward.
Needless to say, this paints a petty and petulant picture of Karen Bass.
But it does underscore the difference between these two supposedly independent Democrats in the Central Valley. One, Parra, has demonstrated that she is a woman of her word — and has prioritized her constituents, and is paying the price for it. The other, Galgiani, broke her promise and has become Sacramento’s representative to her district, instead of it being the other way around.
Two women – one committed to principle, the other to politics as usual. Look for Parra to retire at the end of the year, riding with her head high into the sunset. And look for Galgiani to ascend quickly into legislative leadership. As quick as Democrats are to punish those who don’t follow direction, they are equally as quick to promote loyal soldiers in the government-growth cause.
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