Of course, few may have heard that rare moment of apparent agreement, especially as protesters focused on more taxes for the wealthy and corporations and GOP pols either renewed their calls for business-friendly regulations or criticized the teachers for taking a day off from work.
This may sound ludicrous to those outside the state Capitol, but there's a sense around here that lawmakers have finally gotten serious about agreeing to a new budget. Yep, that's only about 12 weeks after the fiscal year began.
The seemingly new focus comes as the 2010 budget impasse closes in on the last record of frustration -- the latest California has ever enacted a state spending plan, which happened on September 23, 2008.
So here's a look at what you might be able to expect.
"We recommend rejection of this proposal."
That's about as simple as it gets in Capitol budget terms, and that's the bottom line of the Legislative Analyst's Office after examining Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's novel proposal to link funding for prisons with funding for the University of California and California State University systems.
It may not quite have been a ransom note dressed up as a state budget, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is making it clear that a whole lot of things Californians won't like will have to happen if the feds don't hand over the cash. And soon.
In a sense, the most notable thing about the 2010-11 budget proposal the Guv rolled out at midday may be that the eternally optimistic, 'I never admit defeat' Schwarzenegger is admitting that he needs a Budget Plan B. And as we now know, neither it -- nor the main 2010-11 proposal -- is pretty.
If you took out a calculator, added up some numbers, and hit "equals," you'd expect an answer that was indisputable, right?
Now imagine there were certain buttons on the calculator that would make the math turn out differently. Or suppose you and a friend just agreed the calculator's result was flawed and from now on you'd tweak it. Or suppose the two of you couldn't even agree on what numbers to enter into the calculator.
If all of that was the case... would you use that process to spend as much as $50 billion in taxpayer money? No? Then read no further... because you're not going to like what's after the jump.
That was the assessment of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass as negotiations over the state's massive budget deficit ended tonight with no deal, a major change in tone from earlier in the day when a deal seemed imminent.
The 'Big Five' meeting of legislative leaders and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ended just before 10:00 p.m., with Democrats saying that future payments to public schools are now a key sticking point.
The debate over erasing California's massive budget deficit may now be headed into a new, and particularly bitter phase... as arguably the state's most powerful interest group hammers Governor Schwarzenegger for his suggestion to further reduce spending on public schools.
The year was 1940, a year when war was on the horizon and the big political chatter centered on whether Franklin D. Roosevelt would run for an unprecedented third term in the White House.
That was the last time California held two separate primary elections in the same year.
Wait a minute. There's an election tomorrow?
Tuesday's primary still seems overshadowed by the presidential contest; on February 5, it was how California and the rest of the Super Tuesday states would vote. Tomorrow, the national media will be oblivious to the state's issues... likely focused only on whether the Democratic presidential race will come to a close.
Meantime, dozens of local, legislative, and congressional races will lock in candidates from all political parties. And while some think voter turnout will be dismally small, that might not be the case everywhere considering the intensity of some of these intra-party races.
"There are some hot contests," says Secretary of State Debra Bowen. "I think we'll see some pretty big variations from region to region."
Bowen dismisses any notion that moving the presidential primary from June to February was a bad idea, saying that it may be the reason behind a recent surge in voter registration -- particularly among young voters.
Unlike her predecessors, Bowen has not made an official prediction of statewide voter turnout. And if she's right about differences in voter participation by community, then one wonders whether some of these heated races for elective office could impact the only statewide contest -- the battle over changes to the government power of eminent domain.
Dueling initiatives Proposition 98 and Proposition 99 both aim to change eminent domain rules, albeit in different ways. Prop 98 is a far broader attempt to rein in the possibility of seizing property for redevelopment purposes; Prop 99 chooses instead to focus on limiting the taking of someone's home. If both initiatives should pass, only the one with the highest vote total will take effect.
The folks at the non-partisan California Voter Foundation have an online guide on what you need to know before you head to the polls.
We'll be doing live updates of The California Report through the night on public radio stations across the state. And we've got election resources on our site at KQED.