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Today, we note an Arnold first
- the governor admits he's wrong. The Sacramento Bee reports that
Arnold is withdrawing his plan to eliminate nearly 100 public
protection boards that police professions and industries. We're glad
the gov acknowledged that his plan was a flop. Question is -- why now?

One answer may be found in the ballot initiative that Team Arnold
insider, Joel Fox, turned in early this year. The initiative, called
"An Act to Protect the Governor's Power to Reorganize and Streamline
the Executive Branch," would require a 2/3 vote in both houses of the
legislature in order to block reorganization plans submit by the
governor, like the one scrapped by the gov today. In other words, the
initiative gives Arnold the power to do whatever he wants unless both
parties are willing to stand in the way. Years of late budgets taught
Californians that isn't going to happen.

The best argument against the "Governor's Power" initiative is the
reorganization plan he withdrew today. But the reversal may be to
guarantee a slam dunk next time around. If the initiative passes, the
gov can dream up any scheme -- like giving all of the CalEPA's
responsibilities to the Department of Corporations, or eliminating the
pesky Department of Managed Care (that oversees HMOs on behalf of
patients) altogether -- and it would be nearly impossible to stop. The
most likely proposals, judging by what he's already suggested, would
rewrite government to the benefit of his big industry donors and
eliminate public accountability in state agencies.

Today's reversal could have been just a strategic move to wait until no
amount of criticism could stop him. Arnold can prove otherwise by
withdrawing the initiative power grab and guaranteeing that public
input and oversight will be strengthened, not eliminated, in his
administration.