Grove: defeated GOP keeps resolve

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Grove: defeated GOP keeps resolve Key losses on nearly every front have left the Republican party a potentially irrelevant force in California’s political scene. Advice from state Democrats has amounted to offering the GOP two choices: pack up and leave, or change your ways.

But Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, who saw the number of Republican seats in her branch of the legislature shrink on Nov. 6 to bring about the first supermajority of any party since 1993, says that those are not the only options.

“Republicans still represent the same values — which include fiscal responsibility,” said Grove. “I agree that a change is necessary, but that is not going to happen in this building. That is going to happen in the streets.”

Grove challenged the long-standing accusation that conservatives are responsible for California’s fiscal woes.Only two months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown was blaming Republicans for the stalled recovery in the state and saying that restoration could continue if conservatives would “get out of the way.”

“The media likes to put out the message that Republicans are the problem. But the Democrats have had 52 votes to pass whatever they want, when they only needed 41. Whether the issue is improving the business climate or reforming education, that power has been in the Democrats’ hands all along,” said Grove.

The Bakersfield Republican — a veteran and small-business owner — found very soon after being elected in 2010 that her power in the state was limited. While Republicans have notorious difficult in putting forward bills, Grove has instead focused on ending — or at least calling attention to — wasteful spending of politicians whose goals are to protect the special interests that elect them, push through legacy projects and find lucrative positions on one of thousands of state commissions so that they can stay on the state dole after terming out.

Supervisor candidate Roy Ashburn is one of those who was accused of “selling” his Republican vote in favor of a tax hike in return for a six-figure salary on such a commission.

Although Grove has received citizen support for her efforts to pierce the bubble protecting the privileged lifestyle of politicians and the countless thousands of commissioners and staffers that make up that nonproducing bureaucracy, that call for accountability has yet to be taken up by any of her legislative counterparts.

But Grove said that she will continue to educate her constituency on the duplicitous games legislators play with taxpayer money. The latest casualty of public trust? Prop 30 — passed under the guise of funding education after the legislature pilfered the revenue streams previously dedicated to it.

Opponents of the proposition argued against the measure on the grounds that legislators were still empowered to use it for “other” purposes.

According to Grove, those funds were marked to purchase land for the governor’s high-speed rail project less than 24 hours after the proposition passed.

“Now that they hold the supermajority, Democrats can generate unending revenue through tax hikes. That will wake people up, since not everyone can be employed by the government or on welfare. There has to be a private industry to support it.

“My concern is that a lot of that private industry is going to find they are unable to afford to stay in business in California, and they will leave.” Already she has received messages from leaders in the private sector who say they will do just that. She pointed out that the loss of that tax revenue to the state will only exacerbate the current deficit.

“I’m afraid we are in for a very rough next few years.”

The silver lining? Liberal spenders in California will no longer have anyone but themselves to blame, said Grove.

“California is going to start feeling the pain. It’s unfortunate that had to happen, but it may be the only way for us to turn things around.”

She said she is heartbroken over the losses already incurred by California and sick over those that have not begun to be felt.

Grove said her hope remains that when Californians feel those effects, they will stand up and do what is right.

She said the best solution is to mitigate the damage through implementing a part-time legislature — which will force legislators to live under the laws they implement.

“I got to spend part of last week with some members of our ‘Greatest Generation,’” she said, referring to an event honoring World War II veterans in Washington, D.C.

“On the flight home we did a ‘mail call,’ where the veterans got mail from students from all over Kern County. You read the heartfelt messages from our children, and you can’t help but feel hope for the future. We’ve got another great generation coming up. And there is hope in that.”

Story First Published: 2012-11-21