SACRAMENTO — Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley is facing renewed pressure from party activists to resign his leadership post after he and six other Republican Assembly members helped Democrats pass a 10-year extension to the state’s cap-and-trade system.
I don’t begrudge Mayes for trying to do something about climate change, but he should be booted as his party’s Assembly leader for political foolishness alone. The key role of the party leader is to get more Republicans elected to the Assembly, which is important these days, given that Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses.
A couple of legislative wins would give the party something it now lacks: the power to stop tax increases, which require a two-thirds vote. Those victories now are more elusive — a point made by Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker in a letter this week to Mayes. Whitaker pointed to the predicament the party now finds itself in with regard to the seat held by Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton.
Republican support for the legislation let Quirk-Silva vote no “and issue a press release standing up for the economic interests of the voters in her district,” Whitaker wrote in a letter calling for Mayes to step aside. “You gave an incumbent Democrat in a swing seat you are supposed to be targeting a free pass to act more Republican than our leadership.” San Diego County GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric echoed those thoughts in a separate letter.
If the cap-and-trade legislation had really been in peril, do you think Quirk-Silva would have bucked the Democratic majority? This was a freebie “no” vote that allows her to portray herself as a champion of the taxpayer, thus protecting herself against those hit mailers that are sure to come election time.
Quirk-Silva’s statement was a jumble of contradictions. “This is not the time to raise taxes on the working people, nor is it the time to force more regulations on our economy,” she said, in an appeal to the district’s many conservative voters.
But she also complained that the cap-and-trade bill “doesn’t go far enough to protect citizens of Orange County from pollution,” which seems to echo liberal activists who wanted a tougher bill. Which is it? Does the legislation go too far in imposing taxes and regulations, or is it too modest in its effort to deal with pollution?
Then the assemblywoman rightly said that reducing carbon emissions is “a worthwhile and…