So, California. The economy's in the toilet, the state budget is bleeding red, the drought's getting worse and we've got wildfires so fierce, one of our main exports right now is the pall of smoke that's settled as far away as Nevada.
But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is working hard to get things under control, his staff assured reporters at a briefing Tuesday. What they somehow forgot to mention is he'll be doing it all the way from Florida.
So where's Arnold?
Our own Evan Halper reports that Schwarzenegger slipped out of our state on his private jet Wednesday afternoon, headed for Miami. Why hang around just to see the legislature blow the July 1 deadline for enacting a budget when instead, you can be feted as an environmental hero at a climate-change conference 3,000 miles away?
And the response from Sacramento:
"The Governor is clearly engaged on every issue facing the state around the clock, no matter where he is, and has demonstrated this in the past week by meeting with legislative leaders on the budget, declaring states of emergency in several counties affected by the fires, being briefed on the ground of three fire sites, mobilizing the National Guard to combat the fires, issuing an executive order to help people recover from the fires and signing anti-gang legislation, just to name a few examples."
Just try reading that out loud without taking a breath.
-- Veronique de Turenne
Photo: A sculpture is all that's left after a wildfire, one of hundreds in the state, raced through grassland near the Napa and Solano County line this week. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times