Assembly Speaker on GOP: ‘They Can’t Be All Nihilists’

By Steven Tavares

Speaker John Perez

Just two weeks ago, California Republicans populated the very same convention hall that Democratic delegated sit this weekend in Sacramento. But, sounding like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez when he once asked members of the United Nations’ general assembly whether they smelled the devilish smell of sulfur after President George W. Bush spoke the day before, Assembly Speaker John Perez said the building had been eradicated of conservatives.

“I know it’s tough to know they were here,” Perez joked of the state GOP. “We did some ceremonial sage-burning before they left.”

As state Democrats continue to battle Republicans over the bloated budget situation and a push to extend tax rates at the ballot box, Perez took numerous shots at his colleagues in the Legislature who he said were making a “proud march towards irrelevance.”

Perez said Democrats in Sacramento will not support for an all-cuts budget as Republicans have threatened. “We’re not going to do the Republicans dirty work,” he said.

The Speaker urged Democratic lawmakers to make their case to red counties throughout the state reasoning, “They can’t all be nihilists.” The comment comes close to controversial remarks made this week by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer charging Democrats should begin implementing Republicans plans for an all-cuts budget strategy to their conservative districts. Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg followed the comment in the affirmative a day later.

He pushed for delegates to work towards making any concessions towards to Republicans to become moot by electing two-third majorities in both the assembly and state Senate. A special election in Assembly District 4 featuring Democrat Dennis Campanelli is next Tuesday, said Perez, although many did not believe the candidates will prevail, but hope for a strong showing.