The California Legislature passed a Top Two Open Primary Consitutional Amendment this morning to be placed before the voters in 2010. This is a truly unexpected turn of events. Senator Abel Maldonado made the action a part of three reform demands before he would consider voting on California's complex budget solution.

Legislators who want to be true leaders should follow the example of Sen.Abel Maldonado and not only refuse pay raises any time the state's ina deficit, but also agree to cut their pay immediately.

Of allthe demands from all the Republicans in all the California Legislature, this onesounds so imminently sensible that it should happen even if it doesn't make itinto the final budget legislation, assuming the state some day reaches thatpoint.

Times, like patterns, ebb and flow predictably with time. There is still hope that the economic crisis of 2008-2009 will not be nearly as bad as the Great Depression, despite the widespread failure of banks. And various cities across California are dealing with the situation as they best see fit, with belt tightening and spending, hoping to receive greater returns.

California is one state Senate vote away from having a balanced budget through what's left of this year, and 2009-2010 as well. Though how that vote will come is still playing out, and it seems likely to happen sooner rather than later.

This is a good thing. For too long, California's uncertain finances have wreaked havoc on people who work for the state, and those who depend on state services.

New news on the Non-partisan primary is coming from Ben van der Meer reports that former Democratic Senator Steve Peace is pushing for the open primary initiative to be on th 2010 ballot:

That's the estimation of former state Sen. Steve Peace (D-San Diego), who is pushing for an open primary system through a ballot measure voters could decide on in 2010.

Idealistically, Los Angeles' Measure B, or the Green Energy and Good Jobs for Los Angeles Plan, sounds like a benevolent counter-strike against the smog-ridden metropolis. But the March 3 ballot measure, already at the mercy of absentee voters, elicits questions about how it will be successfully funded and implemented.

Scott Lewis of the Voice of San Diego, wrote a piece criticizing a presumptuous editorial in the Union Tribune for its lack of facts and for being deliberately misleading. As weak as the San Diego Union Tribune editorial was on the airport issue, attacking CAIVP Chairman Peace on California's electricity crisis was even more bizarre.

A multi-firm team of CAIVP attorneys including a constitutional law specialist have completed work on a revised open "top two" primary proposal modeled after the state of Washington. The revised measure includes substantial changes from the original draft submitted to the secretary of state in October. Changes include many suggestions from CAIVP commenters and other motivated citizens. Meanwhile, as you can see below, the idea is gaining traction, even inside the state capitol itself, as the legislature remains mired in an embarrassing budget standoff.

Theyended the lockdown too soon in Sacramento.

For a few insane reasons, the Legislature worked late Sunday night after marathonweekend sessions led to missed Valentine's Day dates and naps at desks, butstill no state budget agreement.

TheAssembly's ready to pass it. The holdup: The endless "Where's Waldo?"hunt for one senator who will join Republican leader Dave Cogdill ofModesto and Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield in voting "yes" on theagreement. Except in this case, it's starting to appear that Waldo's not evenin the picture.