California'sgreen initiatives may well be aided by President Obama'sstimulus package, but for the time being, the economic collapse isputting the kibosh on many of the state's nascent greenbusinesses. One of the most promising and well-financed of thosebusinesses is OptiSolar of Hayward, which has been forced to delayits plans for a Sacramento manufacturing facility that would havecreated up to 1,000 badly needed jobs.

The final draft of the by-this-point infamous economic stimulus bill hasbeen released to the public, and as even the infamously liberal New York Timesconcedes, it'sa mess. Reading more like the poorly written term paper of a drunkencollege student than an actual bill, the bill has been reportedlymarked repeatedly with under-the-radar last-minute changes, all written in theuntidy scrawl of overzealous legislators.

February 1 has come andgone, and the California government has not yet shut down.

Walkingaround the typical California town, one could even go so far as tosay that things feel exactly the same way they did before February 1.

Why February 1, you might be asking?

Whilemost of California and the nation was transfixed this week on whetherthe $789 billion federal stimulus package was going to be approved inWashington, another drama -- no less important to Californians -- wasplaying out in Sacramento.

The economic scholar Ronald Coase once characterized themarket as "islands of butter in a pail of buttermilk." Similarly,President Obama's stimulus package could be characterized as islands of sensein an ocean of politics-as-usual. And one of those islands happens,fortunately, to be the Congress's efforts to remove $70 billion from thealternative minimum tax, a cruelly designed trap for the successful, with theexpress purpose of maximizing bracket creep while minimizing upward mobility.

The percapita income in Californiawas $33,749 in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data.

If thealternative minimum tax fix that expired in December isn't renewed, taxpayersmaking as little as $30,000 to $50,000 could be hit by a levy aimed 40 yearsago at making sure the creative and well-heeled pay up, according to the TaxPolicy Center.

$70 billion is the magic number being floated right now by Congressional memberstrying to push along the federal government stimulus package throughboth houses of Congress with bipartisan support. Those billions wouldgo toward fixing a terribly flawed system known as the AlternativeMinimum Tax. By Wednesday, Congressional leaders announced a middleground, of a stimulus plan with a price tag of $789 billionrather than the previous bills costing upwards of $800 billion -$1 trillion.

The People of the State of California hereby find and declare all of the following:

(a) Purpose. The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act is hereby adopted by the people of California to protect and preserve the right of every Californian to vote for the candidate of his or her choice.