Assembly Member Juan Arambula's decision to leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent is a huge statement about how insulated the Democratic leadership has become in the California Legislature. It seems that the Democrats' "big tent" only has room for lawmakers who march to the beat of liberal causes. Arambula's moderate politics got him in trouble with party leaders, and that's unfortunate.
The lifelong Democrat changed his voter registration Monday to "decline to state" a party affiliation. That makes Arambula an independent under California election laws. The Fresno lawmaker is in his third and final legislative term representing parts of Fresno and Tulare counties in the Assembly.
Arambula had become frustrated with the legislative leadership under Speaker Karen Bass and had been thinking about going independent for several months. He knew party leaders weren't happy with him.
During the budget crisis, Arambula had been pushing for a more balanced approach to solving the state's budget problem, including asking the state's public employee unions to share in the budget pain to close the $24.3 billion gap.
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