When President Bush said that California's energy crisis was the state's problem, not a federal problem, was he practicing limited federalism, or simply being vindictive because he lost California in the election?

It has long been known that much of how California goes, so goes the nation, if for no other reason, because it is the largest economy in the United States. Therefore, Bush must not ignore this growing crisis.

Energy problems in California and the country are, in large part, due to inadequate power grids and power plants. Former Governor Pete Wilson recently defended the state's 1996 deregulation of electrical power, placing blame for the crisis on both the state and the power companies. He said that there is no excuse for the delays and failures in building power plants. Using the Northridge earthquake damage to freeway bridges as an example, he used his executive power to rebuild the bridges in two months instead of the two years estimated by regulators.

Indeed, Governor Gray Davis must seize the moment and make all the necessary corrective decisions now, rather than poking at the fire with failed rhetoric and taxpayer's dollars. Partisan politics aside, Bush and Davis should know that if California goes under, it will likely pull the nation under along with it.

Therefore, power plants must be built quickly, not the near decade it currently takes before ground is broken. California's energy requirements have grown 30 percent in the last 8 years, but not a single new power plant has gone online to meet the need.

Clearly, Clinton's green agenda and California's unreasonable limits are largely at fault, as was the corporate greed of the electric companies. But now is not the time to play political pressure games when so many people's livelihoods are at stake.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center