The union representing 31,000 prison guards last week set in motion legal proceedings that could lead to a recall election against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association is unhappy because Schwarzenegger rejected their demands for more money and for more control over the management of state prisons.

It’s a free country, but it’s hard to know what the union expected to happen. As of today, the state budget is 76 days late, it’s upside-down to the tune of $15.2 billion, and the state just learned that August revenues were $109 million below projections.

More money? From where?

As a governor – elected in a recall – Schwarzenegger has been a disappointment. He promised to fix what’s wrong in Sacramento, and he didn’t. But Californians also understand that the systematic dysfunction that defines state government will not be repaired by changing one governor for another.

So, will Californians come to view political grandstanding by the prison guards’ union as proof that public employees have become too powerful? For more on the subject, you can read today’s column here.