Monday, May 25, 2009
Off-Topic: The State Of California
I pretty much grew up in this state. My grandmother was one of the founding Quakers of a "quaint little village" about 13 miles east of Los Angeles. I have seen the beauty of California and it is vast! From surfing the beaches of So. California to the tallest redwoods in Big Sur to the deserts of the Mojave to the immense beauty of the Northern Coast. The historical Highway 49 and the several capitals including Benicia, Monterrey and Sacramento. The huge valleys where most of the world's food is grown and where on any given day, without the Delta breezes one swelters under a hot summer sun. From San Diego and the harbor to San Francisco and its Barbary Coast. No state can compare with our history and our beauty and our stupid politics.
Yep, this is about the "late great disagreement" currently being felt in the once golden state. We held an election last Tuesday, May 19, 2009 and nobody came. We went from the largest turnout in state history to six people crowding into a single voting booth and the result was a disaster.
Atop the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, D.C. is the following Oliver Wendell Holmes (the crazy commie) quote, "Taxes is the price we pay for living in a civilized society."
And couple with that the following "working" definition of politics. "politics is the art of compromise."
Now, our state representatives in general,and approximately, are paid $117,000.00 per annum and are provided a daily living allowance of $173.00 per diem. They are also provided a car and all the gasoline they need. In addition, if they work on a committee or the like they are entitled to and a staff of 8 that the state pays for.
One would think, almost believe, that when one works year-round (another quirk of our representatives) one could pass a lousy stinking budget! But, California, has in its imminent wisdom, passed proposition 13 which among the worst provisions in this crazy document required a two-thirds vote on all legislation touching on, you guessed it, taxes. As a result of this we have passed propositions to fund schools, roads, transportation, health care, social services, just about everything one can think of has a special proposition attached to it that makes it "untouchable" and provides for the common good in such a way that the revenue cannot be touched. For all intents and purposes the people of California, when feed up, will not repeal prop 13 but will "specially fund" someones favorite program. As a further result we borrow, we account in strange ways that only a state can do, and we steal from those few programs that are not protected. We (generally the governor) make unholy deals with just about anyone, prison guards, teachers, police officers, nurses, social workers and then the republicans blame the fiscal crisis on these hard working people who just want to earn a living wage. And, all along, they fail to compromise and create a true working budget.
Yes, the state of California has been a democratically controlled state for all of my life and since a little after Hiram Walker put into play his major changes back around the 1915s. Republicans have complained about Jesse Unruh and Willie Brown and everyone else who has held the position of Speaker of the House. The Republicans have tried without success to redistrict the state in a fairer way -- read that "gerrymander to the Republican advantage".
Because of these inept Republicans, and the 2/3 majority requirement the State of California has seen its public schools slip from #1 in the nation to #47. Our once flourishing University system is now as expensive as any private school in or out of California. Our roads are in such bad shape that one risks one's life every time one drives anywhere in this state. We here in California fail miserably in taking care of public safety, public health (physical and mental) and educating our pre-schoolers.
The vote last Tuesday was NOT, in my mind, a rejection of "new taxes" as the deaf and dumb Republicans would have us believe, it is a rejection of their inability to create a working budget. All those who do not believe that a $21 billion deficit is not going to create new taxes please raise your hand. All those who think that we can truly and earnestly continue to run this state by cutting and gutting every social program please raise your hand. All those who think that by cutting those frivolous administrators salaries we can get through this debacle please raise your hand. Good, the 64 Republicans from Orange County can now put your hands down.
Can we please get serious? How about you lawmakers go to work and fix the budget yourselves. How about you strike a compromise that works for everybody. Republicans, if you hold Prop 13 so near and dear to your hearts that you are unwilling to give that up it is incumbent upon you to make the "deal". You MUST work and compromise. You may not hold this state hostage. We all recognize new taxes when we see them, and we all want California to resume its once proud place in the galaxy of stars. I do not know about anyone else but I am tired of being ranked 47th, 50th, 46th, 40th and any other rank below #1 when it comes to just about anything. Think about it -- let's start a run on who can be first in health care and clean air standards and education and roads and parks and everything else. It takes creativity and it takes some time, but shoot folks, you only have all year! What say you go back to work and stop bellyachin' about Prop 13 and all the tied up hands and create some legislation that we all can be proud of. Some of you going to lose you place in the Senate or Assembly? Maybe but how about we start thinking long term now and a little less short term. Republicans, you are NEVER going to be the majority party in this state in the near future and if you keep acting like the way you have been maybe never! Talk about face reality, sheesh. Most of those interlopers who moved here in the last 50 or so years did so because of the greatness of California and that greatness has always come at a price. Stop "screwing" with my state and get on with the work each and everyone of you is supposed to be doing.
That is it. Stick a fork in me. I am done.