John Chiang, our Democratic State Controller, is standing up to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm writing to ask you to stand up with him.
Unfortunately, in the midst of a looming multi-billion dollar budget crisis and a protracted budget battle, Gov. Schwarzenegger has decided that the best thing he could do was put the screws on our state workers by attempting to withhold all but $6.55 an hour of their pay until a budget is signed.
Despite withering criticism from almost every corner of California since he announced this scheme last week, Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed an Executive Order mandating it.
Not only is it extremely unfair and mean-spirited to force state workers to involuntarily loan the state money during a time when everyone is feeling the pain of our struggling economy, it's also not even Arnold's call to make.
According the non-partisan Legislative Counsel, it's our Controller not our Governor who has the authority to decide these types of things.
Fortunately we have a fighter in our Controller John Chiang, who has declared that he will stand up to Arnold's unfair and unproductive gimmicks and pay our state workers what we owe them.
Please stand up to Arnold and stand with Controller Chiang by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today.
Over the last few days, over seven thousand of you have signed our petition supporting John Chiang in his courageous stand against Arnold Schwarzenegger's irresponsible and unwarranted plan to slash the pay of state workers.
Now we need to step it up.
Today we're asking you to take your support for Controller Chiang to the next level. Please send a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining why you support John Chiang and oppose Arnold Schwarzenegger's harebrained scheme to use state employees as pawns in the budget impasse.
There will almost certainly be lawsuits filed about this, but right now the fight is in the court of public opinion. The Letters to the Editor section is one of the most widely-read sections of any newspaper, and politicians take what appears in that section very seriously.
The California Democratic Party has set up a web page that makes it easy to write a letter to the editor on this topic. Just go to www.cadem.org/standuptoArnold. We have sample letters, talking points, and some pointers to help you get started.
This fight is not only about the wages of our state workers. It's about the differences between Democrats and Republicans. It's about leaders like John Chiang who are trying to be productive and politicos like Arnold who only engage in stunts. It's about who we are as Californians and whether we are going to allow our state to act as though a civil servant who puts in an honest day's work doesn't deserve an honest wage.
Please take a moment and send a letter to your newspaper today.
Sen. Art Torres (Ret.)