Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Working Californians Support Propositions 1A-1F

From an e-mail sent to DSCC delegates:

April 21, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As supporters of the California Democratic Party, we strongly urge you to support Props 1A-1F on California’s May 19 special election. Passage of these measures is vital to the health and well-being of working men and women throughout the state.These measures are absolutely necessary to stabilize our state budget and prevent future drastic cuts to schools, public safety, infrastructure improvement, and health care for working families. They will also maintain new sources of revenue for the state in the near future to help solve our current budget crisis and help restore California’s fiscal health so we can continue to invest in our schools, public works and other state services – investments that provide good-paying jobs for working families.

During this current budget crisis, Republicans representing big business special interests were demanding that worker protections be ravaged as a condition for support of new revenue sources. Those attempts were guarded against, but failure to pass these measures may lead to more budget stalemates, and the Republicans will almost certainly try and go after workers again.

Further, because of California’s fiscal crisis, the state was one day away from shutting down hundreds of school, road, water and infrastructure construction projects – a move that would have cost our state thousands of union jobs, perhaps permanently.

Fortunately, the budget that was passed helped stave off this economic disaster and will begin the long process of restoring our state’s fiscal health. But Props 1A-1F are needed to uphold that agreement and move our state forward.

If we don’t pass these measures California will lose more than $23 billion during the next 4 years. With large deficits predicted in the next few years, loss of these monies may require more drastic cuts than we have already seen to teachers, construction workers, firefighters, law enforcement, and state and local public employees.

Passing Props 1A-1F is necessary so we don’t plunge California back to the brink of insolvency and threaten funding for all the programs and services we care about.

These are difficult issues for our members, but we believe that these measures must pass to protect working families. We strongly urge your support for Props 1A-F.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rant - The May Special Election

I’ve received two letters this weekend, one co-signed by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and another from Democrats for Propositions 1A-1F, both asking me to support the propositions coming up in May.

It appears that the Sacramento establishment will be asking CDP delegates to commit themselves to working on the passage of these propositions and I am having a hard time justifying this beyond a short term band-aid..

I understand that this was the best Sacramento could do at the time but the fact remains that all we are doing is kicking any real solutions to California’s deficits down the road until next year’s budget rolls around, than what? More propositions?

We have the majority in both houses. What is the fracking problem? If the two-thirds requirement to pass the budget is the issue, let’s replace it with a simple majority. If Prop 13 allocations are an issue, let’ s get to work on it. If the wealthy don’t pay enough in taxes, why not tax them? None of these will be easy but anything worth doing never is.

Now, Bass is a weak speaker and Steinberg is doing the best he can, but for the love of the state why is it so difficult to do what needs to be done? Wilson and Brown made it happen in 1991. Neither side was happy, but it got done.

The current crop of Republicans aren’t worthy of the name and Arnold is far from spectacular which is why it is so infuriating to watch Bass get rolled on a regular basis leaving Steinberg to defend and attack which is great but it works better when both houses are on the same page.

Where is this fear of action coming from? I agree that the consultant class thrives on the sheepish behavior of their client lawmakers, that the same lawmakers are ensnared by lobbyists that keep them “viable” and enslaved by staff that knows more than they do (thanks, term limits).

So what? The elected is the elected. They cast the vote. The can make or break a play (see Correa and Maldonado during negotiations) when they grow a pair and work it. They can cast the vote. In dodging their responsibility to make the hard call they are setting themselves up for a tragic fall.

Other than expediency, I don’t know how Sacramento plans to sell this. A low turnout election doesn’t favor a win.

The California Republican Party just voted to shoot all the propositions down. It’s a no brainer for them; they win by letting the Dems fight for a loser. Besides, term limits ensure that the Republican lawmakers that got us into this mess will not be held accountable to fix it.

This fight can be won, but the Sacramento establishment won’t look beyond the American River for help. If they did, they could lose their jobs.