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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Voters: Now What?

Now what?

More incumbents? And you know as well as I do in our gerrymandered state state "incumbent" is appropriately tagged to the replacement candidate for any incumbents termed out.

Now what?

Another round of elections installing the same people to make the same votes and pass the same laws and spending bills and budgets that have doubled spending from Sacramento in ten year? Another round of elections installing the same people to complain that the state budget problems have nothing to do with their economic ignorance and over spending but instead has to do with not enough taxes being collected from the citizens of the state?

Now what?

Local voters go to the polls next year and punch the same hole they have punched in every one of the past elections that memory serves? Re-elect the same people who say you aren't taxed enough and then go to Sacramento to increase their spending yet again, except for where you need it?

Now what?

Listen to the politician you elected tell you it is not their fault they have to take another five, ten, twenty million from the school district where you send your child? Listen as they sit their with their majority as they cajole only one, two, or three members of the other party to join them as they pass a budget raising fees, closing parks, and stealing more money from your child's classroom?

Now what?

What are you, the voter in Long Beach, or Lakewood, or Signal Hill, who voted against Measure T going to do? Sanction our elected representatives in Sacramento behavior that took $100 million away from the district in the past five years? Because if you re-elect them that is exactly what you are doing. Same goes for you in Los Angeles, in San Francisco, in Marin County, in San Diego. Up and down the state every vote that is caste for a sitting member of the Assembly or Senate that voted to pass the current state budget, or the budget before that, or the budget before that, is a vote sanctioning poor economic decisions, a vote supporting taking funds from local districts and a vote against local control of education.

Now what?

What is going to change so our school district is not forced to cut security officers that patrol football games and hallways? How are you going to vote to ensure more funds aren't stripped from our schools so we can have a nurse even two days a week? What responsibility will you take with your vote so another day of an open library can happen on the campus your child attends?

Voters within the Long Beach Unified School District overwhelmingly defeated the Measure T parcel tax. It was pretty evident that the majority of those voting did not want to pay a couple of more dollars per month to provide some direct funding for operations to our district, funding that could not be stolen by the same people this majority has elected to represent them in every election in the past decade. So now what? What is this majority going to do in next year's primary and general elections to change the cycle of greed and glut in Sacramento that has seen our school district's budgets decimated by the majorities in the Assembly and Senate and abetted by a few members of the opposition and the Governor who ultimately did not veto those budgets.

Now what?

Here's what I think. I think every incumbent in our local elections for state office will get re-elected, those off the ballot because of running for another office or term limits will have their political clones elected. The winners will be supported by campaign donations from public employees unions, both locally and statewide. The winners will run unchallenged in their primaries and win with comfortable majorities in this little corner of California that is cozy for them. The winners will not have their voting records looked at by the voters, nor will the voters consider the ideas and positions of any one else on the ballots. The winners will win despite aiding and abetting the financial decline and ruin of this state as the voters blindly vote for the letter inside the parenthesis next to their name, (D), and ignore their actions in the budget process. The winners will get another term in office from an electorate that voted not to pay an additional $8 per month for education but will vote to support a politician who has raised other fees and taxes a lot more than $8 per month.

In this scenario you can substitute my local area for any area of this gerrymandered state that has protected a substantial majority for the Democrats in Sacramento. A comfortable majority that has bullied and pushed and pulled and whined and screamed through every budget process to get a handful of Republicans and a governor to sign off on their budgets. Budgets that have cut $100 million in revenue from our local school district. Budgets that have included the largest tax increase in American history by a state on its people. Budgets that are sanctified by the electorate every time they re-elect their incumbents.

Message heard loud and clear Long Beach: LBUSD we don't want to provide you any additional revenue, go ahead and make your cuts. Message to Long Beach voters: don't bitch when those cuts affect your child. Don't bitch when you lose a nurse. Lose PE. Lose Art. Lose AP French. Lose Chess Club. Lose security officers. You caused this with your votes electing members of the Assembly and Senate, now accept responsibility.

Now what?


Charles S said...

You're making some good points here. However, you were a little late on the "Get out and Vote for Measure T" post (11/2). That post also made some good points, but it was too late for the absentee voters and addressed to a limited audience (parents). The problem with LBUSD is it's practice of cronyism, ol' boys club, tenure and CYA policies. My wife and I are products of the LBUSD as well as our two children. We have had our share of problems with our local school talent (or lack of) and resent the entire protectionism attitude of TALB. Don't get me started on this issue, I could go on for pages. I believe there is still some dead wood in the LBUSD management chain that should be weeded out (or clear cut and start fresh).

If the local community came to the rescue of their school district, wouldn't the state just take more (with hold funding)? So why enable the inept state government by increasing resources for them to pillage? We need to fix the problem, and this post is a good start. Thanks.

Bob Schilling said...

I don't think the problem is LAUSD. Granted, there's room for improvement, and the local teachers' union can be a pain - though it's not the worst I've seen. And not surprisingly there are some people in the organization who may not be working as hard or as smart as they might be.

The real problem is in Sacramento, where the government seems to have mostly stopped functioning. They were falling all over each other today congratulating themselves on solving our water problems, when it seems that they mostly just ducked and set up one more useless commission.

As far as electing different people, what seems to be true is that changing our Assembly Member or State Senator won't do much. By themselves, they can't make much difference. In fact, if we had all new people in the legislature, we'd still have the same forces working on them, and the same cranky bureaucracy that doesn't seem to be controlled or led by anyone.

Let's change the State Constitution to place real power in the hands of the government, eliminate most of the boards and commissions, and allow legislators reasonable terms in office. We can decide whether to change the ways Assembly and Senate districts are drawn when we see what the new panel does for 2012.

I know it sounds drastic -- but I think it may be the only way.