Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Feb 12th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Budget Crisis

bill_MonningWhat is the difference between the Democrat’s budget proposal that failed passage last week and Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal?


The irony about the Democratic budget that failed passage last week is that 45 percent of the proposals we voted on were the exact same proposals as those in the governor’s May revise.  Of the remaining portion of the budget proposed last week, at least 93 percent contained a portion of the governor’s budget proposals.  ( It may be ironic, but I doubt readers will applaud how aligned with the governor the Dems are. Best not to draw attention to the similarities, since most people seem to loathe the governor’s proposal right now.

How about instead: The governor’s proposal to bridge the $24 billion deficit does so with $16 billion worth of cuts which slice deeply into the social safety net.

The budget I supported saved programs assisting the state’s most vulnerable and needy citizens, protected local governments, state parks, and CalGrants.  The governor’s budget would have eliminated CalWORKs, Healthy Families, and Adult Day Care, would have borrowed $2 billion, or 8 percent of  of local government revenues, closed 220 state parks, and phased out CalGrants.  The Democrats budget raises $2 billion dollars by taxing cigarettes, oil extraction and establishing a $15 vehicle fee to fund the parks.

 

Over the past few weeks, the Budget Conference Committee held hearings that were attended by thousands of Californians.  Teachers, counselors, nurses, and education support professionals, who had already received layoff notices, testified as to the harm that would befall our students if the governor’s proposed budget reductions were made.  Californians receiving In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) testified that the governor’s virtual elimination of the program would have forced them, along with approximately 394,000 other IHSS recipients, into more expensive state-funded nursing homes.  College students stated that if the governor’s plan to phase out CalGrants was implemented they would most likely have no other option than to drop out of school.

The governor’s plan was not balanced and did not ask every Californian to sacrifice in order to help the greater good.  While the Democratic budget plan still had to make funding reductions to vital state programs, it asks that everyone share the pain.  In my opinion, the Democratic budget proposal made painful but responsible choices.

The Budget Conference Committee recently recommended a proposal to keep the state parks open.  What does the proposal entail and how will it benefit California’s state parks?

I strongly disagree with the governor’s proposal to close 220 California state parks because their safe operation is essential to sustaining local economies and to the very preservation of life.  California’s state parks are economic engines that generate over $4.2 billion in jobs and revenues to local communities.  Park staff also provide life-saving interventions and last year engaged in 133 aquatic rescues and 47 major medical incidents in Santa Cruz County alone.  Elimination of these services will most certainly result in the loss of human life.

The proposal by the Budget Conference Committee would keep the state parks open with a $15 per vehicle registration fee, and generate $420 million annually. This idea was first proposed last year by former Assemblymember John Laird and would pay for all the expenses associated with operating the parks statewide and permit any vehicle with a valid California license plate to enter a state park. It is working well in other states, and could work here, too.

This option represents a reasonable alternative to the closure of parks and I encourage those who would like to keep the state parks open to contact the governor to let him know they support this targeted fee increase.

Recently, Assembly Bill 761 (AB 761), by Assemblymember Charles Calderon, was heard on the Assembly Floor.  Can you describe the intent of this bill and explain why you voted against it?

AB 761 seeks to enact vacancy decontrol in California mobile-home parks.  Currently, local governments have the ability to institute rent control policies for mobilehome parks and if AB 761 becomes law it will allow owners of mobilehome parks to increase the rental rate of any unit by as much as 100 percent upon the vacancy of a unit starting in 2017.

Mobile homes are an affordable housing option for people interested in living on the Central Coast and a large number of mobilehome residents are senior citizens on fixed incomes.  For many mobile home owners, their mobilehome is not only their residence, it often represents the investment of their life savings.

AB 761 threatens to destroy the value of these investments and I could not in good conscience support the bill when it was heard on the Assembly Floor.  Unfortunately, the bill passed out of the Assembly and is currently in the Senate.  I encourage those concerned about this issue to contact their State Senator and express their opposition to this damaging measure.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster