Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningFresh off the heels of the last legislative session, Assemblymember Bill Monning stopped by GT headquarters to answer some questions about what was accomplished, his bid for state senate, what the heck to do about the sorry state of California, and much more.

Looking back at the legislative year that just ended, what were some of the highlights?

The clear highlight, what eclipsed everything, was the budget. The good, the bad and the ugly. We achieved a budget agreement by the constitutional deadline of June 30 for the first time in years. In part we were able to do that because we have majority vote now to pass a budget, but we were still unable to get the two-thirds necessary to go to the voters to extend current revenues, so that meant we had to cut deeper. The bad and the ugly is the budget that was balanced on time required further cuts to higher education, and health and human services.

.As someone who has several institutes of higher education in your district, how did it feel to see those cuts enacted?

Well, I would applaud the lobbying efforts of student organizations and also their recognition that they weren’t being looked at by themselves—that there were tradeoffs with disability, health and human services, cuts to adult health daycare … It’s a Sophie’s Choice. We could have not cut higher education at all, and cut deeper into safety net programs. But students’ aren’t advocating that that’s a good solution either. So the question is how do you equitably share the pain and, in the long-term, how do we build out of this recession in a manner that reduces unemployment, raises revenue for the state, and allows us to fund higher education, safety net programs, and K-12 in a way that approximates what most Californians want.

Republicans who are in office now don’t want anything to do with raising taxes, or any bill that even extends taxes. Where to go from here? Do you see that changing?

Some of that may be addressed with re-districting. It changed lines for congressional, state senate and assembly seats, without regard to voter registration. There is a prospect that, under these new lines, we [Democrats] can secure two-thirds majority in the senate and it’s a possibility in the assembly, but that’s more of a stretch. 2012 will be a fascinating year.

You recently announced your bid for the state senate in 2012. Things aren’t so great in the State of California right now—what makes you want to keep going at this?

It’s a really fair question—my wife and kids ask me the same question. What people don’t see about this job is that in the day to day I work with incredible people. I look at my bill package, and while not changing all of the doom and gloom and big budget picture, I look at it as making a difference in real people’s lives. We passed a bill last week that would extend health plan coverage to families with kids with autism. We meet families with children with autism, and for those families, [this bill] is very real. I see the senate seat as an opportunity to use what I’ve learned so far working in state government and extend it to a broader region, rooted in a certain set of values and a philosophy that differs dramatically from the current incumbent. … I feel very lucky to even aspire to do this. [As for] the hardships that come with it, we step forward voluntarily so I make a habit of not complaining about hardships.

But speaking of doom and gloom yet to be faced, what fundamental changes do you think need to be made to the state government?

Ultimately the reform necessary relates to the budget and how we prioritize the state’s needs, from education to the environment to the economy. We need to promote and open up public discourse. What should California be investing in higher education? In safety net programs? What’s a reasonable amount? [I’m interested in] drawing people out—what’s your vision of California? That gets to looking at the fundamental structure of our tax code, who’s paying what share, are people paying their fair share, and are some people shouldering too much?

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.