Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jul 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill MonningLooking back at 2011, it can feel like quite a turbulent year for the State of California: deep cuts to education and social services, a divisive political climate, an economic slump.  What toll did the year’s events take, and where will our Golden State go from here?

 

California continues to face a very tough budget situation. The economic repercussions of the collapse of an under-regulated Wall Street in 2008 continue to impact our national and state economies. It is in this context that we have sought to balance California’s budget with ongoing deficits as revenues have dropped by as much as 30 percent. The legislature presented a balanced budget to the governor on June 30 of this year, but that budget included certain “trigger cuts”—cuts to be made in the event that projected revenues fall short. The governor’s Finance Department issued its assessment on revenues on Dec. 15 and the governor then indicated when trigger cuts will be implemented. As we enter the final six months of the 2011-12 budget year and begin working on the 2012-13 budget, Gov. Brown has indicated that he will ask voters to support a temporary tax increase to help protect public education, higher education, and public safety in our state. As a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, I look forward to my return to Sacramento for the 2012 legislative session when we will begin working on the 2012-13 budget.

The recalcitrance of the minority party in the legislature to engage in negotiations on budget solutions has made the task of protecting California’s future all the more difficult and frustrating. It is my belief that at the federal and state levels, those who take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution should be prevented from signing pledges to remove tools of governance from the table as has been the impact of those who have signed the Grover Norquist pledge never to raise taxes anytime. I believe the stakes are too high and the people of California deserve the commitment of solution-oriented representatives.  

On a more positive note, what were some of the high points for California—and the 27th District, in particular—in 2011?

Amidst the budget storms, I was proud to have secured the governor’s signature on all 10 bills that I successfully moved to his desk. Of interest to local and regional residents would be the success of the California Veterans Cemetery bill (AB 629), which allows members of the Veterans Community in the Central Coast region to move forward with the planning, design, and implementation of this important project. We also secured support for the removal of the San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, which is required for seismic safety. The preferred plan supported by the environmental community, the California Coastal Conservancy, and many other stakeholders will now move forward assuring the protection of Carmel Valley River residents and habitat. I also advanced three bills into law with the cooperation of co-author Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres) that provides more enforcement tools to agencies working together to curtail the underground economy throughout the state. Our mutual interest in this effort is to provide protection for law-abiding business owners/contractors and workers.   

We are still feeling the impacts of the foreclosure crisis here in California.  What is currently being done to address this issue?

Despite the recent small economic and employment improvements being seen throughout California, foreclosures continue to threaten homeowners. Unfortunately, the effects of the “robo-signing” practices executed by banks and mortgage servicers are still being felt and far too many homeowners are still losing their homes. Foreclosures in the state increased 17 percent in October 2011 to a 13-month high of 29,240, and California has the second highest foreclosure rate in the country. In Santa Cruz County it is estimated that one in every 329 housing units received a foreclosure filing in October 2011.  

Recently, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that her office has entered into a joint alliance with the Nevada Attorney General’s office to investigate the nation’s mortgage industry, promising to hold lenders responsible for inappropriate home lending practices. This collaboration and sharing of resources will expedite the process of interviewing witnesses, subpoenaing documents and developing litigation strategies, with the ultimate goal of helping homeowners as soon as possible.  

California’s partnership with the State of Nevada follows Attorney General Harris’ decision this past October to pull out of the nationwide settlement talks with the country’s largest banks because the proposed settlement was financially inadequate and failed to hold banking officials accountable for their past actions. I commend Attorney General Harris’ efforts to provide a little justice to victimized homeowners and applaud her creative approach to resolving this critical problem.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food