Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Q&A with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill MonningGood Times recently sat down with Assemblymember Bill Monning to explore what’s going on in Sacramento. Monning visited GT headquarters on Friday, July 20, just a few hours after news of the State Parks scandal broke. The State Parks Director had resigned and her second in command was fired after a $54 million unreported surplus was discovered in two separate State Parks accounts. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation.

How can a government agency get away with hiding $54 million—especially while also overseeing closures of state parks?

It’s surprising and shocking and distressing. There’s been a lot of extraordinary effort [to save state parks] and clearly not knowing about those resources has made that work even tougher. This is not a laughing matter, but I’d say we are usually accused of spending money we don’t have, so it’s rather surprising to find there is money that hadn’t been accounted for. Not excusing malfeasance, the positive is that it will create some more flexibility to address some of the tough issues that State Parks is facing right now.

Regardless, it doesn’t exactly improve confidence in the state government. How can Sacramento ask for public trust when things like this come up?

I don’t disagree. It’s going to require investigation. I hope it’s an aberration. I certainly am not aware of other departments sitting on resources they didn’t know they had. We’ll see what we learn. Perhaps it’s another wake up call that people in positions of responsibility need to be responsible.

imagine that. You recently spoke to GT about how the Affordable Care Act [ACA] will hit home for Californians. As a follow-up to that, how will the California Health Benefit Exchange survive if the federal act is repealed or if a new president comes into office and does away with it?

We moved forward for the last two years, since the signing of the ACA, anticipating that the [Supreme] Court would uphold it. Some people said we should wait to see what the court does, but fortunately from my point of view, the court did uphold the act. … The next hurtle will be in November. It will be critical for President [Barack] Obama to be re-elected to ensure that we can move forward. … It’s really too good not to act in good faith right now. From a public health point of view, if we can prevent a single death or allow a family to gain access to preventative care, [then] we should take advantage of it and cross the bridge of a change of course when we get there.

When it comes to health-related legislation, whether it’s a soda tax, insurance mandates, or restricting vending machines at schools, a key opposition argument is that it isn’t the government’s place to regulate what people eat or how they take care of themselves. You support many of these types of legislation. Why do you believe the government should step in and legislate in these cases?

I understand those who would argue that government should stay out of our lives and that it should be the parents’ responsibility to determine what their children eat. In a perfect world, that would work. But if you look at the status quo in California, it’s clearly not working. A third of the children born in California in the year 2000 will have preventable type-two diabetes by age 25. Among Latino and African American kids, that figure goes up to 50 percent. We have a social-economic dynamic where not everybody is starting at the same place. People don’t always have similar access to food or education opportunity. … I take the position that if government doesn’t provide support at the front end, we all as taxpayers are shouldering the cost.

Do you think the economic aspect of that argument is taking root in Sacramento?

It’s not an easy one to translate. It’s takes connecting point a—best practices—to b—that kid who is left to her own devices today or has access to soda machines selling that product less expensively than the same amount of water—to c—that in 10 or 20 years she will be dealing with complicated diabetes, requiring regular medical attention, pharmaceutical regiments, hospitalizations, [and] a shortened life span. That just took me, what, 45 seconds to say all of that? It is an educational process.

Even among legislators?

Yes, but in the legislature, I’d say it’s a little more cut and dry. Unfortunately it’s a little more partisan. If there is a revenue, tax side to a solution, our minority party now has taken a pledge [the Grover Norquist pledge] that they’ll never vote to raise a tax. That didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago when, when there were deficits in California, there would be a solution that combined spending cuts and revenue increases. That would never happen today.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Bill Smallman, August 04, 2012
I feel that the government is not working either. School Boards can eliminate vending machines, restrict off campus leave, educate on nutrition and organic gardening, sponsor school lunches with local organic produce, promote athletic activity, on campus gardens, and support local 4H programs. Food vans restricted with their business license. We need to support families that take children very seriously. Many feel taxes & laws will solve all problems. In reality they make it worse. The job is ours, claim it, and prove them wrong.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival