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May 29th
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Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningPublic opinion has been heated about the governor’s decision to hold a special election to fill the 15th District senate seat, left vacant by now Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado. What are the problems with holding a rushed election?

The decision to hold a special election on June 22, and possibly a runoff on August 17, to fill the vacant 15th Senate District seat creates two significant problems. 

First, this puts tremendous pressure on county registrars of voters who must print new election materials, find volunteers to staff voting precincts, and locate polling place sites. All of this will need to be done just 14 days after the regularly scheduled primary election. Precious government resources will be drained at a time when local governments are experiencing deficits and cutting back on services. The estimated additional cost to taxpayers in the five counties that compose the 15th Senate District will be over $7 million! Santa Cruz County election officials estimate it will cost between $520,000 and $680,000 for both elections. These funds will have to come from a county budget that has already been slashed 20 percent.

The second problem is the potential disenfranchisement of voters. After the June 8 primary election, it will take extra effort to encourage voters to participate in the June 22 special election. The democratic process is not served when votes may not be tallied for members of the U.S. military who are serving overseas because they will not have sufficient time to receive and return their special election ballots. Additionally, there may also be a lack of available poll workers.

Regardless of the confusion created by the governor’s decision, voters should indeed exercise their right to vote. The stakes have never been higher.

Assembly Democrats recently released their budget proposal to counter the governor’s May revise. How does this proposal differ from the governor’s and why do you think the Assembly Democrats “Jobs Budget” is a better option for the State of California?

The Assembly Democrats’ response to the governor’s May revise, the California Jobs Budget, presents a more equitable approach to the state’s projected $17.9 billion deficit in the 2010-11 budget year.

The governor’s proposal eliminates CalWorks, the state’s welfare to work program, reduces In-Home Support Services and reduces mental health services, harming the most vulnerable Californians.

In contrast, the Assembly Democrats’ proposal preserves these programs and includes a $10.1 billion Jobs and Economic Security Fund that will prevent further layoffs by private employers, small businesses, local governments and schools, as well as maintain critical employment services and training programs that will get people back to work. This is achieved by establishing an oil extraction fee and by securing revenues in the Beverage Container Recycling Fee program.

Additionally, the California Jobs Budget increases funding for education by $5.9 billion, preserving the Proposition 98 funding guarantee, provides $100 million to fund job-training programs at community colleges, and provides more funding for higher education.  Rather than drastically cutting programs as the governor is proposing, our budget—the California Jobs Budget—supports job retention and job creation while preserving education and social services, which is the right direction for California.

This year marks the 38th anniversary of the passage of Title IX by the federal

government. Do you believe that Title IX

is still relevant today?

Yes, I believe that Title IX represents an important landmark in opening the doors of equality to girls and young women in sports.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted on June 23, 1972 and allows women to be given equal access to sports programs by requiring academic institutions to allocate scholarships fairly between male and female athletes. As a result, many advances have been achieved including more fair and equitable allocations of athletic program funding, athletic scholarship awards, and the recruitment and hiring of women players and coaches.

Participation in sports is acknowledged to be a positive force in developing and promoting physical, mental, moral, social and emotional well-being. It also builds self-esteem, communication skills, discipline and perseverance. As the father of two daughters who both benefited growing up in an era where barriers to participation in school sports were being removed, I can attest to the important role that participation in sports can play in the development of all young people.

We have come a long way to bring equity to women’s sports.

However, with education budgets being cut, we must remain vigilant in protecting the importance of school athletic programs for all students.

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