A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day Greetings!

This short video talks about the origin of Mothers Day. Yes, it's great that we spend at least one day (if not 365) honoring the the mothers in our lives… but this day was not created as a Hallmark Card day. It was all about Peace.

Top Twenty Reasons Why Proposition 1A is a Bad Idea

This is a flyer that local Kathy Neal, Mario Juarez, and I created and distributed at the California Democratic Convention a couple of weeks ago. Feel free to download the flyer and make some copies to give to your friends and neighbors — or email to friends across California.

1. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is for 1A
2. Tying the Legislature’s hands behind its back is the wrong way to do a budget - We’ve learned that with Props 13 and 98.
3. In times of recession, the need for State services increases.
4. Californians only receive 4 years of new taxes in exchange for a
permanent spending cap. Permanent cap, temporary revenues = BAD DEAL.
5. Allows short-term legislators to defer a real budget solution until they are gone
6. Proposes to fix a symptom rather than the underlying problem
7. True budget reform must address the structural deficit – 1A does not do this.
8. Constitutionally removes essential flexibility to deal with the State’s fiscal needs – prevents the Legislature and Governor from setting priorities essential to a particular time.
9. In financially difficult years will hold State spending at a level that is too low to guarantee
adequate services and in good years restricts State from increasing revenues
10. Undermines our system of checks and balances by allowing the Governor to unilaterally make mid-year cuts without consulting the Legislature
11. Hastily drafted, behind closed doors, in secret, in the dead of night, without a single hearing or independent analysis
12. Dictates a shift in spending that can’t be changed, regardless of future needs
13. Could require cuts to public education, health care, public safety and others in good times
14. Will not do what it promises and instead will lead to deep cuts in service
15. The League of Women Voters urges a NO vote
16. Most observers expect painful degradation of service
17. Mandates a permanent spending cap
18. Prohibits legislators from taking full advantage of additional revenues when California comes out of the recession
19. Shifts responsibility for future budget decisions away from the legislature and onto invisible state employees
20. Does not fix fundamental budget problem - California is one of only three states requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to pass a budget. Republicans continually hijack the process!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

2/3 budget rule = 1/3 tyranny

I've been talking about the problems with the current 1A-1F propositions on the ballot for the May 19 special election.

The real underlying problem with our state budget is that unlike 47 out of 50 states, our state needs a 2/3 supermajority to pass a budget. Although this seems like a good idea on the surface, that it would build consensus, it just doesn't make sense when there are such strong ideological differences for which a consensus can never be reached. Fifty percent majority thresholds exist for a reason! So each cycle, the Democrats (who have a comfortable majority in both state houses) have to work to try to get just a few Republicans to cross party lines to make a budget that covers things like, you know, education, health care, salaries for state workers, and so forth.

I mentioned a while ago that our Senator, Loni Hancock, introduced SCA5, which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to fix the problem. It just needs to get some more traction to get passed by the legislature — but will that happen? If you have California friends outside of our district, try to get them to get their state senator to support SCA5.

Here's Hancock talking about the issue. This is an excerpt (hat tip to Calitics and Josh Richman) of a video documenting an Oakland School's bicycle trek to Sacramento to raise awareness of the issue. Watch this two-minute excerpt here: