Text of Sac Bee’s embarrassing draft post-election editorial

Here is the full text of the cringe-worthy “internal discussion” version of the Sac Bee’s post-election editorial (which was updated yesterday afternoon, here). Items you may need before you read this: vomit receptacle, punching bag, phone number to cancel your subscription.

Editorial: You did it! Uh, so what now?

Published: Wednesday, May. 20, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 18A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 20, 2009 – 9:09 am

Good morning, California voters. Do you feel better, now that you’ve gotten that out of your system?

You wanted to show the state’s politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever.

Proposition 1A with its taxes and its spending limit? Too much of one and not enough of the other, you said (or was it the other way around), and voted it down. Never mind that the taxes go into efffect anyway. You showed ’em.

Proposition 1B? That was a tougher call.

Proposition 1C? No way. You like the lottery just like it is. And all they were going to do with that extra $5 billion was spend it.

Propositions 1D and 1E? Forget it. You had already voted to put money into preschool and mental health programs. You’re not taking it out now.

And 1F? Heck, yeah! Let’s not pay our legislators if they can’t pass a budget on time. So what if it likely won’t have any effect, or that this year they actually passed a budget months earlier than they needed to? That’s not the point.

The point is that you’re sick and tired of all this political mumbo-jumbo. So you showed those politicians who’s in charge. You. You’re now officially in charge ? of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

So, now that you’ve put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it’s time to think about this: Since you’re in charge, exactly what do you intend to do about that pesky $25 billion hole in the budget?

Lay off some state workers? Which ones? And how many? Remember, the entire state payroll is about $25 billion. You could lay off every last one of them ? every Highway Patrol officer, every prison guard, every state firefighter, every health inspector, every professor in the UC and CSU systems, every DMV employee and every nameless, faceless paper-shuffling bureaucrat ? and the state would only be barely in the black. But if you want to do that, go ahead. You’re in charge, remember.

Wait, how about taking money back from the counties? Great idea. Not that it will be easy. Most of them are already in the red and getting ready to lay off cops, prosecutors, probation officers and clinic staff.

Let’s see. What about laying off more teachers? Shortening the school year? Releasing prisoners? Selling some of the state’s real estate holdings? Borrow billions to tide the state over until the economy improves

What’s that? Few of these ideas sound like what you want to do? Well, that’s OK. You really don’t have to do these things yourself. You just have to figure out what you want done and tell the Legislature to do it.

They’ll surely hop right on it, now that you’re in charge. Just keep in mind that your suggestions have to keep the state solvent and able to meet all its legal obligations. And you know how complicated things get when the lawyers get involved.

You say it’ll take you awhile to figure this stuff out, that you’ll need a little time to get up to speed on the details? No problem. You’ve got until June 30 to get it all straight.

That sounds a lot like work, you say? Sorry, no whining allowed. You asked for this job. Now you’ve got it, so get on it. Oh, and remember. The entire nation is watching to see how you do now that you’re in charge.

No pressure or anything. Just thought you’d want to know.

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

21 thoughts on “Text of Sac Bee’s embarrassing draft post-election editorial”

  1. Somehow I’m just not feeling the hate. And the question is valid: if not this, exactly what should the state do? I realize the Turty Squirp answer will be to kick out all the illegals and kick everyone off welfare, but I’m talking about things that actually could be done, not his “if I were emperor” scenarios.

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  2. wburg – If it’s literally up to the voters alone to fix the state’s problems, then you’ll have to stay tuned while voters go through the months and months of time and miles of red tape to get some ballot initiatives put together. In the meantime, if that’s what we’re doing, I suggest we let the entire legislature and executive branch of the State of California take unpaid leave while we folks figure it out. As you seem to imply that they have tried every single other possible option, can we agree their services are no longer required?

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  3. Sure, the hubris is palpable, but I don’t see the problem here. CoolDMZ’s position and the editorial aren’t mutually exclusive. Personally, I think putting fixing the budget on the ballot is ridiculous.

    There are many, many more options still to be tried. Will special interests allow many of them to be tried? Doubtful. But there are other options.

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  4. CoolDMZ: So, if they had just had the guts to simply pass all of the stuff that ended up being ballot measures, instead of putting it to the voters, you would have been fine with it?

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  5. Aside from the substance I find the whole approach of the piece really offensive. I don’t appreciate being berated with a 100% sarcastic editorial where a thought-provoking opinion piece ought to be. It’s just cheap. Granted it was a draft, but it reveals a total disdain for the readers who are keeping that paper afloat.

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  6. I don’t get the problem? This is from the EDITORIAL board, not the newsroom. The EdBd is there to have opinions. It’s a draft, it’s raw…and it’s totally fine by this subscriber. Nothing embarassing about it.

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  7. Moe – You’re right, the big problem here was that we were presented a bunch of “moving money around” ideas that would add up to no real reform. Clearly what is needed is to go line by line and cut everything that is possible. The fact that the day after we hear they are cutting firefighting and education funding seems ludacris. It would be like cutting your power bill when you have to tighten the family budget, before cutting your cable bill or ahem, newspaper subscription. I know they went through an exhaustive back-and-forth on the budget, but I’m also quite sure there are still an army of bureaucrats making 6 figures on the books. I’m also quite sure the legislators will cut their own salaries over California’s dead body. Why on Earth would they not voluntarily do that on day 1 of the 100 day budget standoff?

    wburg – I did indeed vote No a bunch of times on Tuesday, so I would have been let down if the legislature had been able to enact all of that on their own. Based on the fact that even our US Senators were lukewarm on the initiatives, I’m not sure that would have happened. But in my piece about Prop 13 I thought I explained that in the end I would welcome it. I’d rather have all these No votes put to use in getting these people into early retirement.

    Good talk, everybody!!

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  8. Even more to the point–it was a DRAFT not for publication. The actual editorial had a completely different slant and tone and target.

    If your first drafts come out print-ready, you’re a better (and more measured) writer than most. For many of us who write opinion pieces, drafts are where we purge the raw emotions and reactions; the final version is where we have sorted through the feelings and crafted a response.

    Most drafts are not fit for print (or upload) and should not be judged in the same manner as what is put out (intentionally) as a public statement.

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  9. Yeah, that’s cynical as hell, and it’s good it didn’t come out in the paper (that’s why they call it a draft). Still, I have to agree with some of the sentiment – okay, the voters rejected the proposals, but what the hell is Plan B? Aren’t people just going to bitch more once basic services are cut? There’s no good solutions here whatsoever, but I share with the editorial a lack of trust in the electorate to actually tell the legislature what *should* be done (and is it just me or do primarily bugfuck insane people write the paper/their congressman?)

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  10. Look at the directory of state agencies. You could completely shut these agencies down and sell their property.

    California Horse Racing Board, If your dumb enough to bet on the horses you deserve to be ripped off. If this board is looking out for the safety of the horses, then cancel horse racing in Ca unless the fines balance the budget.

    Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau Web Site- Time to start reading lips.

    Welfare to Work Division- If you stop giving away free money-they will leave or get a job.

    Unclaimed Property Program- Just keep it all and shut it down.

    Small Business Development Centers-This goes against every other state agencies goal of fining companies out of business.

    State Fair- Have you ever heard of the Mid-State Fair? It is way better.

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  11. Nick, you can believe in whatever politics you want, but if you are going to start talking shit about the California State Fair… well, them’s fighting words!!!!

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  12. 2009 mid-state fair line up
    Carrie Underwood
    Journey & Heart
    Kelly Clarkson
    Tim McGraw
    KISS
    Judas Priest w/ Whitesnake
    The Black Eyed Peas

    2009 California official state fair line up
    David Cook
    Tonic
    Salvador
    The Fab Four
    MC Hammer
    Blake Shelton
    Three dog night.

    Last year the Mid-State Fair had the Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, Alan Jackson, Matchbox twenty, Fergie, Rod Stewart, Steely Dan, and Toby Keith. All in the beautiful city of Pasa Robles.

    WTF why cant the official state fair be half as good as the rip off state fair in the city half as big as Sac? Sell Cal-expo and make the state fair a big ass sac county fair. The mid state fair is just the SLO County fair with a fancy churched up name.

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  13. I am totally willing to see various public services cut because those services cannot be sustained without overly burdensome taxation. It’s not that wild of a viewpoint. Every time I hear this refrain from politicians and now the Bee (albeit a draft) predicting I will somehow be shocked and upset when those services are cut I think, “right, that’s the point.” Cutting unsustainable programs is the only reasonable response to discovering they are unsustainable. Even better would be a legislature that saw this coming and restrained creation of unsustainable spending; maybe the voters should elect one.

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  14. Thing is…we will not only be negatively impacted by “unsustainable spending.” We will also be negatively impacted (for years to come) by not providing vital services to California. Cut health insurance to kids? OK, but you’ll pay for that later. Ditto lowering the quality of schools, environmental protections, etc. Trim fat? Sure. Slash and burn? Not so wise an approach.

    In addition to the boondoggle of Prop 13 and a 2/3 budget approval process, a main problem here seems to be that folks want services (at least for themselves, if not those “other folks”), but don’t want to pay for them.

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  15. I am content to pay for the services I use such as my health care and my child’s health care and am doing so on top of the taxes I pay. I agree that a safety net is necessary for those who truly cannot provide for themselves. I think it’s a bit naive to pretend the government could run without any social services whatsoever. But our totally bloated system of government provision has far exceeded a minimal safety net. It is possible to strike a more reasonable balance is all I’m saying.

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  16. The problem is that if we have “far exceeded” a minimal safety net, there seem to be an awful lot of people missing the net these days.

    Get rid of the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget and all of this budget silliness would ne a non-issue.

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  17. Here’s an interesting article on why we have a two-thirds majority:

    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/86429.html

    Apparently, it predates Prop. 13, originally back to 1933. At the time, they had a novel system: the budget would pass with a simple majority, unless the budget was growing by 5% or more–then it required a two-thirds majority. 5% growth isn’t much, it’s just barely over the inflation rate, but accounting for slow, moderate growth. Apparently it wasn’t used much, since California was growing so fast in those days, so in 1962 it was changed to a standard 2/3 majority. But we’re no longer growing so fast.

    It seems like an interesting idea–go back to a simple majority, but only if the state budget doesn’t grow significantly. So if the Democrats want to dramatically increase the budget, it gets much harder to pass (requiring two-thirds) but if it stays about the same size it’s pretty easy.

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