Because of the budget …

Have you noticed how everyone’s favorite new crutch phrase is “because of the budget” to justify/explain away everything that is going wrong in our state? It only recently surpassed “due to the recent economic downturn” and totally leap-frogged “and the worst has yet to come” to reach the top spot.

The best example I’ve seen lately is from this article about the potential for public urination in our city and county parks with the closure of restrooms.

“We’re going to have heavy cuts to our park staff and our park maintenance and also to our recreation,” Combs said. “We’ll be closing community centers and pools and children’s programs. All the decisions are difficult. We regret this, but right now that’s what we’re forced to do because of the budget.”

In case you heard about this story and thought, hey, what the heck, I think I will relieve myself in the rose garden at McKinley Park, you better think again. The Sacramento police are on to you:

Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong said park visitors will simply have to plan ahead if the bathrooms are closed. Anyone caught going to the bathroom in parks may be cited, he added.

Right, as long as nothing happens to the number of police officers patrolling these areas we should be safe from public pee’rs.

“Vast and gloomy work camps”

ABC News describes the North Korean prison camps that journalists Euna Lee and Carmichael native Laura Ling have been condemned to. This is really scary stuff that makes Guantanamo look like Monte Carlo. My heart goes out to the families and I hope that Hilary Clinton or Bill Richardson or Al Gore can bust some balls and get these ladies freed, foreign policy chess match be damned.

Pencils & Crayons

Here’s an interesting article from the UK about California discontinuing the use of textbooks in the classroom in favor of digital media. You will quickly notice how we are viewed in other parts of the world after the third or fourth movie pun.

“Our kids get their information from the internet, downloaded onto their iPods, and in Twitter feeds to their cell phones … Basically. kids are feeling as comfortable with their electronic devices as I was with my pencils and crayons.”

I am sure this is true in many cases, but will the government require kids to have iPods, cell phones, and computers connected to the Internet to access these digital textbooks?

Mr Schwarzenegger has ruled out tax increases to make up the shortfall. He said in a statement that he would concentrate on getting better value for money for the state, reconsidering everyday purchases just as ordinary families were having to do during the recession.

What a unique idea. It sort of makes you want to do the Running Man, er, or go Commando, or, or have Twins …

Repeal the two-thirds majority component of Prop 13!

Money in the ballot boxIn doing my homework on the slate of state propositions for the May 19 special election, I am starting to feel like repealing Proposition 13‘s two-thirds restriction on the legislature for tax increases would be a good idea. It’s not because I think taxes should be greatly increased to get our state out of its fiscal woes, and I want to remove all impediments to doing that. It would take something stronger than waterboarding to get me to suppress my anti-tax reflex.

The reason I want to allow the legislature to raise our taxes by itself is because when revenue-raising ballot initiatives fail, the politicians blame it on us voters. Darrell Steinberg warns us that deep spending cuts will be needed if the ballot measures don’t pass. Arnold’s talking about legalizing pot so he can tax it, which he doesn’t think is right but he’ll do it anyway, if other people think it would be good. (I get the feeling his brain does not suffer the same condition as his other muscles, that one.)

Continue reading “Repeal the two-thirds majority component of Prop 13!”

Sacramento’s Assembly Race begins!

Just when we are recovering from Obamafever, our next election is already looming. Today, Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson announced his candidacy to represent California’s Ninth Assembly District, which includes 90% of the City of Sacramento and two-thirds of Florin. This seat will be vacated by Dave Jones, who is termed out and plans to run for State Insurance Commissioner.

Dickinson and City Councilmember Kevin McCarty have both been making the rounds at mixers for young politicos to recruit young talent for the upcoming Democratic primary. McCarty is expected to announce his candidacy soon, while Councilmember Lauren Hammond remains quiet after her announcement in January. The winner of this primary is the clear favorite to retain a solidly Democratic seat. McCarty has the interesting potential to be the third consecutive District 6 Councilmember to win this seat. Jones succeeded Senator Darrell Steinberg in both the Assembly and the City Council.

25 Random Things…(State Budget Edition)

Those of you who are down with the book of faces will know what this article is about from the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper.

Playing off Facebook’s “25 Things About Me” meme [I’ll save you the trouble: “a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation)”].

A few favorites

3) The Assembly and Senate both passed 34 separate pieces of legislation to enact the budget.

4) These included five separate ballot measures that require voter approval in a May 19 special election; if any is defeated, the budget deal unravels.

12) Governor Terminator, who drove Gray Davis from office by bashing him for hiking the Vehicle License Fee for car registration, last week doubled the VLF to balance the budget.

20) At least three separate ballot initiatives are in the works to get rid of the two-thirds vote requirement for passing a budget.

Which ones do you find especially noteworthy?

KJ proposes to increase mayor’s power

Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to present a voter initiative to increase the power of the office of the mayor, the Biz Journal reports. The office would function as an executive one rather than simply another vote on the council. My hunch is that the voters will probably first want to see whether KJ can actually execute something other than sick dunks 15 years ago, but I suppose it will depend on how he sells it.

Local “college” goes Hollywood

Link to Prop 8 - The Musical

I am sure many of you caught the opening scene in “Prop 8 – The Musical.” It stars Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, Rashida Jones and others as the “Sacramento Community College Players.”

That’s pretty much where the fun ends as the video’s writer, Marc Shaiman, brings Scott Eckern into the mix.
Continue reading “Local “college” goes Hollywood”

Gay Marriage, Boycotts, Banana Splits

If you haven’t driven down Arden Way in a while then you may not have seen the protest going on in front of Leatherby’s.  Why protest delicious ice cream, you ask?  Well, it appears that the Leatherby family and business donated almost $20,000 to the Yes on 8 cause.  The Leatherby’s, an immense Catholic family, are seeing some blowback from their financial support of a proposition that some see as an issue of opinion, and others see as an issue of basic human rights. Continue reading “Gay Marriage, Boycotts, Banana Splits”