Since our national system has been so messed up, I’ve never paid attention to California politics much before. But I think now that we have adults in charge of the nation again, I think our next goal as California progressives is to get control of our own state. So a lot of what I’ll be posting politically here on my blog is going to focus on local issues here in California. I think a lot of it will be interesting to people in other areas, too. And I encourage everyone to get involved with and stay informed about what’s going on in your own area of the country.
I do suggest reading the Calitics blog as one of the best way to get informed if you are in California. They really dig into a lot of these issues. I don’t always appreciate their viewpoints, which are a bit to the left of mine, but I’ll try to pass along the most interesting stuff.
What you’re going to see playing out over the next few weeks and months is a fight for who gets the stimulus and how it is distributed, as well as a major battle to move California back to progressive leadership. The times our state has done the best have been when we are leading the nation, not trailing it. Right now the Republican party is controlled by people with heads firmly up their asses in this state, and very big business oriented.
We don’t need big businesses right now, we need education, health care, innovative science and technology research, and small, growing companies. Small companies hire FAR more people as they grow, and that is what we need to start pushing for right now. The jobs aren’t going to come from the big players. I expect those large businesses to start falling like dinosaurs, in fact. It’s time for a lot of very nimble shrews who will be able to adapt to what’s going to be a rapid cycle of change if we are to grow out of this. Otherwise, we go into depression era policies of trying to preserve a dead economic system.
It’s time for change, as we so well know from Obama’s campaign. Now, let’s work on our own states.
Eric Garcetti Stomps On Budget Deal, Lights It On Fire
by: David Dayen
Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:32:37 AM PST
Before last night’s blogger conference call with LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, my opinions of the budget deal from Sacramento weren’t very well-formed. I think I have become so inured to craptastic solutions from Sacramento that this one looked no worse than others. Of course, I don’t have a responsibility to constituents and a need to implement the outlines of the plan, so Garcetti’s very forceful words against the package kind of snapped me out of my slumber. Here’s a paraphrase.
“I think it’s a reflection of a broken system. It’s like shooting a little morphine into a sick patient. I think depending on federal dollars to balance the budget is irresponsible, and will blunt the impact of the stimulus. It means that the county and school districts will see a lot of projects rolled back. The health care cuts are going to be devastating. You’re going to see a lot more homeless people this year, a lot more people who need critical care and can’t get it. So there is no joy in this resolution other than that it is a resolution.”
Very strong stuff. And he’s not wrong. My one quibble would be that it’s not the reliance on federal stimulus dollars to balance the budget, which is necessary and will save jobs throughout the system, that gets me, but the continued reliance on borrowing and the raid of voter-approved funds for mental health and early childhood programs, which is illegal and will require the unlikelihood of passing new initiatives.
There isn’t any margin for error if, say, one of the FIVE measures that will now be on the ballot in order to secure the budget fail, or if the giant corporate tax cut fails to satiate business, or if nobody wants to buy our debt or buy the state lottery, which is losing revenue. It’s another seat-of-our-pants craptastic budget which makes no long-term solutions and essentially keeps intact a broken structure. Garcetti is right that the problem is systemic, and so that’s the goal for progressives in the state for this point forward – systemic change.