Tough decisions

February 26, 2010 - By admin

Heard this very interesting commentary by Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Stuart Leavenworth this morning on Capital Public Radio. Hooked to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent (and bizarre) statement that “the worst is over” as far as the state’s economic troubles are concerned, Leavenworth’s commentary strikes just the right note of skepticism.

Well, at first. After pointing out that “It could take a long time for California to pull out of this recession,” Leavenworth folds up whatever credibility he’d built in the previous three paragraphs by making the vanilla assertion that “We need state leaders who will make tough decisions.”

Duh. That’s like saying we need teachers who will instruct our children. The question is what sort of “tough decisions” we need our elected officials to be making. On this, Leavenworth offers nothing: no opinion on passing reduced pension benefits for new public employees, cutting more social programs, repealing Proposition 13 (or the legislature’s two-thirds majority vote requirement for raising taxes) or any increased tax whatsoever.

These are all very tough decisions. They’re politically dangerous, even in non-election years. But they also require open and honest public debate, which people like Leavenworth — who commands significant influence in Sacramento — can spark by providing listeners and readers with thoughtful and specific commentaries saying exactly what he thinks.

-Anthony Pignataro

Comments(0)
  1. stevefromsacto says:

    It takes two sides to have a debate. It is kind of difficult to have an honest public debate about finding needed revenue for the state budget with the “heads-on-a-stick” mentality of the anti-tax zealots and their Republican lap dogs. They are the ones who make such discussions “politically dangerous.”

    If Leavenworth dared to suggest that we might cut corporate tax breaks or tax oil production, Jon Coupal, John and Ken, and their buddies would come for him with the tar and feathers.

  2. EastBayLarry says:

    Steve:
    All you are saying is LEavenworth does not have the guts needed to call for needed actions, which is what Anthiny said also.
    At some point we need to say, “It HAS to be done, no matter the political cost”.

  3. StevefromSacto says:

    “It HAS to be done, no matter the political cost.”

    I pray that the Republicans will say that about finding new sources of revenue to help solve our budget crisis. But I ain’t holding my breath.

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Joseph Perkins, now assistant editor of the Orange County Register Opinion Pages, started his career as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. After serving on the White House Staff of former Vice President Dan Quayle he wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune where he authored a nationally-syndicated column. Before writing for CalWatchdog.com, Mr. Perkins was also Business Editor for San Diego Magazine.
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