California needs adult supervision

April 9, 2012

By Katy Grimes

More than ever, California is a state run by children. Selfish, self-absorbed state officials and lawmakers have been implementing pet policies and legislation for so many decades, they are now arguing among themselves over whose liberal policies are better.

A recent op-ed and subsequent letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee exemplify this.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s current and former Natural Resources Secretaries wrote to the Sacramento Bee, criticizing and defending Brown’s green agenda. But both missed the far more important larger picture: California is going broke, our infrastructure is in disrepair and top state employees are getting paid better than Fortune 500 CEOs.

Instead of arguing how green Brown is, the discussion should center around misguided policies and childish and slimy politics.

In an op ed for the Sacramento Bee, Huey D. Johnson, Brown’s former Natural Resources Secretary–from Brown’s gubernatorial stints in the 1970’s–wrote that he doesn’t think the governor is green enough. Current Natural Resources Secretary John Laird responded, defending Brown’s green agenda in a feeble letter to the editor.

Laird was appointed to the agency after he lost a run for the state Senate against Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo.  As Natural Resources Secretary, Laird is receiving a much larger salary than the Senate would pay, and he is only accountable to the Governor–not a bad tradeoff for losing.

According to Johnson, “precious resource assets include forests, parks, air and soil” are at risk because of Brown’s failure to make proper appointments.

Johnson was critical of the parks department director, a Schwarzenegger appointment, who he says is about to give away some land for a golf course in Lake Tahoe.

But the state water policy is what really rankled Johnson. “For a state that has been so progressive, the antiquated, corrupt water matters are unbelievable,” Johnson said.

I agree with him about water. The state has done nothing about water storage. In our good rain years, California loses most of it to runoff.  That’s just negligence in a state which has to send so much water to the San Francisco Bay area and the cities in the south.

Laird’s defense

Laird defended Brown’s “big green agenda”:

He signed a ban on shark finning and on Bisphenol A in children’s food containers. California adopted a bold plan for electric vehicles: 1.5 million by 2025.”

That’s really bold.

Laird also said that the state’s parks are being closed because of budget cuts.

But the state parks closures are about as political as it gets. California’s tourism industry benefits significantly from the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the state’s parks every year. Closure of any of the parks  will have virtually no impact on the state’s massive deficit, but will slam tourism.

The water debacle is politics at work, not leadership, and it’s killing the state.

Closing parks is pure politics. Signing a ban on shark finning and BPA is political drama, designed to grab headlines.

The other headline grabber is High-Speed Rail. While the governor appears hypnotized by the train, and continues to advance it instead of pushing to repair the highways and roads, even California’s voters have grown queasy on the subject.

Brown is also pushing a tax increase to help pay for the state’s growing deficit. But pushing tax increases is career suicide in this state.

California Needs Some Grownups

California’s politicians keep passing legislation that only grabs headlines and deflects from the serious issues.

California has a water problem–the solutions aren’t sexy and won’t get anyone reelected.

Jerry Brown was elected because enough voters believed him when he said, “At this stage of my life, I’m prepared to focus on nothing else but fixing this state I love.” Brown is 74 and has spent most of his career in politics.

But so far, the godfather of the state’s organized labor movement has only given back to the union powers which put him back in office.

It’s not just Brown’s green agenda that is failing; it’s his entire agenda. Again. California needs a grownup in the governor’s office, and some adults in the Legislature.

The self-absorbed, hyper-sensitive children currently masquerading as lawmakers and leaders have done staggering amounts of damage to this state from which it may not recover. They’ve ruined the environment, ruined the schools, devastated the agriculture industry, created a water crisis and can’t even properly maintain roads, bridges, levees, sewer systems and rivers.

That’s should be proof enough that California needs a part-time Legislature made up of people with real jobs, who understand how to live within their means instead of raising taxes whenever times get tough. Feeding out of the public trough skews a lawmakers’ perspective, and the role becomes instead about saving their own job instead of saving the state.

California has always been known as the most self-absorbed liberal state in the country. The gluttonous appetites for welfare and social services, and now, big public salaries and pensions, have brought the chickens home to roost.

The Governor appears incapable to do anything about the state of the state, and legislators look like children.

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