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GOLIS: What will become of California?

By PETE GOLIS

“Fewer and fewer people were speaking of the California dream these days.”
— Historian Kevin Starr, in “Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003.”

Pete Golis

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown will release an updated budget plan designed to make sense of the latest state revenue reports. The event will occasion the usual posturing about the mix of tax measures and spending cuts necessary to maintain the pretense that the budget is balanced.

As state residents have learned from long experience, these exchanges are as useless as they are predictable.

What the coming week’s partisanship won’t provide is a serious conversation about where California goes from here. So long as state politics is driven by self-interest, ideology and short-term advantage, there is no room for imagining how we might shape a better future.

Recently, I was in a meeting that had nothing to do with politics. In introducing himself, the speaker mentioned that he graduated from UC Berkeley and that he was the first member of his family go to college. Then, as he started to tear up, he blinked and confessed that he was saddened to watch the relentless erosion of public education.

He knew his success came from that gift — a legacy that is now being denied to many from the next generation of Californians.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat of bad news continues. On Friday, state parks officials announced plans to close 70 state parks, including Annadel, Austin Creek, Jack London, Petaluma Adobe and Sugarloaf in Sonoma County.

We have known for several years that California is in trouble — even if our politicians didn’t want to talk about it.

Once, we celebrated the boundless potential of what we liked to call the California dream. In 1949, at the end of the state’s first century, historian Carey McWilliams famously argued that its unique geography and history made California “the great exception among the American states.” But now we are not so sure. In his 2004, book, “Coast of Dreams,” historian Kevin Starr said the events of recent years leave us to question whether California is still “the great exception.”

Starr surveyed the adversities and social turmoil that afflicted the state between 1990 and 2003 and concluded: “No longer was California to be found in its myth and then in reality. California had become, rather, a reality in search of a myth that had once been believed in.”

Having built universities, schools, parks, libraries and other public facilities, he said, the state’s residents were left to choose: “Were Californians willing to pay for all this, even if they had the revenues in hand? And if not, what were they willing to pay for? What was the California they wanted to hold in common?” To hold in common. When distrust abounds, it seems so quaint now to imagine that we could believe in an idea together.

These days, we are up to our necks in partisanship and politicians who — out of fear or smallness of purpose — won’t talk to us about big ideas.

Last week, columnist Dan Walters, who has been covering state government for more than 35 years, didn’t sugarcoat what he called the “dumbing-down” of the Legislature. Here’s what Walters wrote about an institution that “once attracted very smart people:”

“The Legislature’s capacity for critical thinking began to decline as it evolved into a body of full-time professionals in the 1970s and plummeted as polarization emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Ever-fewer thoughtful people were attracted to an institution that not only punished independent intelligence but rewarded robotic group-think.”

If Walters’ analysis is correct, it’s not likely that the current roster of lawmakers can manage the present, much less make plans to get California moving again.

But we can hope for redemption if only because, well, what other choice do we have? The governor and the Legislature this week will try one more time to find common ground, bringing spending in line with revenues, more or less.

Let’s hope they will be willing to perform this act of citizenship, while limiting the damage inflicted on students, the aged and the sick. Let’s hope they will understand that a chronic budget deficit won’t be fixed without cutting spending and extending existing taxes.

It can’t be fun to be a sitting state legislator. Your approval ratings are in the toilet, and journalists keep saying you don’t match up with the “very smart people” who used to serve in the Legislature.

If I were a state lawmaker — you have to use your imagination here — I would want to prove my critics wrong. So here’s your chance, Mr. and Ms. Politician. All it takes is independence, courage, patience and the recognition that the choice is between compromise and disaster.

As for you, my fellow voters, taxpayers and citizens, you could help by paying attention again. In your absence, various special interests have managed to steer the state into the ditch.

It’s a full-blown crisis now. Previous generations of Californians would be shocked to see the results of the neglect and negligence.

We’d better fix it while there’s still time.

Pete Golis is a columnist for The Press Democrat. Email him at golispd@gmail.com.





43 Responses to “GOLIS: What will become of California?”

  1. RAW says:

    Constituents? They don’t care about any of us. They know you will all vote for whoever has a D or an R next to their name. I have watched for years, the same idiots who have done a horrible job keep getting re-elected. If it wasn’t for family ties, I would have bailed on this failed state a long time ago. I will watch now, in disgust, as it circles the drain.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Fiscal Conservative-I’m a US Air Force Brat. I support our troops. But I am also anti violence. We shouldn’t send out troops in to protect multinational corporate interests like Bush did. It’s not the troops that are the problem it’s the government sending them into harm’s way. By the way, my dad was a life long Democrat and the only Republican he ever voted for was IKE.

    I just reread my posts. I have no clue where you got the violence part. Because I’m a progressive? I believe we need to get out in the streets and protest more because our legislators, being bought by corporate interests and election fixing by “donating” billions in local, state and federal elections, aren’t listening to their constiuents.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  3. I have to agree with Skippy.

    Mockingbird, your previous comments lead me to believe you support violence as a means to fix our current political problems.

    I feel that you have taken a turn to the low road on that.

    This would not be wise, never has been.

    Our Sonoma County Law Enforcement is trained and elite.

    The 579th National Guard is Iraq proven tactical hero’s

    I doubt they would need the support of the home defenses, but if they did, this town would be full of Patriotic Americans there to help and protect.

    How about giving a little more thought to your statements and keep it on the high road.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  4. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    To Skippy-there is no “silent majority of conservative patriots”. That’s something you made up out of your head or you wish. Most people are moderates, right square in the middle in ideology. Unfortunately, that middle has been skewed far right and every one left of that skewed “middle” is being called a socialist. The real middle is full of practical, thoughtful, intelligent, critical thinking people who are frustrated that our legislatures, whether federal, state, or local just can’t get it together to work for the health and welfare of this nation and its PEOPLE

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  5. Anderson says:

    California’s problems represent a micro of DC’s macro problems. For any Obama lovers on this thread, let’s look at the record:

    His administration specifically told the public that his Unaffordable “ObamaCare” was NOT a tax, but then reversed itself and claimed it WAS a tax when challenged in the courts.

    He attacks “the rich” as not paying their fair share, but personally holds millions of dollars in US Treasurys. If he cares so much about wealth redistribution and is a millionaire already, how about donating his salary as President to reduce poverty?

    Voting FOR someone because they are black is just as racist as voting AGAINST someone because they are black.

    His attorney general, Eric Holder, has clearly demonstrated racist, anti-white beliefs, along with misplaced priorities, while also being soft on terror suspects. Perhaps the worst ever AG.

    Who doubts drone-king Obama holds the world-record for the most people killed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner? Not that it’s a bad thing, but hypocritical to say the least.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  6. Skippy says:

    Our Observer is playing with fire.
    When union thugs and rent-a-mobs assaulted Wisconsin, conservatives remained law-abiding.
    What are the chances they may not be so polite the next time communist agitators and traitors attempt to hijack our Republic by force?
    It’s not 1969 anymore, and the silent majority of conservative patriots are no longer silent.
    Be careful what you wish for; civil unrest can get out of hand, and fast.
    Are you sure you want to make this fight physical?

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  7. TheObserver says:

    @ bear:

    First, I don’t understand the question exactly. Why do you think people should reveal this information and why would others want to know it?

    Second, shouldn’t you go first if you want to know about us?

    Third, I’m not a property or land owner if that is what you’re getting at.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  8. Jim says:

    @TheObserver

    Forget about the labels for a minute and do a little research, he is not a war mongerer and is a bit (shock and horror) like Woolsey in that respect.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. bear says:

    Everybody is here. Great!

    Please reveal, in a general way, what your financial interests are.

    Don’t just vent. Explain to the rest of us where your financial interests lie?

    Just a pun, but a real question.

    Got the honesty to answer?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  10. TheObserver says:

    @ Mockingbird:

    I very much agree with you this time as well. The rich have no idea what they are tampering with. If they got a teeny bit scared when Union members filled the halls of the Wisconsin and Ohio legislatures and refused to leave, that was a very small taste of what can happen.

    Unions, as you know, will get very aggressive when they have to. Generally, I applaud them for that and while you and I disagree about the Neville thing, I think we both agree on many things: mainly, that a civilized nation takes care of the “unproductive”
    - children, the elderly, the poor, and the disabled.

    Sure, moderate borrowing is okay. But you hit the nail when you said that the conspiracy is to borrow us into oblivion and then dismantle government, blaming it for the expense when the real cause is the permafrost of debt we have to pay back for useless wars on money we borrowed from china.

    And, I’m sorry but I do believe Obama is an idiot. He sold out to Wall Street and the military/industrial complex a long time ago. He’s the world’s biggest disappointment in my book.

    I just don’t think that these right wingers have any idea how easily this country could descend into chaos without economic justice. I find it very difficult to believe that they can’t see this borrow/spend habit that their heroes indulge in year after year. The reason the Democrats go along with it is that they are politically impotent and too diverse in their opinions.

    Capitalism must be tempered by strong regulation and then blended with socialism in the manner of FDR (New Deal) and Lyndon Johnson (Great Society). Between WWII and the election of Richard Nixon, our nation was TRULY great. I think Jerry Brown would be another FDR/LBJ if he were president.

    But if you dismantle all regulation and shut down goverment programs, as we’re seeing, you risk serious trouble with the population.

    Politically, I believe our elected representatives have actually given up on the country and are just playing a tactical game of self-aggrandizement because they see the nation becoming second rate (thanks to every republican since that Satan Ronald Reagan).

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  11. Anderson says:

    @Observer

    At least we can both agree that Obama is an idiot. I actually voted for Jerry Brown in times past before I woke up to reality. Which is what he faces today.

    As bad as Arnold was, blaming him alone for the California economy while giving the true culprits – the Democrat controlled legislature – a pass reveals a lack of objective observation on your part. These clowns have been driving the bus for decades, and the state been on the expressway to fiscal ruin for a long time. And, really, there was little about Arnold that was conservative or showed common sense.

    Unfortunately, all the Sonoma County donkeys will line up in 2012 to vote again for the liar Obama and anyone with a D behind their name even if they have nothing between their ears.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  12. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    To the observer-I guess when we’re not bantying about on Neville we agree on some things.
    Except you should go to the polls and vote anyway. I work the polls and the Republicans always vote. It’s the progressives who stay away out of laziness or to make a statement. The only statement you make is the willingness to give up one of your constitutional rights.

    As much as I’d like to see Brown as President I think we need him here. It is irony that he is a fiscal conservative AND a progressive. His age is against him-he’s been there and done that. But he has integrity and he’s honest and that’s rare in a politician. He deserves respect. And he’s right about needing both cuts AND taxes to pull us out of this depressive state.

    Republicans only like small government for the masses therefore cutting services. They like big government for the rich-subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes, tax shelters, deregulation all known as welfare for the rich. They like to control us “morally” as well. It gripes me that Michelle Bachmann collects farm subsidies but sees nothing wrong with taking away safety nets for the poor and middleclass.

    What the Republicans don’t care about but is important is that a civilized society takes care of it’s own. They borrow to run of the deficit in order to claim that is social services programs and entitlement programs that are bleeding this country dry. It’s a conspiracy since Reagan was president. So borrowers and spenders they are.

    There has to be a balance between businesses and WE THE PEOPLE. Sound capitalism is a partnership between workers and businesses where both get their needs met. Workers are no longer considered ASSETS as they once were. Corporations now spend billions to buy our federal and local elections and on lobbying. Democracy is for the people, we vote but get no representation these days. This country has become a Plutocracy.

    People don’t understand that there is nothing wrong with borrowing within reason. During times of need it goes up and gets paid for when the economy improves. It’s okay to spend money on job creation, even borrowed money because it stimulates the local economies. The rich should pay more as they use more services-military to protect their interests overseas, our infrastructure, our educated workers and so on.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  13. TheObserver says:

    @ jim:

    Isn’t Ron Paul actually a Libertarian? Libertarians are even bigger crackpots than republicans.

    However, I do believe that if Paul were elected president, the budget would be balanced in a month because ALL government services and regulatory agencies would be shut down. He’d spend only on the military and the courts.

    Then you people would have your wish and the poor, who are always used by you, will revolt and we could have our own version of “The Terror” of the French Revolution on our hands.

    You people have no idea how fragile society actually is. Large numbers of people have had it with watching republican fat cats get fatter and laugh at us as we struggle. Go count your money big shots…it will be worth ZERO someday soon.

    Enjoy that…I’m leaving.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

  14. Fiscal Conservative says:

    I am inpressed so far with Jerry Brown this second time around. He has a very difficult position to be in. This State is beyond broke.

    Jim brings up Ron Paul..
    Ron Paul is not a feel good, love to watch him on TV, stir the blood, emotional speaker.

    Ron Paul has a great reputation for being honest and fair.
    He has some very good answers to our poroblems in this Country.

    These include ending both wars, re-industrializing our nation, putting Americans back to work,a plan to eliminate our debt and following our constitution.

    It’s worth it to take a look at his website.

    Ron Paul is somewhat of an outcast in the Republican party. I think that is a good thing. The last thing we need is a Bush clone.

    I also hope that Democrats are looking at some moterate fiscal minded candidates for 2016.

    What I will be voting for is good Americans who love this Country, it’s constitution and want to rebuild it back to a free prospurous Nation. I could care less if the box has a D,R or I in it.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  15. Jim says:

    @TheObserver

    Not that you will change your mind, but Dr. Ron Paul (R Texas) would be the exception.

    If you have any doubts his on the record votes cast in Congress speak for themself.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  16. TheObserver says:

    @ the juice is loose:

    Um, isn’t that imbecile the Governator who just left in disgrace a republican? Wasn’t it his stupid, stupid, stupid handling of the California economy that brought us down?

    And, isn’t his replacement Jerry Brown (a fiscal conservative and smart guy) a Democrat? That is my observation.

    My point was that repugnicans started all this borrow and spend crap long ago and that generally, Democrats tax and spend, remember? which, while enraging those who hate paying taxes, does in fact keep a government solvent. But I admit that even Democrats can get caught up in the repugnican fiscal methods.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  17. TheObserver says:

    @ Anderson:

    Obama is definitely an idiot. He’s taken up the mantle of the Master Fool George Bush and is running with it. I’m very disappointed in Obama and may abstain from voting in the next election because of his lies.

    But common…republicans? They’re just plain stupid. Look at the absolute CLOWNS they put up as viable candidates for president. Collectively, they can’t amass an IQ of 100.

    Repugnicans love to borrow…and it turns out that they spend no less than Democrats and that most of them (republicans) love big government.

    So I guess you and I could agree that Jerry Brown should run for President? I’m all for that!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  18. Michael Sheehan says:

    This column would have more credibility if it had addressed:

    1) the political fraud and corruption in Sacramento that wastes literally billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

    Taxpayers spend tens of billions of dollars annually on education, the sick and the elderly, so to suggest that hard-working Californians have neglected these groups is absurd.

    2) Billions of dollars are spent/wasted on educating, providing medical care, and incarcerating illegal immigrants, people (or their parents) who broke the law, but still expect freebies.

    3) Government routinely causes problems, in many ways promotes oppression, and is rarely the solution.

    The stimulus bill of 2009 is a prime example. Two economists released a report this week detailing how the nearly $900 billion in taxpayer dollars was used to create or save 450,000 government jobs, but actually destroyed or forestalled 1 million private sector jobs, a net loss of 550,000 jobs. The billions were NOT used for so-called “shovel-ready jobs” which actually never existed, but instead the state and local bureaucrats and unions received the largesse forcibly taken from John Q Taxpayer.

    Journalists and citizens alike must face reality – DC and California politicians are helping to destroy this state, but California voters have allowed it to happen by electing self-serving scumbags.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  19. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Oops…didn’t spell oppression right. Never liked that word.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. Fiscal Conservative says:

    Wow…
    Social Dis-ease hit the nail right on the head!

    People are seeing what is happening.

    We are in a time of rebuilding our State and Nation. We need to learn what happened, the whole picture, and move forward.

    China and the Soviet union have both said that the reason they never went further in the Korean,Viet Nam or Cold wars was due to the industrial capability of the United States.

    The removal of our industries and the abilities to use our natural recources is nothing more than a cold war tactic.
    Some call it ‘the war within’.

    Some folks want to slam Golis here for being a progressive left winger. Look at the polls, he was not alone. Where is he today, like most of us he is taking a look at the carnage and asking honest questions.

    The deeper we get, the more the left and right will move to the center for the good of our State and Nation.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. Anderson says:

    @ Observer – Even the stupidist individual knows that regardless of income, if you continue to borrow and spend, you’ll end up broke.

    How incredibly stupid does that make Obama? He continues to borrow and spend (like the California Democrats), and pretend the country is not headed over a financial cliff. At least Brown recognizes a problem exists, unlike the Pretender-in-Chief who borrows trillions.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  22. Social Dis-Ease says:

    What will become of California? Well, the open our borders thing. The spending money we don’t have thing. The over regulation of property owners, small business owners, agriculture thing, the public/private partnership thing, the contrived lack thing, the DELIBERATE IMPOVERISHMENT of our municipalities thing, the incremental erosion of our Civil Rights thing, the exporting of our jobs thing, the corporate relationship of profit that is our medical machine. The orchestrated demise being portrayed as a failed Democratic ‘process’. It’s ALL THE SAME THING! If you tell the same lie(s) enough times, reiterated over and over. If you do it INCREMENTALLY. A few can control the many. WE unfortunatly are the cutting edge leader in Agenda 21 social engineering. Why? Probably the main reason is, if they can do it here-they can do it anywhere. The demographic here will be sympathetic to Mother Earth being used as an instrument of oppresion. More to take. The tradition of emulating California as a leader. We will witness an unpresidented culmination of events very soon(we already are). What will happen? It depends on the consciousness of the people. Right now the masks are falling, we know something isn’t right. The oppressors are unified. We are not. We must manifest OUR highest good. Greed and evil has no end. It has a beginning, a middle. THEY ARE PRODUCING OUR MOVIE. If you like happy endings, stop watching. The oppresion and the consciousness are in a race. A healthy society isn’t a spectator sport. US…we have a bigger team. I like our movies better.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. Skippy says:

    California is the poster child of failed states. Nothing short of bankruptcy or revolution will stop it from cratering very soon.
    It is encouraging to see the brick wall fast approaching the windshield.
    It means the end of Democrat-controlled fiscal insanity.
    Crackheads have nothing on these tax-and-spend junkies.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  24. On To Truth & Justice says:

    The answer to the question, ” What will become of California?”

    It is going to the ash heap of history just like the Soviet Union, Cuba and the other Marxists regimes.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

  25. the juice is loose says:

    The observer said
    “This is the natural result of a borrow and spend policy that republicans have lived by since Ronald Reagan. ”

    Just who do you think runs the state??? what the heck have you been observing???

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

  26. the juice is loose says:

    “what will become of California?”

    …ever been to Tijuana???

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  27. TheObserver says:

    I’m cut/pasting from a post I wrote a few days ago related to another opinion piece:

    It is amazing what a trailer park California has turned into. Eight California cities listed in the top 20 “most miserable” and four of them made the top five (Forbes magazine ranking).

    This is the natural result of a borrow and spend policy that republicans have lived by since Ronald Reagan.

    Even the stupidist individual knows that regardless of income, if you continue to borrow and spend, you’ll end up broke.
    Our nation expects us to stay out of debt and pay our taxes, while it parties on a dime supplied by CHINA. We’re idiots…we deserve whatever misery comes our way.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 16

  28. GreedBreeds says:

    @truth in law

    You know how ignorant that sounds? Its not in our country’s best interest to deport illegals. Your tax dollars are used to keep them locked up so that our government’s criminal friends who built those prisons can make the $.

    Now you see the big picture? It’s people like you who make it easier for these snakes to build their walls (failed) and lobby for laws that further criminalize illegal immigration. Its like the war on drugs sir, more criminalization, more failure, bigger profits.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 12

  29. Common Sense says:

    This is just more of the same, we need more taxes and cuts to “balance” the budget. Really?? I’d like to see the facts, the specific numbers and all supporting data for this position. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same political BS. Look at the budgets, current and past. We spend a vast majority of money on education, social welfare and entitlements (together they account for well over half of our annual budgets) and we’ve been spending the vast majority of our state revenue on them for decades. Yet, we have the some of the highest unemployment, poorest student performances and the highest number welfare recipients in the country. We have more schools per district then any other state that I can find.
    Golis is right about one thing, we need to pay more attention and start asking questions and using our vote to clean Sacramento and Washington of professional politicians. When the goal is another term, the real busisness of government takes a back seat.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  30. Reality Check says:

    Well, the building industry sure is one more special interest group looking out for itself. But I’d look first at redevelopment agencies for the best examples of the symbiotic relationship between builders and government.

    Given our deteriorating roads and continuing failure to upgrade our water delivery system, that’s not an area where they’ve been particularly successful.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  31. John Hudson says:

    The most powerful special interest group in California is the building industry. In 2006 the building industry got Schwarzenegger to front for a total of about $80 Billion in bond measures for more road water projects to accommodate all the houses they want to over build. Environmentalists, teachers, even the prison guards cannot compare.

    The building industry just got the Rohnert Park city council to attempt to cancel the Measure L election result that cut off the funding for the east side sewer line, needed for the thousands of houses developers want to build on the east side of RP. Measure L was opposed by developers and loved by the people. The RP city council took the side of the developers. The RP city council also gave Codding $1 million in redevelopment money that should have been used to make physical improvements to the neighborhoods declared to be blighted in order to create the redevelopment agency.

    Special interests? The building industry is the biggest welfare recipient in California!

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 19

  32. Pearl Alquileres says:

    “Limiting the damage inflicted on students, the aged and the sick” …is NOT how you get voters to agree to more TAXES!!
    You must punish the voters by making the cuts that hurt most FIRST, ignoring all the true waste in GOVERNMENT in order to keep it.
    WE CAN’T KEEP FALLING FOR THIS TIRED OLD POLITICAL TRICK!
    Let them cut funding for “students, the aged and the sick”! Go ahead… I DARE YOU! Only THEN will the ugly truth be exposed.
    While we waste MILLIONS on pet projects & union pay-offs. Opulent new high tech buildings to house GOVERNMENT agencies created to “take care of us”. State vehicles that NOBODY can account for, rigged contracts to keep the campaign dollars flowing and on & on…
    Have to “close the parks”?
    Well maybe we shouldn’t have built them in the 1st place! Did it ever occur to anyone that PARKS REQUIRE MAINTENANCE?!! Smart trains require maintenance?!! The bureaucracies in place to maintain all this requires maintenance??!!
    Go ahead, cut, cut, cut! And once you’ve cut away all the muscle all that will be left is the FAT!
    THEN WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
    Oh yeah… that’s right, you’ll be RETIRED on your ranch in Montana by then collecting your FAT STATE pension!
    WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 9

  33. Sarky Fish says:

    Let’s be clear: Pete Golis is a left wing progressive who, for decades, has poorly played the role of a moderate while at the same time editorially supporting every insane political or social program put forth by California Democrats; labor unions; serial, social activists and whatever compliant Republican they could round up to stick their snouts into their collective, Sacramento piggy trough. Now, Golis woefully decries the decline of California without, once again, looking into his own mirror. Cunning deliberateness or self-delusion is no excuse for the role that the print media has played in the burgeoning California nightmare.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 11

  34. truth in law says:

    If we hold each person accountable for their uses and give welfare to none perhaps we can reclaim our state. NO TAX BREAKS for the rich, NO WELFARE CHECKS for the poor. Oh, and ENFORCE imigration law. Maybe charge the country of origin for the costs of incarcerating their criminal element here or giving medical aid to their people who find themselves in our hospitals. Those people have no problem sending money south, maybe we need to send their unpaid bills south too!

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  35. bear says:

    What a crew! Why not start your own state?

    Don’t like illegal immigrants? Require everyone to verify citizenship before hiring. Of course, this might eliminate the slave labor force – including vineyard and winery workers in Sonomna County. Might make it tough for fast food joints, too.

    Pay your taxes. How many here cheat?

    Better yet, pay to have the tax codes enforced.

    Make the oil companies pay for the natural resources they profit from. Oil welfare is the biggest revenue problem.

    Don’t vote for big business sell-outs. Unless, of course, their profits benefit you.

    Disavow Social Security and Medicare for you and your families. If you’re the majority, why wait?

    Cut the defense budget in half. What are we defending against? It took a guy named Obama to take care of your little Osama problem. In two years instead of 9. You might have saved a few trillion dollars by voting for the other party?

    Bill Clinton left a balanced federal budget. You folks shredded it for your own profit? Or for the profit of others?
    As a direct result, we have a major economic problem. An ideological victory?

    Kinda silly to vote against your own economic interests? We wouldn’t be here without your clear thinking!

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 21

  36. J.R. Wirth says:

    It was never the universities that made CA great. Our colleges, roads, bridges, parks etc., were all the natural outcroppings of a society that once believed in the entrepreneur. This state was built on the backs of the small business owner, who’s back is now broken by taxes and regulations. Mr. Golis, a liberal and wannabe Tom Friedman, would never in a million years understand this.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  37. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Skippy – “At the core, the welfare-state mentality and sense of entitlement of far too many Californians needs to be crushed the only way possible. By eliminating the taxpayer support of millions who will not work, we will be able to afford to assist those deserving few who cannot work.”

    I’d gladly vote for extending or raising taxes (not for five years though) if the legislature would address and make serious cuts in the entitlement programs for illegal, I mean, ‘undocumented’ immigrants.

    But just a few weeks ago, the legislature wouldn’t even pass a simple bill which would require state and local officials to verify the immigration status of any person who requests any public service.

    http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/04/assembly-panel-kills-two-anti-.html

    Let’s face it: there’s a reason why governor Brown wants to focus cuts on education and closing parks. This way, he gets the public and public employees in an uproar to help pass the increases, but without upsetting the undocumented base that so many politicians want to serve. Who cares about negatively impacting the bulk of the people who actually pay the taxes; what can they do about it, except pay and pay?

    When will politicians step up to the plate and make real cuts where they really belong, and what political base will that be?

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  38. Mike says:

    No mention of Prop. 13. No mention of term limits.

    The problem isn’t “special interests”. We didn’t hear any complaint about that from those with regular access to editorial pages when the state was run by railroads, then agribusiness and timber, then real estate developers. Seems like those “special interests” were just fine.

    The problem is that Prop. 13 torpedoed the state’s capacity to generate revenue to serve its rapidly climbing population (while letting corporate property owners off scot-free), and that with term limits, we get decision makers who barely have time to figure out how to deal with the complexities of the state before they’re bounced out again.

    Tut-tutting at “the citizens” misses the point.

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  39. David says:

    “In your absence, various special interests have managed to steer the state into the ditch.”

    Public employees unions, teachers unions and open border advocates have all been driving the vehicle that has steered the State into the ditch. You can not continue to raise taxes on the working class to give these groups all of the money they demand. Eventually there will be no one left in California paying taxes.

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  40. GAJ says:

    Mike, read the article from today’s Chronicle that shows special interests, and their political allies, in their full selfish glory:

    “Teacher’s pets: A bill to allow school districts to use performance rather than seniority as a criterion for laying off teachers died an interesting death in committee this past week.

    The bill by state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), needed six votes to go forward. It got three – Huff’s and those of fellow Republicans Sam Blakeslee and Sharon Runner.

    Democrats Juan Vargas and Elaine Alquist voted “no” – with fellow Democrats Alan Lowenthal, Loni Hancock, Carol Liu, Joe Simitian and Curren Price taking a duck and not voting at all.

    California Teachers Association members packed the hearing room to voice their opposition. Not that they had to – a check of campaign records by the nonpartisan watchdog group MapLight.org shows that, collectively, Democrats on the committee received $176,200 from the two largest teachers unions since 2004.

    Republicans got zippo.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/14/Po821JG2SE.DTL#ixzz1MS7KlrGG

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  41. Mike says:

    Sacramento is unfixable. Why because special interests run the place through their puppets, the governor and state legislator. The state has been going down the socialist golden path to destruction for so long it is too late to turn the Titanic around.

    The public sector unions, the enviromentalists, the antigrowth and welfare lobby have had their way and want with this beautiful state for far too long. There is too much business regulation, all done of course in the public interest, which has driven business out of the state. They have taken the jobs, taxes and growth with them to Texas, North Carolina and other countries where the business climate is much better for growth and development.

    California has ignored the illegal alien problem which is changing the society and culture of the state. If you doubt it check out the public schools, the San Joaquin Valley and the City of Angels south of here.

    These are some of the reasons many Californians no longer see this place as the land of opportunity and many are leaving the state to find opportunity in places that encourage, it not discourage it.

    To fix it will require an overhaul of the California state government starting with ending term limits and ending the total influence special interests have in Sacramento. Californians will also have to hold elected representative accountable for how they vote. None of this is happening now and needs to be turned around. This is only a start on a long journey of redemption and getting the state back on track.

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  42. Dan Delgado says:

    I read Michael Allen’s Facebook posts and cringe. If he’s not slamming the Republicans, he’s praising the Democrats. I don’t mean this as a slam on Allen because his Republican counterparts are doing the same thing, in reverse order of course. But this is an example of the blatant partisanship that has driven us into the ditch, as Pete says. This is also why I’m so adamant against extending or increasing taxes. As painful as it will be, I see no other options but to starve this beast into submission.

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  43. Skippy says:

    The California Dream can be restored, but it will take a complete reversal of many currently accepted realities.
    Among these are the idea that the state can fix anything related to our economic health, other than to get out of our way.
    Another would be that the state can support millions of illegal alien invaders and still be considered something other than a failed socialist third-world cesspool.
    One more that must die quickly would be the notion that the government is more important than the citizens. Don’t make us go all French Revolution on you. We will.
    At the core, the welfare-state mentality and sense of entitlement of far too many Californians needs to be crushed the only way possible. By eliminating the taxpayer support of millions who will not work, we will be able to afford to assist those deserving few who cannot work.
    For the truly in need, we must never waver or waffle. They are the weakest and most vulnerable; our parents and children. They will have all they need once the freeloaders and invaders are dealt with.
    Truly, California is the Golden State.
    We must manage it like adults, not as spoiled entitled children.

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