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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The governor of California calls it ďreform.Ē He says the voters have to ďreformĒ the state government by passing a series of initiatives that he couldnít bully or con the legislature into voting for. Most of the measures on the ballot are pro-Arnold, pro-rich corporate executive, anti-poor dumb slob watching the World Series on a five-year-old non-HD TV set. The governor wants to take care of his friends, and he thinks the rest of us will jump at the chance to sign up.

Take Proposition 75, for example. Please. This one is called, ďPublic Employee Union Dues. Restrictions on Political Contributions. Employee Consent Requirement.Ē Yes, thatís right, heís trying to gut the power of the unions by forcing them to go to their membership any time they want to try to promote favorable legislation (or oppose unfavorable legislation, for that matter).

This is not only contrary to the spirit of the labor movement, but itís patently unfair, because it hands more political power over to the corporations. Really, more than they already have. Do they have to get shareholder consent to spend money to further their agenda? I think not.

And once again, this is an attack on teachers and other public employees (including nurses, police officers and firefighters), whose ability to respond to harmful legislation would be severely curtailed. Itís typical Arnold, though, a bad idea couched in deceptive wording.

In his continuing attack on public education, Arnold gives us Proposition 76, ďState Spending and School Funding Limits.Ē This one not only cuts school funding, but it also gives the governor unlimited power to cut it further, even beyond what the legislature appropriates. It also reduces state spending on police, fire fighting and health care, using a sort of arbitrary formula to stop funding from keeping up with costs.

I wonder if the Republicans will still want the governor to have the power to make final spending decisions, once they are out of power and the Democrats control the state house. I wonder if they really believe that our schools will be better off with Arnold in charge of the purse strings. I wonder whoís trying to con whom with this measure.

If anything, Proposition 76 would put more of a burden on city and county governments to take up the slack, meaning the discrepancy between rich and poor school districts, which state funding is supposed to alleviate, will actually be exacerbated.

16 October 2005

Garden trees.

Guess what. There are still four more state propositions left to think about. So far I havenít had any trouble making up my mind how to vote on any of the ones Iíve studied. Those Iíve looked at have been part of the governorís ďreformĒ package, and I donít think ďreformĒ means anything unless it makes things better for the average citizen. To ďreformĒ a system so that it favors the powers that be even more than it does already isnít reform. Itís abuse, itís cheating, itís an insult to the nature of representative government.

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Gee, I bet it was getting a little chilly by 1:00 am in Houston, when the Astros and White Sox were playing the fourteenth inning of game three of the World Series. Maybe they should have closed the roof. The Astros canít say they didnít have a lot of chances to win the game, from the eighth inning on, but they couldnít get the hit that cashed in. I donít want to brag, but as soon as I heard that Geoff Blum was going to pinch hit for the White Sox in the fourteenth, I said, ďHeís going to win the game.Ē Iíve seen him do it too many times to the Giants, donít you know. And he did win it, with a two-out home run that touched off a mini-rally, leading to a 7-5 win that gave the White Sox an insurmountable (trust me) 3-0 lead in the Series. Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager, had said that the team that got the most two-out hits would win, and he was right.

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