Tuesday, December 15, 2009

California's State Legislators Feel The Sting Of Our Disapproval

On the Sacramento Bee "Capitol Alert" website there is some distressing news for those toiling long and hard in our State Legislature. As most of us know by now, their efforts are not held in very high regard by the voters these days. But are you also aware that the reputations of our Legislators has fallen so low that many citizens in California now believe that their finances could be better handled by Britney Spears?

Here is how The Bee breaks it down:

Britney Spears: a budget guru the public can count on? Now here's one way to measure the public's faith in their elected officials. Californians would just as soon allow the meltdown-prone pop princess Britney Spears to run their family budget as they would leave their finances in the hands of their state legislators, according to a new poll ... Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would opt to have the Legislature manage their money, with 31 percent preferring to put Ms. Spears in charge. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed either didn't know or refused to answer the question.

Certainly puts a light perspective on an otherwise grim subject. So who was behind this novel survey?

The poll, conducted by Wilson Research, was commissioned by Philip Tirone, a Los Angeles-based mortgage broker. Tirone has launched a campaign dubbed "No to Sacramento" to try to get lawmakers to repeal the temporary 10 percent increase in personal income tax withholding that was approved as part of the July budget revision ...

Now perhaps you find this amusing, and then again maybe you don't. But have you ever taken a moment to stop and consider the emotional toll all this accumulating criticism might be taking on the spirits of our elected state officials?

Apparently Jon Coupal, writing for the Fox & Hounds website, has given the matter some thought. And the prognosis is one that I do not think will positively impact the State Legislature's esteem issues. Here is what he reported yesterday:

Sacramento lawmakers are unhappy with their jobs. Recent complaints by members of the legislature include: People don't appreciate them; solving problems is hard work; they don't have the power they think they deserve; their retirement is mandated by term limits; there is no lucrative pension; and their pay is being cut - although they will remain the highest paid lawmakers in all 50 states at nearly $100,000 annually along with a car and another $30,000 a year in tax free expense money ... If lawmakers don't like their jobs, their dissatisfaction is not nearly as strong as that of the general public. The October Field Poll showed the Legislature's approval at a record low 13%.

Now for most folks what is described above is pretty good money. Throw in the car, fun money, plus all those lobbyist generated percs, and you're talking about a fairly privileged life. You'd think that would be enough to help anyone get past any professional slights or criticism they might be experiencing. But apparently those elected to serve in Sacramento view these sorts of things differently, and there are some who are not afraid to let us know that their feelings have been hurt.

"Who wants to grow up and be held in low esteem by 87% of the people and have to deal with the budget and not have a darned thing to say about it," Assemblyman Juan Arambula told the Los Angeles Times.

Considering all of the atrocious decisions that have been made by Legislators such as Juan over the past few years, you'd think he'd have the decency not to whine about any resulting public opinion problems. It leaves the unfortunate impression that he doesn't feel very responsible for much of what has happened to California on his watch.

Did you know that the Washington Post had a pretty significant feature article about our Assemblyman Anthony Adams yesterday? Certainly the biggest shot of national publicity our boy has ever received. The gist of the piece was about the attempt to recall Adams and how this is an indication of what a circular firing squad the Republican Party has become in this state. With Adams playing the victim of circumstance role. You can read the whole thing by clicking here.

But what serves our purposes today is the Post's description of Anthony Adams himself. They don't paint all that flattering a picture.

Anthony Adams looks like somebody's idea of the archetypal citizen politician. Bearded and portly, he favors bulky colorful sweaters to suits and shirts, and discards ties at the first opportunity. At 38, he is not someone with glittering prospects outside of government. He worked in retail sales for a while, hosted a radio show in a small California market, and has failed the California Bar Exam four times. But he found his calling in politics. He served as an aide for a San Bernardino County supervisor for a while before becoming legislative director for the county. He won his Assembly seat in 2006, aided by widespread support from ardent conservatives impressed when he signed a pledge to oppose any tax increases. "I thought it would be a good thing," he recalls.

While I'm not sure it was the intention of the author of this piece, this description certainly does reinforce the impression that we don't exactly send our best and brightest to Sacramento. And I can never figure out why it is just the tax thing that people write about when discussing Adams and his difficulties. Never anything about all of the lobbyist gifts he accepts, or his votes on such things as SB 375. While flip flopping on a tax pledge is a bad thing, in this case it's hardly a unique event.

There is so much more to the dismal picture than that alone.

43 comments:

  1. I don't know about Britney. Didn't we fall for that kind of thing when we elected Arnold?

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  2. $100000 a year is only what we see, don't forget the high pay their wives get for being on a "committee" that meets 4 times a year and pays $100000!

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  3. Yee Haw!
    Sacramento crooks and bums, we're coming after you!

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  4. The taxpayers in this state are pretty much a management issue for Sacramento. They need to feel cared for, but they should never get in the way of the important business of wheeling and dealing with big corporate money and lobbyists.

    California is for sale to the highest bidder. Everything else is just maintenance. Adams and the rest of them are just competing for a place at the dinner table.

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  5. There is a special report on EMINENT DOMAIN
    Government Land Grab?

    Could your property be on their list? It's our eye opening series on 'Special Report'. Today at 3:00 pm Channel 40.

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  6. There is a kind of fruition here of the victim mentality, a harvest of the it's-not-my-fault-it-was-like-this-when-I-got-here, that SCAG has done such a good job of representing. When did politics become the arena for the immature and irresponsible? And why do we pay them so much?

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  7. Sounds like the ultimate in victim culture mentality. When those we empower to make significant change claim they are victims, then the pony cart is off the track and heading for the cliff.

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  8. Looks like there will be a measure on the ballot in 2010 to "legalize, tax and regulate" marijuana. A shame, really. One of the last great remaining free markets will now fall under the control of Sacramento. I can't even begin to imagine how they'll screw that one up.

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  9. 60 years ago there were a couple of good ideas floating around - use solar energy, and win the war on drugs by legalizing and controlling them.

    I am all for the state getting the taxes from the weed business, just like it does for booze and smokes. It's what is done with the money that we need to reform.

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  10. The Dems have done little to encourage/support qualified candidates to run for statewide office against boobs like Adams.

    Case in point --Kurt Zimmerman. He's a Stanford-educated, former prosecutor. When is the last time you heard about an assembleyman or state senator with those qualifications. I'm guessing never, right?

    The local Dem. party, however, has never done anything to support him and didn't even endorse him the last time he ran for the City Council of Sierra Madre. Instead, they supported and will continue to support (I'm sure) Joe Mosca and John Buchanan.

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  11. Zimmerman's professional accomplishments and education are noteworthy, but he's deserving of our support because of what he has done for Sierra Madre (e.g., balancing the budget and spearheading Measure V).

    Sadly, last time I checked, neither the Democratic or Republican parties were interested in fiscal responsibility or slow growth.

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  12. Democrats and the Republicans are both in the tank for developers and the rest of the big money groups. Their real constituency are the lobbies. Which is why the state is broke, they just can't spend enough to please their friends. If the voters knew anything neither party would be in power right now.

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  13. The special interests that fund California campaigns don't contribute money because someone is smart or ethical, they contribute because a candidate will vote for their interests. They last thing they want are independent thinkers. They want people like Joe Mosca, yes men who couldn't come up with an original idea to save themselves.

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  14. Politics as we know them have turned into boosterism of Babbittry, and nobody is better at it than Joe. Maybe Susan Henderson as a close second.

    But there are honest, good people here and there, and we need to find them and support their participation in the political process.

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  15. politicians are like a "Valley Girl" at the mall with a credit card. Check Steve Lopez's L A Times article about Mark Ridley Thomas's $700,000 office remodel.

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  16. I always like the city hall staff solution to spending. "Well, it's ok, because it isn't general fund money. It came from sacramento!"

    Of course never bothering to think that we pay taxes to those guys, too.

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  17. At least he will have a nicer office, Here in Sierra Madre we spend on Consultants and get what?
    Any one know how many members of the City Managers
    family are consultants?

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  18. Anybody see the stuff flying around today on the PUSD? Apparently the PUSD Board presdient is in a rage over some things that were said in a mass e-mail sent out last week. Anybody know anything about this?

    I mean, who could be angrier than a PUSD chief when somebody is mucking around with one of his fund rasing initiative?

    My question would be did they ever get that money back from the contractors that ripped them off? That's what I want to know.

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  19. There is no doubt that there is a disconnect between the people who spend taxpayers' money, and the taxpayers themselves.

    I want the flat tax,everybody pay 10% of what they earn, and somehow keep the cheaters from stealing too much.But I don't complain about throwing in my share if the money goes to good use.And I do resent it if people who have a lot more than my family and I do don't pay their taxes.

    Listen to the SM city staff talk, they are just way too casual about this one hundred thousand, or that fifty thousand.I wish they would treat out money a little more the way they must treat their own money.

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  20. Isn't it predictable how often it ends up being about money.

    Where are the values of public service, and self restraint?

    The comparisons between modern America and Ancient Rome are very uncomfortable.

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  21. I'd say the parallels between America and fairly recent Rome are stronger. Corporate power aligned with a strong central government.

    With Arnold playing the role of Mussolini.

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  22. Spooky 4:06.

    In our case, who are the barbarian hoards? Religious fundamentalists and global businesses?

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  23. Old timer @11:27, you're way off the mark if you think legalizing drugs is the way to control them. We'll just end up with more addicts and more criminals than we have now. And that really would make us just like ancient Rome, where anything goes was the motto, and people were crazy.

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  24. Intricate electronic devices that hold the populace in thrall. All made by people who live on less than $250 a month.

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  25. Better the pot trade stay out of the hands of Sacramento. They might use it as an inducement to buy lottery tickets.

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  26. Anonymous @4:00, I completely agree with your description of the way city staff throws around our money.
    They just seem to say "Whatever" and shrug.
    They act like it isn't real money.

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  27. I ahve a question. If this pot question wins, will I be abvle to buy it at the Bottle Shop?

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  28. 4:25, maybe the pot will slow you down enough to use spell check.
    Hey Charley, have you found out more about the PUSD? Do you know where can we see the email?

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  29. Legal pot would require that the city allow for the establishment of places for people to enjoy it. Do you think it would be possible to turn the Skilled Nursing Facility in a hookah lounge? I think it would be a very popular attraction for the city.

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  30. Can't you just see the chamber and civic clubs rallying behind the loadeesThe DSP morphs into the Dopers Special Palace.Come to SM, get wasted, and buy lots of snacks.

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  31. Maybe they could grow the world's biggest flowering pot plant.

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  32. DSP - Dopers' Specific Plan

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  33. Dunces Smoke Pot?

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  34. Speaking of dunces, that;s quite a picture of Ms. Spears, Sir Eric. Didn't want to use the crazy crack-up ones, the bald beauty ones?

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  35. Will the city need to update the sidewalk smoking ordinace? Think of the can of worms that could open.

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  36. Oh no! Wouldn't it bring the cigarette kids back into the fray?
    Right, they didn't like being called the cigarette kids.
    The ACLU lets? But that' demeaning to the ACLU.
    The serious young smokers, the SYS for the DSP.

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  37. To heck with the Bottle Shop. I'm going to open a store that specializes in all things weed. I'll call it Humbolt Harry's. Our customers will be very laid back and law abiding, this I can promise.

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  38. Been there, done thatDecember 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    Too stoned to move?

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  39. It's spelled "Humboldt," potato head.

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  40. The SNF is perfect. As an almost senior citizen I cannot imagine a better way to live out the golden years...stoned and listening to classic rock.

    On another more serious note, our lovely city hall employees do keep popping up on this blog and their lack of interest in SM and taking a salary and spending our money. Are we ever going to get rid of some of them? I thought we did not have any money and we do not need all those people sitting around twiddling their fingers at our expense...we complain but nothing is done.

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  41. Thoughtful actions begin with discussions.

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  42. ... and then when people get bored with that we have a rip-roaring election.

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  43. Hey, you guys are in top form tonight

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