Willie L. Pelote, Sr. is an Assistant Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO.



An Open Letter to Jerry Brown

As Sacramento prepares to inaugurate Governor-elect Jerry Brown next month, much of the focus has been on the state’s looming budget deficit and how the legislature and Brown plan to bridge that gap.

For years now, Californians have been told that we must choose between cutting public services and public service employees or budget armageddon. However, this is a false choice that has been driven more by political rhetoric than economic reality, as the Wall Street Journal has observed. What we must bear in mind, instead, is that there is a direct relationship between California’s quality of life and the quality of its public services and the people who provide those services.

Cut Budgets From The Top, Not Bottom

The recent controversy over the intriguingly high salaries of three public officials in the City of Bell should serve as a template for all budget negotiations throughout the state going forward and into the future.

Every time a budget deficit appears, it is always the lowest paid and most vulnerable citizens who are asked to sacrifice.

The furor over the salaries that public officials in the City of Bell have been paying themselves shows that in all matters regarding city, county, and state budgets, we must cut from the top.

Marcher Irene Gonzalez Revisits Childhood in Atwater & Livingston

Update from the March for California's Future

Los Angeles probation officer and Central Vally émigré Irene Gonzalez revisited parts of her childhood when the March for California’s Future reached Atwater and Livingston this past weekend.

As a child, Gonzalez cycled between various foster homes in the Central Valley before finding a permanent home in the town of Atwater. Her foster parents also ran a flower shop in Livingston called Rose’s Flowers, which has long since disappeared, another casualty on the long list of small businesses that have fallen victim to the practice of subsidizing the operations of large companies like Wal-Mart through unnecessary tax credits.