Rants & Raves for the Week of January 10th, 2011
State Senator Bob Huff said this week that the GOP wouldn’t offer an alternative to Gov. Brown’s budget proposal because they didn’t want to be seen as “the bad guys.” Well, that’s helpful. If the GOP wants to continue to be the party of “No” the least they could do is offer something constructive to the debate. Huff signaled that even that modest goal seems to be out of his party’s reach.
Republican State Senator Doug La Malfa is on a mission. Unfortunately, La Malfa’s mission is to destroy jobs. He’s become a vocal critic of California High-Speed Rail, which would create as many as a half-million jobs statewide and provide a major boost to struggling businesses and communities. La Malfa even introduced legislation (SB 22) to cut funding to HSR. In case you have noticed, Senator, we need to create jobs, not kill them.
Banks are expected to repossess more homes this year than any year since the meltdown began in 2006. Last year, one million homes were lost to foreclosures, and this year, RealtyTrac is projecting the loss of 1.2 million. If only the state Legislature had done the right thing and passed SB 1275 last year, it would have stopped foreclosures on those who are in the loan modification process, and could have saved countless families from losing their homes. But of course, the Wall Street Republicans stymied this common-sense legislation.
For decades, the GOP has labeled themselves the party of state’s rights and local control. Now, as states and cities battered the national economic crisis and the ongoing foreclosure free-fall seek federal aid, the Congressional Republicans are refusing to grant aid. Apparently Wall Street and the banks that were so central in our economic collapse deserved a bailout, while the cities, counties, and states that educate our kids, keep our streets safe, and provide care to the needy do not.
Remember Schwarzenegger's controversial plan to sell 11 state-owned office complexes, gouging taxpayers for an estimated $6 billion over the next few decades in exchange for $1.3 billion right now? Well, the shady investors behind the mess continue to get shadier, as more and more of them jump ship or claim no involvement with the sale. Not that we blame them — a deal this bad is definitely worth running from.
In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy in Arizona, the country needed to heal and find a pathway to move forward. President Obama provided such an opportunity with his poignant and moving address in Tucson. The President put politics aside while focusing on the lives of the victims and the responsibility all of us have to live up to the Democracy they believed in. Well said, Mr. President.
It took less than a week for new Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to go after the big health insurance companies that are gouging consumers with premium increases. Even though Jones has limited authority on regulating insurance companies, he put Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and others on notice that he’ll fight arbitrary increases that hurt struggling families in this Recession. While Jones isn’t making many friends in Big Insurance, he’s signaling to the rest of us that there’s a new insurance sheriff in town who’s on our side. Good news, indeed.
Paul Krugman’s can’t-miss column over the weekend debunked the myth of the “Texas miracle” we heard so many conservatives touting. Turns out, the Texas economy isn’t a conservative miracle at all…more like a disaster. Maybe if Meg Whitman had it to do all over again, she wouldn’t take every opportunity she could to say California needed to be more like Texas. Fortunately, she doesn’t have a do-over. We don’t think we could stand another eight months of Meg’s ads.
Good news for California’s public school children came this week from Governor Brown's new appointees to the state Board of Education, who announced a delay in implementing the most controversial and counter-productive provision of last year's Race to the Top legislation. Finally, a state Board of Education that is actually taking the time to really look at what benefits our kids, not just promote charter schools or punish school employees.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: You still inspire us every day. Happy early MLK Day everyone!