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Temple of Doom takes $2B away & gives us 17,000 convicts in return

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POSTED September 13, 2009 1:17 a.m.
In a twist on standard benevolence from those in a superior position the California Legislature taketh away and the California Legislature giveth.

You can thank the 119 opportunists remaining in Sacramento after the departure of the big talking Orange County Assemblyman Mike Duvall who got spanked with his own ego for taking away $2 billion in local property taxes this year that are crippling public safety up and down California. In Manteca’s case, police officers will either have to vote amongst themselves to get rid of 16 of their colleagues – with four coming back when federal stimulus funds arrive- or all take a real hit in take home pay of around $3,400 annually for at least the next two years. The $2 billion the legislature pilfered is being used in part to give members of the legislative staff pay raises. The rational is they are working so hard in these stressful times. Someone should put them in a patrol car in South Stockton at 3 a.m. Maybe that will help lower their stress levels.

But don’t think the politicians are simply paying Robin Hood in reverse. They are giving all of us who reside outside the Temple of Doom – aka the state capitol – 17,000 convicts.

Yes, we will have the joy and pleasure of 17,000 convicts released ahead of time. Since you practically have to rob a Brink’s armored car any more to get to state prison let alone stay in the county jail longer than it takes police to complete booking paperwork, these people being dumped back on to society early are career criminals.

State Sen. Lois Wolk et al will tell you they had no other choice as it will help save $300 million. To borrow one of the two infamous words uttered by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, that is a “lie.” Wolk and her cohorts could easily have whacked away at the state bureaucracy by ending duplicity between agencies (water policy and regulations is a prime example), streamlining regulations and such but that would require two things – political courage to take on the powerful state employee unions and doing selective surgery on bloated state government instead of patching things.

Beside what would you rather have – 5,000 or so unemployed bureaucrats in Sacramento or 17,000 additional career criminals roaming the streets of California?

The legislature’s move will mean as many as 2,500 convicts on top of those who are already scheduled to be released will be making their way back to San Joaquin County.

Next time someone is trying to break into your house, maybe you should give Wolk a call instead of the police. Of course, it’s not her problem as she believes in local control which freely translates into local control of the expenses and state control of local revenue.

 Wolk – and many other elected leaders who voted to release prisoners and who also voted for the budget package that ripped off local government once again – are for the most part nice people. You probably embrace many of Wolk’s positions like I do. However, this one crossed the line.

The legislature once again has taken the easy way out and delayed the real work that is needed – overhauling state government.

Local governments and their employees are all well aware that if they survive the current budget adjustments come six months from now they may have to revisit the issue and lay off more workers or ask them to take more cuts.

One hopes it won’t happen but rest assured the state’s track record is clear, If the deficit grows again, they will be back like mosquitoes on a muggy summer night trying to suck all of the lifeblood out of local government so the state bureaucracy can thrive by getting its fill of all the money it needs to continue rolling along doing business as usual.

All of us - including local municipal employees – are doing things differently today to survive. Too bad the state isn’t.

Then again, what do you expect from those who are under the intoxicating influence of lobbyists day in and day out.

It is time to pull the plug on a full-time California Legislature and get this state back to basics.
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