Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dear CA Legislator: No Paycheck For Services NOT Rendered

Every year, as the heat of July approaches, like clockwork, I start to twitch. Then as July turns to August, I start to breathe heavily with annoyance. And, then as August starts to approach September, then I blow in indignation! E-V-E-R-Y single year.

What causes such a palatable disruption in the force of my sanity, you ask? The inability of the California State Legislators to pass a budget, expediently, let alone on time. The prancing, the dancing, and the grandstanding, while people suffer the whims of whatever political party happens to hold sway, never fails to send me into a world class adult temper tantrum to rival those of my toddler son.

This year, added torture has been heaped upon Californians, as the Governor and the State Controller duke it out over executing an immediate pay cut to thousands of state employees to minimum wage. Meanwhile, programs that depend on state funding, such as critical daycare programs are forced to go into personal debt while they wait for their funding to be restored, and scrimp on what they feed those in their care, to continue to serve those families that so desperately need affordable and accessible programs.

Now, members of the Democratic party propose sending a measure to the voters by 2010 to require merely a simple majority to pass the budget in the future, as opposed to the two-thirds it requires now. Democratic Assemblyman Sandre Swanson argues that this is needed to "strip the minority party of what he calls its out-sized influence."

Nope. Not good enough. What should happen is that the legislators themselves should cease being paid until the matter is resolved. This follows a very simple principle of all great and responsible leaders: Lead By Example.

If ever there was proof that it is critical to take part in the political system, and at the very least vote, this is one glaring and painful reminder to do so.

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