As the Republicans in the State Legislature practice the tyranny of the minority over the vast majority of Californians in our republic, a note here about how our statewide elected Republicans have contributed to spending budget dollars, seeking spending cuts in education and other social services compared with their own pet projects.
Those tough on crime, law and order Republicans have dramatically increased the cost of prison. Â
A New York Times editorial from Feb 14 reported the woeful state and high cost of your statewide prison system. From the editorial:
Californiaâ€™s 33 prisons were designed to house 84,000 inmates; they now hold more than 150,000. In some cases, prisoners are being triple-bunked in gymnasiums and other places not intended to be used for housing. There are not enough medical facilities or enough personnel to ensure that prisoners get the mental health and medical treatment they need.
The court found that California was violating the prisonersâ€™ Eighth Amendment rights â€” which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment â€” and it ordered the state to reduce the inmate population to levels closer to the systemâ€™s intended capacity. The court concluded that this could be done through a variety of means without endangering public safety.
A large number of California prisoners are behind bars for technical parole violations. Others are in for minor, nonviolent crimes. Inmates like those can and should be released, and given help to reintegrate into society. The stateâ€™s limited prison space should be used for people who truly need to be there. It is not ideal when a court has to intervene so directly in managing prisons. But California has been unwilling, on its own, to run a prison system that complies with the Constitution.
Even SacBee columnist Dan Walters thinks state Republicans need to take some responsibility for their contributions to state spending. Â He wrote the following last August. Â Still relevant today:
Republicans posture as bulwarks against spending-crazy Democrats, but the hard facts prove otherwise. As a detailed chart published this week in The Sacramento Bee demonstrates, the two chief contributors to the state’s chronic budget deficit have been spending that Republicans, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, championed.
State general fund spending has increased by some 33 percent over the last five years, from $77.5 billion in 2002-03 to $103.5 billion in 2007-08, but three-fourths of the increase can be fairly attributed to inflation (17 percent) and population growth (7 percent). That leaves about $7.4 billion in real spending increases.
The education, health and welfare spending that Democrats champion increased only slightly, if at all. Meanwhile, spending on prisons increased by $4.3 billion and payments to local governments to cover losses of revenue from license fees on cars account for another $3.1 billion. And who were the most adamant advocates for locking up more felons in prison (11,000 more over five years) and cutting those car taxes? Republicans.
When, therefore, Republicans talk about runaway spending â€“ Schwarzenegger this week referred to “an insatiable appetite to always grab all the money” â€“ they should look in the mirror. But the GOP’s irresponsibility doesn’t stop there. Republicans also want to plunge the state even further into debt to cover the deficit, rather than owning up and being willing to tap taxpayers.
Schwarzenegger is at least semi-willing to face the music with his new tax proposal, even if it’s temporary. But privately and publicly, Republican leaders are demanding that either spending be cut â€“ except the spending they advocate â€“ or money be borrowed from local governments, transportation accounts or other programs to close the gap.
Is that fiscal responsibility? Not by any rational definition.
And while we’re on the subject of the SacBee, today’s online editorial has drawn the ire of Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman.
The editorial ran excerpts of Senator Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks), who posted the following on his website yesterday:
“The state’s treasury is in dire need of cash. This is not a desirable situation for anyone.
“Californians are feeling the real impact of this crisis. Hospitals are in danger of closing down. Public safety programs have been rolled back. Local governments are on the brink of bankruptcy.
“Revenues are down. We cannot close this budget gap with cuts alone.
“Now, more than ever, we must control spending, pass reforms to help government operate more effectively, and not shy away from making the tough — but necessary choices — to balance the budget.”
The Bee is calling on readers to contact Cox’s office to urge him to be a hero and vote for the budget deal. Â Fleischman went batshit.
That’s right — this paper with reporters who I believe try to objectively cover news have had their credibility BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER. Clearly the decision makers at the Bee don’t want to “bring us” coverage of the news, they want to make the news — and naturally they are trying to pressure Republican Senator Dave Cox into voting for their liberal dream – over $14 billion in new taxes.
Goldmacher, Sanders, Yamamura, and others at the Bee — welcome to the new editorial/news department. From now on, you should start your stories with your opinion of the news.
So much for journalistic standards.
You have to love a guy who only writes about his opinion of the news discussing journalistic standards. Yo, Jon, loved your unbiased coverage of the Carona trial. Â Oh, that’s right, there wasn’t any on The Flash Report where Republicans only get bad coverage once they’ve been indicted (Duke Cunningham) or vote a way Jon doesn’t want them too. Â Hypocritical putz.