Thursday, May 21, 2009

CA Govt. spending, explained...

The above link will take you to a great video that is not just about how government spends money. It is about much more. It's how the stupid proposition system in Californai allows people to vote in programs that cost money without having the funding to pay for them. Then the government is stuck paying for it by reducing funding in other areas ..Its about how the cost of government is going up because the number of people is going up, including the number of people needing services (could you believe that autism number?!) I was there when Arnie did his study and they didn't find waste other than Boards and Commissions that were probably implemented to give someones uncle a job! So the cost is going up, but when you factor in all the variables, it isn't going up that much. I think we should get rid of propositions unless they include a funding source that doesn't take from something else. It just give a little perspective as to the reasons for the increases. Some warrented, some not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Now?

Six of the seven propositions failed. I don't think they were what we needed to fix the budget problems and I truly don't know how I wanted it all to turn out, but now what? I'm worried. Maybe Jerry Brown and his 'lower expectations' mantra of the 1970's is what we need. But the thing that worries me the most is that the future of our state is decided by such a small minority of the people! Less than 20% of registered voters actually voted. But maybe that shows that it was the will of the people that nothing is done?? I can accept pretty much anything if the majority voted for it. But the majority of us don't care. No wonder our state is in such a fix.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sick of over developed senses of entitlement

Today there was an article in the local paper, along side stories about laying off teachers and government workers, wherein a guy was filing a claim against Riverside County because his car, a late model BMW, sustained rim and tire damage when he hit a pothole. He was seeking reimbursement of over $1000 from the county. I will be dollars to donuts that that guy was right in the front row of those anti-tax tea parties a couple of weeks ago... No new taxes, but damnit... fix those pot holes. I fired off a letter to the editor, but, because they are getting to know my name, it will probably never be printed, so here it is...

Dear Editor

Brandon Burkhart wants the county to pay for his $1005.37 tire and rim because they were damaged by a pothole. What do you bet that Brandon is also against any new taxes imposed by the state? Folks, you get what you pay for. If you don't want to pay for your government, expect to pay more for other things like damage to your car caused by potholes. The government doesn’t have the money to fix them nor do they have the money to fix your car. Expect to have to send your children to private school because they won't get an education in a classroom of 35-40 kids. Expect to have fewer police and fire fighters. Expect to have to pay to use formerly free public areas like parks and swimming pools. Expect the inconvenience by having to deal with these problems as they come up, one by one.. Expect to pay more for all of these things than you would have had to pay for increased taxes, especially if taxes on the top 1% of earners were taxed as they should be. The voters of California have chosen this way of life. As Brandon says, “there’s got to be consequences”. The consequences of not wanting to properly fund the government are not good and will be borne by us all.

Whew! I feel better.... (-:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Save the State

The latest from the Govenator indicates that if the propositions don't pass next Tuesday, we face drastic budget cuts, layoff, and the selling of state property, including the land surrounding the Chino prison.... Yeah, I just want a house located next to a prison! So are his threats empty, or not? He threatens to cut school funding, reduce the academic year, reduce staffing at prisons, release prisoners early, and cut Medi-cal which provides medical care to the needy. Not one word about increasing taxes on the rich! Trouble is, even if that was on the table it probably wouldn't pass because of the crazy 2/3 requirement for passing a tax increase and the anti-tax attitude that prevails amongst the voters of California. According to the Press-Enterprise, three quarters of likely voters hope the measures' defeat will " send a message to the governor and the state Legislature that voters are tired of more government spending and higher taxes.

Well, I, for one, think we should give the voters just what they ask for. As a long time government employee I have seen it time and time again... Funding is cut, but no one is allowed to mention that to customers complaining that their application is slow to be approved. Hours of operation must remain the same. And, because the work is continually increasing, more must be done with fewer people and less money. Remaining employees are worked to the point of exhaustion, worker's comp and sick leave usage increases. A vicious cycle ensues. Nothing is wrong with reducing costs, but trying to maintain the same level of service is ridiculous! Time to give the people the government they want to pay for!

To begin with, if there is not enough money to pay full time staff, go part time, but don't have full time operating hours! Have every government office, including welfare and social programs, senior programs, housing and economic development programs, the District Attorney, the courts, every single one, go to a four day work week. Make a Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday work week the normal working hours of every government office in the state. Yes, it will be inconvenient for some. Yes, I know some are bound by law to complete things in a certain number of days.... Change the laws! Drastic time require drastic action! Some developer may not be able to get a building permit on exactly the day they want it or everyone may not be able to go to the DMV on that day they are closed, but what seems to be lost on California's public is that you get what you pay for. Pay part of the cost of government and you get a part time government. Doing this will automatically reduce salary costs as no one, including managers and elected officials will work, or get paid for, more that 32 hours a week. If their contract prohibits that, change the contract.

Second, allow all those drastic cuts to happen. Let the people live with the path they have chosen. Wait for them to recognize that more children are sick because the don't have medi cal to go to the doctor so as a result, their children are sicker. Let prisoners be released and let the public live with the results, whatever they may be. Stop fixing potholes and people will be spending much more than they do on taxes to fix their cars due to damage caused by rough roads. Cut welfare so we have even more people begging on street corners.. maybe they will even come to your house! Or we could have more tent cities, slums, and homeless. Reduce the numbers of police and fire and when the reduction causes houses to burn, or crime to remain unsolved tell the truth... the lack of funding will not allow the level of service they have come to expect. And for those of you who think the same services can be provided by private companies at a cheaper rate, that is a fairy tale.... a really scary fairy tale. Ask anyone in child support.

It always amazes me that the same people who complain that they haven't had a raise think that the government should be able to operate on the same budget. Costs go up, but the public doesn't want to pay for that increased cost. That's all good, but expect some reduction in service, expect the senior center won't be open all the time, that lunches for seniors and children will be eliminated, that crime will increase, poverty will increase, and that nothing will ever be the same. And for those of you who have the money to live in gated communties with private security, can send your kids to private school, and don't think you will ever need help from the government in any way, I think that letting us all live with the government we want to pay for will show us exactly how important government really is.

I don't want this to happen, but until we hit rock bottom we will never implement real change that will fund our government at the level necessary. We will continue to defend the right of the rich to remain rich, while voting to eliminate the services that the majority of those who are not rich need on a daily basis.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Jury Duty

I would like to give a piece of advise to all criminals or potential criminals.... watch Law & Order. It might not be the real thing and the lawyers will tell you to disregard what you see on it and other shows like CSI, but at least it give you some idea how to act... Today, the lawyers had agreed on a jury, but as soon as they did it, the defendant had some kind of outburst.
Apparently he didn't like one of the jurors - a correctional officer - who would think? Well, on L&E that defendant would have been reamed by the judge and admonished by his attorney and, well, essentially toast with the jury. Anyway, they had to tell the jurors to forget what he did, one of the jurors said he couldn't (the correctional officer - must have been something about his mother!) and he was excused and we had to wait longer to fill that spot. Do they really think that they can tell jurors to disregard such behavior and it will really not affect the verdict? I don't think so. I could tell that the guy was a jerk and I didn't even understand what he said... Once your a jerk how far could you be from a criminal? In law school they teach you how to think like a lawyer which is apparently not like how regular people think. So they tell us regular people that during this trail you have to think the way they do and disregard dumb behavior, previous accusations of the same crime, and the fact that the accused won't testify on his/her own behalf... right! Guess it's a good think I didn't get on that jury!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jury Duty

Once again I have been called to jury duty and the same thing is happening to me. I get put on a panel, they make me come back for three days, and they never even ask me one question. I just listen to everyone else... It is really boring. How do these judge types stay awake all day? I'm not allowed to talk or blog about the case, but the method they use to pick jurors is the worst! There has got to be a better way. I did notice that most of the people they questioned had never been on a jury before. Then there was a guy who had been on three! I wonder how he got so lucky! Back I go tomorrow. More standing in the halls, sitting in the court room, and trying not to fall asleep.... Reminds me of when I was working. (-:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This weekend

I just returned from a weekend with WHOA - the Wild Horsemen of America on their annual Cattle Drive. Every year the San Bernardino County Fair opens with a cattle drive that goes through the town of Victorville. The cow's regular home is at the Los Flores Ranch in Summit Valley which is between Hesperia and San Bernardino. It is such beautiful place with green grass, water, and blue skies that it is hard to believe that it situated between two hell holes. Anyway, this ranch has several types of cows, but the kind that go on the cattle drive are the long horned cattle... apparently long horns have more crowd appeal. So first, the cattle have to be gathered and the long horns have to be separated from the regular cows, a messy, dirty, and hot job. So what's the solution? Well, you have a cattle drive and invite idiots like myself to come help with the aforementioned job and charge them for the privilege of doing so! What a racket! Truth be told, I didn't really help with the cattle drive. I went on a trail ride and watched the sorting. I apologized to the poor little cows and made sure they knew that I didn't eat meat! But the rest was fun. I've never seen people drink like they did and still stay on their horse, but they did with few exceptions. People had come from as far as Ohio to participate which says a lot!

But a lot of money was raised for a worth cause, the name of which I never got, but it involves support for police officer's families. Sad that this is a charity that needs to exist. Police put their lives on the line, some are killed, and their families are dependant on charity to educate their children or provide for them? Doesn't make sense to me. It's funny that a large majority of people who ride horses in my area call themselves conservatives. They don't want to pay taxes that would help eliminate the need for this charity, but they participate whole heartily in the charity work. They think it should only be voluntary. Hope they never change their mind about participating. If I were those families I would want to know that I could depend on recieving benefits rather on the uncertainty of contributions. But God bless them for helping now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A bureaucrat is a bureaucrat

One of the flimsy claims of those who are opposed to single payer health care is that they don't want 'government bureaucrats' getting between a patient and their doctor. They constantly say that they don't want the government to get involved in decisions doctors should be making... Ok, I am just a few years out from major medical problems and during that entire time someone continually came between me and my doctor. It was called the insurance company! They had to approve my medications, operations, anything. What's the difference between a government bureaucrat and and an insurance company? The insurance company is in it for the money! Government doesn't exist to make a profit and could therefore provide the same services at a much smaller cost.

But, those opposed continually bring out the same old argument. When are we going to get smart enough to stop listening and do what is in our best interest! Single payer health care! Yes!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Child Support Song

Because that post may cause one to wonder what the child support song is, for your pleasure, the lyrics are attached. Sing it to the tune of 'Baby Face' , with gusto! The author of the lyrics is unknown to me.

Child Support
You've got to come and pay your child support
Cuz if you don't we'll have to go to court,
So be a sport,
Don't be sad or grieving, you had your fun in the conceiving
Pay it now
Cuz if you don't we're going to get that dough somehow
And you will go to jail if you should ever fail
To pay your child support!

Imagine a 4 yr old, blond hair, blue eyes, singing this to her daddy in the back yard with her mommy... No wonder I never got divorced! (-:

The end of the tree that wouldn't die

When we first moved here I was all about having that perfect back yard. Grass, trees, bushes, flowers. I remember having truckloads of cow manure delivered and we have pictures of me and my then 3 year old daughter digging in it... I taught her the child support song while we moved manure... Now, twenty something years later everything is dead and I have the perfect moonscape... except for the tree that wouldn't die. This tree was trouble from the start. My neighbor had planted one and I liked it so off I went to the plant store to buy one just like it... Trouble is my neighbor had a boy tree and mine was a girl... trees have gender issues? Who knew! So instead of a simple tree with leaves I ended up with ugly blossoms that carpeted the ground and killed my plants, bees - (I'm allergic), ants that liked whatever that tree was putting out, and sap dropping on my head. Girl trees are a lot more trouble than boy trees. I could have put up with it if I was getting something in return, but no. No avocados or fruit of any kind. The tree had to go. Next time the tree guy, Aou, came around (yes, that's his name, don't ask me about his license to cut down trees) we had him cut it down... What a mess. We sprayed the stump with round up, again, again, and again and that damn tree kept coming back. It's been 5 years now and the tree kept coming back! Why is it I can only grow things that I don't want? Weeds and devil trees. Well, today the tree met it's demise via a friend with a stump remover. Another machine I didn't know existed. Jack owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon - a tax dodge, I'm sure, but he does have a stump remover so I guess that does give him some tree farmer cred. Anyway, that damn tree has taunted me for the last time! Here is a picture of Jack, destroying my nemesis and my husband documenting the event far closer than I cared to venture... Moral of the story - don't drop stuff on my head.... I'll get you!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Whose opinion is it?

I was having a perfect fine Sunday. Good weather and a 4 hour horseback ride. I was ready to sit down with the paper and, as usual, I grab the opinion page first. I have got to stop doing that!

First letter to the editor says he doesn't have anything against Obama except for everything that he has done in the past 100 days. He says that the "redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots is socialism" and against our counties founding principles. He then says that Obama is ashamed of his country because he apologized about something. Ignorance is a sad thing, but what really bothers me about this is that this guy is taking his talking points directly from Hannity, Limbaugh or some other right winger and I will bet he has never done any kind of research on his own. If he did, he would know that Obama is trying to increase the taxes on the rich and decrease the taxes on the middle class. That, per se, does not redistribute wealth. There are costs associated with running a country. Roads have to be maintained, police have to be hired and paid, dog catchers have to enforce dog license so we don't have a rabies epidemic. Health departments have to monitor how many people get the swine flu and if we all need to start wearing those ridiculous masks. Increasing taxes on the rich means that they have to pay more of the cost and I, definitely not one of the haves, will have to pay less. And as one of the 'have-nots' I have yet to receive any money from my rich friends.

And the rich should pay more. Living in this country is what allowed them to become one of the 'haves' in the first place. They use more of what is considered the commons, like roads (Bentley vs. Honda Civic). They should at least be willing to repay the country that made their lot in life possible. And all of us benefit from having a better educated society so our neighbor's children can grow up and get a job because they have an education rather than becoming criminals and stealing our stuff

The only people who will actually get money are those on welfare... yeah, we all hate welfare, but what I would hate more is what would happen if it weren't there. Anyone seen Slumdog Millionaire? India doesn't have welfare, doesn't look like they have a health department or a sewer system either. But they do have rich people rolling around in big cars and those rich folk don't have to share a damn thing. So they live in luxury while the poor live in slums where disease runs rampant and children are forced to beg for food or worse. Taxes are the way that we keep the USA from looking like India. We care about our people and I am happy to pay taxes so that I don't have to drive around areas like I saw in that movie. And since the rich are driving around with bigger cars than me, they should want to pay even more.

As for apologising for what America has done in the past 8 years, someone has to do it. We started a war looking for weapons that weren't there, we have established interrogation camps in other counties, we have tortured. I am sorry and I don't see any reason Barack Obama should be any different.

No one, conservative or progressive, should depend on radio or television for their opinions. Listen to them, but check the facts. Don't repeat what they say unless you have done so and then believe what they have told you. At least then I will know that you have not been misguided and you will have some facts to back up your argument. Just saying you heard it on Hannity is not good enough for me

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Voter Registration

I spent most of today trying to get people to register to vote at the local Cinco de Mayo celebration. I don't understand some people. When I was 18, one of the first things I did, besides buy a pack of cigarettes that I never smoked, was to register to vote. I was so excited. Today I watched people who acted as if they were proud they weren't registered, 18 years olds who didn't know if they were going to register, and people who would rather register for the Independant Party, the party of David Duke and the Klu Klux Klan than to register for a regular party. Of course, some of the people might not have known who David Duke is and didn't want to ask, but still.. I don't have much faith in the average American. Some don't register because they think they will have to serve jury duty - wrong. Jurors names are taken from driver's licence holders. Would they consider not driving to avoid jury duty? Oh no! But they give up their right to have a say in how their country is run to avoid one day of duty to their fellow citizens. And, although one vote may not make a difference, my one vote gives me the right to bitch if things aren't working out the way I want. I wouldn't give up that right for anything!! But, really, the average voter probably doesn't even do the research need to make the proper decision about who to vote for. They listen to their favorite news station or make their decisions based upon commercials or signs or who their friend, spouse, parents, etc. want them to vote for. But if people don't register and vote that leaves our destiny up to those who vote without fail... Old, retired people who have nothing better to do and don't think like the rest of us. Not good.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today is Manuel day. That is the day that the gardener, Manuel comes to make our yard beautiful. Well, as beautiful as he can, considering that we are undergoing water rationing and our grass is turning brown, the back yard doesn't even have grass anymore, and half of the plants don't have long for this world.Our rationing is after a fashion. Use a little, we pay a certain rate. Use more, the rate goes up and on and on. Great for most of the postage stamp lawns in this city, but we have 1/2 acre, four dogs and two horses. No consideration for those of us who don't have large lots covered by a huge house. And, of course, the City Council doesn't even consider limiting construction in this desert due to the fact that the new residents, and those of us who moved here when there was plenty of water for everyone, even during droughts, will not have water. They consider only development fees. A huge warehouse was just approved. I wonder if it included drinking fountains for the staff. Of course, most of the staff will be robotic...some of the 'jobs' promised by the developer? Not much water needed for them, I suppose. Politicians laughably tell us they have a 'vision' for our city. They need to clean their glasses!