(photo credit: Scott Jones)
One week ago the California Forward Action Fund sent out an email blast to the 27,000 or so Californians in its database asking them for their opinion on the recently ended legislative session. While we judge the progress of the Legislature based on how effective they were at creating more middle class jobs and promoting cost-effective public services, we wanted to know what regular Californians like you thought. Your answers were thought-provoking, and they reveal that just as California is a state of distinctly unique regions, its citizens come with distinctly unique opinions as well.
Some lauded the Legislature’s efforts in the corrections arena, while others criticized the Democrat domination of both the senate and the assembly. And still others took issue with the Legislature’s actions on environmental issues.
“Since you voted to allow unfettered fracking you did horrendously!” Jamie Zazow tells the Legislature. Jamie wasn’t the only one disturbed by the legislative process on fracking regulatory bills that bounced around the senate and assembly. “Obviously jobs and infrastructure were very important but the thing that floored me was that fracking was approved by the Senate and Assembly,” said Richard Jim. “That’s crazy! Who gives them the right to poison our public water — it should never have happened!”
Two current and former members of corrections wrote in with their opinion on the path toward justice in California and the Legislature’s role. Both were skeptical of the work that’s been done. “It’s really too early to judge the governor and legislators,” said Robert Kelgord. “I spent some 40 years in corrections and found the state to be unreliable and basically dishonest in the funding of local programs. Check the record all the way back to the ‘50s and you’ll find that repeatedly the state dumps programs on locals, provides funding for a few years and then stops funding while leaving locals with the workload.”
Dan Widger, a former police officer, sees the penal code as becoming too bloated. “I’d suggest one of the first things we do to make CA government more effective is to stop writing so many new laws every year,” he said. “This year CA posted over 800 new laws. Most other states only had a few or none. They’ve re-organized the penal code, and seem to only pass new laws based on political or knee jerk reactions. I’m so glad I retired after 32 years of police work and I’m now considering moving to Arizona or some other state that’s more normal.”
However, public safety realignment – or at least one element of it – does have a fan in Sherry Kallab, who looks optimistically at the state’s newfound focus on substance abuse and mental health. “I am very happy to see substance abuse and mental health areas being addressed,” said Kallab. “It is obvious what was being done wasn’t working and was very costly. We have a national epidemic of opiate prescription abuse.”
And last but not least are the ultimate critics of the Legislature. Responding to a line in our email blast pointing out the lack of gridlock this year, Bob Scudder countered by saying “Of course there was no ‘gridlock’ with the democrats having a super majority and able to pass any liberal-big government-job stifling-regulation filled-tax increase bill they want.” Bob would probably make fast friends with Bud Ackerman: “Are you kidding me?” Ackerman said. “Our Democratic, Public Employee Union, Environmentally controlled Legislature has us on a smooth but fast track to a 3rd world economy.”
We thank everyone that replied to our email for writing in – there were a lot of thoughtful comments to sift through and we appreciate proactive Californians that voiced their thoughts and feelings on the future of this state.