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March 24, 2010     The Julian News
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March 24, 2010
 

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March 24, 2010 California Commentary Steinberg's Fake Reforms by Jan Coupal Fake. Faux. Pretend. Bogus. Phony. There are a lot of words in the English language to describe something that which is represented as something it is not. With all the very real problems facing California today, one would think that our state Legislature would enact real reforms. Regrettably, however, the majority party continues to pursue fake reforms which probably helps to explain the institution's dismal 16% approval rating. First, given that California can't seem to break the habit of spending more money than we receive in taxes, more attention is finally being paid to "oversight." Oversight of existing programs is routine in more fiscally responsible states like Utah and Texas, but barely gets a nod here in the Golden State. True, the State Auditor has received praise for trying to implement the agency's mission "to ensure the effective and efficient administration and management of public funds and programs." But expecting that office to adequately address all the waste, fraud and abuse in California state government is like expecting a BB gun to take down a rhino. So along come Senate leader Darrell Steinberg who has created - at taxpayers' expense, of course - his own Office of Oversight and Outcomes. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Steinberg, who represents a district covering much of Sacramento, an area laden with large numbers of public employees, first goes after the effectiveness of the Governor's furlough program. While there are some legitimate questions about the furloughs, they hardly represent a significant share of the waste in government. Columnist Dan Waiters points out that there is massive waste in the administration and management of CalPERS that is likely to cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of . dollars. As Waiters writes, "when the Legislature stops wasting taxpayer- financed time on trivia and bores into the CalPERS debacle, maybe we'll take its 'oversight' seriously." Amen. The second fake reform pursued by Mr. Steinberg involves the budget process. He blames a 76-year-old law requiring a two- , thirds vote of the Legislature to approve a budget for lawmakers' recent inability to pass a budget by the constitutional deadline of June 15 each year. Steinberg is urging his colleagues to place on the ballot a measure -- based on one that has been promoted as an initiative by former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg -- to eliminate the supermajority requirement. Hertzberg, never considered an ally of the taxpayers, was promoting the elimination of the two-thirds vote through his California Forward Committee, claiming his proposal had bi- partisan support. However, the response was underwhelming. He was unable to raise nearly enough money to gather the signatures to place his proposal on the ballot, so he has passed the baton to Steinberg. Steinberg wants the public to see this measure as "reform," but it is actually an effort to make it easier to spend more money and to increase the pressure to raise taxes. Sure, a budget could be approved quickly with a simple majority vote. But at what cost? Since the concerns of the minority party could be ignored, the majority would ram through 'whatever they wanted without debate. The minority party, regardless of which party is in that position at any given time, still represents millions of Californians whose concerns deserve consideration. Steinberg is engaging in political theater. He knows he needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to place this constitutional ch.ange on the ballot and he is not going to get it. And if Steinberg's proposal were to reach the ballot, voters would quickly recognize that it is not reform, it is just an effort to grease the skids to make it easier to carry on business as usual. Instead of posturing as a reformer, why doesn't the Senate leader push his colleagues to focus on the real issues facing California, like high taxes and a hostile business climate? Instead, lawmakers have been hard at work declaring a "No Cussing Week" and renaming the Legislative Office Building. If not distracted by trivial legislation, lawmakers could implement the number one reform taxpayers would like to see: Legislators rolling up their sleeves and focusing on making California a more livable state. That would be a real change. Jan Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association - California's largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights. by Linda Thistle 6 1 1 6 4 7 8 1 DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * t i 4 7 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. * Moderate ** Challenging **. HOO BOY! 2010 King Features Synd., Inc. The Julian News 13 Clowns For Haiti continued from page 8 those needs next week. CWB has been invited to join PSF starting in March. We will send volunteer artists from the USA to partner with Spanish clowns in Jacmel, Les Cayes and around Port au Prince. In late March CWB will send medical clowns with a team from Boston to the northern city of Cap Haitian to perform and provide support at makeshift tent clinics that are serving thousands of displaced and injured children from Port au Prince. This is just the beginning - In the past, we have learned that by arriving in a community and performing a show or two leads to tidal waves of the "word of mouth effect." Other community organizations hear about ourwork and invite us to perform and give workshops for the children and the community. We anticipate our efforts in March and early April to do the same, perhaps even on a larger scale now that informal camps are springing up all over the countryside with the million-plus homeless Haitians. At CWB we are strategically preparing for multiple trips and projects from Jacmel to Les Cayes, from Port au Prince to Cap Haitian with our partners in Haiti. We are also seeking volunteers from such esteemed groups as the Big Apple Circus Clown Care@ program to help us provide the best hospital clowning we can. Your continued financial support will make this happen - In trying to meet the requests of our partners in Haiti, CWB is facing a new demand for volunteers and funds, much larger than the demands we have experienced before. We need your assistance through donations to help meet the needs of our partners in Haiti. Your tax-deductible donations will enable us to send multiple Clowns Without Borders groups to Haiti over the coming year and beyond. We dream of supporting those displaced and traumatized by the earthquakes that have left over 2001000 people dead. We hope to bring shows and workshops to children of all ages in Haiti and with that, we plan to train Haitian artists in the circus arts so that when CWB departs, there will remain the capacity to experience joy and laughter through community performance. Our goals are lofty; you can help us achieve them. Yours Truly, Tim Cunningham CWB USA Board President To make a donation to Clowns Without Borders Project Haiti please send a check with Project Haiti in the memo to: Clowns Without Borders P.O. Box 460523 San Francisco, CA 94146 ACROSS , 1 "Dragnet' star 5 Steffi of tennis fame 9 Society new- comer 12 Car bar 13 "Mona--" 14 Buckeyes' sch. 15 Focus on 17 Miss at a barn dance 18 Spa 19 Terrible 21 Former partner 22 City of India 24 "Lion King" baddie 27 Geological period 28 Shrek, for one 31 Tin Man's -)4 ->5 26 31 34 ...--. 38 41 $2 47 51 54 Acrossr' 52 Dumb- founded 53 Diva's HOMES. CABINS. LAND. RENTALS. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. VACATION RENTALS 2019 Main Street www.julian-realestate.com 760-765-0111 $499,900 Julian Estates - 3br, den, 2 ba, 2 car, 2200 sq. ft., 4.47 acres. Wood Interior, Lodge Feeling. $299,990 - Cuyamaca Woods 2br, 2 ba, 2 car, 3.3 oak filled acres w/ views. Solar & generator. ; U :@!i!!i!i!i:i:: ,: $259,000 Whispering Pines, 3br., 2ba., fenced 1/2 acre, wrap-around deck w/built-in play equipment, dual pane windows, FA/AC $I 79,000 Kentwood II - 2 br, 1 ba 2 car garage, fireplace, hardwood, dual- glazed windows, A/C. Incredible views. 10.34 acres. Property boasts a well, 2-5000 gallon water storage tanks, fire hydrant, 2 car garage, 3 graded pads, underground electricity, paved road, behind a gate for privacy. Asking $275,000. $50,000 Shelter Valley 2.73 acres, well, electric meter, fenced. $39,000 - Cuyamaca Woods .83 acre with views to the mountains and lots of trees. $116,000 - Coulter Ridge 7.15 acres, Ocean Views. Perc for 3 bed room, County Approved septic lay-out, Easy paved Varied topography Heard On The Streets Of Julian by Eric Stamets Top Ten Reasons To Live In Julian -- King Crossword -- Artswer5 Solution time: 25 mins. 10. You love to drive. 9. You're too used to calling the recycling center the dump. 8. You don't have to worry about finding the cheapest gas station. 7. Morning rush hour consists of about 10 minutes at the high school parking lot. 6. The lurking stranger that snatches up your child off the street, brings them to your house because they were worried about them. 5. You don't ever have to worry about your dog biting the mailman. 4. Four digits is the extent of your short-term memory. 3. You like to go to meetings at night. 2. You love apple pie. 1. You like being at the center of the universe and nobody knows you're there. To--p Ten Crossword ) II0 ~2 29 5O 45 ~,6 L-.-- -- 29 Carnival city 30 Kreskin's claim 35 Lair 7 Blond shade 8 Deadly 9 It may include a Reasons Not To Live In Julian 1 10. (Weekdays only) You get tired of waving at someone you know in just about every car that passes. 9. Your post office box is too 30 close to the floor. __ 8. None of your vehicles have four-wheel drive. -- 7. Both grocery stores and the liquor store are out of vanilla ice cream. 6. It's too far to walk to get to the back fence and talk with your neighbor. Alternately - You keep getting lost going home because you can't see your house from the street. 5. It's too bright for your eyes to see that many stars at night. 4. You're not related to anybody States with SMARTEST DRIVERS 1. Idaho 2. Alaska 3. Minnesota 4. Wisconsin 5. Kansas 6. Washington 7. South Dakota 8. Montana 9. Oregon 10. 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