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June 17, 2009     The Julian News
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June 17, 2009

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June 17, 2009 California Commentary California Budget: Rejecting False Choices by Jon Coupal On May 19th, California voters made it clear that they are taxed enough and want their elected leadership to prioritize spending using the large amount of tax revenue we already send to Sacramento. That revenue, of course, includes the additional $12 billion in higher taxes imposed in February that the voters never approved. But those supporting yet even higher taxes have resorted to the tactic of presenting false choices. They ask, for example, "which do you want to cut, aid to the frail elderly or assistance to vulnerable children?" A better question than "where will we cut?" is "where will we spend?" The fact is California is still slated to bring in approximately $84 billion in fiscal year 08-09, more revenue than any other state -- by far. And this is a level of revenue equal to what the general fund produced just a few short years ago. In presenting false choices, the spending lobby usually poses the choice as if it were limited to broad program areas such as education or welfare. Actually, there should be substantial cuts in both: Cuts in welfare fraud (estimated to be in the billions -- yes billions with a "b") and cuts in education bureaucracy. Let's curtail categorical funding or save tens of millions by granting local school districts the authority to contract out maintenance and other services to allow school districts to put more money in the classroom. Why ,have those who want higher taxes avoided the discussion of selling state assets? Why not sell state- owned property like the state's share of the Los Angeles Coliseum? Is that more important then eliminating health care for needy kids? How about the Integrated Waste Management Board, which has devolved into a soft ;cushy landing place for termed out politicians? As we run sh~rt of money, why is the Legislature taking up the issue of establishing the California Blueberry Commission? And, why do we have two massive but separate tax agencies, the State Franchise Tax Board and the State Board of Equalization? Are there no economies of scale in combining the agencies that could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars? (The Governor, to his credit, has proposed the combination of those two agencies). Changing the Sacramento mindset is proving to be very difficult. If you askanygovernment insider, they will recite a list of reasons why needed reforms won't work. But bureaucratic inertia is no reason to continue to overcharge Californians for necessary services and perpetuate programs that are unnecessary. And what about the state workforce that the U.S. Census Bureau says is the highest paid in the nation? If public employee union leaders don't want to see their membership decline through layoffs, they should be willing to accept contracts that reflect levels of compensation and benefits more in line with private sector employees who now must work even harder and retire later in order to pay for public worker salaries and benefits. The question must also be asked, why do most government functions have to be performed by government employees? Why do we spend nearly $20,000 a year more than the national average to incarcerate a prisoner? Isn't this an area where legitimate savings can be realized by contracting some of our prison needs to the private sector? Nobody wants to see basic social services for the state's neediest residents disappear. The question becomes, do the politicians in Sacramento have the will and desire to streamline state government in order to better hold it accountable for the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money that it spends every year? In the midst of this budget crisis comes tremendous opportunity. Now is the time-when we can prove once and for all that California really can live within its means. If not now, then when? Jan Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest taxpayer organization -- which is dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and promoting taxpayers' rights. R.ED. by Mike Marland W ek y SUDOKU by Linda Thistle 9 6 7 8 1 2 4 7 5 9 3 5 4 1 7 6 3 2 1 3 7 6 1 2 5 6 4 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. DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * * * Moderate ** Challenging * ** HO0 BOY! @ 2009 King Features Synd., Inc. Viejas Fire Expo/Firefighter Combat Challenge Fire Trucks, Big Thrills & Family Fun The Julian News 15 SAN DIEGO - Hailed as California's largest firefighting event, the 19th Annual Viejas FIRE EXPO / Firefighter Combat Challenge has moved to the Del Mar Fairgrounds - and its bigger and better than ever! Formerly held at QUALCOMM Stadium, this year's event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 20 (during the San Diego County Fair), at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Designed to heighten public awareness of modern emergency services, the Viejas FIRE EXPO / Firefighter Combat Challenge will feature all the thrills and firefighting fun that have made the event a summer favorite with families for nearly two decades! Watch firefighters compete head-to-head in full gear during the exciting Viejas Firefighter Combat Challenge. At 1:30 pm, experience the thrill of the 2009 Burn Run Parade of 100 fire trucks and apparatus as they announce their arrival with blinking lights and sirens! The Viejas FIRE EXPO will also feature dynamic firefighting demonstrations, live entertainment including a "Pop Up Concert" presented by KPRI-FM (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), fire and burn prevention education booths, emergency service displays, interactive activities for the kids, and much, much more! For the first year ever, one boy and one girl (6-12) will be selected to be 2009's "Fire Safe Kids," presented by SDG&E. Each child will ride alongside firefighters in a real fire truck along the parade route and be a part of the Arrival Ceremonies at the Viejas FIRE EXPO. For the third consecutive year, the Viejas FIRE EXPO will be held in conjunction with the National Firefighter Combat Challenge. The Viejas Firefighter Combat Challenge will host hundreds of firefighters from all over the United States, as they compete - as individuals and in teams -- to prove they are the best in their profession. The Viejas FIRE EXPO / Firefighter Combat Challenge is free with fair admission. All proceeds benefit the Burn Institute. For additional information, visit www., www.sdfair. cam or www.firefighterchallenge. com. It's when you're safe at home that you wish you were having an adventure. When you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home. -- Thornton Wilder ACROSS 1 Ring out 5 Spud's buds 9 Crony 12 Malaria symptom 13 Freebie 14 Latin 101 word 15 It opens in the fall 17 Tier 18 Slowly 19 Out of dreamland 21 "People" competitor 22 Bob Woodward book 24 Put one over on 27 Foundation 28 Swindle $459,000 In Town, 2bd, 2ba with separate 1 bd guest suite, built in 2003, Seriously Custom Home, $1450/mo In Town, 3br,, 2ba, 2 car Garage, Hardwood, fruit trees, lots of parking, private, Kentwood, l bd, l ba with large loft, All wood interior, large deck, completely furnished, $289,000 Harrison Park Bank Approved Short Sale $319,000 3br, 2V2 ba plus 1,200 sq. ft. Guest House Over Garage 5 acres 2 Horse Borns, Small Fruit Orchard $800/Month Lake Cuyamaca Views Downstairs Large Studio w/entertainment wall Full Bath, tile floors, FA/AC, washer/dryer As Heard On The Streets Of Julion by Eric Stamets Too Many Czars Spoil The Pot It seems like we've been taken over by the Russians. A while back the federal government was talking about an energy czar, then we have a drug czar, a couple of months ago they appointed a border czar and now they've come up with a cyber-czar. The United States is suffering from czar build-up. President Obama reiterated that the United States doesn't cyb'er-torture, although he had no alternative to the fact that trying to get a computer to work properly can be pure torture, rve always had the impression that a czar was like the king or emperor of Russia who rode roughshod over the general populace until they rose up, killed him and his family and buried the remains in an unmarked grave. I'm not sure I would like to have the czar job no matter how much it pays, even with a cushy pension. Plus the word "czar" is etymologically derived from the Latin "caesar" and remembering our history, Julius Caesar didn't fare too well either. I don't have a better term right off-hand, but the word commissioner sounds too much like Chicago gangster politics and has the equivalent of "commissar" in Russian. The United States has always had a president, the meaning of which is derived from the root words "presi", 14 17 King Crossword 6 -- m-- 1 2 3 12 15 18 as in "present" or "shows up" and "dent" as in "dental". That means the main qualification of our leader is that he or she shows up with good teeth. The good hair was discredited with the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich. The vice president has to show up with good teeth allowed a few vices as long as he keeps his mouth shut. After all the stink about the English Parliament members and their outlandish expenses, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about the expenses of U.S. congressmen (and women). All of our House of Representative expenses are legitimate, however, because they are overseen by the House Chief administrative officer Daniel Beard, who has flunky non-chief administrative officers that do the work. Mr. Beard had to hire House chief administrative officer spokesman Jeff Ventura to tell us that they can deny .an expense that is inappropriate, but that they don't keep records on inappropriate claims. Mr. Beard is too busy to speak for himself. The Senate has a similar procedure. Why do we have to have similar procedures and a duplicate bureaucracy to do the same thing? Who cares- it's the American way. And let's keep good old American names for our officials. We don't need any spokes czars. 50 9 Eden friend 35 Ram's mate 37 Champagne + O.J. 39 Jellied entree 40 Scenery chewer 41 Disarrange 42 Frizzy do 43 Curse 44 Dislodge 45 Responsibi- Iffy bender Geller 46 "Beetle 26 Overly fearful Bailey" dog 27 Piglets' pop 49 Expert 29 Meadow 50 Scepter 30 Barbie's 24 ~5 26 !i 3"7"" ~ 38 47 51 54 53 Blue matter 31 Historic time 54 Turf 10 Beyond 32 Lubdcant 55 Yield control 33 Witness 56 Lhasa- 11 Actor Rob 34 Pink-slip (dog) 16 Opposite of 36 Exist "trans-" 37 Nasty DOWN 20 Symbol of 38 Trophy, e.g. 1 One of the intrigue 40 Familiar Three Bears 22 Bizarre greeting 2 "ZoundsP 23 Not working 41 Shaggy 3 Emanation 24 Updated hairdos 4 Group of "groovy" 43 Panda food teams 25 Spoon- 47 E.T.'s craft 5 Reverberate 48 Supreme 6 Thee 51 -- Lanka 7 Ambulance 52 Object of VlP devotion 8 Lance @ 2009 King Features Synd,, Inc. H lchies 1. Blueberries 2. Cherries 3. Strawberries 4. Bilberries 5. Blackberries 6. Lingonberries 7. Cranberries 8. Raspberries 9. Gooseberries 10. Chokeberries __ (Aronia) source: www.tasty ~ ~1~ human.corn I @ 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World rights reserved. Weekly SUDOKU ~ Answer t~ L g 9 8 Z 6 i~ S 8 6 ~ t~ L G g L 9 L c~ 6 ~ g 8 L t~ 6 ~ g c3 L L 1~ 9 Z P' 9 ;~ 6 g S L ~ E; L Z g 'V g 8 6 i~ g t, ~ L 6 L g 8 I. ~ 6 8 g i~ t~ 9 Z g 9 L L t~ g ~ 6 ~ -- King Crossword -- Answers Solution time: 25 mins.