What’s happening now in California?
Currently, Democrat state Sen. Roderick Wright is on paid leave – rather than being expelled – from the Legislature after being convicted by a Los Angeles jury of eight felonies related to campaign fraud. Democrat state Sen. Rod Calderon also went on paid leave to face more than 20 felony counts of bribery, money laundering and fraud. Democrat state Sen. Leland Yee, a gun-control advocate, was indicted in March for conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic weapons, and he still received more than 300,000 votes in June.
The California Bureau of State Audits announced that the State Controller’s Office made a $31.6 billion accounting misstatement. To provide perspective on the size of those accounting misstatements discovered, the $31.65 billion in errors equals about a third of California’s $96.3 billion general fund budget for 2013-14.
Gov. Jerry Brown continues to defy the courts and public opinion in pursuit of his bullet Train to nowhere dream. Total costs for the project could surpass $100 billion, and so far, no interested private sector investors. It’s all up to taxpayers.
How did we get to this point and what can we do about it? Here’s some food for thought:
“. . . (I)f the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded.” That’s from Noah Webster (1758-1843).
Our U.S. Constitution begins with the words, “We the People,” and the responsibility for this mess rests with us. That includes you and me. Yes, it’s vitally important that we exercise our right to vote, but it is equally important that citizens make every effort to become informed voters.
Pay close attention to important issues, local, state and national. Pay attention to candidates, their qualifications, their integrity, the current legislators and the laws they promote or oppose. Actions speak louder than words every time. Don’t be duped by slick mailers and ads.
What are the issues? They include: water, energy policy, taxation, transportation, education, health care, regulation, preserving individual rights, local control, immigration and more.
How can we become more informed? Where to start? Pick an issue. Let’s say, education. What’s happening locally and why? Read the paper, attend school board meetings, talk with parents, teachers, students, administrators, state representatives. Learn more about Common Core. Ask questions and evaluate the answers you get with what you know. Do research online. Look for reputable authorities and sources.
Here are some suggestions for starters, then build your own list.
Compare ideas. Decide for yourself. Share what you learn. It’s not easy, but we can do it. We are Americans! November is coming. Pay attention Make a difference.
Colleen Britton of Vacaville is president of the Vaca Valley Tea Party. Reach her by email at email@example.com.