I was busy bonding with my new phone last week and never got around to writing about the nauseating story that described Gov. Jerry Brown as still a “rock star” on the national political scene. Maybe that holds with the naifs in the D.C. media, but here in California, Brown is far more accurately seen as a crock star. The gov nurses his image as a unique visionary, but the narrative is pure buncombe. Jerry defines his main role in the same way as all other machine Democrats in Sacramento: insulating public employees from budget pain by any means necessary, starting with preserving the absurd K-12 status quo that bases pay on seniority and irrelevant graduate coursework. Did you ever wonder why his tax hike plan is built entirely around the idea that it is crucial to funding public schools? Because teachers are the only public employees left who still have a good image — deserved or not. Now he’s putting down Molly Munger, even though her rival tax-hike-for-schools initiative is actually willing to acknowledge schools need reforming. Brown? His definition of reform is going back to local control — the same horrible arrangement that midwifed No Child Left Behind.
Meanwhile, the gov pushes cuts to social services that are so brutal that federal courts say no way. Why? Public employees need their pay and benefits. Poor people can get by with less. They’re lesser people, as far as Jerry is concerned.
He starves local governments of resources, both with cause (redevelopment) and without (prison “realignment“). Why? State employees need their pay and benefits. Bleep local yokels. They’re probably wasting the money they have.
Yes, Jerry is pretty good on pensions. But he has no choice because of events. Stockton is only going to be the first of many local governments to go under. Action needs to be taken in Sacramento. The Maviglio myths about the problems being exaggerated or non-existent can’t defeat hard math when it comes to the reality of all the local governments heading off the cliff.
I don’t think what I’ve written above is wacky right-wing stuff at all. It fits with what I hear from insiders on the left and on the right. There’s a desperation in Sacramento about keeping the old status quo alive. But when will this show up in the stories about the budget that don’t give the backdrop to what’s going on — the real backdrop? Why isn’t it news that Jerry Brown is targeting the safety net more than any governor in history?
Because the official narrative is that Jerry’s different, not a union hack. Groan.
I just wish the Nixon-goes-to-China meme would someday, somehow migrate from politicians to journalists. When will anyone who covers Sacramento for the mainstream media ever write the bald truth that Democrats define social justice as being about helping public employees, with the greens and trial lawyers getting the leftovers and poor people getting thinly disguised contempt?
Criticize Republicans all you want. Say they believe in fantasies like “trickle down” and don’t care about poor people. Rip them for their retrograde social conservatism or their flip-flopping on lots of issues or the fact that they’re not nearly the free-market purists they pretend.
But that doesn’t excuse how California’s elected Dems use their clout. They are supposed to be state-of-the-art liberals, inspiring the progressive movement throughout America. The ones in Sacramento are anything but.
They’d rather blind people make do on $350 a month than inconvenience public employees.
They prefer teacher pay be based on attendance and make-work graduate studies instead of performance — and that perverts and dimwits should have vast job protections from administrators — rather than bother worrying about the effects bad teachers have on struggling kids from poor families.
And now we’re watching the early stages of one more absurd Sacramento scenario that confirms anew how the Democrats who control the Capitol are all about public employees and public employees only. I refer to the fact that AB 32, the state’s landmark anti-global warming law, will start generating billions in coming years as companies pay for the right to pollute. We used to be told the money would be distributed to poor people to help them deal with the higher energy costs that AB 32 would inevitably yield.
Yeah, sure, something that pure was going to happen. Now the other shoe has dropped — and I’m hearing the billions from AB 32 fees are targeted for the general fund.
In other words, for public employee compensation.
You surprised? Then you’re hopelessly naive. This is California.
Public employees > poor people, including the blind and deaf.
Public employees > anything.
Jerry Brown operates from this premise, the same way Darrell Steinberg does, the same way John Perez does.
If this means the governor is a “rock star,” then the concussion epidemic extends far beyond the NFL.