Prison Guards 3, Parks and Kids 0

If ever you wondered about the importance of elections to the California State Legislature, read below.

While the legislature considers yet another compensation increase for state prison guards, a state commission considers imposing a new charge on visitors to state beaches to make up for cuts to the state parks budget. I.e., the California Legislature is considering an extra $600 million per year for a special interest while cutting budgets for, and raising costs on, working-class Californians.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. The prison guard compensation increase will be their third in six years (despite “limited funds for discretionary services,” according to a state official cited in the beach article) and the state has for years been cutting services for ordinary citizens (despite a 30% tax increase and a steep rise in state revenues) in favor of special interests.

It is your California Legislature that ratifies government employment contracts. And, it is your California Legislature that determines budget allocations to state parks. It is also your California Legislature that’s responsible for a state law that, according to LA School Board candidate Nick Melvoin, prevents public school students from accessing library book collections without a “credentialed” librarian present — a problem for the half of LAUSD’s 650,000 students who, as of 2013, attended a school without a credentialed librarian. And, it is your California Legislature that permits misleading financial disclosures of grave consequence.

Don’t blame the prison guards, who behave no differently than every other financial interest seeking to maximize their shares of state spending. Blame state legislators — and then do something about it through effective political giving, as explained here. After this November, there will be no open State Assembly seats again until 2024. The time to help is now.

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