Shades of Political Deception

LBJ, Trump and Nancy Skinner.

Viewers of Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post are being reminded of the murderous lies told by the Johnson Administration as it ramped up the war in Viet Nam. While today’s media is more capable of catching lies as they occur, most focus on high profile deceivers like Donald Trump. But deception isn’t limited to the Oval Office. There’s plenty in Sacramento too.

Take California State Senator Nancy Skinner, who represents Berkeley and surrounding areas. Skinner characterizes herself as “a social justice advocate” who “increased state support to our State University and UC systems.” Yet she voted for two salary increases over three years for prison guards that reduced resources for social services, courts and universities, and UC’s share of the state budget declined nearly 15 percent over the past decade during which Skinner served in the legislature for all but two years, costing UC $600 million a year. California State University has also seen a decline in its budget share as have social services and courts. Meanwhile, thanks to legislators like Skinner and despite a big reduction in the state prison population California’s prison employees earn aggregate compensation exceeding even the revenues of the country’s largest private prison corporations.

Senator Skinner is not alone in not telling the whole truth. Other California legislators fall into the deceptive camp. All too often their falsehoods do damage to the very citizens they claim to represent. Govern For California will continue to point out when legislators don’t walk their talk.

This article originally appeared on Medium, 1/7/18