Let’s face it California isn’t just broke, it’s bankrupt.
California’s largest budgetary item remains education and trying to hoodwink the Golden State’s residents into adding more money to the state’s failing schools will be especially tough. While Californians pay one of the nations highest per pupil outlays they are not seeing the return on their investment.
California lags far behind other states and it rests near the bottom of the education ranks in America. It is also home to the highest drop out rates and the gridlock in Sacramento between the teachers unions and legislators remains unsolved. The once prized jewel of California is no more.
With less than two weeks to go in the election, Democrat Jerry Brown inadvertently brought the Dream Act education legislation back into the spotlight.
During a speech at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Brown highlighted what he will do about the undocumented immigrants and their quest to seek a college education.
“We have enough wealth to continue to have a great university and get every kid into this school that can qualify,” Brown says. “Now when I say every young man and young woman, I mean everyone – whether they are documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here. And that will be one of the first bills I sign… Of course I’m not going to sign any bills until we get the budget solved and that may take me a couple of months.”
Who knew California’s budget would only take a few months to solve and California was flush with cash.
Brown’s fairytale that California has the money to fund anyone who resides in the state with a higher education is both ludicrous and patently false. Providing undocumented immigrants with financial aid, federal grants and scholarships must also come as news to the hundreds of thousands of middle-class American families who have seen their dreams of college fall by the wayside during the recession.
Even politicians in Washington found enacting the DREAM Act would place an undue burden on Americans who have suffered the most during this economic downturn. Somehow Brown must have missed that vote and is unaware that any DREAM Act enacted in California would be null and void under federal law. The sad part of this obvious pandering to illegal aliens will only result in a more divisive state than ever.
“Yes, to the federal Dream Act which I can’t do anything about, except advocate and yes, to the state Dream Act which I can do something about because our current governor just vetoed a proposal and I would have signed that bill,” Brown said.
His opponent, Meg Whitman (who is no conservative and has been dealing with housekeeper-gate) couldn’t disagree more than her Democratic adversary.
“Jerry Brown and I couldn’t disagree more on this issue. The state of California is in economic meltdown, and one of Jerry Brown’s top priorities is to give financial aid and in-state tuition breaks to undocumented immigrants. He not only supports legislation that would enable that type of state spending, he said it would be ‘one of the first bills’ he’d sign. It’s either reckless mismanagement of taxpayer dollars or political pandering for votes. The truth is the state can’t afford either right now,” Whitman said in a statement. “Not only is Brown’s position wrong, it’s unfair to California taxpayers as well as the families who are here legally.”
During this extreme fiscal crisis and with public colleges and universities under duress Whitman claims California’s priority must be to help kids who are legal residents go to state supported colleges.
“If you play by the rules, you and your kids should be at the front of the line to benefit from the state’s world-class university system,” says Whitman.
With GOP Senator Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts as inspiration, Steve Poizner’s campaign has risen from the dead and pulled within 10 points of Meg Whitman in the Republican primary race for governor.
While the numbers come from internal polling, the outfit providing the intel is none other than Senator Scott Brown’s public polling firm. The numbers demonstrate “how fluid the race is,” said Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies.
The polling concluded on Tuesday and demonstrated that the 800 likely Republican voters were taking a second look at Poizner. Approximately 38 percent said they would vote for Whitman, while 28 percent favored Poizner and 30 percent were undecided. Just over a month ago Whitman led by nearly 50 points.
Newhouse said that outside the San Francisco Bay Area, Whitman’s lead is cut to five points, 35 to 30 percent with a month to go until the primary election. “This race is eerily similar to the Brown, Coakley race,” he said.
“Where we are running our messaging, we have closed from 48 points down to five points. Meg, the marketing expert, needs a refresher course because she probably could have spent less than $70 million to lose 43 points, but at least she provided a bailout for her political consultants who she needs to remind her of her deeply held beliefs,” said Team Poizner Communications Director Jarrod Agen. “We all know Meg went on a climate change cruise with Van Jones and Jimmy Carter, now she’s become the most expensive melting glacier in political history.”
The California Republican governor’s race has now shown signs of life and with 30 days until voters hit the booth, Poizner’s camp says the energy has shifted in their favor.
“Our poll shows that Meg Whitman’s lead over Steve Poizner, which we measured at 59%-11% in February, has closed to 38%-28%, with Whitman holding just a ten-point lead,” Agen explains. “Further, it’s important to note that even though Whitman has spent considerable resources in the area, Steve has not yet aggressively advertised in the San Francisco Bay Area market. “
Poizner’s camp explains that like the Scott Brown race in Massachusetts; ”this race has been largely misunderstood by the media. Campaigns, especially primary campaigns, and especially in large states like California, are seldom won three or four months out from election day.”
With the President discussing the immigration issue at a White House Cinco de Mayo event and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano saying the Democrats are “focused on the border like a laser,” a fair question for Poizner is the immigration issue that has exploded across the nation.
“The federal government has not done enough to end illegal immigration, leaving states like Arizona and California to take fend for themselves,” said Team Poizner’s Agen. “Like Meg Whitman, President Obama has called for an amnesty plan that allows illegal immigrants to pay a fine, go to the back of the line, and become citizens. Steve Poizner strongly opposes amnesty and he is the only candidate in this race that is willing to make ending illegal immigration a top priority.”
Since Arizona passed its tough new illegal immigration law, many California cities have decided to boycott or denounce Arizona. Poizner says he would ‘get tough’ on the issue in California if were governor.
“Steve supports Arizona’s new law, which takes a bold approach to dealing with illegal immigration while making it crystal clear that racial profiling is both illegal and wrong. Arizona has acted because the federal government has failed to secure our borders,” Agen said. “It is time for California to do the same and, as governor, Steve pledges to make stopping illegal immigration one of his highest priorities. He has detailed a bold plan to address the crisis, which includes cutting off taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal aliens, employing state resources to help secure our borders, ending sanctuary cities, and cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens”
Poizner points out while Whitman and her liberal allies in Congress want to reward illegal aliens with a ‘pathway to citizenship,’ he has just two words: ‘No Amnesty.’
California’s gubernatorial race is shaping up to be quite the battle and Whitman has chosen the agricultural industry get her over the top and into the hot seat in Sacramento.
The $32 billion agricultural industry represents more than 1,000 growers and food processors, and employs at least 90,000 Californians.
In a statement to the media, Whitman announced her agriculture leadership coalition team.
“California’s growers and ranchers are immense contributors to our state. They help feed our nation and they generate more than $100 billion a year in agriculture and related economic activity,” Whitman said. “We all want a strong future for California, and we must create a strong economy in which all of our key industries, including agriculture, can thrive.”
Whitman plans to implement her managerial skills and solve the water crisis Central California faces with a standoff between farmers and environmentalists over the Delta smelt fish.
“We must have sound policies that provide true benefit to the environment and we must reconsider the regulatory barriers that stand in the way of an economic recovery,” she said.
“I will work with my agriculture coalition to make comprehensive improvements to our water supply system, support a healthy environment and encourage sensible laws that don’t strangle growth and innovation.”
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
Driving down Escondido Street one can’t help but notice the vacant store fronts and dusty sidewalks, however along this street lays a bright spot, Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe. It is here where Meg Whitman, former Ebay CEO and billionaire met with potential voters to garner their support.
The standing room only crowd had plenty of questions for this GOP rookie. Whitman explained how she came into the world of politics via Mitt Romney, former GOP Presidential candidate. She informed the crowd about how John McCain helped nudge her into running for a very difficult job as California’s Governor.
But in the end, it was her decision to “not let California fail,” that prompted her to seek California’s highest state office.
Whitman says she will focus on three main topics troubling the state, jobs, the state’s out-of-control spending and education.
“We (California) are ranked 48th in the country and education is the way up and out,” she explained. “I also know this state is bleeding jobs to other states not China and that has to stop.”
In a light moment the owner of the Pie Shoppe had Whitman slice a piece of pie, she responded with “don’t try and sell that on Ebay.” The crowd got a good chuckle out of that.
After that the conversation shifted to more serious topics like AB32, California’s version of Cap and Trade which is Job killer. This question was brought forward by 14-year-old, Joe Naritelli, an incoming La Costa Canyon High School freshman.
Whitman explained that if she were governor, she would modify or revoke AB32 and acknowledged it was a job-killing piece of legislation.
On the health care front Whitman talked about her husband, who is a brain-surgeon, and how half the surgeries he performs are free due to Emergency Room rules to refuse no one life-saving care.
“The fact that the Obama Administration is trying to force through health care at lightning speed is wrong, we need to bring down the costs, make sure everyone can get insurance coverage and create more competition within the industry.”
When it comes to keeping and growing jobs in the state, the candidate looked to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s business model. “Texas has reduced excessive business regulation and reduced the state’s high business taxes. As a result Texas is currently producing 80 percent of the countries new jobs.”
She continued, “We know what the right solutions are for California, we just have to implement them.”
Tackling important issues was not hard for Whitman’s business-like acumen. “Now that I’ve watched this political process, I know how important my rights are,” says Naritelli.
For others like Escondido resident Sarah Bond it was a chance to hear what a high-profile candidate like Whitman would do for her city and state. “She’s a political rookie and doesn’t have a record for me to judge. For now I’ll remain skeptical.”
And yet for other young college students it was a chance to let Whitman know that she needed to reach out to young people like President Obama did and let them get grass roots campaigns started.
“Reaching out to college students is a great way to build a movement, I hope we can help,” said Chasen Bullock a senior at San Marcos State University. “We have about 500 registered members and 35 very active members ready to get going.”
It seems the 2010 election cycle is gearing up early for a long and difficult process. However, this time around candidates are going to have to serve up more than just pie if they hope to get elected because voters are asking the tough questions.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
In a town hall meeting Meg Whitman, a GOP frontrunner for governor, gained a powerhouse endorsement from former presidential candidate John McCain. “I was inspired by John to run for governor, his commitment for smaller government is now mine,” Whitman said.
Whitman brings a lot to the table. She is a savvy businesswoman who brought eBay through the national ranks. Worth an estimated $1.4 billion, Whitman claims she has what it takes to not let California fail and be the state’s first female governor.
The usual stump speech topics were presented to an enthusiastic crowd in Orange County. “We will create more jobs by stripping the regulation and high taxes associated with California,” Whitman announced. “Next we must cut wasteful spending and finally address the K-12 schools that now rank 48th in the country.”
These statements are nothing new to the campaign trail; however Whitman yields a lot of calculated business experience in her portfolio. “Her ability to streamline business will make her successful in Sacramento,” Senator McCain added. “She will bring hope and confidence back to the state capitol.”
Whitman proposes a host of solutions for the problems that plague California. In an attempt to build a broad bipartisan coalition, Whitman plans to work directly with union workers.
“First, more than 80 percent of workers are working without a contract. I will tackle the unions by renegotiating these contracts. Technology is another important sector within the state that isn’t being used to its full potential. I will also employ technology to streamline the state government,” she said.
Another area Whitman proposes cutting back is within the DMV. “If we simply pay once every two years, we will save the state $1 billion per year.”
It is clear Whitman is comfortable on the national stage. The ease at which she answered questions proves she is up for the tough task of running for California’s top spot.
“Meg speaks with candor,” said Amy Colin, a town hall attendee. “I thought she was a better speaker than John McCain and her ability to really breakdown any question put to her was impressive.”
A trend Whitman hopes to reverse is the staggering size of state government. “The state capitol has grown by 80 percent in the last 10 years. That is a real problem,” she said.
Indeed reducing the size of government may pose a bigger problem than anyone anticipates. Sacramento’s growth comes with a union cost. In fact these unions run the state capitol by controlling the legislature’s purse strings.
“There are not many people who are willing to vote themselves out of a job,” Whitman says. “But I will cut a strict 10 percent across the board. I feel bad for those who will lose their job, but I also feel bad for the other unemployed Californian’s who don’t work for the state.”
Looking down the road one can’t help but notice the California school system is in a lot of trouble. When asked how she would repair a broken system near the bottom of the list, Whitman turned to the Florida playbook.
“Under Jeb Bush, Florida was able to turn their schools around by implementing three things,” she explained.
First, Bush graded each school A-F, letting parents know where their schools stood. Then the Florida governor increased the number of Charter schools in order to provide parent choice and finally he paid higher performing teachers more money.
“Once parents can see how their individual school is performing, they will get together and make the necessary changes for their children’s education,” Whitman insisted.
The one thing Whitman promises to make use of that current Gov. Schwarzenegger does not is the ‘Line Item Veto.’ “This is something the president of the U.S. would kill for and I plan to use a lot as governor.”
Meg Whitman Bio
Meg Whitman, 52, retired from eBay in March 2008 following a decade with the company. She helped eBay grow from 30 employees and $4.7 million in revenue to more than 15,000 employees, almost $8 billion in revenue and a network of 12 million users in California alone.
Before eBay, Whitman distinguished herself in leadership positions with Procter & Gamble, Bain & Company, Disney, Stride Rite Corporation, FTD and Hasbro.
On February 9, 2009, she announced the formation of her Exploratory Committee for Governor of California.