Wednesday :: Jul 6, 2005

Love Fest in Sacramento

by paradox

California passed its budget for fiscal year 2006 yesterday after the CTA had given up on Arnold’s 2 billion betrayal (saving the fight for the Fall election) and the Democrats wanted no part in being Arnold’s whipping boy by stalling. Both sides in this current debacle know the public has an equally low view of both of the governor and the legislature, so it was all kissy-kissy to the press yesterday on what fine, deliberative compromising statesmen our elected representatives are.

There has been some word in the last two weeks of, amazingly, another set of compromise initiatives to be offered in the special election this Fall that would be backed by both Arnold and the Democrats to somehow bridge the insane attack on unions—especially the CTA—that Arnie so stupidly launched this spring. There’s also a direct assault on the legislature’s powers, so how a fantasy initiative compromise comes forth for a public election is a grim spectacle of absurdity no one really wants to contemplate.

Everyone is furious at that idiot Arnold for foisting a nasty fight on everyone in what could have been an off year, but there is no doubt that unless some true miracle occurs after August a huge fight with the unions is on, and if this year’s results are any indicator Arnold is simply going to get the shit beat of him as public servants hound him, publicize his betrayal to our children, and plummet his numbers. The mighty Terminator looks likely to lose next year with this year’s mauling not even half over.

To review, two of the initiatives on the ballot go after unions—one by forcing them to get membership approval for political spending, the other a direct stab at the California Teachers Association by screwing beginning teachers with a 5 year tenure wait instead of the usual two.

Grover Norquist and all the national GOP freaks want to gut the unions and the CTA, especially, as a test case so they can see if they can get vouchers passed with the unions crippled. The know they will never, ever get vouchers in California with the CTA standing guard.

I was reading over Atrios and Digby this morning over a flap between progressives and unions and was just appalled. The Democratic party has seriously lost its way in not cultivating labor as an issue, and it total failure to grasp labor issues is the primary reason party registration growth continues to flat-line.

Duncan Black, may your recovery as economist progress massively further in this life. Unions do a lot more than get crowds to political events. The California Teachers Association is the one and only organization safeguarding consistent, adequate funding of education through teaching, otherwise each district would run amok in its own funding levels.

Even after a 30 year fight after the tax freaks squatted in Mississippification creeps everywhere. If the CTA goes down this year vouchers will not be far behind. The GOP then will complete its goal of dismantling public education, and California will forever be a lost dream. Public service unions preserve the American dream in California, never doubt it. Yeah, they show up when they're supposed to at rallies too.

We live in an age where Walmart and vast swathes of grossly underpaid service workers cannot effectively organize. When they bother to vote half of them vote for Republicans. Issues like health care, day care, worker safety, and retirement security are nowhere on the national Democratic agenda for 2006. How can we even win back The People’s House (only 17 seats!) without recruiting new voters? They’re right there in front our eyes, yet we refuse to engage them, defiling and betraying a noble political heritage.

I am immensely pleased to see Nathan Newman get a slot at the superb House of Labor at the TPM Café. He tells that story so much better than I, and I urge all sincere Democrats to regularly read Nathan and Josh’s impressive site.

I am a Democrat only because there is no other place for me to go. I am very, very weary of spitting upon my party and impatiently ranting, often in the most foul juvenile manner, for those DC idiots to get it together. It would help if some national big-time Democrats hoping for a 2008 shot came out to help in 2005 and learned some labor politics. Never too early.

I do not know much of this world, but I do know the California Teachers Association is one of the greatest forces of good our state has ever had. Democrats can finally wake up, embrace their cause and start winning elections, or lose and see the Democracy wither and die. California will not survive two generations of voucher education.

paradox :: 8:59 PM :: Comments (7) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!