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On The Stump – Prop. 76

IRVINE PTA FORUM
I received a telephone call from one of my local school board members, Carolyn McInerney (a Republican), late last week.  She told me that she was having trouble finding someone to come and represent the YES on 76 cause at a forum being sponsored by the Irvine PTA and supported by the school district.  It’s no wonder they were having trouble filling the spot.  Carolyn, herself an opponent of the measure, disclosed to me that the State PTA had gone on record opposing it, that the district Superintendent would be on the program, opposing the measure, and that, by and large, the crowd there were ‘education folks’ who were opposed.  Flying down to give the "No on 76" talk was the Deputy Executive Director of the California School Boards Assocation.

Well, clearly Carolyn knows me too well.  The taller the odds, the bigger the challenge – like a moth to the flame, Jon can’t resist.  So I agreed to come down and speak.  After spending some time preparing (Prop. 76 used to be a very intimidating measure, now I really have a grasp on it) – I was ready to do battle!

Thanks to the Angels’ (as it turns out) final playoff game of the series against the Yankees (I’m a Dodger fan, but hats off to anyone to who takes out the Yanks!), the crowd was sparce — but true to Carolyn’s word, I didn’t find one person going into (or coming out of) the forum who supported Prop. 76.

I spent quite a bit of time going over the painful details of California’s deficit spending.  You know the tale – about how in the last six years, spending is up $11 billion over increases in revenue.  Or the part where our projected deficits going forward just a few years are in the tens of billions of dollars.  I asked the group if a family could make their budget work if they constantly borrowed and borrowed…

Well, I went over the need for the Proposition’s main reforms – a very modest spending cap, creating of budget reserves as a first line of defense against deficit spending, a mid-year budget cut process in times of fiscal emergency, and more.  My arguments fell on deaf ears.  I told the group that the failure to pass proposition 76 could very well lead to increases in taxes – income, property, consumption, automobile, etc.  I think that this particular group of folks would have said, if the format allowed, "GREAT – TAX US MORE!"

When I was driving home, I guess I had three thoughts come to mind:

1) I didn’t change one mind in the entire room.
2) The two most vocal audience members were union organizers.
3) This Governor truly IS taking on the special interests – we need to pass his reforms.

Oh well, all in a night’s work…  Today is a new  day!

_____________________________

Most of the headlines today are about United States Senator John McCain coming out to stump for Props. 74., 75, 76 and 77 – good for him.  Coincidental that there are also a few articles out today about McCain ‘testing the waters’ for an ’08 Presidential run?  When I was thinking back on what motivated me the most to oppose McCain’s Presidential aspirations the last go around, I vaguely remembered that there were a bunch of reasons – but the one I always immediately place my finger on is that assinine "McCain/Feingold" campaign ‘reform’ (read: free-speech-restricting) measure.  Ironically, I remember being chagrined that one of W’s first actions at President was to sign McCain/Feingold into law.  Go figure!

Enjoy the news, the blog, and your day!

Jon