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I Love To Hate You

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Another local headline, another news item about education, but yet this one strikes me as almost humorous. It has been reported that parents in the East Bay are suing the state. Why, you may ask? Because the state has not addressed the "broken" way that the education system is funded in the state, and these parents (as well as several school districts in the state, who filed a prior lawsuit in May) want to force the Governor and the Legislature to change and amend this.


So our society is so litigious that we now have to sue the state in order to initiate change? Quite comical, really.


As I was growing up, I was instructed by my parents that the three areas of government that must be funded and given priority were: education, infrastructure, and the penal system. We must make sure that everyone is educated through high school (and, in my view, at least a bit beyond), we must make sure that the roads and canals and such all are in best working order, and we must make sure that the baddies are locked up and can't get out. Once those areas are addressed, then you go on to the other items. And I would argue that most people wouldn't mind a rise in taxes for any of those purposes *if* the money was well spent and done in an effective manner. I think that's still true. And while technically there are laws in place protecting the spending (or preventing of major cuts) with regard to education in this state, they are often either ignored--at least, it seems to me to be that way. Meanwhile, the Legislature hasn't passed a budget on-time and in-balance in so long, I don't honestly know when the last time was...I'm not being facitious, I really don't think it's been in my adult life. It's not a pretty site in Sacramento right now, nor anywhere else for that matter. And the people are fed up. Weak leadership plus a Legislature that feels like they can stall all they want (to hell with the people), well, it leads to this.


Somehow I still expect the lawsuits will have no effect, that things will continue. Not that I'm a cynic...well, I am, but that's not the case here. I very much doubt that the Courts will find that they have jurisdiction to tell the Governor and the Legislature to get their heads out of their asses and fix anything. That would be legislating from the bench, something that the Courts are not allowed to do, and dare I say are not usually prone to doing. But will it lead to change regardless...I truly hope so.

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You see, that wouldn't work here. It isn't that we british are scared of litigation, it's just that unless you're the victim of an accident you most certainly will be the victim of a rather large bill. And even if that obstacle were removed and we adopt yet another amercian custom, that being the one of suing anyone for profit, then sooner or later a greedy politician is only going to tax our winnings even more.


In any case, we don't need to sue our leaders. All we have to do is march around shouting a lot. They soon get the message, or a notice to quit within a few years courtesy of the general publics vote. It's a brave politician that ignores dissent in Britain. Unless you're John Prescott, in which case you simply punch joe public in the face. Don't laugh, it worked for him, he's now Baron of Hull.

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Heh yeah, Mr. Prescott seems to have turned out just fine, regardless of his actions.


Protests...there's plenty of them. The problem comes in that much of the time (at least in California) they're organized by the unions...a hugely powerful lobby in their own right. So the government often does indeed somewhat ignore the protests, or at least in that they don't often act immediately. They wait until they need to, which funnily enough tends to coincide with election season. Then they make promises, the unions decide to back or batter a given candidate, and John and Jane Q Public vote. Then the same thing happens again.


Take the governor's race right now. One major candidate is a former governor, who comes from a political family. Of course, he once famously called himself 'Moonbeam.' The other major candidate is a billionairess who ran a major corporation...but has never once publicly done anything in government. Many voters under 40 do not remember the former candidate's governorship, and therefore are relying on political ads and blasts from the latter candidate's campaign for info; I hear it on the street all the time. The thing is, we've had a billionaire of business (of sorts) who had at least a hint of political background with his in-laws, and he's shown the political leadership skills of a ninny. I doubt this billionairess will be much better. The unions are for the latter candidate, but if he does win, and if he governs like he did in the past, the unions won't necessarily get all the concessions that they think they will. So I'm sure there will be more protests.


Vicious cycle, eh?

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