Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Terminator, Indeed

Since Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken over CA, he's terminated a lot more than he's created.

Schwarzenegger’s election terminated $9 billion in funds the energy companies overcharged the state. Former Governor Gray Davis was hotly pursuing a lawsuit against the energy companies when ousted in the recall election. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer continues to press cases, but it doesn’t look promising:
"Most of Lockyer's previous attempts to sue energy companies in state court have been moved to federal court or to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has jurisdiction over wholesale energy disputes." [source in previous link]
Under Arnold, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, the man who threw Diebold out of the state, was ousted and Bruce McPherson installed instead. Under McPherson, the state is set to recertify Diebold, and possibly to introduce ES&S machines as well. ES&S and Diebold are run by brothers, and together this team is responsible for counting 80% of the vote across the country. Do we really want such power concentrated in such hands? Especially when one of the pair, Diebold, has employed five convicted felons?

Recently, the Governator terminated 2 billion of funding that was going to go to the schools - promising to restore it when times were better, and then when times were better, giving back only a portion of that.

Last month, in nearly 50 places across the state, teachers, students, parents and other concerned activists protested the Governor’s refusal to give back the money he took from the teachers.

Today in Santa Monica, 220 people marched with signs and banners down 20th Street from Colorado to Pico Boulevard to join a protest rally at Santa Monica Community College, one of the bodies hardest hit by the Governor’s cuts. In hideous irony, the Governor was there tonight to give the commencement address. Not surprisingly, this predominately minority, low-income audience booed the Governor.

One can only speculate at the advice he must have given the hardworking young graduates. Be an admirer of Hitler in your youth (but disavow it when you run for office)? Spend more time on your body than your brain, and you too can rise to high office? It’s okay if you are an immigrant if you keep other immigrants out?

The protestors showed creative flair, oftentimes parodying Arnold’s movies. Constance Youens, from Murietta in Riverside County, a fifth-grade teacher, had a two-sided sign. One side said “Kindergarten Cop-out” and the other said simply, “True Liar.” I asked her, what’s your biggest concern, and she shrugged and said, “I don’t even know where to start.” I can relate.

I spoke briefly with Andrew Sachs. He had a “Don’t Mess with Texas” T-shirt altered to say, “I messed with Texas.” He explained that he had made them for a friend who had filmed a documentary on how the privatization of the prison system in Texas was failing utterly. When I asked him his name, he was initially reluctant to provide it, fearing he’d end up on some government list. I explained to him that he might as well get on the list early. We’re all on a list, somewhere. We can’t live in fear. It’s important to constantly speak out.

At the rallying point on campus, a series of speeches were first kicked off by the local “Billionaires for Bush” music group singing their stinging and hilarious songs. Several local Santa Monica activists got up to speak passionately about the demise of funding for public education. One of the most eloquent speakers was a young woman, Nicole Barnes, who will be starting college there in the fall. She spoke of her worries as she entered adulthood that the problems will soon be so far advanced that “we can’t turn around.” “We’re being left behind,” she pleaded. “We are the future, and if we have no education, where does that leave America?”

The funniest comment I heard all night came from speaker Christopher Adiano (spelling unknown) who said, “When I heard the Governor was coming to Santa Monica College, I was so happy. Finally, the Governor is going to get an education!” The crowd roared with approval.

I got the feeling most of the cops were not terribly excited to be stuck on that particular assignment. As we marched and rallied, cars drove by, honking profusely in approval. It made quite a din, but not quite as much noise as the guitar player who attempted to imitate Jimmy Hendricks' rendition of the national anthem. I made a connection with one of the policemen when I winced and said to him, that’s just awful! He cracked a nice smile – it’s funny how easy it is to connect with someone, even when you’re on opposite sides. There’s always some point of commonality between any two people. I want to look for that more often.

CBS and several local stations were there to cover the event. Whether it will make the local news tonight remains to be seen.

There’s something Arnold should have terminated but didn’t – his campaign contributions from Tom Noe. Even George Bush returned campaign contributions from Mr. Noe, a rare coin dealer who somehow, miraculously and against all good judgment, was handed $50 million from Ohio to invest in his coin business. Now, strangely, 121 coins the fund had invested in are missing, and the state lost between $10-12 million on the investment in what is now called the “Coingate” scandal.

And then there’s the thing Arnold should terminate, but won’t: the special election. Why is he putting his initiatives on the ballot? Because he couldn’t get them passed by the legislature and he’s trying to cash in on his personal appeal by taking them to the people. But these initiatives are Orwellian – full of nice sounding words as they slip a noose to the uninformed to slip around their necks. Several initiatives give the Governor ever-increasing power. And dare I ask why he is rushing the election through this year, rather than waiting for the normal election cycle? Could it be because the requirement for a voter-verified paper trail on all voting machines doesn’t kick in until Jan 1, 2006? With the state about to certify Diebold and ES&S to record and tabulate our vote, I can’t help but fear there’s something sinister afoot.

2 Comments:

Blogger bakedpotato said...

Yes, this is key. Dissolve the barriers that have been so meticulously created for us, so that moments like this between people can heal outlook & attitude, and infuse us with that antidote--hope--that can help neutralize and discard the culture of fear & separation & scarcity that keeps us all in line...but never comparing notes.

"I got the feeling most of the cops were not terribly excited to be stuck on that particular assignment. As we marched and rallied, cars drove by, honking profusely in approval. It made quite a din, but not quite as much noise as the guitar player who attempted to imitate Jimmy Hendricks' rendition of the national anthem. I made a connection with one of the policemen when I winced and said to him, that’s just awful! He cracked a nice smile – it’s funny how easy it is to connect with someone, even when you’re on opposite sides. There’s always some point of commonality between any two people. I want to look for that more often."

1:59 AM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Thanks, Anonymous. For years I've wanted to form a group called "Right meets Left" or something like that, where honest, dedicated conservatives could sit down with honest, dedicated liberals and look for common ground. Think what we could do if we could find a way to work together on society's ills. Take abortion, for example. While there's strong disagreement about what could or should happen once a woman is pregnant, can't we all agree that the goal is not to get pregnant in the first place? Can't we focus our efforts on better sex and moral education to make it easier for people to stay out of the unwanted pregnancy situation? There are many such issues.

9:28 AM  

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