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Shorter Arnold: Vote For My Props Or I'll Set Your State On Fire

by: Robert Cruickshank

Mon May 04, 2009 at 20:55:36 PM PDT

That faint smell is the whiff of desperation coming from the governor's office:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to seek the elimination of more than 1,700 state firefighting positions and closure of scores of fire stations if voters reject key ballot measures in the May 19 special election, according to documents obtained by The Chronicle on Monday.

Schwarzenegger's proposal involves slashing $80.8 million from Cal Fire's spending plan - a 10 percent reduction - by eliminating 602 full-time positions and 1,100 seasonal firefighting positions. The cuts would be part of a series of deep cuts to the state budget.

Cal Fire, the state's fire agency, has about 5,000 full-time firefighters. At the peak of last year's fire season, more than 2,700 wild fires ravaged the state and the agency hired extra help: 3,000 seasonal firefighters.

Arnold seems to have quickly forgotten the record-setting 2008 fire season, and the 2007 fires before that, and the 2003 fires before that, etc, etc. And considering that the US Forest Service's firefighting problems haven't yet been straightened out, and that firefighting capacity is being cut as cities try to balance their budgets, Arnold's proposal is likely a death sentence for many vulnerable communities this coming summer.

Obviously Arnold is trying to scare voters into supporting his craptacular May 19 propositions. But voters can smell desperation a mile away, and they're not likely to be swayed by this truly insane proposal.

What Arnold's crazy "let's burn down California - literally!" plan will actually do is show voters that Republicans, whether they are for or against the May 19 propositions, are really just hell-bent on destroying our government and leaving everyone to fend for themselves. The last time a Republican demonstrated that to the public, as Bush did after Hurricane Katrina, his party's public support collapsed and they were thrown out of power at the first available opportunity.

The same will happen here in California. The question is whether Arnold and his wingnut allies  will destroy the state first. They're already pouring gasoline on everything in sight...

Robert Cruickshank :: Shorter Arnold: Vote For My Props Or I'll Set Your State On Fire
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That's Just the Tip of the Iceberg (1.00 / 1)
Face it: the cuts are going to be ugly if the props lose.

What's your plan?

They will be ugly if they win, also. (4.50 / 2)
Cuts will happen either way.  At least if we reject the propositions, we show that some compromises are unacceptable.  That increases the chance that votes will eliminate the 2/3 rules.

You have no plan for eliminating the 2/3 rules.  The only place your roadmap leads is the slow destruction of the state, by endless capitulation to Republican extortion.

[ Parent ]
Uh ... (0.00 / 0)
sorry, charlie, but the rejection of the props will embolden your allies, the California Republican Party and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Foundation and John and Ken, even more. They've already said as much. The majority of Democrats support the propositions -- probably because they're not willing to throw our most vulnerable citizens under the bus and bet on a high-risk, losing political strategy.

[ Parent ]
You're mistaken. (0.00 / 0)
On the other hand, the success of the propositions would be a triumph for your Republican allies -- the governor, the Chamber, the Farm Bureau, the oil companies, and the gasoline companies -- who will have succeeded in forcing through a regressive tax increase on the poor, to pay for their own corporate tax cuts.  No, thanks.

Alos, your claim that a "majority of Democrats support the propositions" is false.  The recent Field Poll showed majority support among Democrats for only 3 of the 6 propositions -- A, D, and F -- with less than a majority supporting B and E, and a 12-point plurality opposed to C.

[ Parent ]
The cuts will be ugly if the props pass, too (4.50 / 2)
Unless these propositions somehow magically gained the ability to close the $9 billion deficit that will be there on May 20 no matter what happens on May 19.

As to our plan, it's not threatening to burn down the state, thank god (kind of sad that your initial reaction to Arnold's insane plan isn't to distance yourself from it). The plan would include, at minimum:

1. Majority vote budget

2. Strong push for wealth taxes, repeal corporate tax loopholes, incl. the estate tax fix. Let Republicans vote against it - that will set up #3, and ensure they get beaten in the 2010 elections. Of course, I also happen to believe we can actually win that vote, as long as you don't assume it's a lost cause before you actually engage in that fight.

3. Repeal 2/3rds rule. Yes, we need to improve the polling. Seems to me that picking a huge fight over wealth taxes and watching Republicans use that 2/3 rule to protect the rich is a damn good way to improve the polling.

4. Get cracking on a Constitutional Convention to make the state governable again.

I'm sure you'll respond with all sorts of reasons why we can't even attempt the above, which would merely illustrate why this state has no effective leadership on these matters in the first place. Instead of arguing over these doomed May 19 propositions, all of us ought to be mobilizing to push something closely resembling the above strategy, if not that strategy itself.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
That's not a plan, it's a dream (0.00 / 0)
1. The majority vote budget produces nowhere near the revenue to balance the budget.

2. Republicans have repeatedly rejected all those taxes. They'll do it again. And there isn't anyone in the state who believes Democrats can win enough seats to get a 2/3 majority.

3. Repealing the 2/3? I'm with you, but good luck.

4. A constitutional convention? And what guarantees do you have from that.

"Effective leadership" changes none of that. And to insult the current progressive leadership by saying there needs to be "effective leadership" doesn't change things either.

[ Parent ]
As expected (0.00 / 0)
Your definition of a "plan" is "whatever makes sense to me, and nothing else."

As you will note, several elements of the plan are designed to force changes to the existing political landscape by showing Californians that their teachers will be fired so Republicans can give the rich a tax break. That undermines Republicans either immediately in the budget negotiations, or in the 2010 elections, and helps make the case for changing the 2/3 rule.

Instead of backing a forward-looking strategy, you fall back into your usual position of offering nothing except the status quo, fixed forever into place by your unwillingness to try something new.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
the props don't even close this year's deficit (0.00 / 0)
and 1a will give your favorite governor emergency powers to cut the budget as he sees fit, between budgetary cycles. we'll be $9 billion in the hole already, but with an even harder set of budget straitjacket placed on us for the next crisis moment, anf the next, and you guys in sac are going to own that public backlash as well, doubly so because you are misleadingly running on tellong the people that if they don;t vote for this, things they love will be cut, when in fact you're going to do that regardless.

and by still refusing to lead one goddamn iota in spending some of that consultant and ad money to try and shape the public debate towards changing the 2/3 rule and getting us out of this annual clusterfuck, you are working passively to block any potential shift in public opinion.

we are going to make horrible cuts even if all your and arnold's props pass. they do not solve the problem in the short run, and make it worse in the medium to long run. stop pretending that there's a situation that gets us into the clear on may 20th, there isn't, that's the awful false choice your employers have forced on us, and are trying to force us to choose between, and we are not going to buy into it. we've been screwed with this kind of budget scam too many times i the past to fall for it again.

[ Parent ]
spare me the personal attack (0.00 / 0)
i think it's safe to say i've already done more for repealing the 2/3 majority than you ever will.

i appreciate that you have no plan for the future if the props pass, but spare me the personal insults.

[ Parent ]
furthermore, they aren't doing ads for the ones that bring in $ (5.00 / 2)
As Dave wrote about yesterday, the Yes campaign isn't doing anything to get the $ that impacts this year's budget. With the exception of the GTech money, nothong has been done for CD&E. And Prop1A doesn't do a damn thing about closing this year's budget.

I think?

And what's your plan for this year's budget? (0.00 / 0)

And none for the future either except the wish list above.

[ Parent ]
I can't even tell Arnold's plan (0.00 / 0)
It's clearly not to pass Props 1C, 1D, & 1E, which actually bring any money into the budget. It makes the true goal of Arnold and his corporate cronies clear, they want that spending cap.

I think?

[ Parent ]
One reason they want the cap (0.00 / 0)
is that it would make it much less relevant whether the state eliminates the 2/3 rules.  If new programs are prohibited by law, the legislature's not likely to raise taxes, even if they could do so by majority vote.  

It's really unbelievable that the Democratic leadership is expending its energy to help pass this monstrosity.

[ Parent ]
question about firefighters (0.00 / 0)
I have aging parents (including in-laws).  Each of them have called 911 for a medical emergency and one has called twice.  In each case an ambulance and firetruck came out with a minimum of six people to respond to the call.  Is all that really necessary?  Not all problems are solved with overwhelming force.  How expensive is all that equipment and all those people for EACH 911 call?

I'm not ungrateful to them, just curious.

It's a good question (0.00 / 0)
Some jurisdictions run EMT's in separate vehicles, but for many agencies, it makes more sense to keep the unit together on the fire truck to provide maximum response time from the closest station to any emergency.

It seems crazy until you start looking at the operational requirements and the minimum staffing levels on a 24/7 operation.

OC Progressive is Gus Ayer, former Fountain Valley Council member.  

[ Parent ]
You got to the heart of it better than I did (0.00 / 0)
I guess that I was dealing with the symptoms and not the disease.  You got to the heart of the matter.  Why is it that the operational requirements and minimum staffing levels are where they are?  Is it due to a desire for zero risk?  Necessity?  Union demands?

In all the cases that I saw, the response was HUGE overkill.  I understand that all of that responce is required by law, but is it really necessary?

[ Parent ]
The answer, of course, is the standards are set "in consultation with" firefighters' unions, equipment and truck manufacturers, and nominally independent standards institutes funded by and chiefed by the first two.

Disclosure: I'm awesome.

[ Parent ]
Public vs. private firefighters (0.00 / 0)

I think Arnold is bluffing - doesn't Arnold hire a large cadre of private Blackwater-style firefighting companies to fight fires?

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