Congratulations, Mr. Bloom! I am sure that your holiday season is off to a merry start. The voters in the newly-drawn 50th Assembly District have given you and themselves a present: your replacing Betsy Butler. I love Santa Monica more and more every day. Although I am sad that the holiday scenes will no longer be on display in Palisades Park, I am still in a festive mood. I ran into Independent and Conservatives during the past election who were not afraid to say "No More Waxman!" Now I am glad that someone took down Butler and can give us something better.
You removed from office an Assemblywoman who was representing special interests instead of the public interest. I esteem some of the work that she did on an individual level for residents, including myself, since she was my Assemblywoman, but her resolute decision to kill SB 1530 was just disgraceful. She chose her allegiance ot the teachers' unions ahead of the state, and for that, she had to go.
Bloom, you won the 50th Assembly seat. I am well-aware of the acrimony some Santa Monicans have had about your "claimed" relationship with developers. Honestly, if Santa Monica reconsidered their rent control laws, there would be more housing for less money. I know that's a touchy subject, so I will leave that aside for now.
Now I can only ask, but since Senator Ted Lieu has started paying attention to the posts of the people in his senate district, I was hoping that I and any other who cares about the state of our great state can hope for real leadership that responds to the needs of the people, not just the greed of the special interests.
Here's my wish list for the coming 2013-2015 term when you will be serving in the Assembly:
1. Please resurrect SB 1530, the bill which would permit schools to expedite the suspension and dismissal of teachers who have perpetrated crimes against the children in the classroom. The legislator whom you have replaced, Ms. Betsy Butler killed that bill, along with three other Assemblymembers, by abstaining to vote on the bill.
2. The state of California needs a voucher program, like the one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and the District of Columbia. Not just for students with disabilities, but for every student. Instead of forcing students to go to the school closest to them in the same zipcode, parents should be allowed to choose the school where they enroll their children. Los Angeles Unified and Torrance Unified had instituted a partial voucher program, in that city residents, or individuals who live hear the school district boundaries, were permitted to enroll their children anywhere they chose. Students should be able to go to any school they wish, if they are willing to drive, and the local school boards should not have the power to limit enrollment except for reasons of limited spacing.
3. Pension and entitlement reform is a must. California Budget Project itemized the growing costs in school districts, and they discovered that 80% of spending goes toward pensions and benefits. These expenditures cover all staff, not just teachers. Fewer administrators, more local control, and more freedom for school district leadership would allow them to contract out services to save money and ensure greater efficiency without diminishing the return on our tax dollars.
4. Kill that bullet train to nowhere. SoCal Connected followed a report on the local, fiscal, and moral impact that this supertrain will have on the state. The train is already entering into cost overruns, and the track has not even been laid down yet. One farmer commented that he had no problem with the state moving his farmhouse, but he actually believed that visitors would eat a fine dinner in San Francisco, then jump on the train to go Las Vegas. Who projects these kind of expenditures is beyond me, but the state simply cannot afford that boondoggle right now.
5. Lower taxes on state and local commerce. It just escapes me that political elites continue to raise tax rates, yet never understand that declining revenues are soon to follow. From Presidents Warren G. Harding to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, lower tax rates brings in more revenue.
6. Governor Jerry Brown needs to expand the welfare-to-work and the unemployment-to-work programs in this state. Governor Brown already instituted welfare cuts. Now he must allow municipal or county governments to administer these funds. Help him along with some legislation to streamline job assistance. Granting some ease on business regulations would also allow companies to expand their hiring, which would get more people working to move their way up the ladder.
Mr. Bloom, I understand that this wish list is a lengthy one, but I am sure that you and your colleagues are up to the challenge. Elections throughout the state have signaled a need for reform. I've made the list; please check it twice.