Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A visit to....another world, another planet, apparently, another universe....

California is DOOMED. This is my conclusion after a brief lobbying visit to our pawned away, once Golden State's capital city to meet with a few of our elected representatives at the state capitol.

In short, I met with two actual state legislators and two state legislature minions. My assembly district's representative, Manuel Perez, who is in his first two-year term and therefore must often recite the Democratic Party mantra regarding needing more funding and the evil Republicans who will not bend to the Donkey' desires. Oh, Assemblyman Perez was cordial enough and his aid who was there actually asked a couple of good questions to our group. When Assemblyman Perez asked us just how we thought state spending priorities should be, I told him that I believed they should start with the State Constitutionally mandated items and any money left over be spent on legislated things. I don't recall his exact words, but they indicated the probable impossibility of doing such things and then ranted about "getting the Republicans in this building to work with us."

The second real assemblyman I met with was one who is in the spotlight right now, at least in terms of education. Not having a scheduled appointment with him, myself and one other member of our local delegation (who is actually our local teachers association president, who told me, "I want to go with you to learn how to do this stuff (meaning lobbying)." [ disclaimer: Polski3's experience in lobbying/talking to elected officials has been limited as I live in a political and geographic backwater of our nation that politicians are not interested in.....we tend to get "dumped" into legislative districts with greater population. For example, our State Senate district is, population-wise, in the coastal county to the west; that Senator gets "stuck" with us out here in the desert. Our State Assembly area includes "us" and a more heavily populated area in a county north of us. Yes, politically, we are unwanted and an embarrassment due to our high illiteracy and unemployment statistics].....Oh, anyhow, I timed our meeting attempt for about 20 minutes after a scheduled meeting. We walked into the office of Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, Democrat. Torlakson is a member of the Assembly Education committee and is running for California State Superintendent of Public Education. He has been endorsed by both teacher unions (CFT and CTA) and the classified employees union (CSEA). I found out that he'd been a teacher and coached track and field for 25 years. He agreed to meet with us for a few minutes as he was on his way to another meeting. I thought it was nice of him to spend a couple of minutes with us and listen to our brief pitch about changing the way California funds Public Education. I also gave him a short letter asking him in his position on the Assembly Education Committee and perhaps as State Superintendent of Public Education, to consider revamping the State Social Studies standards (to reduce what we are expected to teach and make it more revelent to our students; these are, survey courses and the standards ask for the teaching of too many "non" power standards), to get the folks in power to do so to integrate the History/Social Studies and Language Arts materials so that something like when students are in grade 8, they could read things in language arts related to US History, not stuff (and not that its not of value), like Diary of Ann Frank (Grade 10 H/SS standards) or "Riki Ticki Tavi" (which if stretched, might somehow fit in with grade 6 H/SS standards), and to include a real geography class somewhere (like maybe where it used to be, in Grade 9). Assemblyman Torlakson took my note and thanked me for it, saying he'd read it. ( I haven't hear anything from him yet. ) Meeting with him, as brief and "unplanned" as it was, was the lobbying highlight of the day.

We also met with minions of two other legislators, one of whom is being termed out and the other who wants that Senate seat. IMO, the meeting with the minion of the state Senator "being termed out" was a waste of time. I'd talked to her once before (State Senator Denise Ducheny-Moreno) about an educational issue and she gave me the distinct impression that she didn't want to her it or talk to me. She also used some rather course language at this meeting, which I thought to be unprofessional, especially since my two young boys were there (it was a chance encounter at my favorite coffee/book shop, sadly, now closed). The meeting with the minion of Assemblywoman Mary Salas (who wants Ducheny's Senate seat) went well enough, the young man in her office was polite, took alot of notes and expressed to us several times that Assemblywoman Salas was interested in what we had to say. However, I wouldn't vote for either her or her Democratic opponent due to the incredible, never-before-seen amount of pure crap they are flinging at each other and is cluttering up my mailbox. Seriously, just these two have destroyed a whole forest with all the crap mailings they are sending out. IMO, its pathetic.

Oh, BTW, our delegation seemed to be the buzz of this lobbying effort. The sponsoring organization was the California School Boards Association. The president of our district school board (husband of a now retired teacher), thought it would be more "powerful" in talking to the legislators if there was a diverse group, not just school board members. So, I got to go, in the part of a teacher and parent, there was a parent, our district superintendent, the board president and the current president of our local teachers association. This was such an unusual thing that the CSBA PR lady did a short write up about us. (I was not quoted). You can probably find it on the CSBA website. The legislators / or minions noted the diversity of our group also.

But, overall, I don't find much good to say. Too much fighting between Democrats and Republicans. Anyone who strays from the "party" line will be seriously delt with. Polski3 says Don't look for changes in how schools are funded, expect future cuts to Public education, higher taxes and continued dysfunction from those pathetic self-serving creatures in the State House.

Oh, two more things; there was a very interesting display about California and the Civil War featuring a number of regimental flags from Civil War era California regiments and some artifacts, including one display case of artifacts from the Battle of Gettysburg. Secondly, they is, outside the Governors office, guarded by a well dressed member of the California Highway Patrol (our "state" troopers/police), a big bronze grizzly bear statue similar to those you might find at zoos for the kids to climb on and beaming parents take a photo of their kids on the statue. Anyhow, the statue was cool. The Governator was not in, so no chance to bend his ear.

Thanks for reading this. Hope your summer is a Grand one !