While Schwarzenegger soaks in his jacuzzi smoking a fat one tonight, millions of Californians just had their future traded away in a craptacular budget deal. Parks, beaches and schools will close. Teachers and health care workers will lose their jobs. The social safety net lies in shreds at our feet.
This weekend, I and some friends, activists, and Obama alumni shot a video about the CA budget crisis called "California Closed". Production services and music were donated. The "models" were friends. Nori, the woman you see at the end of the video is real.
This budget isn't a done deal yet. But we only have 24 hours to keep California "open".
We put the one-minute video, "California Closed", up on YouTube Monday night. On Tuesday morning, the Courage Campaign picked it up and built an online campaign around it. By Tuesday night, local news stations in Los Angeles were running stories on the video and the backlash against the budget.
We're hoping (praying) that enough momentum is building out there to block a scheduled vote of the California legislature tomorrow. If we can block that vote, we can force Schwarzenegger and the Republican legislative minority back to the bargaining table. If we're luckier still, we can force Democratic Leaders in Sacramento to grow a spine.
So here is what we need you to do.
1) Watch the video
2) Sign the Courage Campaign's online petition.
3) Spread the video and petition as far and wide as you can. Link to it. Blog about it. Put it on FaceBook. Tweet about it. The hashtag is #cabudget
4) Call the "Big 5" leadership in Sacramento and tell them to vote NO. Tell them we will not allow Arnold Schwarzenegger and the radical Republican legislative minority to hold our state hostage. We want a fair budget that uses both cuts AND revenue increases to balance the budget.
Darryl Steinberg, State Senate Majority Leader
Dennis Hollingworth, State Senate Minority Leader
Karen Bass, State Assembly Majority Leader
Sam Blakeslee, State Assembly Minority Leader
CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR AND ASSEMBLY MEMBER
Don't know who your Assembly Member and State Senator are?
Click here and get their contact information.
Folks this is what we're up against.
If you get a chance, take a listen to Warren Olney's Which Way, LA?
(Democratic lawmaker) Bonnie Lowenthal... is positively ebullient about the prospect of selling out local governments and breaking the very fabric of the social safety net. Asked if she'll vote for the budget, she goes "I certainly am!" Olney, incredulously, lists the scope of the cuts, but she replies, "We have a deal, the stalemate is done, the IOUs will be over!" Later in the show, she enlightens us that it's better to have something than nothing, and that we saved the "framework" - not the funding, just the framework - of most programs.
Then Chuck DeVore comes on. Now DeVore is running for US Senate, and needs to be as crazy as he wants to be. So Olney asks him if he's voting for the budget. And he says he hasn't read it, but it didn't go far enough with the "reforms" and cuts to programs. (He also uses the spanking new right-wing canard that California has 12% of the population and 32% of the welfare recipients, which is only true if you count all kinds of services that other states don't consider welfare as welfare) Then Olney says that there were no new taxes in the deal, and DeVore hails that, and eventually says "this is the best compromise we could possibly get." And Olney says, "So then you'll vote for it." And DeVore says "No.".....
I don't think you could encapsulate the strategy and approach of the two parties better in a work of fiction. Lowenthal is just pleased as punch for everything to be over, DeVore knows he can get more and doesn't want any part of his own handiwork so Democrats can be blamed for the consequences. One side looks only to put out immediate fires and the other has a long game strategy playing out over decades.