I find myself getting hot under the collar every time I read another story or report on the pitiful state of public education in California.
Looking back, it’s easy to see how some local government pension plans wound up underfunded. As described in last month’s issue, much of the blame goes to generous legislation passed during California’s boom cycles.
Yuba County’s infrastructure was crumbling and its budget bleeding red ink when officials came up with a catching solution to their energy problems.
This month, California voters finally have something to celebrate — a redistricting plan that moves us a small step forward on the long journey to change the state’s dysfunctional political system.
In 1999 the dot-com boom was sending lots of money to Sacramento. The state Legislature saw it as a good time to share some of that wealth through state and local pension plans via Senate Bill 400.
In 1970, California’s Legislature was declared the model for America, and it was an honor well deserved.
Builders trying to get plans approved by a city government all know the drill: Make the plans, and bring them to city hall. The city marks them up for revisions. Then you drive back to city hall, pick up the plans, send them off to consultants, make changes, print out hundreds of new pages and drive the new set of plans back to city hall or to another office or agency. Repeat. Repeat again. And maybe again.
It’s been about 20 months since lawmakers and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger breathlessly announced a historic agreement called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009, an ambitious plan to overhaul the state’s antiquated water system. Much has changed since then, but much more is still on the way.
The scenes of twisted metal, splintered wood, crumbling brick and flooded streets are still vivid to Kit Miyamoto, a Sacramento-based engineer who follows earthquake destruction around the world. But he’s not just seeing these images in Haiti, Chile or Japan.
State trade groups generate nearly $90 billion in annual spending nationwide through education and training programs, meeting products and services, and local, state and federal taxes, according to the California Society of Association Executives. Roughly 15 percent of that is spent right here in California, and much of it winds up in the till of the hospitality industry.