Sat, Jun

Contradictions and Copouts

NOTES IN THE MARGIN - There has been a bunch of media attention lately given to the Prisons vs. Schools budget battle. Over the past decade, the dollars devoted to supporting prison costs has risen while the bucks for education have shrunk. Especially for higher education.

Now California again faces what is described as an agonizing decision on which institution … the one with bars or the one with books … should get the bigger chunk of what few monies are left to distribute.

Help me out with this …

Why is this even a question?

Has it occurred to anyone that better education helps reduce the prison population?

Does anyone see the correlation between reduced education spending and increased prison populations?


School budgets are being slashed and admission fees are ballooning in Los Angeles County and across the state. There isn’t a single respected educator who doesn’t believe that today’s kids … and tomorrow’s leadership … aren’t paying the price as a result.

Help me out here …

Is anyone paying any attention to this crisis?

Does it seem to you … as it does to me …  that the only folks expressing even a modicum of outrage are the protesting students and the unionized teachers?

As we ponder the loss of tomorrow’s great minds and skills and leadership, where is the parent outrage? Where’s the outrage from society as a whole … as they consider the poorly educated electorate and business and political minds that will be managing cities and neighborhoods in their not too distant future?

Is my memory failing me, or did we as a nation once actually believe that a good education is critical to our children’s ability to compete, succeed and reach their potential … and to the future of the country?


The City Council budget hearings are underway and being offered up by Channel 35 for anyone … with the will and patience … and a bottle of scotch … to sit through and witness.

Help me out here ….

Does this budget kabuki that is the budget hearings leave you with the feeling that everybody already knows how the movie ends?

Are many of the sessions scripted … or is it me?


The County Fed Unions spent a week or so voting on ratification of the agreement struck by LA’s Mayor and the Fed negotiators.

43% of the union members voting turned the deal down. Immediately after the outcome was made public, Mayor Villaraigosa announced that the members of the unions that voted no would face 46 unpaid furlough days. Beginning now.

A number of members and observers called the Mayor’s action vindictive. Ron Kaye headlined: “The Tyrants’ Response to Rebellion at City Hall.”

Other voices reminded that it was just part of the deal. Vote yes, no more furlough days. Vote now, pay the furlough day price. Mayor was just enforcing the agreement. Everyone knew how it worked when they voted.

Help me out here ….

If the Mayor was just giving the order to put the new agreement in play, might he not have offset the vindictive perception by explaining what he was doing, what the deal was and that in America you have the right to disagree without penalty?

After six years of watching this Mayor in action, do you really believe he’s not a ‘get mad AND get even’ guy?

And … the Mayor was so proud of the lesson he was teaching Wisconsin’s embattled Governor.

(Ken Draper is the editor of CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected])   -cw

Vol 9 Issue 34
Pub: Apr 29, 2011