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Los Angeles County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Its time for a culture change in Sacramento

By Nathan M Mintz

Candidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 53

This information is provided by the candidate
It is time for a new generation of citizen legislators to step forward to bring transparency and accountability to this state. We need common-sense priorities in which everyone will work to make the state more efficient and better serve its citizens.
The situation in Sacramento has become absolutely unbearable for Californians. A caricature of dysfunctional government, California's state government has been ridiculed on the front pages of the Economist for all the world to see. Our state government has morphed into a war zone between different heady bureaucrats and special-interest lobbyists, looking to secure a larger piece of the patronage pie or consolidate even greater power into their political fiefdom. Daily, this battle plays out in the hallways of our state capitol at the expense of We, the Taxpayers, who are the greatest casualty of this battle.

The state government today consists of more than 500 departments and agencies, dozens of which are redundant or superfluous. Each year, its excesses grow even more grotesque and its priorities even more misplaced. We are paying $750 for a toilet installation in the same school where teachers are being put on furlough. We are spending more money on prisons than on schools, and despite all the talk of reduced class sizes, we have a higher officer-to-inmate ratio in our prisons (5 to 1) than we do a teacher-to-student ratio in our schools (more than 20 to 1). To make matters worse, we are paying out to state retirees more than 9,000 pensions greater than $100,000 annually while laying off thousands of teachers and public-works employees statewide. All of these are examples of misplaced priorities stemming from a state government that is broken.

Worse yet, our legislators aren't even paying attention to any of these problems. The day after voters rejected universal health care and heralded Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts, the Legislature in California revived legislation to outlaw private insurance in California and move to a universal health care system + legislation that the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said would bankrupt the state. And with unemployment near an all-time high, the state Legislature recently considered legislation to ban free parking, which many out-of-touch legislators referred to as a "luxury" of the people. Thankfully, the governor has vowed to veto both of these measures should they come to his desk, but a different governor may not do so.

While the Legislature is busy engaging in this sort of progressive social engineering, the state's real problems, like systemic high unemployment, a broken school system and a "tax me/sue me/regulate me" culture that is driving businesses out, continue unabated. The Legislature has only made these problems worse by raising taxes, increasing the regulatory burden on business and putting the interests of public employee unions and other special interests above that of regular citizens. We deserve better.

The culture in Sacramento is broken because its interests are not aligned with that of the people. Judging by the behavior and policy of many of our lawmakers, you would think that we are to eke out a living at the pleasure of them, rather than them serving at the pleasure of us.

When I founded the South Bay Tea Party last year, this was exactly the attitude we stood up against and we demanded a return to government at the consent of the governed. We have been uncompromising advocates for the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and personal accountability. Since then the group has grown to over 1,500 members here in the South Bay. It's clear that this message is growing louder and now it needs to be heard in the halls of Sacramento.

It is time for a new generation of citizen legislators to step forward to bring transparency and accountability to this state. We need common-sense priorities in which everyone will work to make the state more efficient and better serve its citizens. One in which we reform our regulatory structure to attract business and make it more desirable to hire people again; one in which we apply common sense to our budget mess and ensure that our top priorities of education, public safety and transportation infrastructure are protected; one in which government's mind-set changes so that we focus on policy that improves the standard of living, rather than wasting time on social engineering that continues to drive jobs and taxpayers out of the state.

The time has come for us to bring common sense back to Sacramento and throw the special interests out on their ear. I am prepared to help foster in that culture change and return state government back to its rightful owners: We the People.

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