By Irving Leemon, Contributing Columnist
As we all know, the California financial and pay systems are broken. What I’m having trouble understanding is the annual pay and benefits that total $343,000+ for William Lightbourne, the new director of this state’s social services. How many families with children, homeless families and/or mentally ill would this amount benefit if redirected to them?
Lightbourne is becoming a very rich man by being paid to reduce the amount spent on the financially helpless. When will this craziness stop?
We as citizens have to become aware of who our elected officials are and where they stand on the financial issues. And are they willing to bargain and compromise to fix the current mess that we are in? We then have to vote for people who are willing to do so. They should also find ways to fix the current system that allows such atrocities as above to occur.
In addition, when financial times are good, a fund that cannot be raided for other purposes should be set aside for the bad times. While this would not stop the problems during a protracted economic downturn, it would make them a bit easier to deal with.
On the local level, the schools are suffering reductions in spending, as are the first responders, (police and fire). Streets that are not in comparative bad shape are being repaved while further stretches of those streets and those next to them that are in worse shape with pot wholes and rough pavement are being left alone. In addition, such things as striping streets with extra wide bicycle lanes, and then taking the stripes away because they were unnecessary, are also taking place.
Our info structure is falling apart. A recent example is the sinkhole that appeared in Studio City. It appears as if the City and LADWP wait until something fails, and then they rush in with an emergency repair. Instead of just granting LADWP their recent rate increases, conditions should have been included to immediately start a program of replacing and fixing a portion of their aging info structure each year.
Until the people of this state become educated to state and local politics and vote for common sense, instead of the loudest voice, we will continue to have our current financial problems. I don’t always agree with Jerry Brown, but he is right when he says that a combination of lower state spending, combined with new and or higher taxes, are needed to fix our financial problems.