California Status Quo under Republican leadership

February 5, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Courtesy extended to enlighten the ignorant and the oblivious presenters representing the selective news media.

California economic and social calamity is falsely attributed to the “liberals” in the state by the illusionists in the magic kingdom.

Therefore, it’s important to dispel the myth and introduce sanity in the political discourse.

Being compelled by civic duty to lay facts against fiction – pervasive with respect to the California state affairs, the following data is presented for accuracy.

Fact Check: Source –
– Thank you.

The current governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who was elected on October 7, 2003.
He was reelected on November 7, 2006.

His current term will expire on January 3, 2011.

The Governor of California is the highest executive authority in the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual “State of the State” addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced.

*The Executive Budget – The governor has the final responsibility for preparing and submitting to the legislature an annual budget containing most of anticipated state income and expenditures.

The final budget requires a two-thirds approval of the legislature.

* The Veto – The governor has the option to veto a bill within 12 days after being received from the California State Legislature. The Legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote in both the Assembly and the Senate. The governor may exercise a line-item veto, rejecting individual items in any appropriations bill.
A Californian Perspective – By Padmini Arhant

Regarding “The final budget requires a two-thirds approval of the legislature”The Republican minority have successfully derailed legislation proposal to revive the state economy resulting in an embarrassing prolonged budget crisis.

Californians’ interest on every issue ranging from job creation, education, health care, energy to environment has been rejected by the Republican members due to the pesky ‘two-third’ legislature approval.

The republican minority in the State of California emulates their counterparts in Capitol Hill and takes enormous pride in the California Status quo, i.e. successive budget deficits with no revenue based on ideological stance against tax increases on wealthy corporations and individuals.

Furthermore, the republican fiscal policy dictated by the doctrine:

“Ready my lips, No New Taxes.” That cost the former President George H.W. Bush his second term – is the formula widely used with the draconian cuts affecting the large consumer population from the younger to the older citizens in the state and across the nation.

In the absence of pragmatic approach to the burgeoning economic crisis,

The “Golden State,” is now a bankrupt state under Republican leadership with a state deficit at a staggering $19.9 billion and still bleeding because of the dominant Republican ideology in the State Assembly and legislature akin to the republican representatives’ performance in the United States Congress.

California has been under Republican duress regardless of the party ratio. The State Treasury is forced to issue I.O.U’s to creditors and furloughs (mandatory reduction in working hours) to the state employees in the year 2009 and 2010.

In addition, California being the eighth largest economies in the world is governed by clueless Republican leadership determined to drive the state economy over the cliff with the Republican candidates vying for the governor position to exacerbate the crisis, otherwise to accomplish the task.

Similarly, the Republican candidate – the Hewlett Packard former CEO, Carly Fiorina competing for the U.S. Senate against the incumbent – Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer, is conspicuously avoiding the public furor over the massive layoffs carried out under her management, reportedly leading the company to the brink of insolvency.

Conservative media and press is aggressively engaged in camouflaging Republican leadership and the minority representatives’ flaws by denigrating the democratic majority in California, dealing with a similar dilemma experienced by the fellow democrats in the Capitol Hill.

With democracy undermined during the national and state elections and expected to worsen with the Supreme Court conservative justices’ decision, it’s necessary for the Californians and the rest of the nation to be discerning in the media propaganda targeting the captive audience and concerned citizens.

Democracy is meaningful with citizens’ participation in the information process to counteract the widespread rumors, distortions and fear mongering tactics applied to evade responsibility in various discipline – predominantly by the controversial news media anchors/talk show hosts and last but not the least the selective legislators as the elected representatives.

Citizen reaction and involvement is the effective means to bring about the ‘Change,’ desperately required in the state and national politics.

Reality being – the political decisions or the lack thereof determine the ‘average’ citizens present and future.

So, please remain alert and exercise your democratic rights by calling your representatives to perform their duties for which they were elected to the public office.

Democracy thrives with the well-informed electorate.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

California Public Education Crisis

November 23, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The world-renowned budget fiasco in California has led to its recognition as the ‘failed’ state in the nation. Through drastic budget cuts targeting the nerve of the economic system such as education, health care and other essential programs for children and elderly, the legislators and the Governor in Sacramento have successfully desecrated the Golden State into a bankrupt state.

As a result, the Californians are forced to bear the brunt of the ideology driven governance steadfast in prolonging the crisis rather than accepting pragmatic solutions offered to the elected officials least concerned or affected by their disastrous performance.

In the past week, the students in California were compelled to protest the atrocious 32 percent increase in undergraduate educational fees costing above $10,000 a year in the next fall, comparatively triple the cost a decade ago. Apparently, the UC Regents’ callous decision made after a 10 percent hike earlier this year.

Further, the authorities are wasting no time in salting the wound with employee furloughs, laying off non-tenured faculty leaving the students to attend virtual instructions, alternatively increased class size and slashing courses to the detriment of quality education.

Amid the health care reform characterized by the opposition as the ‘government take over’ of the private industry, the pitfalls from the privatization of public education cannot possibly be ignored.

The reasons provided for the appalling measures by the UC President Mark Yudof and campus leaders are the 20 percent decline in the state funding towards the UC budget. Whereas according to the UC faculty it’s been a phenomenal year of income for the UC System with revenue flowing in from various sources such as the federal stimulus funds, research grants, medical profits, proceeds via sale of parking, housing and medical services throughout California.

Another noteworthy issue being the massive recruitment of administrators at the expense of the teaching faculty and the students exacerbated the victims’ plight. In adherence to the corporate policy, the top hierarchy with earnings above $200,000 to $500,000 in the administration compensated with excessive salary packages and extravagant bonuses apart from discreetly sharing a small percentage of profits with senior administrators, athletic coaches and star faculty.

Yet in a new revelation, the UC seemingly lost $23 billion in the past two years due to investments in toxic assets and real estate mimicking the short-term gain strategy in the Wall Street. Subsequently, the most vulnerable members i.e. the students and faculty are mandatorily bailing out the institution from the financial mismanagement.

Firing non-tenure track faculty that teach over half of the university enrolment, substantial student fees, work overload with simultaneous salary reduction on workers, refusal to negotiate with unions are reported to be taking place.

The astonishing aspect is the privatization of the public education leading the UC President Yudof to lend $200 million to the state in an effort to earn profit from the interest, declaring such options ‘profitable’ compared to the institutional core academic activity. Again, UC is reportedly on a comfortable $20 billion budget with no requirement for draconian methods adopted against the struggling students and other members, the victims in the greed driven racket.

Source: The above-mentioned accounts partly cited from Bob Samuels, president of the University of California, American Federation of Teachers. He runs the blog Changing Universities. during the interview on by the host Amy Goodman – Friday, November 20, 2009.

Similarly, Zen Dochterman, UCLA student taking part in the protests made the following plea:

“I’m a student representing no one.

We are under no illusions. The UC Regents will vote the budget cuts and raise student fees. The profoundly undemocratic nature of their decision making process and their indifference to the plight of those who struggle to afford an education or keep their jobs can come as no surprise. We know that the crisis is systematic. It reaches beyond the regents, beyond the criminal budget cuts in Sacramento, beyond the economic crisis, to the very foundations of our society.

But we also know that the enormity of the problem is just as often an excuse for doing nothing. We choose to fight back, to resist where we find ourselves, the place we live and work, our university. We therefore ask that those who share in our struggle lend us not only their sympathy, but their active support.

For those students who work two or three jobs while going to school, to those parents for whom the violation of the UC charter means the prospect of affordable education remains out of reach, to laid-off teachers, lecturers, to students turned away, to workers who have seen the value of their diplomas evaporate in an economy that grows without producing jobs, we say that our struggle is your struggle, that alternative is possible if you have the courage to seize it. We are determined that the struggle should spread. That is the condition in which the realization of our demands becomes possible.”

True Perspective – By Padmini Arhant

Unarguably, the state of California is in shambles. The dilemma is the structural damage caused by the lack of leadership in Sacramento. In addition, the obstinacy NOT to resolve the burgeoning budget deficit with result-oriented actions is having a pronounced impact on the residents across the spectrum.

On the other hand, the public educational institutions run as a private enterprise entrenched in the philosophy that regards ‘Profit as Prophet’ is widespread in the growing culture based on – “All for me and none for you.”

There is urgency for California and the nation to address the serious educational demands directly linked to the economy and the future. Undergraduate education is the stepping-stone for any individual to survive leave alone attaining a decent life in the competitive global economy.

These students are the immediate valuable resources for the American business and work force in the human capital criteria. It’s a travesty to deny them an affordable education in the dire economy with staggering unemployment widening the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’ Obviously, the priority among the head of the institutions is to safeguard their personal interest over that of the nation.

It’s no rocket science to figure out that nations cannot exist or sustain without the prolific academic environment focused on providing least expensive and high quality education for all. Any compromises as noted in the latest event appropriately calls for the removal of the entities responsible for the embarrassing distressful situation brought upon the students and the teaching faculty expected to be learning in the classrooms rather than imploring to the oblivious authorities at the institutions and the state assembly.

Recently, civil disobedience for various legitimate causes mired by unnecessary arrests and extreme use of force undermining democracy. It’s imperative to release the students in custody and instead divert attention on those appointed as the head of the institutions viz. UC President Mark Yudof and the Governor of California along with the legislators for failing to fulfill the constitutional duties towards the citizens of California. Perhaps, it might be worth considering a recall given the deliberate negligence of legislative responsibility.

The students, teaching faculty and the workers should not be subject to monstrosity demonstrated in the worst educational battle. Ironically, the students and teaching faculty as taxpayers are denied fair opportunities in the backdrop of Wall Street bailouts, bureaucracy and sheer incompetence prevalent in Sacramento and the UC system.

Hence, it’s incumbent on the UC regents to repeal the proposal and undemocratic action with respect to student fees, staff layoffs and other activities inevitably hampering the economic recovery.

Congress should approve federal grants and educational stimulus with a stipulation that funds to be explicitly used for better and cost effective academic purpose, and simultaneously restrict educational institutions from squandering the funds in speculative Wall Street investments.

Finally, Students should continue their education and defy the unfair fee imposition by maintaining the peaceful dissent until the issue is resolved in their favor.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Pulse of the Economy

June 11, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

With a finger on the pulse of the economy, the recent reports on employment, housing, financial and stock market post stimulus funding worth $787 billion approved by Congress in February 2009, has drawn both praise and criticism from different quarters. The praise is always welcome and encouraging for any administration and the Obama administration is no exception to the rule, particularly when they are relentlessly engaged in stabilizing the economy as the top priority.

Whereas, the criticism aimed at the President is no revelation considering the partisan Washington atmosphere. The results thus far, indicate the current national unemployment rate at 9.2% against 8% in the pre-approval stimulus package forecast. Further, the reports reveal the economy shed 1.6 million jobs with the White House claiming 150,000 jobs saved since the passing of the stimulus measure. Obviously, it’s a contentious issue for all Americans receiving pink slips for paychecks and IOU’s in the state of California respectively.

The main criticism being the Obama administration’s optimistic approach in selling the stimulus plan not correlating with the job market results, a fair analysis is due to clarify doubts and speculations on the stimulus plan prospects and its effect on the economy.

According to the White House and other reports, only $44 billion i.e. 5.6% spent from the $787 billion stimulus funds with an accelerated investment committed this summer. In light of the above scenario, the 150,000 jobs rescued towards 5.6% funding is a confirmation of President Obama’s cautious and calculated expectation from the economy.

Even at the present conservative trend, the job market results for the remaining 94.4% of the stimulus fund upon targeted investment should adequately restore the employment rate from the growing underemployment and unemployment status with a combined saved and created job ratio yielding approximately 2,528,571jobs in a similar environment.

It is not uncommon for the critics and analysts to focus on the dismal job market figures affected since the onset of the economic recession in December 2007. The skeptics’ myopic view neglecting economic progress in other areas is attention worthy. Various reliable sources confirmed the financial sector strengthening with the bailout funds interjection in an effort to amortize the toxic assets from the sub-prime mortgage debacle. The leading financial institutions such as Bank of America, J P Morgan and Chase and other banks in the top ten range enabled capital management viability proven in the balance sheets.

The rapid foreclosures primarily responsible for the declining housing prices nationwide conversely contributing to the median home prices plateau with the 47 percent foreclosed homes resold in the entire Bay Area in April 2009 compared to 52 percent in February 2009 – indicating the desirous regress in foreclosures and signs of early recovery in the housing market.

The reports also confirm the home sales and value up for month and down for the year attributing to the Obama administration’s strategy of “the combination of lower prices, average mortgage rates of 5 percent or less for smaller loans, and a new $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers” in the anemic housing market.

When the foreclosures pervasively diminished or extinguished nationwide with the stimulus programs, the housing market rebound will be visible motivating the lenders to participate in the melting liquidity market. However, caution required with the rising bond market’s pressure on interest rates imperative in alleviating the housing market crisis.

In the stock market – the significant gains by the commodity market and technology sector reflected in the recent rally is invigorating. Other industries lagging behind in performance likely to benefit from the steadily easing financial market credit crunch, promoting private sector investments directly related to boosting the job market, housing market and consumer spending essential for speedy economic recovery.

As for the quasi investment deals in the GM takeover causing pandemonium among the well-wishers across the aisle, the taxpayers’ financial commitment to rescue jobs slighted for political bickering. The ‘bankruptcy’ triggered cynicism about the government imprudence in investment goals with taxpayer dollars, while conveniently ignoring the fact that the auto industry problem originated during the former administration’s era and their $17 billion initial investment in the corporation set for failure.

Ironically, the temporary and modest government intervention in the free market characterized as ‘nationalization’ of industries necessitating required action from colossal mismanagement.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s objective in the GM deal to avert the deepening crisis in the frail industry challenged by the competitive global market is a thoughtful approach. Now with taxpayers as the majority shareholder in the once iconic corporation the management goals anticipated to synchronize with the twenty first century demands ensuring excellence in purpose, productivity and profitability.

Moving on to the other pertinent and popular health care issue debated and discussed to reject rather than embrace the premise of the President Obama’s health care plan – choice, affordability and quality, the perfect remedy to relieve the economy from the health care burden costing the nation in trillions while leaving the uninsured in millions.

Despite the innuendoes and insinuations about the mounting debt, the investments miscategorized as ‘squandering’ in the national economy ranging from health care, education, energy, environment, housing to financial sector and other industries is a pledge towards substantial economic security for the present and future generation.

The controversy surrounding the diverse investments costs applied to two particular sources viz. borrowing from China and tax hikes on the corporations and wealthy groups. Contrarily, the tax breaks to the top ten percent in the highest income bracket and corporations evading tax through tax havens with limited free market regulation or deregulation in the past eight years aside from being counterproductive resulted in approximately $9.5trillion dollars national debt with a cumulative effect on the status quo of the economy.

There was no clamor over the increasing liabilities on the baby boomers and the younger generation in the extravagant spending on illegal wars with a guarantee to fund itself from oil revenues in Iraq…an unequivocal myth until date.

Then the financial sector bailout with respect to AIG and oligarchs to a tune of $700 billion and more in 2008 with no accountability or transparency exacerbated the liquidity crisis against the intended proposal. Interestingly, the past events currently dismissed as irrelevant claiming that Obama administration disavow the incidents pertaining to the prior administration yet owe an explanation for the phenomenal deficit, the previous administration’s legacy to its successor.

Only if the opposition’s present vigilance on fiscal responsibility existed from 2000-2008, perhaps the People’s Republic of China and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be vigorous competitors to the world financier ‘The United States.’

The demands from the conservative right exceedingly high launched with rhetorical comments and negative attacks such as “false Prophet’s failed Presidency.”

In the absence of any ideas and solutions to the burgeoning crises created by the previous administration’s historical blunders serving testimony to the beacon of incompetence and failures in Presidential history, the political posturing is paradoxical.

With respect to the economy in the ‘Golden State of California’, the clock is ticking for the state and the local government authorities to resolve the budget crisis and close the $24 billion deficit in the state budget and $73 million in the San Jose City budget.

Even though the strategy in both situations is scrambling to wipe the deficit by any means with mostly eliminating the vital services and benefits to the weak, the poor and the vulnerable, the repercussions of draconian cuts with no tax increases will far outweigh the immediate illusory results not barring the political risks in the 2010 gubernatorial elections.

Following the special election results on May 19, 2009, it’s incumbent on the state legislature to adopt several guidelines and viable options provided by concerned citizens through many sources in resolving the fiscal crisis. There is no patent right on the thoughts in the matter affecting the entire state and the community at large. It is a patriotic and civic duty of every citizen volunteering suggestions to deal with the stalemate confronting the California state legislature.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent comments on undocumented workers and their plight aptly placed the sensitive immigration issue in perspective. It’s time for the Governor to translate into action by issuing drivers license to the undocumented workers in the State of California that would not only aid the budget but also enhance the opportunity as the preliminary step towards legalization of the Californian residents.

More often, the leadership is subject to test the will, wisdom and courage against the odds exclusively the unpopular decision eventually ending in greater good for all.

I wish Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose ‘Good Luck’ in their decisions appropriate to defend many but might offend few in the process.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

California Special Election Results

May 21, 2009

Predictably, the voters declared their verdict. Some are good while others aren’t in the following manner–

Source: Data from San Jose, Mercury News, May 20, 2009 – Thanks

Prop 1 A – Spending cap and temporary tax hikes for two years with a “rainy day” fund – Failed
Yes, (35.5%) 1.1 million votes defeated by NO (64.5%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 B – Education funding plan – Failed! (Shocking!).
Yes, (39%) 1.2 million votes thrashed by NO (61%) 1.9 million votes.

Prop 1 C – Borrowing against future lottery proceeds – Failed
Yes, (37%) 1.1 million votes rejected by NO (63%) 1.9 million votes.

Prop 1 D – Redirecting funds from children’s services – NO (Desirable result), therefore good outcome. – Yes (36%) 1.1. million and NO (64%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 E – Diversion of funds from mental health services – NO (Yet another positive result).
Represented by Yes (35%) 1 million and NO (65%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 F – No raises for elected officials – Passed (Thoughtful decision).
Yes (a whopping 75%) 2.3 million votes and NO (25%) 765,357 votes.


Prop 1 D, E, F results are welcome and justified.

Prop 1 A and C – Obviously, voters are either confused or caught in the tug o’war between spending cuts and tax hikes opponents respectively. Similarly, 1 C failure attributed to voters’ unwillingness to acknowledge the severity of the crisis.

Prop 1 B – Failure underscores the urgency to fund education, enabling future voters and lawmakers to exercise reasoning faculties within on life choices.

The negative outcome beckons to review the demography objecting the educational funding. In a vigorously competitive global economy, the electorate and the legislators alike discarding educational funding indicative of crisis in the educational system.

It’s a matter of concern when legislators and the electorate prioritize politics over prudence in education and health care.

Recent reports have consistently confirmed the United States’ poor achievements in the International Standardized testing against stellar performance by students from Singapore, Finland, South Korea, China, Japan and India.

Is it the United States’ students fault for lagging behind in the international academic contest?

No, unfortunately the fault lies in the inadequate funding towards K-12 education, community colleges and state universities routinely targeted for political reasons. The public school system is a victim of partisanship prevalent in the state legislature and widespread in the national budget prompting endless debates to defend the programs essential for survival and success in the global economy.

United States as the leader of the free world, economic power and pioneer in many fields is contemplating on investment in education and health care, the two most important aspects of human life. It’s no rocket science to figure out that healthy and educated population are a valuable asset to the economy and national productivity.

Ironically, United States’ sharp criticism against the so-called third world poor literacy rates will be an inevitable reality at home, if the policy makers in the state and federal legislations continue to divert and slash funds from education, the fundamental requirement for productive workforce.

The proof of the pudding visually demonstrated in the famous “Jay Walkers” segment of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In one particular episode, a high school student is unaware of the current “President of the United States,” President George W. Bush at that time and, there were many clueless of the current affairs and events in their homeland during that show. Again, students benefit from quality education by teaching professionals with credentials and that’s only possible with sufficient funding to the school systems.

Contrarily, in another instance, an African student from the Ivory Coast, familiar with the economic struggles was well informed in general knowledge and world events.

Another important reason for education to be a top priority is the bridging of the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.  Whenever legislators eye on education and health care spending cuts, the worst affected population are the lower income and the poorest of all. School districts with poor academic results often eliminated from funding and they are historically located in poor neighborhoods.

Lack of funding leads to bigger class rooms with skeletal teaching staff juggling between teaching and administrative work.  In some schools, teaching staff expected to play multiple roles as a counselor, disciplinarian, librarian and an administrator.

Even the innovative, entertaining Hollywood is restricted in assigning simultaneous roles for the lead cast in the movies.  Perhaps, these school districts deserve an “Oscar” equivalent for making the most with their host, the teaching staff.

What is severely lacking in the educational system consequently reflected in the decisions made in Sacramento… Washington D.C.?

Critical thinking and creativity are conspicuously missing in the policies and major legislations.
Any recent display of creativity has been paradoxical …for example.

In the past eight years, creativity thrived in the contemporary unprecedented housing, stock market and financial debacles and in national security – the ever controversial Guantanamo Bay, torture, wiretapping, renditions, global insecurity all of the excitement contained in a volcano and pleasantly gifted to the succeeding administration of the President Barack Obama.

Voters on their part have also been creative in more than one respect and that’s exclusive for California with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger representing the golden state in Sacramento and not so long ago President George W. Bush in Washington D.C.

Such representations confirm the thought process in the electorates’ mind while casting ballots in the major elections and legislative matter.

Similarly, the damages are visible in the Propositions 8 (Same Sex Marriage) and 1 B (Educational funding cut) when ideology prevails over logic.

In addition, political and corporate systems benefit from pragmatism against failed applications taught in the basic education, starting as early as pre-school during the cognitive skills development. Curriculum should emphasize and encourage young minds to be visionaries and forward thinkers and help them evolve into swift problem solvers.

How does the educational funding cut affect the poor neighborhood school districts?

Anytime funding is differed and diverted from educational programs, the poor neighborhood schools face shutting down and the venue becomes the fertile ground for gang violence and crime.

When this happens, a sizable youth population fall prey to drugs and violence burdening the jail and prison system. The culmination of such events directly impact the state budget with a substantial diversion from education and health funding and allocation towards criminal justice.

Evidently, the state could avoid the cyclical pattern and invest in education and health care as a rescue scheme to protect future tax payers in the community and national interest.

Poverty and disparity exist as long as failed policies and ideologies persists.

Further, Prop 1A, B and C failure echo the sentiments of partisan politics and special interests, viewed as the nemesis to democratic electoral process and legislative matter.

Funding education and health care is the best strategy for common progress in the state and nation.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant