Sacramento – A Nice Place To Visit
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Sacramento – A Nice Place To Visit

But as the saying goes……sure wouldn’t want to live or WORK in that government climate.

My fellow colleagues, Linda Koelling, Art Kiesel and I attended legislative days at our Capital last week. All councils in the state were invited, I’m guessing there were 150 people there. We listened to a couple of senators tell us what we already knew about the May revise and tried to talk “around” other issues……like we don’t recognize that mumble jumble. We are politicians also!!!

I asked one of the speakers if he had any furlough days……my son is an administrator at a high school in Sacramento and they handed him eight. This senator said his salary had been cut 30% over the last three years. He lost his government car but still gets a stipend and other benefits. I didn’t want to go so far as to ask him to email the proof but I did ask Jerry Hill and he confirmed these comments so I feel a little better. We all need to feel the pinch!!

We sat through that session and then had individual meetings with our representatives. The only Councilmembers from the Peninsula were Kevin Mullin and Rich Garbarino from South San Francisco and Sue Digre from Pacifica. Kind of gave me the feeling others didn’t think we could make a big impact up there.

When I learned that there are more than 500 state government boards, agencies, bureaus, commissions, etc., I was stunned! From the Acupuncture Board, Bureau of Automotive Repairs to Summer School for the Arts Board. Can we consolidate somewhere???

An attendee asked if, since the agency that oversees social services is being minimized and handled at the local level; then will they be eliminating the administration folks in Sacramento? They hadn’t thought about that impact!!! Give us locals more responsibility but give us the resources to implement them.

“They” are also directing cities to accept 33,000 inmates into our local jails since the overcrowding is inhumane and unconstitutional and violates health issues. We do have the highest recidivism rate in the country. The saddest fact is 60% of them needed rehabilitation but instead were released, couldn’t find a job, in turn didn’t have the funds to pay back the restitution due the state, due to cutbacks in government help had no place to stay or job training……all of these constitute a violation of probation and landed back in jail. More than half did not commit a new crime. It sounds like I am excusing their actions but I have seen rehabilitation be successful and know that funding those programs is the way instead of continuing to just punish.

There was a medical parole program established last year for aging inmates but none have been released under that program. Do we really need to send aging inmates for medical treatments in an ambulance with two prison guards who are probably receiving overtime?

When the responsibility comes to us will the funds to implement the programs also follow? Will the payroll at the state prisons be reduced since the need for guards will be less? Will the savings from fewer administration needs at those prisons also come to us locals? The governor says he will redirect those funds but we need to stay vigilant and follow the theory that prison costs will be less when these programs are implemented. Our county needs those funds to support these prisoners.

I have been in San Quentin many times on humanitarian visits with my friend John Kelly and have seen firsthand the “situation”……it is just not right. I have also been to Sacramento many times on what you might say were humanitarian visits (for my constituents) and have seen firsthand the “situation”……it is just not right!!!!

When we did meet Jerry Hill at our appointed time he gave us many insights and confirmed for me that as our assembly member he does represents all of our cities. However he supports taking our redevelopment funds which doesn’t make any of us locals very happy. We understand that there may be some reforms to this action which might mitigate the huge impact it will have on our agencies and cities.

When we went to Leland Yee’s office for our appointed time we were ushered into his assistant’s office where we stood/sat in the cramped quarters. He had some interesting thoughts but I had the feeling Senator Yee doesn’t think we are very important down here on the Peninsula.

I am only at the local level but I see the need to reform so I start local……by supporting the agencies and programs that promote rehabilitation and supporting police with school programs that keep the kids informed of what temptation looks like and volunteering in those areas. We all know that more job training and better education is the best investment we can make at any level of our government.

All I know is taking state funds from education and rehabilitation programs is not the answer. We all know we are building more jails than schools……when will the hundreds of state bureaus and commissions connect the dots!!! Locally we are all talking about combining services, collaborating, outsourcing, however, I’m not convinced the State is learning from watching us.

Any suggestions???? Email me at
pfrisella@fostercity.org.

Council Corner

June 01, 2011
Sacramento – A Nice Place To Visit

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