From the President

September 1, 2010

The action continues at the State Capitol where the state's budget is still in limbo. Talk of possible remedies and fixes to what's been plaguing us for years continues, with a resolution coming who knows when. The hope is that we'll have a budget before the upcoming fall election, but I'm beginning to wonder if we won't see one until after the next governor takes office. As a result of the timing for this year's election, and the fact that many of the politicians either face a term limit and/or a tough re-election campaign, my gut tells me that we may see most or all of these issues just kicked down the road like the proverbial can. Recently, I read that the governor is now looking to try and borrow $2 billion from CalPERS. I hope he realizes that the state will be on the hook for any interest that were to accrue on said loan. The last time the state borrowed money from CalPERS, it paid out $400 million in interest! Let's face it Governor Schwarzenegger, time has run out on quick fix schemes and solutions in the form of smoke & mirrors. You have run out of time as governor of this once great golden state, and your tenure in office has been a failure.

This is also a good time to remind all of you about becoming or remaining politically active in your state and local politics; especially local politics for each of you that are part of local member organizations. Besides the decisions that are made at the state level, much of what affects each of us in our profession are based on decisions made at the local level. There's the obvious matter of departmental decisions, but what I'm specifically referring to are the decisions made by your local board of supervisors. If you have the opportunity to make an impact on a local politicians campaign, do it; especially if you see it having a beneficial impact to your organization and your community. Even after the elections are done and the votes are counted, make sure and continue to foster those relationships with those same politicians. Invite them to a meeting, or better yet, include them on a ride along and educate them about what we do for the community. 

Lastly, let's all take a moment to thank the labor movement and organizations who fought for workers and their rights. As this President's Message is being composed, it is officially also the day to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labor Day is more than just a day off, it is a day set aside in recognition of labor. Without labor's voice, we would not enjoy paid days off. That's not just the holidays, but paid vacation, sick time, and weekends off. Without labor's fight for better wages and benefits, we would be stuck on the line with lower than minimum wage paying jobs and working to pay for less than adequate healthcare coverage for us and our families. Without labor's sacrifice, we would still have miners working in tragically abysmal conditions and children working unsafely in factories. Thank you to those who made the sacrifices to make today a better tomorrow. 
Stay alert, safe and stand committed,

Paul Brennan