Ed Driscoll

Sacramento Finally Focuses on Solving the Big Issues

Nahh, just kidding. As Ed Morrissey writes, “CA legislature passes gay-history mandate as the ship sinks:”

Rarely do we get a juxtaposition of stories like we see today about California’s political class.  The legislature returned from the Independence Day holiday to address the pressing, acute issue that has the state in crisis mode — the lack of mention in schools of accomplishments by gays and lesbians:

A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.

Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically. …

California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

Supporters of the latest bill said it would simply include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals in that existing requirement, making it part of the curriculum in history and other social studies classes.

“It’s unfair to leave out or exclude an entire portion of our population from history,” said Carolyn Laub, executive director of San Francisco-based Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Remember the days when we just taught history and civics and worried more about whether our children acquired the necessary skills in civics to be informed citizens able to responsibly act in self-governance, before we turned history and civics classes into check boxes for various victim castes?  Good times, good times.

Meanwhile, the minor, multibillion-dollar problem in budgeting still threatens to push California into default.  The Los Angeles Times reports that one reason California can’t pay its bills is because more than 1400 of its employees make over $200,000 per year, putting them into the same range as a Vice President of the United States.

All of which brings to mind Victor Davis Hanson’s great essay from January on “The Bloomberg Syndrome,” which while named after the meddling Big Government nanny on the opposite side of the country who wants to micromanage hit citizens’ lives, but can’t seem to get the snow plowed during tough winters*, seems universally applicable to nanny states everywhere

For the last three years, California has managed through poor governance to simultaneously achieve the highest deficits in the nation; the highest combination of income, sales, and gas taxes; the best-paid teachers; and among the lowest school test scores in the country. After failing along with the legislature to balance budgets, improve the schools, lower taxes, trim state expenditures, and deal with millions of resident Mexican nationals without diplomas, English-language skills, or legal status, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reinvented himself as a globally celebrated green-action hero of the solar, wind, and alternative-energy lobbies.

His outgoing legacy is a $25 billion budget deficit waiting for the newly inaugurated governor, Jerry Brown, along with all sorts of fresh environmental regulations imposed in recessionary times on a struggling private sector that is often unprofitable or on the verge of leaving the state. So Schwarzenegger left office with a 22 percent approval rating and a high-profile schedule of engagements speaking to green groups as a heroic environmental celebrity.

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.

The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

This latest gesture by Sacramento is yet another example of that worldview in action.

* Apropos of nothing, I thought “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past,” thanks to global warming, an issue that obsesses both Jerry and Mike, as it allows for nearly unlimited government micromanagement in the name of “science.”  But what’s happening with global warming itself in California?

Related: California prison psychiatrist made over $800K in 2010. Not exactly “unexpectedly,” either.

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