Thursday’s column (take a lesson from the Jesuits)

I’ve come up with a solution to the state budget crisis.

It’s simple really and it’s a practice that’s been in place for centuries.

Make the state Legislature do what the Jesuits do, take three vows in addition to the oath of office.

Here they are:

A vow of chastity.

A vow of poverty.

A vow of obedience.

Three simple rules. Of course that would take courage, and, quite honestly, that’s been gone from Sacramento for some time.

As of Sunday, our state ran out of money, out of credit and out of options. Our income tax refunds will be nothing more than dishonorable IOUs. Some state workers will be forced to go without pay for two days a month as a way of helping California save dinero.

Meanwhile our legislators will fly back and forth to Sacramento on your dime and drive around in taxpayer-funded automobiles. Some will cheat on their wives and husbands, while others will strap on the feed bag and feast on the finest foods lobbyists and fundraisers can put together.

Their bloated and ineffectual staffs will continue to draw a paycheck, while their constituents and the businesses they “represent” continue to lose jobs and hemorrhage dollars.

That’s where the vows come in to play.

We need a legislature that is obedient to the people of this state. We need a legislature that is chaste when it comes to dealing with the lobbyists and special interests that run Sacramento.

We need a legislature that understands poverty and how tax-and-fee-and-spend scams only hurt the poor and those of us still fortunate enough to have a job.

Unfortunately we have none of that. Instead we have a crisis. Our state is paralyzed by a Sacramento lifestyle that has imposed too many regulations, too many taxes, and too many false promises.

Fortunately there seems to be more and more anger with Sacramento among the voters. At the newspaper we’re seeing it in e-mails from readers who’ve recently lost their jobs.

One of those readers, Mike Serrano, who lives in state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s district, wrote about losing his job, getting no help from the state’s Employment Development Department and nothing but attitude from the staff working for his elected representatives.

“I wanted some information about training benefits. After trying to reach someone for nearly two weeks, I contacted the offices of my two elected state officials, Anthony Portantino and (state Sen.) Carol Liu,” Serrano wrote.

“To say their response was disappointing would be an understatement … these people simply don’t understand, they work for us and their job performance is lousy.”

Portantino’s spokesman Eduardo Martinez was unfamiliar with Serrano’s case, but said staff in the office is trained to deal with constituent problems.

I didn’t get a response from Liu’s office, and checking the senator’s Web site it becomes pretty clear her staff is not too interested in hearing from any of us.

I say don’t re-elect any of them until they vow to start approaching their vocation like Jesuits.

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  • Marie L Girardot

    Beautifully written. Too bad the California State Legislature is too enamored with themselves, so much so that they will never read this, and too ignorant to understand that they are the problem.

    Thank you for writing this column. I hope it gets picked up by media around the nation and brings so much attention to the problem that the people of California will finally be heard and finally honestly represented.

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