Coastal Voices: Suggestions for LaMalfa on budget

By William A. Gilbert May 12, 2011 09:19 pm

The following letter could not be e-mailed to State Sen. Doug LaMalfa because it exceeded the character count allowed at his website:

Senator LaMalfa,

Unfortunately I could not attend your meeting in Crescent City two weeks ago but I did read the account of the gathering in the Daily Triplicate two days later.

According to that report, you asked for voters to voice their thoughts on how to balance the state budget and end our fiscal free-fall and, when questioned, you stated your opposition to letting the voters decide on whether to extend the current tax rates due to expire in July.

Your refusal to support a ballot measure is, in my opinion, undemocratic and a violation of your oath of office.

Like all of my neighbors, I don’t want to pay more in taxes for my state (and federal and local) services, but I am also realistic enough to understand that good service must be paid for. And public service employees, especially teachers, need to be paid a decent wage.

I have no children in school, but I want our local schools and the state higher education system to be properly funded so that we can educate this generation and future generations to be productive, responsible and fulfilled members of society.

I totally support pension reform for public employee unions — and for elected government officials like yourself — to stop the future drain on the state coffers. Since leadership starts at the top I expect you to be in the forefront of the movement to reduce legislative salaries, perks and pension plans. I was taught good leaders lead by example, so show us you are worthy of our votes.

I also support tax reform to end the giveaways to special real estate partnerships for the wealthy through loopholes totaling billions of dollars in lost revenue annually. It is time to raise taxes and fees on oil, gas and mining companies, virtually all multinationals, who pay pennies on the millions of dollars in profits generated by mineral extraction on land and in the state’s coastal waters.

The wealth they remove belongs to all the citizens of California, and we are entitled to fair compensation. And that compensation must be used for the public good.

As our representative in the state Senate, it is your job to make sure the state provides the necessary services for the well-being and development of all your constituents. That includes the poor, the sick and disabled, the young, and the aged, not just the farm, business, real estate and manufacturing lobbies. In this part of your district it also means a large population of under-educated and under-employed capable adults who, if given the opportunity, will work around the clock to better themselves and their families.

I voted for Gov. Jerry Brown because of his campaign promise to put the question of the five-year tax extension on the ballot for voters to decide. I want that vote, and I want you, as my representative, to support that vote and do everything necessary to make it happen.

I remind you once again, just so I am sure the message is clear: you are a public servant, so serve your public honorably.

Your respectfully dissatisfied constituent, William A. Gilbert.

Gilbert is a resident of Hiouchi.