Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Chicanery!

I'm forwarding this alert from the Transportation and Land Use Coalition:

Action Alert!

Dear TALC Activists,

Please call your state legislators TODAY and register your opposition to the latest redirection of public transit funds!

In response to a directive from the Governor?s office to come up with over $3 billion in cuts to the current year budget, the Senate Budget Committee voted last night to reallocate $409 million in Public Transportation Account and the Assembly Budget Committee is expected to pass similar legislation this morning.

The 2007-08 budget redirected nearly $1.3 billion in dedicated public transit funding, which TALC and our allies fought throughout the budget process. The California Transit Association sued the state over the redirected funds. A few weeks ago, the Court voided $409 million of the 2007-08 funding raid.

But, instead of returning these funds to the Public Transportation Account, the Senate and Assembly are deleting the original $409 million transfer, the one the Court ruled illegal, and creating a NEW $409 million transfer of PTA dollars to the General Fund.

The full legislature will vote tomorrow--Friday, February 15th-- to approve these amendments to the current year budget. That?s why we?re asking you to call your legislators today and urge them to vote No on the $409 million transit funding cut bill.

We know that public transportation is key to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, reducing traffic congestion, and providing access to jobs, school, and other opportunities. On this Valentine's Day, please ask your representatives to show their love.

Call today and let your legislators know that you oppose the cuts to public transit funding!

Find your legislators' phone numbers at:


Politicians would never dare give the shaft so thoroughly to any social, economic, regional, ethnic, cultural, gender-identity, or whatever, group as they do to transit riders. Once again, we get no respect!

This sort of crap is the reason I long ago left the Democrats for the Greens. Why stay loyal to a party that betrays you whenever it's expedient?

Well, I fired off an angry message to Ira Ruskin. I got this automated response via the "Ruskin Report":

Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Assemblymember Ruskin began the critical process of holding hearings on the Governor’s budget proposals that pertain to environmental protection and natural resources, with two hearings in the last two weeks of January. More will follow. These hearings are in response to the Governor’s proposed budget for the mid-term deficit and the budget year (2008).

“As the non-partisan analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) states,” said Mr. Ruskin, “across the board cuts, as the Governor has proposed, are not the appropriate way to address a budget shortfall. Much like a household budget, programs must be prioritized.

“As I’m sure people will agree, it is premature to talk about cutting one program, for example, closing parks as the Governor has proposed, in order to save others. My committee is studying the Governor’s budget and working to find the best possible solutions. We are developing a suite of options to examine as part of the overall budget,” Ruskin stated.

From his record, Ruskin appears to be one of the good guys. In my message I challenged him to get his party to stop abusing us transit riders.

Let's keep up the pressure!

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