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Vasconcellos' limited view

July 14, 2009

Re "A brief history of our sorry state," Opinion, July 10

How fascinating that John Vasconcellos, having "served" California for 38 years and who can be reasonably assigned his share of the blame for the state of the state, lists his "insights" into what got us here. With the exception of his point on term limits, they involve revenue being taken from the legislators.

It is noteworthy that Vasconcellos never once mentioned out-of-control spending; I would imagine that all of California's politicians -- past and present -- would equally ignore their part in this mess and would equally fail to find the intestinal fortitude to fix it.

David M. McCarthy

Culver City

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Vasconcellos' article contained both bad and good points. Among the bad was yet another nudge to repeal or amend Proposition 13. Another was suggesting that the state law requiring a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for budget and tax matters be reduced.

But he made a good point when stating that the Democratic majority often uses "one-time revenue sources to fund ongoing projects." And another good point is that the voters have passed many propositions, creating a system of "an unsustainable combination of increased services and lower taxes."

The bottom line is that we have to decide what services we want from our city, county, state and federal governments and how much we're willing to pay. But be careful: A tax will never be rescinded.

Dennis Erkel

Burbank

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Vasconcellos, a state legislator for 38 years, has spoken.

Is anyone listening? Are we going to continue to be deaf to the possibility of problem-solving?

Michael Kane

Palm Desert

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Vasconcellos is a perfect example of why the state of California is in deep financial trouble.

Here is a legislator who is still blaming Proposition 13, enacted 31 years ago, for the state's financial ills.

A reasonable person might think the Legislature would have had time in the intervening years to enact financial reforms to not only stabilize state income but rein in escalating entitlement costs.

What we have is a Legislature populated with tax-and-spend people who never saw a tax they didn't like and who backed spending plans for social programs the state could not afford.

Edwin J. Nellis Jr.

West Hills

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Vasconcellos apparently never got the message from the passage of Proposition 13.

When you reduce income, you must reduce operational costs. Vasconcellos and his Democratic colleagues in the Legislature never accepted this.

The legislators had a "we will show the voters that they cannot limit our spending" attitude. They refused to accept the mandate of the voters. They allocated funds to every conceivable area of their liberal agenda without regard to where the money was coming from. They never saved funds for lean years.

We need good businessmen in our Legislature, not professional politicians.

Edward Saraffian

Los Angeles

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I read Vasconcellos' Op-Ed article with much amazement. When are the politicians (Republican and Democratic) of our state going to realize that the people of this great state are neither ignorant nor stupid? Uncontrolled spending by the Legislature and lavish pension benefits for our state workers are the reason that California has no money.

Jeff Marcus

Los Angeles

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The Op-Ed article by Vasconcellos reminded me how sorely lacking we are in political visionaries. The current situation in Sacramento is one of the most shameful things I have ever observed in public leadership.

No matter which party one belongs to, the governor and members of the Legislature (both parties) are acting disgracefully. I never thought that California could be run into the ground, but the people in charge these days seem determined to do just that.

This is where the loss of relentless journalists, television station bureaus in Sacramento and steadfast political media outlets is most acutely felt.

It seems that there are so few folks these days who have the economic incentive or time to pay attention and hold leaders accountable.

Neil Barker

Altadena

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Over a number of decades through initiative processes, Californians were asked to pass multiple laws and constitutional additions.

We were asked who to tax, how much to tax and how the taxes should be divided up. We were asked to soak the rich and give to the poor, then take from the poor and give back to the rich.

We were asked how to teach our children, how to rehabilitate drug addicts and how to treat the mentally sick. We were asked what to do with the criminals -- parole them, lock them up or just kill them.

We were asked to give our elected officials term limits so they'll be devoted amateurs, and then were asked to recall Gov. Gray Davis and elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We overestimated our intelligence; now California is broke.

Donna Handy

Santa Barbara

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