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F. Andre Hollings: Going the way of the L.A. Times

Right Here, Right Now

Posted: September 10, 2009 10:14 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.
On Aug. 1, the Editorial Board of The Signal dealt its hand at debunking the increasingly démodé and apparently juvenile notion that truth in journalism demands study, nuance and reason.

The Editorial Board's column entitled "No one goes back to Sacramento" is a classically trained broad-brush and brutish swipe at delivering a thinking opinion to its reading public.

Without examining voting records, without detailing Republican-sponsored legislation (which inevitably dies in committee), without even an attempted interview - in other words, sans any semblance of due diligence - the Editorial Board engaged in a quasi-class war of finger-pointing as it highlighted as guilty state Senators Tony Strickland and George Runner and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth for "the absolute debacle and abdication of responsibilities that we witness repeatedly in Sacramento."

The Editorial Board implored us to "Throw them all out of office and start over. Including our own," and branded our incumbents as "idiots" and stooges void of "independent thought" and "accountability."

Yet rather than couch their smear amid facts and reason, the Editorial Board bloviates from one criticism to the next.

One glaring triumph of feckless bloviation over fact in "No one goes back to Sacramento" is the blanket charge that Democrats and Republicans voted on June 17 to make "$1.2 billion disappear simply by delaying the state payroll until July 1."

The board continued: "The fact that this adds $1.2 billion to the current budget will be ignored by everyone until next June 30."

Research would have shown them that the 6-4 legislative committee vote went along strictly partisan lines with that committee's majority Democrats voting in favor of such fiscal gymnastics. Senators Strickland and Runner and Assemblyman Smyth all opposed such an accounting gimmick.

From there the Editorial Board lays the blanket insinuation that "taking money from cities and counties and special districts, like the $4 million they'll ‘borrow' from the city of Santa Clarita" in order to shore up the state treasury was not vigorously opposed by Strickland, Runner, Smyth and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

Apparently hearing only what they wanted to hear, the Editorial Board turned a deaf ear to vigorous protests from all four representatives against this "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."

Be it by pen, through speeches, interviews or what have you, our incumbents have publicly stood strong against said proposal.

Again, a little research would have been nice.

With respect to SCV Republican incumbents not caring "that their constituents (us) will suffer because the numbers don't really balance" regarding education cuts, Assemblyman Smyth aptly said on his Assembly Web site: "Education spending takes up a large dedicated portion of our annual budget, and unfortunately it will be affected.

"However, we must make sure that those impacts are mitigated by granting local school districts flexibility when it comes to ‘categorical funding' and ensure as much funding as possible reaches the classroom where the money is needed most.

"The Governor has asked the State Board of Education to make textbooks available in digital formats, and we expect the first math and science textbooks to be digital by this fall," Smyth's site continues.

"These are just two examples of how we can use both common sense and innovation to live within our means and balance the budget without raising taxes."

Senator Strickland seconded that common sense/limited government approach by sending a letter to constituents saying, "In order to ease the impact of the funding decreases, the budget has granted local educational agencies unprecedented funding flexibility, which is the authority to move state funding for most categorical programs (special-purpose, such as principal training, English learner programs, and the arts) to supporting the highest locally determined priorities.

The spending flexibility should provide local agencies significant relief during this economic downturn."

That flexibility and optimism will enable local school districts to "demonstrate that local communities are superior to managing their education funds than the bureaucrats in Sacramento," Runner adds.

I agree with the senator. For education, our republican incumbents have fought to put funding and power where needs and priorities are known best: locally.

Again, a little research and nuance would have been nice.

I do not expect The Signal to endorse Republican candidates, but I do expect equity and truth, or journalistic integrity, at all times.
Fitting into the liberal mold of a Los Angeles Times or MSNBC may not be the goal of The Signal. If not, then show it.

F. Andre Hollings is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now!" appears Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers.


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