Time for payback in Sacramento | TheUnion.com

Time for payback in Sacramento

The black clouds have arrived from Sacramento, and their first drops have fallen on Nevada County’s students.

This week’s news that an estimated $50,000 may be cut from athletic programs at Nevada Union High School is a mere sprinkling compared with the hailstorm that will follow.

It’s payback time in Sacramento. Our often-described “pay to play” governor, who raised more than $30 million to get himself re-elected, has debts to pay.

Those who paid get to play. Those who didn’t, get to pay.

The California Correctional Officers Association paid. According to news sources, the governor took $251,000 from the prison guards union just weeks after signing a 34 percent pay increase for correctional officers.

And it’s interesting to note that Davis has no plans to touch the California Department of Corrections’ $3.9 billion budget, even as he asks our children to make sacrifices.

Why? Payback. It is generally known that teachers aren’t particularly fond of Davis. According to one account, Davis pressured the California Teachers’ Association president to collect $1 million from union members to donate to the governor’s re-election campaign.

They refused.

Result? How about a Davis proposal to cut education spending by $2 billion this year – $2.5 million of that coming from our local schools.

Our community college? Tina Ludutsky-Taylor, provost of Sierra College’s Nevada County campus in Grass Valley, pointed out this week in a column for The Union that the governor proposes to drop Sierra’s already low funding by $658 per student.

Why? Because California’s community college system doesn’t know how to play. Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters illustrated that this week when he said Davis’ actions “confirm the poor-stepchild status of community colleges, even though they offer the state’s most cost-effective higher education services and handle roughly three-fourths of California’s college students, particularly those with low incomes.”

In his State of the State speech earlier this month, the governor said he has plans to create 500,000 new jobs over the next four years.

Ludutsky-Taylor rightfully wonders how he plans to fill those new jobs when his proposed cuts may cripple the very institutions designed to create a qualified work force.

Perhaps Davis is right to focus so much attention on our prisons. If he won’t provide an avenue for advancement, he’ll certainly need more prisons to house those forced into a life of desperation.

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