Saturday, January 12, 2013

Al Muratsuchi and His Committee Assignments

Torrance Unified School Board Member Al Muratsuchi leaves one cash-strapped institution for another. A first-term Assemblyman for the South Bay, Muratsuchi represents the 66th Assembly district, having won the most expensive and hard-fought campaign in the state of California. Six Republicans betrayed their party to endorse a Democrat who took in more money from outside the district than any other race.

His "victory" helped tip the balance of power in the state legislature toward Supermajority Democratic rule for the first time in decades. They party bosses, the imposing John Perez in the state Assembly and super-imposed Darrell Steinberg in the state senate, can push legislation which even the liberal Governor may oppose, but they can bypass his veto with a unified override. The voters in this state are going to get a taste of complete and uninterrupted one-party rule, and Muratsuchi is the dot and the cross for this liberal hegemony.

The Daily Breeze opted for hope in the face of "one-party" rule. In their endorsement for Muratsuchi, the paper wrote:

 Of the two men who are running for a new state Assembly district that essentially takes in the heart of the South Bay, Democratic candidate Al Muratsuchi is the one who best  [bad grammar, there were only two, and Muratsuchi was not the better choice] represents the region's values. The state prosecutor has served on the Torrance school board for seven years, allowing him to gain the experience of crafting a balanced budget, which will be valuable as the state struggles with ongoing budgeting problems.

The Torrance Unified School District has endured budget cuts so extreme, that classes throughout have forty-five, sometimes fifty students to a class. Teachers are leaving the profession, as they are overwhelmed by the pressing demands of more students, fewer days, and higher expectations.
Muratsuchi has also demonstrated that he is not necessarily beholden to his political donors, which in this case include heavy union funding.  Where the local paper got this idea from remains unclear. Just because Muratsuchi helped balance budgets for a school district does not suggest that he will stand up to party bosses in Sacramento and advance a prudent agenda.  A single-party supermajority is certainly not ideal, but if Democrats are going to run rampant in Sacramento next year then it would be best to elect moderates like Muratsuchi who support the fiscal conservatism and pragmatic ideals that represent the South Bay. "If" Democrats are going to run rampant?" There has already been talks about raising the car tax. The legislature has not stopped the bullet train to nowhere. The pension obligations remain outrageously underfunded, and Governor Brown is crowing about a "balanced" budget based on more of the same -- nothing -- along with spending increases.

After the election, the Breeze wrote down their wish list for 2013:

"California's Democrats have reached a supermajority in both houses. Here's to hoping they use their new power for the good of the people not their own political careers."

They then hoped for budget reductions, like halting the bullet train:

Once upon a time, the bullet train plan seemed like a great dream. Now it's become a nightmare of cost and pointlessness that even many former fans now want to wake up from. Gov. Jerry Brown stubbornly continues to push the train. He should put it on hold until Californians can vote on this again.

The bullet train was a pipe-dream, a "castle in the air" boondoggle which has outraged farmers in the Central Valley refusing to give up their land without a fight.

Apparently, the editorial board also forgot the number one job of a politician: get reelected.

The former state prosecutor's self-absorbed bravado was arrayed in full display in his recent press release. This time instead of relying on the banner-waving of loud sycophants, Muratsuchi can depend on the easy role he will play in Sacramento, a seat-warmer and easy vote for the Democratic elite's tax and spend agenda.

Last week, Muratsuchi declared "I will" three times. What will can he wend in Sacramento, since public sector union interests funded his fraudulent fight against his opponent for the seat? Like state Senator Ted Lieu, the voters in the South Bay can only wonder whose interests he will serve, whose "will" he will advance while in office.

"I'm especially proud to chair the Veterans Committee so that I can serve the men and women who have served our nation in the military." Perhaps Muratsuchi should begin with a dishonorable discharge from the Assembly. He did not earn the seat with a vision to restore and prosper the state of California. Claiming that he was not "an ideologue", he has merely ran his campaign on the same empty elitist ideology of tax, spend, and regulate.

"I will fight to restore funding for our schools through the Budget Committee." The same budget committee and our Governor have offered to increase spending to low-performing schools, which do not include the districts in the South Bay. The same legislature which proposed meager pension reforms has not tackled the outrageous pension obligations which are dragging down the fiscal solvency of our state. The same unions which killed SB 1530 bankrolled his campaign.

"As a former prosecutor, I will fight to protect our families and neighborhoods through the Judiciary Committee." A first-term Assembly, the former state prosecutor, who endorsed malicious lies about his opponent Craig Huey in his race to represent the 66th Assembly District, now joins the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Where's the justice in all of this? Muratsuchi has already proven that he has a serious "truth" problem. He took money from the California Teachers Association, which helped kill SB 1530, which would have hastened the dismissal of immoral teachers from the classroom. How can we esteem that he will make decisions in the best interests of our students?

"As a surfer and committed environmentalist, I will protect our beaches and our environment through the Natural Resources Committee." How about the state's economic resources? So busy protecting the green of nature, Muratsuchi has ignored the diminished green in our wallets. What good will it do to protect the trees if people cannot find work?

Democratic leaders in Sacramento are sharpening their knifes to take a piece out of Prop 13, the first of many 1978 backlashes to the "spend without end" agenda in Sacramento, a legacy which started under Edmund "Moonbeam" Brown, who turned the Reagan surpluses into Brown-and-Out deficits.

Contrary to one inartful assertion in the local press, Prop 13 is not a signal of declining public service. A spend-thrift legislature in the past decade which gave handsome pensions and benefits to well-connected public sector unions typifies "declining public service." This set of  the same interests who backed up Al and his liberal colleagues in the statehouse. Muratsuchi resented the insinuation from opponents and critics who assumed that he would not protect Prop 13. Yet he refused to sign the "Protect Prop 13" pledge. He is a member of a party elite that wants to raise taxes and bring in more revenue from a diminished coterie of the state, rich entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even civil servants who work for their pay just like everyone else.

Muratsuchi claims to represent the "99%", but the policies of his party have put him in line with the same train of brain-drained elites that want to tax the wealth-creators at the expense of everyone else in California. For the next two years, voters should pay close attention to this "fiscal conservative", whether the convictions of the local media will in fact convince this Democrat to vote in the best interests of the state instead of the party.

Judging from the high-power expectations which he has laid out for himself, one can imagine that property owners, school districts, and citizens of every stripe will be deeply disappointed with his lack of courage and conviction in Sacramento.

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