Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on May 3, 1993 · Page 3
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 3

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Ukiah, California
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Monday, May 3, 1993
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Page 3
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL To submit an opinion forum •rifcto for the Journal, totophon* Jim Smith, 468-3510 Opinion* MprMttd en th* P«rap*etlvM Pag* ir* the** of th* *uthor. Editorials *r* th* opinion of th* paper's editorial board. Perspectives MONDAY, MAY 3, 1993 . LETTERS Fund-raising remains out of control By DOUG WILLIS The Associated Press Fund raising by candidates for the California Legislature declined by a third in the first election after voters approved two 1988 initiatives imposing $1,000 contribution limits. But the old, out-of-control fund-raising pace, resumed immediately after a court ruling invalidated those contribution limits. After dropping from $79 million in 1988 to $52 million in 1990, it jumped back up to $72 million for the 1992 elections. The renewal of that fund-raising arms races is described in detail in a new California Common Cause report titled "The Price of Admission." While that title is accusatory, it is also accurate. The new Common Cause report documents once again the extent to which special interest money continues to dominate California politics. Among other things, the report found: • California legislators raised an average of $498,000 last year for campaigns for seats which pay $52,500 annual salaries. • In 94 of 100 races, the candidate who raised the most money was elected. • Incumbents on average outdid challengers in fund raising by a margin of five to one. • Sixty-two legislators have already held fundraising events since the 1992 elections to raise money for re-election in 1994 or to pay off old campaign debts. The Common Cause report also shows how quickly the Legislature's fixation on fund-raising sweeps up new members with its momentum. • . _ , „ _»«• WM * • 1"W state* Assembly rnem'bers£As>.the firfr SMvbfc fegislatbrjs' "elected under term limits and > ~wlto\}ufa']pensi<Jn"plah; ffie freshman class of 1992 was supposed to be a new breed. The majority of both Democrats and Republicans in the freshman class campaigned against career politicians and the influence of special interests, and promised to break the lock step partisanship and political gridlock of the state Capitol. But Common Cause found that the Assembly's freshmen are behaving just like the veterans. Two-thirds of them arrived in Sacramento with campaign debts, an average of over $58,000 each, and more than half of them have already held Sacramento fund-raising events, either to pay off those debts or to start raising money for their 1994 re-election campaigns. That is particularly noteworthy because fund rais- ers in Sacramento are unlike fund raisers in a legislator's district in two ways. First is that there aren't constituents to invite, just lobbyists. Second is the price. Fund raisers among constituents are typically $25 or $50 affairs. In Sacramento, they're usually $250, $500 or more. As Kim Alexander, chief author of the Common Cause study, put it: "Although the freshman Assembly members may have a lot to learn about the legislative process, they have quickly learned how to play the Sacramento fund-raising game." Implicit in Sacramento fund raising is that lobbyists are buying access, which may or may not translate into favorable votes for them, and which may or may not be legal, depending on the outcome of recent political corruption court cases. None of this means that the Assembly's 27 new members are corrupt, or even that the Capitol's veteran legislators are corrupt. What it means is that the freshmen are quickly adapting to survive in a political system that is dominated by powerful corrupting influences. In a candid newspaper interview recently, freshman Assemblyman Tom Connolly, D-Lemon Grove, described his dismay with the fund-raising frenzy he has plunged into in Sacramento. Connolly said he didn't like it, but concluded that to compete, "you have to play by the rules as the rules exist." It's not a new phenomenon. In an insightful essay 33 years ago, the late Jesse Unruh described the dilemma new legislators faced then. "When I first ran for office, I fiercely resolved to jnake no deals, trade no votes. But I quickly learned i. 4-s.ica- -obi^j^jju^c-jqj lead on|ft-t£"as:6latioh and sness^'Un^uh^ViTote. 'iC-V.' "If I Stayed $w,ay ^rom the lobbjic«s, I would have Tbeeh ineffective. If I take their money and give them nothing for it, I am a cheat. If I do their bidding, I could be cheating the public. I find myself rationalizing what I have done. The tragedy is that I may wind up serving the very elements I,set out to beat, yet not even know I have changed." Unruh was a young assemblyman when he wrote that. Years later, after he had risen to the office of speaker of the Assembly, he described the same phenomenon in blunter, more succinct and memorable words: "Money is the mother's milk of politics." The only thing that's changed since then, as the Common Cause report demonstrates, is the dollar amounts have grown bigger. Doug Willis has covered California politics for The Associated Press for over two decades. WHERE TO CALL Here is a partial list of the federal "Hot Lines" for cutting government waste. Agriculture (including Forest Service): 1-800-424-9121; Commission on Civil Rights: 1-800-552-6843; Commerce: 1-800-424-5197; Defense: 1-800-424-9098; Education: 1-800-647-8733; Energy: 1-800-541-1625; Environmental Protection Agency: 1-800-424-4000; Federal Deposit Insurance Corp: 1-800-964-3342; General Services Administration: 1-800^24-5210; Health and Human Services: 1-800-368-5779; Housing and Urban Development: 1-800-347-3735; Interior (including Bureau of Reclamation): 1 -800-424-5081; Justice (including FBI, Bureau Alcohol and Firearms, etc): 1-800-869-4499; Labor: 1-800-347-3756; NASA- 1-800-424-9183; Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 1-800-233-3497; Resolution Trust Corp: LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER DONKEY MEDIA GROUP Donald W. Reynolds, Founder Ukiah Daily JM Edwards, PubHstwr Jim Smith - E*of YVonwBeU- , D«w»Wfcor-Advwt*ngDwao. Vic \tuttm- ProductionMUMQV RaUilMtrager TwiJadaon- ---•'-"" MMnkwr Audit BUTMU California PuMiihwi Phew (707) 4M41&. Court Dwrtt No. SM 7. SwontCtM Pottg* Paid « UKWi. CA. "-SUGGESTED MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION RATES- PiUVWYTYPe MICE VWWBItoRi. Motor Rout* » 7 -°° Mil In MNKtodno County $10.00 M*> Ouftid* ttw County $12.60 All pricM Induct* 7X%C«litornl«S»t* Yta* MMMMT mw of w*raa "!*•• • cm MHMV nrawn rnw, «w bStti "SS VMW Th»r» It no <Wvfry«i SMurtw. To rZirt » mUg ySLLJ^^aaM»o^nii»MMi^it^7^^y^tn^ 1-800-833-3310; Transportation: 1-800-424-9071; Treasury: 1-800-359-3898; Veterans Affairs: 1-800-488-8244. WHERETO WRITE President BUI Clinton: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1111; FAX (202) 456-2461. Governor Pete Wilson: State Capitol, Sacramento, 95814. (916) 445-2841; FAX (916) 445-4633. Senator Barbara Boxer: U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., 20510. (202) 224-3553; San Francisco, (415) 556-8440. Senator Dianne Feinstein: U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., 20510. (202) 224-3841; San Francisco (415) 433-1333. Congressman Dan Hamburg: 114 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515 (202) 225-3311; the District Office address is 910 A Waugh Lane, Ukiah, 95482, (707) 462-1716; or 1/800-303-2515. Assemblyman Dan Hauser: State Assembly, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, 94249-0001. (916) 445-8360; Santa Rosa, 576-2526; FAX, Santa Rosa, 576-2297. Hauser's local field representative, Harry Bistrin, can be reached at 468-0504 or by writing to Hauser at P.O. Box 1014, Ukiah, 95482. Money was well spent To The Editor: To quote the Ukiah Daily Journal, '"The Thing Called Love': $ well spent or wasted?" I have just returned from tonight's (Wednesday's) community performance and my answer is a resounding YES, the $ are well spent. As a special education preschool teacher for Ukiah Unified Schools, I come in daily contact with children ages 3, 4 and 5 who have been exposed in utero to drugs and/or alcohol. These children exhibit a wide range of problems which can include one, several or all of the following: learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, limited attention span and hyperactivity, health problems and emotional disorders. In my four years with this program I have seen the numbers of these children rise alarmingly in our community. Many of these children were born to teenage mothers and fathers. These children and their parents are impacting all of our human services; the schools, public health, mental health, social services and our court system. If this performance prevents even one such birth it not only saves human potential but countless dollars. My thanks are extended to Laurel Near and Kate Magruder for an outstanding play that will reach teen-agers. The cast has my applause for a fantastic performance. The music, dnace and story line are current and dynamic. The show is creative, thought provoking and moving. I hope it will be the beginning of many dialogues in our community as we confront these issues together. Debra Meek Ukiah Confusing recall To The Editor: On April 14 of this year, three Willits City Council Members were served with notices of recall. The alleged reason for the recall is due to the recent matter, taken up by the council, on mandatory garbage pick-up and its connection with water billing. The individuals who have initiated the recall disagree with the council's vote for mandatory garbage pick-up. They also disagree with the decision for the shutting off of water to houses whose residents do not pay the garbage pick-up bill. It seems odd that one of the council members who voted against the mandatory pick-up, is the subject of the recall, and another, who voted for it, is not. More importantly, it seems that a recall is a rather extreme response to dissatisfaction with just one of the many difficult decisiqns made the council.' ,v A ; ; It seems there are several^better ways to express displeasure and/or challenge the decision of a governmental body, than to subject the city of Willits, its elected officials and staff, who are already under extreme budget constraints, to'the distraction of a recall election that could cost up to $5,000. The members of the Willits Police Officer's Association feel the majority of the council's main focus is the betterment of the city of Willits for its residents. The Willits Police Officer's Association is not taking a stand on the pro or con of the mandatory garbage pick-up, but instead is advocating a fiscal responsibility in these times of depleting budgets and overall community support for the dedication and commitment of the community's governing body, the City Council. Rich Venturi Willits Police Officer's Association Grant money wasted To The Editor: Last night, my husband and I attended the community preview of the play "The Thing Called Love." This play was supposedly designed to educate our children on fetal alcohol syndrome. The cost was $170,000 of taxpayers' money. I, for one, was disappointed. The play was cute, and entertaining, but educational — "NOT." I, like others, -would like to know where all that money went. If it is taxpayers' money, and I am a taxpayer, I have a right to know where each and every penny went. I feel the money could have been better spent on books, manuals, videos and educating teachers to teach our children in classrooms. It could have been spent on bringing professionals into the classrooms, giving real life examples of the consequences of drugs and alcohol on the unborn. Bring real life teen parents of these afflicted babies, let them tell our children of the consequences of drinking, drugging and having sex. And why didn't the play give more resources to those who are now in the situation of being pregnant, where do they go, what do they do? And as far as that goes, why wasn't there more focus on not getting pregnant in the first place?? More focus on peer pressure is needed, how to be strong and make your own choices. Also, more focus and education on the strong sexual feelings that occur at that age and how to properly deal with those feelings, how to be safe without sex, and if all else fails, how to be safe with sex. Kids should know that the only safe sex method is to not participate in sex at all; even condoms don't prevent all types of sexually transmitted diseases or AIDS. Our kids need to know and be taught that sex is something very special, to be saved for marriage and kept in marriage with your chosen partner, that by abusing sex they only cheat themselves and put their unborn at great risk. Even if a child is born healthy to a young unwed mother, there are other risks for that child. I was a 16-year-old mother, I know of what I speak. If there was one redeeming quality of the play, it was the ending wherfe they encouraged parents to talk and "listen" to their children on this subject. Children leam by example far more than by words, so we as parents need to set the best example we can for our kids and we need to impart strong, solid morals for them and set consequences for when they step outside those morals. I'm just very disappointed with the way this grant money was spent. My sixth-grader's science class does not have enough books to go around, they share books and are not allowed to take any home. You can verify this with Mr. Tanner at Pomolita. I feel this money was basically wasted. This play will not impact the children the way it was hoped to, it wasn't strong enough, it lacked a lot of information. I feel the grant was inappropriately spent. I know not everyone will agree, but those are my feelings. Dora Winchester Llkiah Beautiful production To The Editor: I am writing not only to register my own delight, but to echo the sentiments of everyone who has spoken to me about the recent performances of "The Thing Called Love." As a county substance abuse prevention coordinator, I am exposed to prevention activities and presentations of all stripes. Few have been as compelling, forthright and evocative as this demonstration of local talent and compassion. e .th$ play. affords.,us. a .glimpse of the challenges!-' (alcphojrdrugsp.teen pregnancy,'perin|uar -^ substance abuse, et. al.) faced by teen-ager's'. 5 While the message is serious and deeply understood, it is also a celebration of that which goes hand-in-hand with teen-age years: hope and that unique and unassailable Thing Called Love. My thanks and appreciation to local luminaries Laurel Near, Kate Magruder, the ensemble of fine actors and Lillian Hoika, Sharon Kiichli and all those who made this beautiful production possible. Armand Brint Ukiah Despicable nuisance To The Editor: There is something even more annoying than the clumsiness of bureaucracy. This evening I read an inane front-and-back-page article inspired by someone who wished to be investigative (until frustrated) and critical (before seeing the product or imagining its effectiveness). It's a despicable nuisance to find the most valued pages of our local press inadvertently criticizing those who have creatively and patiently used bureaucratic channels to produce a marvelous production and ongoing offering to our community, "The Thing Called Love" performed at Ukiah High School Cafetorium tastefully and energetically addressed the vital issues of teen-age sexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, unplanned teen pregnancies, and the effects of substance abuses on their (our) babies. K.C. Meadows chose to write about one parent's anxiety of this project's budget. Editor, please have someone on your staff regard this project on its issues, the quality and effectiveness of its production. And, if you must consider dollar values, please consider how few days of hospital care can be purchased for even one fetal alcohol syndrome baby with a $170,000 budget. John Patten Ukiah -Doonesbury .BY GARRY TRUDEAU — THATSW5HT! ON&IN- ICAN 9HOP WfTH 7HI5 TH/N6? (MSKmOOO&OT- 'MOWING, MISS. NOKIP- 0N6? 1MAH HSC

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