Sunday, May 29, 2005

Gov. Schwarzenegger digs pothole, then fills it

Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to promote his recent decision to fund transportation (at the expense of education and other state programs). To show just how much he cares about transportation, on Thursday he staged a media event wherein he helped a road crew fill a pothole in a San Jose street.

There was only one problem: the pothole Gov. Schwarzenegger filled was dug a few hours earlier by a city work crew (reported in the SF Chronicle).
"But neighbors in the area said while they welcomed the work by the governor, they weren't sure the repairs were so critical.

"Greco, who used his video camera to record the crews ripping up his street, said Laguna Seca Way had 'a few cracks,' which he termed 'unsightly,' but they weren't as bad as the 'major potholes' a few blocks away.

"'The street was very drivable,' Vujevich said.
The article also discusses how the Governor has started announcing some of his appearances only a few hours in advance, most likely to help him avoid protesters (who are typically protesting for such radical causes as better support for teachers, nurses, police, and firefighters).
"The governor, asked Thursday whether the stealth schedule suggested he has been bothered by his vocal opponents, blithely dismissed them, saying most 'are paid by the unions to protest.'

"'These are all people who want to stop progress. These are all people that are fighting for the status quo ... all the people that have created the problems in the first place,' he said. 'So we don't pay very much attention to that at all. We're paying attention to millions and millions of signatures that people of California have given us in order to change the system.'
The charge that protestors are "paid union protesters punching the clock" has been made before (e.g., this Chronicle article on protests in San Francisco), and it seems as though the Schwarzenegger administration has no evidence for their claims.
"Union organizers denied that workers were paid to attend the protest, and Stutzman [the governor's spokesman] declined to offer any evidence of payments from the unions."
Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, says about the San Francisco protest,
"We didn't even do a mailing to get people here. We just talked to our members and had them call their families and friends."
So our governor ignores people who are spending their own time and money to protest to bring attention to our woefully underfunded educational system (and other state programs), and instead considers the protesters to be "the people who created the problems in the first place." Excuse me? Who's shorted education by $1.5 billion, at a time when we could desperately use the money? Who wants to destroy the retirement plans of public employees? Oh, that's right ... our governor.

Instead of hiding from the public and filling fake potholes, there's a much easier way to stop people from protesting: give our state programs the funding and support they need (and have been promised).

(via BoingBoing)

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