Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, center, joins local officials, transportation advocates and others at a news conference Oct. 18, 2010 in Monterey Park to rally support for Proposition 22.
Some law enforcement and transportation officials are using the motto “Fight Back” to try and generate voter support for Proposition 22.
The measure on the November statewide ballot aims to stop Sacramento politicians from using local government money to fix California’s budget problems. The debate pits supporters against politicians and public education advocates.
“Sacramento, do your job, balance your books and leave local government alone," urged Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. He spends a lot of time in the state’s capitol but supports the ballot measure that would keep politicians there from dipping into local coffers to help solve California’s frequent budget shortfalls.
Supporters who stood alongside Maldonado in Monterey Park wore boxing gloves to emphasize that voters should pass Prop 22 because it would stop Sacramento from diverting local money — and would protect emergency response, transit and road maintenance.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca urged the audience at the rally to consider some recent history.
“It wasn’t that long ago that Sacramento took away $5 billion of local taxes and shoved them up to Sacramento because they couldn’t straighten out their inequities," Baca said. "So we’re saying stop that. And we think the voters would be wise in doing that.”
But some teachers’ unions maintain that amid severe financial hardship, the state needs the option of shifting money to protect schools and social programs from budget cuts. In response to that argument, Baca said school districts can’t just spend their way to academic excellence.
“It takes more than money alone. And I think that’s been the problem with the whole school system today... everything is predicated on how much money you have, without any examination as to how the money is spent, why the money is limited, why there’s more need for more active parenting programs.”
Along with education leaders, critics of Prop 22 include taxpayer groups, pubic safety, health care and social service advocates. Some opponents of the measure also contend that state lawmakers should hold cities more accountable for the way they spend local revenues.