By The Bakersfield Californian
Gov. Jerry Brown erred by not clearly spelling out for California voters -- and recalcitrant legislators -- much earlier what an all-cuts budget would mean to the people of this state. But others have picked up the slack as the window drops ever lower on a proposed June election to consider tax extensions.
Educators from K-12 schools, community colleges and both of California's public university systems have painted grim pictures of what another multibillion-dollar round of cuts would mean in terms of layoffs, class sizes, teacher-student ratios, a shortened school year, more limited course offerings, tuition hikes, diminished research and other impacts. Health advocacy organizations have spelled out the dire circumstances that await the elderly and disabled, among other vulnerable populations.
And now, police and sheriff's agencies have expressed their view of the likely fallout from closer-to-the-bone cuts: a virtual "financial amputation," as described by Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazim, president of the state sheriffs' association. Their biggest fear: The likelihood that responsibility for thousands of state inmates will fall on local governments.
Now we can learn some of the details as they impact us locally, thanks to a better-late-than-never set of hearings that state Sen. Michael Rubio will hold this week. "This is an effort for me to learn how it's going to impact the local community firsthand," Rubio said of his plans to host afternoon town-hall meetings April 20 in Bakersfield and April 21 in Fresno.
If state Sen. Jean Fuller, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and Assemblyman David Valadao aren't considering full-fledged listening tours with their Central Valley constituents, we encourage them to do so. An all-cuts budget would create innumerable crisis situations they'd be forced to deal with, so they might as well have a solid grasp of what awaits them now.