By Dick Lyles
Recent election results bring a mixed bag of messages, with reality emerging much different from what it first might appear. Democrats are quick to point out that one of theirs was elected to the traditionally conservative Poway City Council, that Scott Peters’ election to Congress represents a major shift in attitudes for our communities, aligning us with the Democrat takeover of the San Diego City Council and the creation of a super majority in the state legislature. These are hasty and shaky conclusions to draw from the facts as they actually exist.
Jim Cunningham sought re-election to the Poway City Council as a fiscal conservative. He won because the city is well-managed, in sound shape financially and has few problems compared to most other cities and also because he served well during his first term. Note, however, that he came in second to non-incumbent Steve Vaus, a tea party conservative who led the ballot in spite of his many detractors. It would have been interesting to see the outcome had the school bond issue not been misrepresented and misused to side-swipe Jeff Mangum’s campaign. Traditional conservative values are alive and well in Poway.
The outcome of the congressional race between Scott Peters and Brian Bilbray was also driven by conservative values. In the newly gerrymandered nightmare of a district, Republican Bilbray positioned himself as the green candidate — a congressional leader in environmental issues — and lost. Peters, in what undoubtedly will become the biggest non-presidential false campaign promise in the election, pledged to fight for a balanced budget and hold congress accountable for fiscal responsibility and won. Conservative values prevailed even though a Democrat won the seat. It’ll be interesting to see if Peters can win re-election in two years if challenged by a more conservative Republican.
The further away from home we get, however, the more ominous the returns become. Union-owned liberals ran the table. The last thing the city of San Diego needs at this moment is a pro-union hack with no administrative experience or competence. But that’s exactly what they got by choosing Bob Filner to be mayor. Everyone in the region except public sector union members will suffer because of the mismanagement Filner will inflict on San Diego.
Statewide outcomes are the worst of all. California drastically needs a makeover like those experienced in Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina, New Jersey and New Mexico. Unfortunately the state is now charging full speed ahead in the exact opposite direction.
The state’s actual debt load is somewhere between $137 billion and $350 billion rather than the $19-21 billion alluded to by state officials. This includes $10 billion borrowed from the federal government plus $313 million borrowed from the state disability trust fund to make payments on the loan. It includes $200 billion in unfunded liabilities for state worker retirement benefits, $4.3 billion borrowed from special funds and $10 billion in constitutionally required payments to schools that have been deferred. The list goes on.
We don’t need an earthquake for the state of California to collapse into the ocean … the new union-led, Democrat super majority in the Legislature will take care of that for us. Without eliminating the debt problem, they’ll bury us in a tsunami of tax increases and cost increases with a larger state government providing fewer services of lower quality. Proposition 30 was only a mild beginning. The worst is yet to come. Governor Brown’s appeal for prudence will prove to be as effective as asking an alcoholic to stop drinking after the second drink.
Lyles, a Poway resident, is a business/management consultant and best-selling author. Reader comments are encouraged at www.pomeradonews.com.