Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – January 7, 2019 – It was 38 degrees this morning at 6 am and 3 of us brave souls turned out to meet with Supervisor Bob Berkowitz at Fisherman’s Restaurant. Here’s what we learned, discussed and debated:

1.) Democratic congress wants to do away with the Electoral College – Per Sup. Berkowitz – that’s not going anywhere.

2.) Last Chance Grade – On Friday, January 4th, the new Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure wass elected and it’s Peter DeFazio (D).  He’s the Congressman from the 4th District in Curry County, Oregon. Here’s his statement:

“Every state and territory in our country is profoundly affected by the decisions made in this committee. Our communities and businesses depend on our network of roads, bridges, airports, rail, ports, and public transit to move people and goods safely, whether it is across town, across the country, or internationally. And millions of American jobs are directly tied to the health of our infrastructure.

“We are approaching a transportation crisis in our country, and with that in mind, I am especially honored to have the strong support of my colleagues to lead the caucus as the new Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“As Chairman, I will be a tireless advocate for the kind of infrastructure investment that results in job creation, increased economic growth, and decreased emissions. I will fight for common sense, comprehensive solutions to address the major issues facing our aging, 20th century infrastructure and champion a smarter, greener infrastructure that helps to reduce carbon pollution, and is more resilient and better equipped to handle the impacts of climate change. I will work to build bipartisan agreement around legislation that strengthens the federal responsibility for maintaining and providing access to transportation for all Americans. I will balance this with our duty to provide reasonable and responsible oversight of the Trump Administration’s implementation of laws under the Committee’s jurisdiction.

“I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in order to achieve our shared goals. Together, we can lay the groundwork for infrastructure investment that delivers for generations to come.”

Sup. Berkowitz said that we can’t have projects earmarked like Last Chance Grade because the laws changed. But a number of Congressman want to bring it back. If that happens, then Last Chance Grade could be an earmarked project.

3) Sacramento School District is going broke beause of CalPers and CalStirs. Refer to my article, “What’s to happen with government pensions?” published on December 7, 2018. Bad investments lead to bad returns which leads to a shortfall in projections in which to pay retirements which leads to a huge tab that School Districts and city and county governments have to pay which … well, so on and so forth.

4.) Discussed the movie, “Precious,” the harsh story of a young, large, Black woman, raped and impregnated by her father, gave birth to two babies; abused by her mother who had been bilking the welfare system for years; she finally leaves the household and gets an education by a teacher that takes an interest in her. Her life changes for the better. We were wondering if that was autobiographical to Oprah Winfrey? It wasn’t. It was written by a former Californian, turned New Yorker, named Sapphire who wrote the book, “Push,” her debut novel 25 years ago turned into the movie, “Precious.”

5.) The Supreme Court has ruled that no longer are teachers mandated to pay union dues! Union dues were voluntary in 1978.  Then they became mandatory for four decades even for teachers who did not join the union. In the Janus vs. AFSCME  case, all of that changed. Membership is decreasing.  That translates into less money for the California Teachers Association (union) which is predominantly Democrats.  Less union money to spend on Democratic candidates to promote their agenda. Sounds like a good start to me for turning things around.  Maybe California will rise back up toward their #1 slot in public education from #40 something with a weaker union. Union opponents hailed the decision as a victory for workers and a defeat for Democrats. President Trump also celebrated the ruling, via Twitter. “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!” Trump tweeted shortly after the decision was announced. It was Justice Neil Gorsuch, the president’s 2017 nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, who proved to be the tie-breaking vote in the case.  Maybe this will be a wake-up call to California legislators. Maybe there will be as many Republican, Independent, Decline to State teachers coming up through the ranks instead of the majority being teachers that are registered Democrats.   Even though belonging to a political party should not make a difference in who teachers our children, it does. The reality is that Democrats have dominated the teaching enviornment for far too long.  I wouldn’t mind it if we at least had educated students at the end of the road, but that’s not happening. Our tax dollars are being squandered on poor education.

6.) Updated the group on my emails to all the Del Norte County School Board members regarding the local taxpayer association board members wanting to visit classes in session with them at our public schools.  Only one school board member responded. Jamie Fortner. She said she visited classrooms once or twice a year but wasn’t planning on visiting any time soon. I plan on contacting the principles of the each school next.

And, before you knew it, it was 7 am and time to go.


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