Lt. Governor Garamendi Speaks in Davis

Last night, Lt. Governor John Garamendi spoke at the Davis home of UC Davis Law Professor John Oakley and County Clerk Freddie Oakley. Garamendi who formerly served as a State Senator for the City of Davis is a Democratic candidate for Governor in 2010. Thank you to my wife Cecilia who took the photos and recorded the speech in my stead as I was under the weather. Here are some of the Lt. Governor’s remarks.

We’re in the process of making some absolutely crucial decisions about the future of California. I don’t think we really understand how important this period is that we’re living.

Education, you talk about education, you can talk about Davis or the surrounding area of Yolo and you can see all of the issues right here. You can see those communities where you have real serious educational issues–where you have poverty, immigrants, and minorities. You can see the pressure, you can see the dropout rates, you can see the kind of things that are going on and you don’t have to go too far away and you can see some excellent things, excellent education. And of course you have the community college and of course this excellent university. So it’s all right here.

Then the pressure on the land as our population grows. This morning 305 million Americans, and somewhere around 38 million Californians, probably a little more than that today, the extraordinary pressure that that’s putting on the resources, the land, upon the water, transportation, air, all of those things, it’s kind of like Davis.

Not too far away, but impacting this community is the budget of the state of California. At the beginning of the end of that process, it’s the most important statement that we make annually about what’s important to us. What’s important to California? We’re in this period of time and we’re making a decision right now about what California’s going to be in the years ahead. I have to tell, I am very deeply concerned. But I’m also really hopeful because Californians have always had this desire to do better. It’s a place where we can do better. It’s a place where we can grow and raise our families, where opportunity exists.

At the same time there is a reluctance to reach out and do the things that make that possible. And the reluctance is seen in this year’s budget. Actually the last five years of budgets. If that’s the statement about what’s important to us in California then we are in deep trouble because the things that create the economic growth, the opportunity for people to get a good job, to climb the economic ladder, those investments are not being made. In fact, we’re disinvesting. Each year we’re investing in less things that create that economic growth, specifically education.

This university in 1990, the day I left the legislature, we spent $15,000 per student at the University of California. Last year we spent $10,000, actually a little less than $10,000. Now that is a statement of what’s important. A similar reduction has taken place at the state university system. There is no way this economy is going to prosper 10 to 15 years from now unless we reverse that and invest in education. K through 12, similarly, all of the discussion about kids not being prepared, all true.

Transportation issues, are we investing in transportation? No we’re not. We’re talking right now about stimulus packages and all of that. Where’s that money going to go? Is it going to go to the kind of transportation that this modern state needs? We don’t know. We’ll make a decision collectively, as a group, as a society. We’ll make a decision, are we going to continue to build the great freeway system which ultimately creates most of the climate change problems for the state of California? Or are we going to go into a different direction, one that moves us toward a modern transportation system? Modern like railroads. Modern like high speed trains. Modern like buses, public transportation systems.

If you take a look at the budgets that are coming down, the answer is we’re not going in that direction. We did pass the high speed rail bond. Will there be money to build it? Possibly. Twenty years ago, Jim Costa and I sponsored two pieces of legislation to establish the high speed rail program in California. We’re patient people, twenty years, it was signed into law and became law in 1990.

If you look at the health care system in the state of California, we have the most extraordinary health care system. It delivers the very best medicine in the world. We have six and a half million Californians that don’t participate in that system. That’s raw, it’s also an enormous drag on the economy. We spend a third of all the money in the health care system on administrative costs. At the new business school over here, you write a thesis, a project and you’re going to spend one-third of your money on administrative costs, they’re going to throw you out as a dumb-dumb. But yet we spend one-third of all the money on administrative costs that’s 17 percent of our economy.

So we’ve got some real issues. And these are decisions that we’re making right now about the future of California.

We’ve made a decision to deal with greenhouse gases. Now the implementation of that, when the going gets really tough, because we have to change the way we spend our money if we’re going to deal with greenhouse gases. We’re not going to be able to spend our money on things that we once did—oil, gasoline. We’re going to have spend our money on renewable. We’re going to have to spend our money and subsidize those things that reduce the greenhouse gases. Fundamental decisions, my vision is to get at those things. To cause us as Californians to once again realize that can do the things to create a great state, that give us a good environment, that deal with the greenhouse gases.

There is enough water in California to deal with the water issues. We can do those things, but not if we do not use our government wisely as a tool to achieve success, as a way of solving our problems. Those folks in California that say that government is bad, they are the worst, they are the people that will cause us to fail. You look down through the history of America, you look down through the history of California, we have always succeeded when two things came together simultaneously—a strong powerful government that put in place programs, incentives, subsidies, and direction and then a strong private sector that working together with government, built the state. It happened every single time we made progress.

Agricultural industry wouldn’t exist as it is known in California today were it not for UC Davis and the investment that public made in Agricultural Research and the Agricultural Extension programs and the water programs and transportation programs and the education programs.

So where are we going as Californians? We’re going to know very soon. What’s happening in Sacramento with the budget today is the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve been around since 1974 in government and I’ve never seen this kind of thing happen before.

The governor declares a fiscal emergency three weeks ago and then leaves down for a vacation. Hello? Hello is there an emergency? Well apparently it’s not so great so as to disrupt a ski vacation. Come on Governor. You said you’re going to make everybody stick around, where are you?

I tell you these things can be solved. I can see how they will be solved. The Republicans will vote for a tax increase, they will. There’s at least four members of the Assembly that will under the right circumstances vote for a tax increase. They only need five and there’s two in the Senate. I know who they are. And I know that they will vote for it—under the right circumstances—so you have to create the political atmosphere in that building. And you don’t do it by calling people names. You do it by working with them.

The other thing is, we’re the eighth wealthiest economy in the world. We’ve got our troubles. This economy’s not as strong, not as robust as it was two or three years ago. But we’re still the eighth largest economy in the world. We have great wealth in this state and we will make a collective decision are we going to spend that money and invest that wealth in things that create opportunity and economic growth or are we going to horde it, keep it to ourselves, we’re making that decision.

If we took one percent of the wealth that the California economy produces each year, took that wealth, and applied it to education, transportation, dealing with the climate, there would not be a budget problem today. It’s more than a trillion-and-a-half economy. It’s great wealth. How do we use that wealth? Do we use it for short-term, for whatever we’re doing at this moment or do we do what has always been the California tradition, that is to invest. Invest in those things that create opportunity—education, infrastructure, research.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Black Bart

    …Agricultural industry wouldn’t exist as it is known today in California were it not for UC Davis……So then it follows that the increase in productivity from research and education at UC Davis is more beneficial than the preservation of every inch of farmland surrounding the city.

  2. Anonymous

    The problem is that most of the money spent by the State is not spent as the voters want it to be spent. Many eligible voters don’t vote because their votes are ignored by the elected State officials. A lot of money is spent on people who are not citizens; the voters decided that they don’t want their money spent on non-citizens, but the Governor and Legislature decided that the voters were wrong and are spending a lot of money on social services’ and the public safety budget on supporting non-citizens. One way to break the impasse in the State legislature would be to determine how much of the budget is spent on the above and have the voters vote again to decide how much of their school, University, and health care budget they are willing to forego in order to support people who are not United States or California citizens.

  3. Black Bart

    Dear anon,Xenophobic solutions will not make these people go away. Don’t forget when you take education away from these …non-citizens… it adds other costs like prison, when you take away health care it adds other costs like epidemics of TB. Just keep talking though because it is voices like yours that cost McCain Nevada, New Mexico,Florida and Colorado not to mention that California hasn’t voted for a Republican President since prop 187 passed and won’t again as long as people like you, Tancredo, Lou Dobbs and Tom McClintock keep it up.

  4. davisite

    Dear AllThe year 2008 refused to leave us without one more blood shed. Thislast weekend of 2008, I and many of you have seen the killing of manyinnocent people in Gaza. Gaza as you may know is surrounded by fenceor the sea from every direction. There are several cross roads thatare controlled by Isreal and one cross road that is controlled byEgypt. There is no way out or in except through these cross roads.As we celebrate and welcome the new year, I would like to inviteevery one to a candle light vigil at 6 PM on Wed Dec 31st in DavisCentral Park for the victims of this blood shed. I am hoping that theyear 2009 will be much better than the year 2008 and the policies ofthe Obama administration will promote peace at home and abroad.Please send this invitation to your list and invite every one to comeand join us.We’ll meet at the platform near the center of the park. In case ofrain we’ll gather under the shed of the Farmers market. Please haveheavy cloths. Best wishes for a new year.Hamza El-Nakhal

  5. Anonymous

    What has John Garamendi done to actually solve the problems he is talking about? He sounds like he is campaigning already… where have I heard this before… vote for me if you want …change….

  6. Mike

    …I would like to invite every one to a candle light vigil at 6 PM on Wed Dec 31st in Davis Central Park for the victims of this blood shed….Why did the Palestinians launch this war against Israel, if they didn’t want Israel to fight back?I read an analysis of this by an Arab Christian from Beirut who said the fall in oil prices is behind it. Iran is the main sponsor of Hamas. The Iranian regime is unpopular and with lower oil prices they cannot hold up. The Iranians needed to divert attention away from their failures by having their proxy in Palestine launch a stupid war with Israel. Israel is of course stupid to fight back, because by fighting back the Islamists gain more power and the Israel-haters will blame Israel for over-reacting. No one paid any attention when Hamas, which was popularly elected with the intention of destroying Israel and removing all Jews from Israel, broke the truce and started firing rockets at Jewish civilians. There were no candlelight vigils when Hamas was on the attack. But Hamas has now won the PR war, because fools in America only react to Israeli self-defense, never the Hamas savagery. Even worse, the candlelight vigils are never held when Hamas tortures Arab victims in its prisons because they did not uphold Islamic law.

  7. Anonymous

    Gaza as you may know is surrounded by fence or the sea from every direction.One direction is Egypt.Hamas is not just trying to overthrow Israel. Hamas and its creator, the Muslim Brotherhood, are trying to destroy Egypt, too.They may not want civilians killed, but Egypt wants Hamas out of office. If Hamas gets the boot, the peace process could resume. The problem is, the Palestinians elected Hamas in a democratic vote, while the Egyptian regime is undemocratic.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    I have my own thoughts on Gaza that I may share tomorrow if I decide to cover the event tonight. In the meantime, please stick to the topic at hand….What has John Garamendi done to actually solve the problems he is talking about?…Unfortunately, Garamendi as LT. Governor doesn’t have real power to solve the problems. However, I believe he understands the problems. This was a campaign event, so yes, he is campaigning already

  9. davisite

    Mike said:…Why did the Palestinians launch this war against Israel, if they didn’t want Israel to fight back?I will not go into challenging your flawed historical narrative which we have all been inundated with for decades. Suffice to say that the first thing that one should do is place oneself …in their shoes… and consider your probable response to their predicament.. This candle-light vigil will be for ALL of the victims,both Israeli and Palestinian, who have been and will be tragically killed and maimed as Israeli politicians vie to win votes for their general election next month.

  10. Matt Rexroad

    David:You are right. Lt. Governor Garamendi does not have any power. He holds an office that should be eliminated.Sounds like he is going to just make state government larger and increase taxes.Matt Rexroad662-5184

  11. Anonymous

    But Republicans in the legislature have a filibuster through the use of the 2/3 requirement to pass a budget and a veto in the Governor so the Republicans hold the keys to keeping the state from financial collapse. Sadly the ideologues in the legislature would rather see California crumble than try to ameliorate our problems. As the Lt. Gov pointed out loyalty to Grover Norquist’s no new taxes pledge is killing the state.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    …Lt. Governor Garamendi does not have any power. He holds an office that should be eliminated….How about have the LG run on the same ticket with the Governor, who could choose his running mate the same was the president picks his?I’d also like to see the governor appoint his cabinet — sec of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, superintendent of public instruction — the way the president appoints his. I don’t see how we are better off electing any of these positions.

  13. rexroad represents no one

    Rexroad uses the same tired rehtoric about big gub-ment and taxes. So far all the Repugs have got us is war, deficit, and bankruptcy. Oh, and add stealing from the public treasury. They are nothing more than a minority regional party, based in the South.I’d like to see Rexroad come out and say what he really thinks about County government and what should be eliminated. Put faces to the policies he’d like to cut. Get specific about where cuts should be made. If not, then shut up with the generalities about ‘big government’ or tell us what should really be cut and have the nuts to try to eliminate it. Otherwise go crawl back in your stinking (literally at this point, given his last post on his toilet) hole.

  14. Anonymous

    Sounds like he is going to just make state government larger and increase taxes.Yes that is what it sounds like to me.Garamendi is concerned that we do not spend enough money on education. Except he is comparing spending now to spending in California years ago. He should be comparing spending to other states or countries where the kids get better test scores. I don’t think there is a study that shows correlation between money spent per pupil and better test scores. What would do a ton of good in education and wouldn’t cost more money is to open up the state to vouchers. Competition makes every school have the incentive to do better, or they lose enrollment. But then that would mean a democrat would have to go against teacher unions and can’t have that, right?

  15. Rich Rifkin

    …What would do a ton of good in education and wouldn’t cost more money is to open up the state to vouchers….Good idea or not, the voters of California have overwhelmingly rejected vouchers in multiple elections. It’s so unpopular that it’s not worth discussing, even if you believe vouchers would help.Instead, I think emphasis should be on paying better teachers — as measured by how much they improve their students’ performances — more money, and trying to remove teachers who cannot perform as well.In essence, the …competition… you prefer would be within the public schools, not from the outside.Although there is a downside to my suggestion — teaching to the test and consequently repressing creativity — I think the upside is so much greater that it’s worth the problems which come along with it.

  16. Black Bart

    The Lt Gov does actually have some duties. I know his main gig is waiting for the Gov to croak or become incapacitated. Who would you like to have run the state if the gov is unable? I remember that Leo McCarthy served on the state lands commission when he was Lt Gov. I don’t know if this was a constitutional duty or an appointed gig. There are also ribbons to be cut and declarations to declare. I remember when Dave Rosenberg’s main source of income was writing Proclamations for Lt. Gov Gray Davis.But in the grand scheme of a 40 billion deficit getting rid of Lt Gov is small potatoes. How about if we take the prop 13 exemption away from commercial real estate, empty the prisons of non-violent third strikers and reinstitute the VLF. I’d gladly give up having a Lt. Gov in addition to those other more lucrative changes. Oh, lets tax the marijuana clubs too.

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