Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lecture One Notes

Lecture 1
Monday/ Tuesday January 24-25


Government 180, California State and Local Government is an upper division class in the Government Department and this qualifies as an elective/ minor upper division class.

How many people here are Government or Government /Journalism Majors?

Let’s go around the room – tell me your name, major and are you a graduating senior, a senior or a junior?

Let’s go over the Syllabus and see if you have any questions.

·         My goal is to help you get to the finish line, I am not an obstacle and not trying to slow you down at all.
·         I deeply respect the hard work it has taken you to get to this point
·         I sat here myself and was a part-time student for years and years at Sacramento City and Sacramento State college (first tenured student) on the GI Bill

Is anyone here a current or previous employee of the California State Legislature or of the State of California? Is anyone an employee of a local government – County, City, Special District?

Most importantly – is anyone here a member of the working press or of a news/ media organization?

Why study State and Local Government?

California is a leader and viewed that way nationally and internationally. Sometimes we are seen as leaders in public policy, technology, entertainment, business, trade.

Other times, California is seen as the State of Freaks – of mindless trends, kookiness and a state leading the other states to the bottom due to the unprecedented budget and fiscal mess state and local government has been in since 2008.

California is considered to be the eighth largest economy in the world.

California was hit hard by the Great Recession. In 2009, state tax revenues plummeted 14 percent from the previous year, compared to a 9 percent drop nationally. At the same time, demands escalated for Medi-Cal and other public assistance programs.
As a result, the state faced record budget shortfalls of around $100 billion, or roughly a third of General Fund expenditures, from 2008 through 2010.

Nevertheless, many of California’s budget woes are long standing. The state has faced gaps between revenues and expenditures in nearly every budget cycle since the start of the decade. It contended with huge shortfalls during the recessions of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. State budgets are often passed after the start of the new fiscal year.

A series of budget-related ballot measures and legislative actions has complicated the state-local fiscal relationship. Voters often express mistrust of their state government and alienation from the budget process. In addition, the state faces many long-term challenges, including large unfunded liabilities for public employee pensions and rising health care costs and debt service obligations.

On a more positive note, the respected nonpartisan, nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California’s most recent Statewide Survey suggests Californians are concerned about the state’s fiscal problems and ready for “major reforms.”

This is a great time to take this class

I started my crazy and still winding career in Government right here (well, here and at Sacramento City College).  I had a late start as I was in the service, got out and went to school on the GI Bill.  I was studying Government/ Journalism at Sac State and had an amazing opportunity, following volunteer work in a state assembly campaign and a great mentor, professor here – to go to work in the Office of Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Worked for Assembly Speaker Brown in a couple of positions.  Several Assembly campaigns 1987 - 1989

Congressmember Vic Fazio, Kaiser Permanente (local government relations)
State Senator Patrick Johnston Two Senate Campaigns 1992 - 1995
Kaiser Permenante (local government/ media), Packard Bell NEC Government/ Community relations); Mayors Serna, Yee and Fargo.  League of Cities and now independent Media/ Political Consultant

BA St. Mary’s College of California; MA in Diplomacy at Norwich University. 

ASSIGNMENT: Read Chapter 1 in Van Vechten’s California, A Primer

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