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Does State Senator Lieu Care about our Kids?

State Senator Ted Lieu proudly champions those who do not have a voice of their own. When he affirmed this compassionate stance earlier this year, he was speaking at the League of Humane Voters Mayoral convention in February, 2013. He was not talking about the youth in our state, but about the animals, both domestic and wild. State senator Lieu has a glowing record when it comes to the furry creatures in California, but not much for the voting, speaking, and thinking creatures in California.

While he spent legislative time and energy protecting bears from hunting dogs, he had done nothing to protect businesses, which are dogged by overburdening regulations. While men and women are struggling to find work, Lieu introduced legislation that would ban private pet sales. The number of people who can afford to purchase and maintain a pet is dwindling, and now Lieu has made it harder to purchase a pet. The ship of state in Sacramento is sinking, but Sen. Lieu is more concerned about abandoned ships along our coastline, as if their clutter is creating worse problems for us.

He claims over and over that the state legislature has balanced the budget for the first time in years. Yet as late as December 2012, he claimed that there would be only a one billion dollar deficit. Apparently, Governor Brown’s impassioned appeal that “all is well” except for the “wall of debt” has confirmed that the state of California will have a balanced budget. Of course, within hours of Prop 30 passing, nineteen businesses were looking for another state to set up shop. Couple the fleeing businesses with the fleecing taxes, and fewer people are spending money, thus fewer businesses are making money, hiring people, or expanding the economy. I predict that Governor Brown will claim that the “rich” did not “pay their fair” share some time in May, when (lo and behold), the budget is not balanced.

Instead of taking the heat off the taxpayer, Lieu chose to prevent adolescents from using tanning beds. He opposes gay-aversion therapy for minors, but our minors still have an aversion, and a growing one, to our public school system, where they learn very little and feel less safe than ever. Unfortunately, it appears that the students in the state of California do not have any support from the state senator. Instead, they face fewer businesses, fewer jobs, lower wages, lesser return for their efforts. One has to ask: “Does Senator Lieu care about our kids?”

One of his votes in the previous legislative year would suggest that he does not. I had contacted Lieu’s office to find out whether Lieu voted for or against SB 1530, which would have permitted school districts to fire abusive teachers more quickly. I never got an answer, and I have just learned why. The bill advanced through the state senate on a bipartisan basis, but Lieu was one of only four senators who voted against the bill. Unfortunately, the bill later died in the state Assembly because of four assemblymembers who abstained on the bill. One of those legislators, Betsy Butler, lost her reelection bid to Richard Bloom, the then mayor of Santa Monica. Sen. Lieu should consider this unhappy outcome. His 2014 reelection chances look more precarious than ever.

Does Senator Lieu care about our kids? When I pressed him on the school choice issue at the League of Humane Voters Meeting, he snidely changed the subject. “Do you have any children?” Then he shared with about his children, and how he cares for them. Another animal lover chimed in very supportively: “I am all about school choice. That’s a big issue for me.” Her enthusiasm was encouraging, but Lieu’s indifference remains disconcerting.

This is my response today to Sen. Lieu, as should be the retort from every voter in the Santa Monica Bay:

“School choice is not just about your kids or mine, but every child in California. This issue affects businesses, and every taxpayer who has no say in how our state spends the tax dollars on failing schools, which pass on the worst of students, whether they demonstrate competence or not.”

Lieu has a chance to prove his allegiance to our kids. SB 451 will expand open enrollment to all California students, regardless of zipcode.

Indiana’s state supreme court has upheld former Gov. Mitch Daniel’s voucher legislation, which allows every Hoosier to enroll their child in any public or private school of their choice. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has budgeted for an expansion of the statewide voucher program for all special ed students. Virginia Governor Bobby McDonnell and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam have also advanced proposal for school choice and a statewide voucher program. Why not in California, too, Sen. Lieu?

In addition to these developments, Lieu should recollect what happened to “retired” assemblymember Betsy Butler. By refusing to support school choice (SB 451), Lieu will send a clear message to the voters in his state senate district (From Rancho Palos Verdes to Beverly Hills), that he really does not care about our kids, but is more concerned with racking up endorsements from minute interest groups, whether they speak for animals or union syndicates.

The question remains: “Does Senator Lieu care about our kids?”

in News
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