Saturday, January 15, 2011

How To Balance A Budget With No Vaseline or These Chickens Are A Roosting

                I voted for Jerry Brown.  I admit it - I walked into my polling place, held my nose as if encountering a pail full of diapers soiled by babies who’d been exposed to expired milk, and punched the circle for a man not so affectionately known around the state as Governor Moonbeam for his gaze and points of view that at times seemed to stem from a chemically altered place during his previous tenure as Governor of the state of California.    So why did I lean his way -- Because his opponent was ostracized from being CEO of Ebay for activities that would charitably be described as questionable and sounded like Marge Gunderson from Fargo.  
Needless to say, it was a lesser of two evils situation.  As someone who works for the state I was well aware of Brown’s rhetoric about slashing the state budget, but history had shown him to be a friend of education.  Sadly, nobody told me about the Real Housewives style falling out that had apparently taken place sometime between Election Day and the unveiling of the new state budget proposal.  Now not everyone felt the sting; K-12, armed with an ability to perform non-stop oral copulation on Brown in a manner normally reserved for a Best Of Spank-O-Vision 5000 DVD, has not been touched.  As for Higher Ed (Community Colleges, the University of California system, and my little corner of Shangri La, the California State University system), the damage was 1.4 Billion dollars.   Yes, B – the same numbers associated with McDonalds customers served.
CSU’s share of that monstrous sum is 500 million.  Allow me to give you some perspective on this figure (Don’t get too excited at the thought of inside info; these figures can be found in multiple newspaper websites across the state or by performing a Google alert on “California State University”.) In 2009, CSU commenced a 2 year 625 million dollar cut that resulted in belt tightening usually found in a size 32 waist stuck in size 36 jeans, 2 day a month furloughs for all employees for 1 year (Great for catching up with people, lousy for the paycheck) and layoffs that mostly affected management, though a few union employees were let go as well.  None of the belts have been loosened, nor have those positions been filled, thus they are not part of the upcoming budget that now asks for 500 million more in reductions. 
                What did I take from these numbers?  To paraphrase rapper DMX:  “Someone’s about to lose their job. Up in here, up in here!”  You would think such a bombshell would result in an all hands meeting to have a candid discussion about the unavoidable ramifications.  You would think.  It’s now been nearly a week with no mention of it in anyway.  It’s like management has taken on the role of The Ministry Of Magic and the budget is Voldemort – That which shall not be named.  It’s not just management either.  I’ve attempted to espouse my feelings to co-workers only to have them look at me like Nurse Ratched waiting to lobotomize R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest.
                Hey, I’m not looking to be the bearer of bad tidings but I also don’t look good with my head in the sand.   The evil priestess of life altering change is coming and the “I’m not noticing you” defense isn’t going to work.   Good people are going to suffer and those left behind will be forced into a work overload that will leave them worn out and with sparse time for those they love.  And who do I blame for that?  ME!  Because I voted for Governor Moonbeam, only to have him turn into The Gimp and treat me like Marcellus Wallace.
California – Penny wise, pound foolish.

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