Better Than A Press Release!
I will be discussing the budget crisis tomorrow morning at 7:00am on "The Morning Review," with Roy Ulrich on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. You can listen live online here, and if you miss it in the morning an archive is kept here.
While I appreciate all these mailed-in press releases reacting to Arnold's State of the State Address (shorter Arnold: not my fault!), I find them to be astonishingly ineffective. Maybe they provide a good pull-quote or two for state media, but they do little to educate citizens about the state of affairs, because they are dryly forwarded to the same places to be seen by the same news junkies and nobody else.
In this respect I have to commend Assmeblywoman Nancy Skinner for an innovative way to connect with constituents and deliver a quick but important message on the budget crisis.
As your State Assemblymember from the East Bay, I am concerned about how the economic downturn is affecting our California communities. Job loss and foreclosures are at an all time high and our neighborhoods are hurting.
In Sacramento, I am working with state leaders on budget solutions that will preserve vital services, protect our children's schools, and restore funding to shovel ready infrastructure projects that can put people back to work up and down our state.
With the enormity of Californias budget deficit such a solution requires a balanced package of spending cuts and new revenues.
But Governor Schwarzenegger has not been able to lead his own party to a reasonable compromise.
We can do better.
Join me, tell the Governor we can fix Californias budget problems without rollbacks to worker and environmental protections or devastating our schools.
Together lets move California forward.
Yes, it has the look and feel of a campaign ad. And that's the point. This is a PERFECT way to use off-cycle messaging to make the case for a responsible budget solution. And with a local cable buy (CNN, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, CNBC, Fox News, and Comedy Central), it is relatively cheap for Skinner to do so. It's not surprising that Skinner's Chief of Staff is former California Progress Report editor Frank Russo. He understands well that this kind of direct communication has been sorely lacking over the past few years.
In the coming months, as the crisis grows bigger, there's going to be an effort by the Governor to use the bully pulpit to cast the whole thing as a problem of "the legislature" instead of laying the blame where it belongs. It is crucial for progressives to push back against that, and Skinner has shown the way. Of course, her Bay Area audience doesn't really need to be convinced. The Speaker or the Senate President Pro Tem or even the CDP should take this model and push it out in areas with close Assembly races last cycle or even just Republican communities. That would be some forward thinking that would make the case for a responsible budget instead of ceding the territory to talk radio or worse. It's time for Democratic leaders to fill the news gap and begin to educate Californians.