Monday, March 10, 2008

Notes From The Hill

A few thoughts upon my return from lobbying the state Congress on behalf of education.

1) I don't believe I actually saw a single Congressman today. They were all out to lunch when we got to their offices and were unavailable. Glad to see my tax dollars are hard at work paying for a good meal. I'd hate to see anyone starve.

2) State Capital Buildings are like museums. Until you get upstairs then they look more like insurance offices. Very bland with outdated magazines all over the place.

3) True Story: A legislative aide for one of the Republicans we visited actually referred to Governor Arnold as "The Govenator" (To be fair it was slip of the tongue for which she was highly embarrassed, but it was still funny)

4) Educators (especially those in administration) love to thank each other. Seriously I counted 45 thank yous in one speech. If the speeches were to be believed approx. 4000 people worked on a day and half conference held in one location and catered by the hotel staff. This took tremendous amounts of planning and I would like to take a moment to thank myself for attending.

5) A friend of mine referred to our lobbying efforts as "ball-washing" and "ass-grabbing". Just about sums it up for me.

6) Since I heard this about 800 times it bears repeating, California is the 8th largest economy in the world and is 46th in education spending. Do these numbers add up to anything but a load of crap?

7) People who speak in public (myself included) strive for one of two avenues for their speaking; get people laughing or get them yelling in support. Wouldn't it be nice if people just spoke like normal people into mics so we could actually understand what they are saying for a change?

8) Two guys hiked from Vacaville to Sacramento to protest these education cuts and got more press time then a collection of over 500 school administrators. So I guess it's true that actions speak louder than words.

9) When Republicans speak of supporting public education and then one of their leaders chooses to honor a women who, while sitting on city council, decided to home school her four children, doesn't that send mixed messages?

10) A final story: At a reception on the first evening my friend Garrett and I were sitting on the patio drinking a beer and we noticed two older gentlemen sitting at another table. They leaned over and politely introduced themselves as retired school administrators who had served collectively over 75 years in public education. I asked them why they were here and one replied that he still believed in the cause after all these years. I turn to my friend and we both have the same thought...will that be us in 30 years and is that a good thing or a bad thing?


JC said...

Proud of you comrade.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.

Just hope somehow it has a happy ending....

Kasey Ann Stevens said...

Hey, you! It's Kasey! I just wanted to bug you! Carly gave me your blog URL. I think it is great that you went to lobby at the capitol! I hope that it worked!

Guess what!? Me and Tim are going to Washington DC this summer! I am interning! YAY!

Hope the boys are well and the wife too!

Much love, Kasey