Letter to the Editor: Taxpayer waste

Dear Editor: 

I was curious. I looked up the words "public" and "servant" in the dictionary but when I put the two together, they had a totally different meaning as applied to our state, county and federal governments. To address our state government, here are a few of the things our public "servants" have done for us. 

Our high-speed rail is costing billions in overruns. The Associated Press reveals that lawmakers have been collecting thousands for cost-of-living, on top of their salaries, while absent. California has rules that allow lawmakers (the highest paid in all 50 states) to collect those payments regardless of whether they even show up for work. 

The Los Angeles Times reports for years Los Angeles has stockpiled millions of dollars from the sale of bonds, forcing taxpayers to shell out at least $54 million in "unnecessary" interest payments on the dormant money. To make room for the bullet train, Caltrans is moving two miles of Highway 99. So far this has cost taxpayers $35 million over original estimates (Sacramento Bee). 

In a state where the median per capita income is just over $30,000, Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators and other elected officials will receive a 4% raise. The California Citizens Compensation Commission (appointed by the governor) justified the raise. Keep in mind that the legislature, Gov. Brown and I don't know how many others already receive the car of their choice, car insurance, health insurance and other perks. California lawmakers now receive $104,115 a year and will receive $14,774 more per year than the next highest paid U.S. state legislators, not counting $176 per day in "walking around money," living expenses for every day the legislature is in session, amounting to an average of $34,000. 

Now here are a few of the things passed by our legislature. Many laws are voted in at the last of the year, probably so people don't have the time to learn about them, so they burn the midnight oil to do what they should have done before or are afraid the public won't like what they did and doesn't have time or opportunity to express their feelings. 

1.) "The state can't fund or require public employees to travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBTs." Maybe they should hire people who aren't so sensitive or they could just keep their sexual preference private. 

2.) "Women can pick up an entire year's worth of birth control pills at once and health plans must cover the cost." Is this why healthcare is so expensive and we all must pay high premiums? 

3.) "Beauty salons and barbershops can now offer patrons a free beer or glass of wine." How did we ever live before this? 

4.) Now consider what major legislation this is and how much time they put in on this: "Denis is the state's official fabric." 

5.) "State funds transgender prisoner's operation." California prison officials agreed to pay for sex reassignment surgery for an inmate who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom.

6.) "Felons serving sentences in county jails will be able to vote in California elections." Translation: the Democrats will get more votes. 

7.) "Voters can now legally take a selfie with their completed ballot." Where do they come up with this nonsense? 

8.) "Voters are permitted to legally hand off their sealed ballot to anyone to mail or deliver personally." 

9.) "More cities and counties can offer public financing of political campaigns." Make is easier to buy politicians. How revealing this is for you Democrats. 

10.) One law that didn't pass was by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia to remove taxes on tampons. One of hers that did pass was to put a tax on batteries for clean up. What wasn't in the bill was that money must be used only for that, so now it can be put in for state spending. 

11.) Vehicle registration fee will go up $10 next April. Is this to pay for the new DMVs built to accommodate illegals getting drivers' licenses? 

This is a partial list of how the taxpayer is being ripped off, so when a tax initiative is printed to "help the schools, for more police or firefighters, or 1/2-cent sales tax increase to build a bullet train or for transportation," remember what Nancy Reagan said: Just say no. 

Elsa Van Leuven