Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Letter to Governor Brown about sacrificing helpless animals

"The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!" Tim McMullen

As usual, the needs of the most vulnerable are the least considered in a crisis. Governor Brown, I have been a consistent supporter of yours since your first term as Governor, and I have been a contributor to many of your campaigns. Of course, I have not always agreed with your decisions, but I have believed that your heart and head were in the right place.

However, in this most recent crisis, though I am sure that it has pained you, I do not feel that you have crusaded adequately to pursue the interests of those you were elected to serve. We have had too many years of California Governors (Reagan, Deukmejian, Wilson, Schwarzenegger) who put the interests of corrupt corporations and private fortunes above the interests of the people.

I completely understand that your battle, like President Obama's, has been hamstrung by the unrelenting and uncompromising zealotry of the Republicant minority and by legislative rules that allow them to thwart the will of the people, but I am not at all satisfied by the sacrifices that you have allowed to be borne by the people (especially children, elderly, the poor—our most vulnerable) while not demanding any sacrifices from those who have most benefitted from California's growth and wealth. Even the proposed tax extensions are mostly regressive, i.e., they hit the poor disproportionately.

As a teacher for over forty years (retired this summer) and a union bargaining team member for over twenty-five years (though retired, I remain chief negotiator for our local), I have witnessed first hand the devastation that has been wreaked on our schools by many years of under-funding and unconscionable cutbacks.

The same is true of the devastation to be meted out to various parks in California (it is truly a crime that places like Pio Pico's mansion in Pico Rivera—the hacienda of the last Mexican Governor of California—is to be put on the chopping block). Once they are gone, we can never get them back! This truism also applies to your proposal on shelter animals.

Once again, in the name of austerity, a decision that will knowingly harm the most vulnerable has been announced. Your decision to reduce or eliminate basic protections for animals that are removed to animal shelters is absolutely the wrong approach.

What follows is the appeal from the Humane Society which articulates my concern about this decision:

"Our animal companions have been hit hard by California's economic crisis. Statewide, only 50 percent of animals entering shelters leave alive. We can -- and should -- do better.

Repealing state requirements to hold dogs and cats longer than 72 hours, provide needed veterinary care to stray animals, and hold rabbits, reptiles, and other animals at all is not doing better. It's going backward.

Please withdraw your proposal and support California's animal care and rescue community's effort to develop a sustainable plan for our state's homeless pets."

With all due respect, I repeat my motto: "The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!" Tim McMullen

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