California Counties Not Feeling So Golden About Sacramento


Like all states, Indiana has had its own internal debate recently, namely in dealing with the elimination of township governments. So we’re certainly not being sanctimonious here, but it seems California may be dealing with even more contention these days. In addition to its ongoing budgetary woes, its counties may be plotting a revolt in Sacramento. To put their anger into Hollywood context, pretend the counties are Christian Bale and the state government is a distracting cinematographer:

Counties in California say they’ve had enough – and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they’re threatening to withhold money.

Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February.

"We didn’t vote on it, because I don’t think anybody wants to go to jail," Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann said.

Closer to home, Sacramento County is planning to file a lawsuit this week against the state and Controller John Chiang for withholding millions of dollars – much of it for social service programs.

"The Legislature authorized those expenditures, and (the controller) has decided to withhold it," said Susan Peters, chairwoman of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. "I believe it’s possible other counties will be joining in the action."

Riverside County is looking at a similar lawsuit but plans to go one step further. It authorized going to court to relieve it from having to provide state-mandated services without state funding…

Regardless, a coalition of six Southern California counties is headed to Sacramento for a Feb. 12 meeting to call attention to the counties’ plight, Riverside County spokeswoman Lys Mendez said.

By the time leaders from Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino counties come together, the revolt could be at full steam.

"I think it just reflects the severity of the problem, and folks are just trying to find a way to keep (programs) going," said Jim Wiltshire, deputy director of the California State Association of Counties.

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