An interview with Assemblyman Ted Gaines |

An interview with Assemblyman Ted Gaines

Sierra Sun

Ted Gaines represents the 4th Assembly District, taking in all or parts of Alpine, Placer, Sacramento County and El Dorado County, including South Lake Tahoe. Gaines visited Lake Tahoe last week, making several stops on the north and south shores. Here are some of the comments he made in an interview with staff at the Sierra Sun.

Gaines: We have some concerns. We’re concerned about park closures. We’re hearing information that seems to be positive that the parks around the Tahoe Basin are profitable and should not be on a cut list. Until that list comes out, you really never know for sure. The budget is still a problem. There will still be cuts coming down the pipe, whether later this year and earlier next year.

We’ve got to feel like we’re streamlining government services. In the last budget revision, there were 10 or 11 boards or commissions that were eliminated. One of those was the Waste Management Board. We took those responsibilities and moved them into the Department of Conservation, who manages the recycling program for the state. Those folks were paid $30,000 per year to meet monthly. There are others we can consolidate. Look at the California EPA. We have a Federal EPA. Our educational system is really top-heavy.

We should be looking at all those. The Cal EPA could do the work of the Federal EPA, and I do think you need one or the other.

I think we need to have a vision for the economy in California. New oil drilling would use existing platforms and new technology, and would help bring in more jobs. I’m not sure how many jobs exactly, but that’s just one opportunity. The democrats voted that down.

Gaines: I’m not sure you should believe it. There’s more pressure on elected officials than ever before. I think people are feeling the heat. Just the talk of initiatives on the ballot to change the state, I know it’s working. I hear my colleagues talking about it, saying “I think we’re going to get voted into a part-time legislature, because we’re so screwed up.” On the inmate release issue, we told the democrats innocent people will die if these inmates are released. They’re starting to visit that issue and see we might be making a mistake. But we’re hurting ourselves.

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I wouldn’t mind a shorter session. I could spend more time running my business. … But at the same time, I don’t want a bureaucracy running amok. Union power is tremendous, and we need to make sure we check those kind of forces.

We’re looking at releasing 27,000 inmates. The ones they’re looking at releasing are the ones they’re using for firefighting. It’s a successful program. They train individuals. There’s a job opportunity. They get two days credit for every day on the line. You’re going to lose that manpower, which is very, very valuable. When I talked with CalFire on Monday, they weren’t sure where they were going to get their manpower from. It’s something that has escaped a lot of notice, but is very important.

That will be our Monday announcement. Look for a bunch of stuff coming down the line for that.