Citizens of California — heed my warning

For two weeks now I’ve been absolutely beside myself fuming over the recent developments regarding the city of Susanville’s lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections et al asking the government to follow the law in determining the closure of the California Correctional Center in Susanville. And the more I find out, the more frustrated I become.

I fear Dan Newton, Susanville’s city administrator, may have hit the nail squarely on the head ‑— “When the state got caught not following the laws, it decided to just change the law instead of doing what was right. Anyone who understands what the state has done should be in awe of the state’s blatant disregard for what is fair and just,” Newton said.

In my opinion, the freedom and liberty envisioned by our Founding Fathers led to the creation of the greatest nation in the history of the world. I recognize their vision is very far from perfect, but despite all its flaws, the founders created a system in which we the people elect the representatives who take the reins of government and lead us forward. Unfortunately, those elected leaders in Sacramento completely and totally failed the people of Susanville if they passed a budget that stops the city’s lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding the closure of the California Correctional Center.

If that’s so — if this legislation in any way affects a current, on-going and an expressly constitutionally permitted lawsuit — in my opinion, those elected officials have failed to honor their oath of office — “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”

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Let’s not forget, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants us important freedoms, including the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Article 1, Section 3(a) of the California Constitution reads: “The people have the right to instruct their representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and assemble freely to consult for the common good.”

Assembly Bill 200 (included as part of the state budget) exempts the California Correctional Center (and any state prison or juvenile facility) from review under CEQA. It also repeals the California Penal Code section that provides a procedure for determining the criteria to determine which prisons should be closed.

The city of Susanville’s suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is based upon the alleged violations of those requirements. We may learn about the implications of all this at the next court hearing in the case which could come soon.

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AB 200, a trailer budget bill passed 59-17 in the Assembly with eight members absent on a strictly party line vote — all ayes from Democrats, all nays from Republicans. AB 200 passed 28-8 in the Senate with eight members absent, again right down the party line. I should note this is exactly why the Founding Fathers both feared and loathed the idea of political parties (although they referred to them as “factions”).

I totally support all those at City Hall and in the public who are fighting in Lassen Superior Court to keep CCC open, and I commend all those citizens who have joined this effort to redress this grievance. That is our right — apparently taken from us by a party line vote in the legislature and the stroke of the governor’s pen.

Citizens of California beware — if our elected officials can do this to us in the North State, they sure as hell can do it to the rest of you, too.