In the latest version of the Governor's budget, one of the threatened cuts is the California Conservation Corps. The state's budget mess is reaching critical status, and many worthy programs are facing grave worries. However, the CCC deserves special merit and protection in my opinion.
The CCC is a spiritual ancestor to the old New Deal CCC program. It is also the oldest program of it's kind in the US, having been around since 1976. The CCC employs over 3,000 people statewide, mostly low income young people who don't have a lot of other choices. They do hard labor environmental work all over the state. CCC crews help with fire prevention, trail maintenance, erosion prevention and other crappy grunt work all for minimum wage. Their motto is "Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions … and more!" Many of the veterans of the CCC go on to jobs in Parks & Wildlife or Forestry. Not the usual job path for gang bangers or drop outs.
Now, I know I am lonely around here as a New Deal Democrat (and I am likely biased since I got to know a great group of New Deal CCC veterans back in time in Americorps – I still have one of the original hats from the 30s!) but this seems like a $17 million no brainer. It employs thousands of "difficult" employees, does yeoman service all over California and instills a sense of service into the young people that art part of the program. Plus the program is bipartisan enough that Jerry Brown (who created the CCC) and Pete Wilson joined the 2 other living ex-governors to write a letter to save the CCC. I'm writing a letter as well, and I encourage you to do the same.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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