Williams, Byron

Byron Williams has served as pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Oakland since 2002. As the only pastor/syndicated columnist in the country, Williams writes a column which appears in 10 publications and several progressive web sites across the country.

Tough Action Needed to Fix California

p>Byron-Williams.gifBy Byron Williams

The national health care debate and California's budget challenges definitely have one thing in common:

Everyone knows there is a problem, but when reform is on the horizon there tends to be just enough support to limp along with status quo rather than for needed change.

We have 47 million people in this country without health insurance, spiraling costs, and yet fears of morphing into a government led by Josef Stalin seem to be foremost on people's minds. Likewise, in California, we have long been free of any illusion that the state is working.

The Fear of Prop 13

Byron-Williams.gifBy Byron Williams

In last week’s column, I referred to one of the problematic aspects of the “People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation,” more commonly known as Proposition 13, citing it as contributing to California’s ongoing deficit challenges.

In doing so, I received a plethora of emails and phone calls accusing me of advocating that seniors lose their homes.

It has long been considered third rail of California politics; the emotion that surrounds it provides a fortress of invincibility. But Prop.13 in its present form is one of the major impediments to the state finding answers to its seemingly intractable financial problems.

The portion that most people associate with Prop.13 is Section 1(a):

California Deserves Better

Byron-Williams.gifBy Byron Williams

Bernard Madoff stood in front of the judge just before receiving his sentence of 150 years for conducting the largest Ponzi scheme in history and read a personal statement. As he concluded, Madoff reportedly turned to the courtroom crowd, and said, "I am sorry," adding: "I know that doesn't help you." The closing line from Madoff's soliloquy could also apply to the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For decades, a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers along with past and present governors has put off difficult choices, using one-time gimmicks, while claiming balanced budgets. In retrospect, it was nothing more than the state engaging in its own version of a Ponzi scheme.

The governor and every member of the Legislature should now hold a joint press conference stating:

Scandal Illuminates Troubled Family Court System

Byron-Williams.gifBy Byron Williams

The family court system has, in theory, operated on the question, "What is in the best interests of the child?"

But the findings articulated at a one-day workshop hosted by Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele and the Center for Judicial Excellence suggest that question is more theory than practice.

If the statistics are accurate, the frequency with which children are allowed to have unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents after divorce in this country is alarming and worthy of the public's attention.

According to the Center for Judicial Excellence, "Not since the Catholic Church pedophile scandal has the United States seen this level of institutional collusion and corruption harming innocent children."