Herald, Michael


Mike Herald is a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty who has advocated on public benefit issues in the state Capitol since 2002.

Leaving Las Vegas?

By Michael Herald
Western Center on Law and Poverty

Where is Sheryl Crow when you need her? The Los Angeles Times reported this week the sensational news that poor people don’t always stay put here in California. Sometimes they go out of state and sometimes they actually taste the good life. The mainstream press reacted in horror and declared in unison, this waste, fraud and abuse must end.

To read Jack Dolan’s truly sad piece you would think it is just one big party on CalWORKs. $69 million withdrawn from state issued electronic benefit cards out of the state of California. Mr. Dolan made sure to drop all the anguish causing details into the story: Vegas, Miami, Hawaii, cruise ships, even Disney World. The story just leaves you breathless.

Open Season on the Poor – Really?

By Michael Herald
Western Center on Law and Poverty

In budget impasses of the past, there was often a contingent of liberal members and advocacy groups who would suggest that the way to kill a bad budget was to put it up for a vote. The reasoning was that conservatives would never actually cast votes to do the awful things being proposed. Anyone dumb enough to vote to eliminate services for the elderly or cut child care would pay for it at the ballot box.

Well last week they actually did take up the Governor’s budget in the Legislature, complete with all its’ warts, and darned if almost every Republican felt just fine about eliminating CalWORKs, eviscerating IHSS, and firing 400,000 working Californians. It was truly astonishing. If budgets are about values, the Republicans showed they value corporations over people. And it’s not really that close.