you’re distressed by Tuesday’s federal government shutdown and the
congressional deadlock that preceded it, it’s not hard to analyze the reasons
A Public Policy Polling survey earlier this year found that respondents consider the U.S. Congress less favorably than: head lice, root canals, Canadian rock band Nickleback, colonoscopies, France, used-car salesmen, traffic jams and Brussels sprouts. What’s more, given that only 9 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Congress—a staggering 85 percent do not—it’s not surprising that the Americans surveyed in the Public Policy poll prefer Congress only next to telemarketers, lobbyists, gonorrhea and—get this—the Kardashians.
So, what are we to make of the government shutdown here in distant South Pasadena as a variety of non-essential services grind to a halt and hundreds of thousands of employees found themselves on unpaid leave without any idea of how long it will last?
Patch asked City Manager Sergio Gonzalez for his take and this is what he had to say:
“Not sure how much the federal government shutdown is going to affect our So Pas Community. It’s very complex to know which programs and services are funded on an annual basis via congressional authorization and which are funded as entitlement programs (Medicare, social security and unemployment insurance) or authorization such as the “recovery act.” It is my understanding that these programs will continue as they have. Mail should also continue to be delivered as the U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent company. What I believe would be impacted locally is passport services due to the approvals and processing that is required. Also, federal buildings and national parks may be closed or their hours reduced.
“Our City is a full service city with an approved operating budget for this year and don’t anticipate any issues with us meeting our commitments. We do have some federal funds like the Community Development Block Grant that helps pay for capital projects to improve access to our curbs and sidewalks, and a subsidy to provide affordable lunches to members at our Senior Center and at-home for those have a daily lunch delivered. However, we are working with an approved budget allocation for this operating year. We may face some impacts with regards to these programs but most of it will be out of sight, limited to administrative functions due to the pending reduction in staffing levels of agencies that are federally funded.”
South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Joel Shapiro also does not expect any sweeping changes. “It will not impact our school district at this time,” he told Patch, adding: “I cannot anticipate what will happen if it goes on for a long time and it begins to affect public school districts.”
Only if funding is cut at the federal service level would the U.S. Department of Education feel a negative impact, Shapiro said.
“Most of our funding comes from the state, but we do receive some federal money,” the superintendent explained. “But right now there shouldn’t be any impact on those programs.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has been sharing information about the shutdown with the state’s school districts, including in So Pas, Shapiro said, adding: “He will keep us informed if there are any changes.”