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Governor playing politics with CCCA closing?


What if I was wrong about Gov. Tim Kaine being wrong on the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents issue? A friend asked me to consider this today, and I find what he had to say quite intriguing.
Consider that the governor might be playing some politics with a certain member of the House of Delegates whose legislative district happens to be home to the CCCA, I was asked to imagine. In this scenario, Kaine really has no intention of cutting funding for the Center, and is playing a game of brinksmanship with State Del. Chris Saxman to get Saxman to come around on his hard and fast adherence to the philosophy of privatizing government services in the name of saving state taxpayer money.

OK, then, it was suggested to me the governor is in effect telling Saxman. How are you going to react when I cut something near and dear to you in the heart of your district? Because I’m suggesting here that we privatize the delivery of mental-health services to at-risk children and adolescents here. Isn’t that what you want us to do more of?

If Kaine indeed is playing this game, he would seem to be winning right now to the point of a near-rout. Saxman, as we know, has come up with a plan for saving the Commonwealth Center as a state entity using state tax dollars. The added bonus that Kaine, were he playing this game, could not have counted on comes in the methodology advanced by Saxman. Saxman found the money to pay for the continued operations at the Center by proposing a delay in the purchase of new school textbooks and other school materials for a year.

So to save a state center in his district, Saxman is spreading pain statewide.

These aren’t my words, mind you. This is what is being suggested to me by someone who seems to know a lot more about what’s going on than I could ever claim to.

This came up in the context of a lengthy complaint from me on the lack of details in the Kaine plan regarding the proposed closing of the Center. It doesn’t make sense, I said to my friend, given the governor’s commitment to mental-health reform to at least not have a plan in place for how to achieve this proposed closure of the CCCA. It seems almost like they’re making things up as they go along with this.

But what if they never intended to close the Center, I was asked, rhetorically.

I’d still have a problem with the governor playing with the minds of people who are being left to face the very real to them possibility that the services currently available to their children are going to be cut off on June 30 all for the purpose of playing an elaborate political game.

But hey, this is politics we’re talking about here. Right?


– Column by Chris Graham



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