Rebecca Kaplan gets biblical on Schwarzenegger

Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan went all Old Testament on the governator today during a rally to tout a “People’s Budget Fix” of criminal justice reforms.

“There are lies being told in Sacramento,” she said – specifically, the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s assertion that most Californians desire an budget solution based on nothing but cuts “until everyone is bleeding.”

Oakland residents just last week overwhelmingly approved a package of tax measures to help the cash-strapped city lessen the blow to crucial local services, she noted.

Then she whipped out a Bible to share what she described as some of her favorite scripture, wherein Isaiah says praying and fasting aren’t enough, and you’ve got to help those less fortunate than you if you want to please the Lord:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

“ Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

(That’s Isaiah 58:6-7, by the way.)

Afterward, Kaplan, 38, who just won election to the city council in November, showed me that it was her own bat mitzvah Bible from which she was reading. “I carry it all the time now,” she said.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear later today said this budget “contains the largest tax increase in the history of the state, enacted in February. Voters overwhelmingly rejected further tax increases to fix the budget in May. Like every business and family in California, the state must live within its means.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.


  1. The Prison Industry of Human Warehousing is one of biggest money makers and political baseball bats used by politicians to scare the public into believing they can keep us safe by giving longer sentences indiscriminately. Tough on crime has only made longer terms for those who got caught and has done nothing to catch anymore or reduce the tremendous cost that was placed on the tax payers backs. What it did accomplish was to open the wallets of tax payers with the fear tactic of tough on crime and keep our streets safe. We are no safer and our law enforcement agencies are struggling.
    We need to put our money ito the community, NOT into the the P&P (Politicians & Prisons) coffers. Instead of improving our community they always seem to sweep problems into a prison in hopes no one will know. Meantime it festers into a huge financial mess.
    We need community jobs and programs to help one another with rehabiltation and family support services and children services and senior services. Otherwise we are just a dog eat dog society. Like a bad Conan movie!

  2. I think Rebecca (who I know) missed the point in that Bible quotation.

    It was individuals that were supposed to do those things; not government!

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