By Molly Davis Staff Writer
Posted: 04/08/2011 06:31:33 PM PDT

MENTONE – Dozens of citizens concerned about the way their city and state governments were operating gathered to hear from a local politician.

Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, spoke to the members of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots about Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget at its regular meeting on Thursday night at Mill Creek Cattle Co.

“This is the only tea party in Southern California that is this involved in (their) Chamber (of Commerce),” Morrell said.

He told the audience that progress begins with concerned citizens like themselves taking an active interest in local government.

“Everything should be at the local level. We need to limit Sacramento and send money to the principalities,” Morrell said.

He disagreed with Brown’s budget, calling it a “smoke and mirrors” plan that uses education as a bargaining chip.

Morrell said the money that is set aside for education goes through so many departments that by the time schools actually get the funds, they are greatly diminished.

“There are hundreds of departments we can get rid of and (Brown) likes to pick on education,” he said.

Ultimately, organizations like the Tea Party Patriots are a good way to get people to work together to change the things they don’t like about their government, he said.

“America will survive as long as citizens exercise their civic responsibility vigorously,” Morrell said.

One concerned citizen, who declined to give his name, asked Morrell what innovative solutions other states have come up with to stay afloat in the current economy.

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