The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 10, 2010
Blog back: 'Stupid' polls?

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

Writing The State Worker blog, which draws tens of thousands of users from inside and outside of state government, means that nobody will like every post. Take our recent telework poll, for example:

Mar. 9 Poll: Telework and remote computer access

Here's a criticism from prolific blog user Marlinman:

It's nothing new for Jon to come up with these stupid surveys meant to discredit State employees (which are either responded to by brain-dead employees or the normal "hacks" that are filled with hate anyway)! ... I agree with maxter151, why doesn't the bee expect Jon to write this column for free, because stunts like this are worthless!!!

Read our response to this comment and more of our blog backs by clicking the following link.

The question for this poll was suggested by a state worker for whom this blog has great respect. It's interesting to note that after blasting the poll topic, Marlinman shared this observation:

I give plenty of "free time" in my position already and would welcome the ability to do so from home, but to do this on purpose so the State can still squander what it doesn't spend on wages is ludicrous.

Some blog users felt that asking the question was junk journalism or was calculated to "fueling a fire" of public dislike for state workers:

Shame on Mr. Ortiz and the Sac Bee for fueling a fire with ridiculous responses. I won't work because of the furloughs? How about some real investigative reporting. With pay and security of State employment slashed, when unemployment returns to the norm, how will the state attract qualified personnel of the Gen Y's? How about flexibility and telecommuting. That's the story, don't stir the pot and make things worse with irresponsible journalism.

We have written about the state's recruiting a retention issues in the past, and we'll do so again. As to "ridiculous responses," well, we don't control blog comments or polling results. We asked the question. If neither response aligned with a user's take, we assume that person won't participate.

Here's a response that speaks to one of the unmeasurable consequences of furloughs:

I used to work from home, FOR FREE, due to remote access - because it helped me to keep-up with my work. But, since furloughs, I no longer do ...

And here's the other side:

I've worked from my home for the State for over 10 years because my Department doesn't have an office for my area, and I put in loads of uncompensated hours to get the job done. Many of my colleagues do the same, without this BS "sense of entitlement" that you are cite. Pull your head out and realize that most of us work extra hours to get the job done, period.

Bottom line: We think that this blog needs to be interactive. It's why we read your comments, take your phone calls and read your e-mails. It's why we blog back. And it's why we occasionally post polls, often with the input of blog users. We believe that's a big reason poll posts tend to draw several hundred responses.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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