Saturday, February 2, 2008

La Opinión - Endorses Obama

La Opinión - The major Spanish language newspaper in Los Angeles has endorsed Barack Obama in the upcoming primary. In an editorial titlted "The Democratic Choice is Barack Obama," it explains why Obama is their choice:

Senator Barack Obama represents fundamental change in a campaign in which "change" has become a central theme. Obama’s approach to immigration and his inspiring vision are what the country need to break through the current feeling of political malaise.[Link]
The paper list many of Senator Clinton's accomplishments but come to the following conclusion:

Yet, this is a historic moment and tremendous skills and experience are not enough to inspire a feeling of renewal in our country after eight long years of George W. Bush.

As well, we were disappointed with her calculated opposition to driver’s licenses for the undocumented, which contrasts markedly from the forceful argument in support made by Obama. We understand that this is an extremely controversial issue but we believe there is only one right position and it is that of the senator from Illinois. And, while both senators support comprehensive immigration reform, only Obama has committed to bringing forward new legislation during his first year in office.[Link]

On closing out the editorial, the paper reminds us of the historical choices Democrats have this election and why Obama should be that choice:
By deciding between a woman or an African American as their presidencial nominee, the Democrats are making history. Barack Obama has the sensibilities of a man from humble beginnings raised in a multicultural home. He is the best option for a truly visionary change.[Link]

Cross posted at Calitics

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday - Quick Hits

Spending in mayor's race off to a brisk pace, but sluggish spending in the race for city attorney. UT

What a shock, failed effort to repeal alcohol beach ban was largely funded by liquor stores in the beach area. UT

I wonder if they are going to use Lego building block. Legoland begins process to build a hotel on park property. UT

Tri-city hospital district looking to annex Shadowridge. UT NCTimes

Candidate for mayor in Oceanside has already spent $50,000, even though the race isn't until November. UT

SANDAG consider a "quality of life" tax for the 2010 ballot. NCTimes

California SEIU State Council Changes in Mid-Stream

California SEIU State Council, which represents over 650,000 members in California has changed their endorsement from former U.S. Senator John Edwards to U.S. Senator Barak Obama.

  • What does this mean for Senator Edwards to have sway over the two remaining main Democratic candidates?
  • Will a change of endorsement 4 days before the election make a difference, remember the absentee voters?
  • Will there be mailers from the union, phone calls, precinct walks, or some thing else?
  • What does U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, who will be in San Diego today, think about this endorsement?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clinton Stays Silent on Unions

Any truly progressive voters that are considering voting for Hillary, should read the following from ABC:

Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions
Tapes Reviewed by ABC News Show Clinton As a Loyal Company Woman
Jan. 31, 2008—
In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.
Clinton has been endorsed for president by more than a dozen unions, according to her campaign Web site, which omits any reference to her role at Wal-Mart in its detailed biography of her.
Wal-Mart's anti-union efforts were headed by one of Clinton's fellow board members, John Tate, a Wal-Mart executive vice president who also served on the board with Clinton for four of her six years.
Tate was fond of repeating, as he did at a managers meeting in 2004 after his retirement, what he said was his favorite phrase, "Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living."
Wal-Mart says Tate's comments "were his own and do not reflect Wal-Mart's views."
But Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and other company officials often recounted how they relied on Tate to lead the company's successful anti-union efforts.
An ABC News analysis of the videotapes of at least four stockholder meetings where Clinton appeared shows she never once rose to defend the role of American labor unions.
The tapes, broadcast this morning on "Good Morning America," were provided to ABC News from the archives of Flagler Productions, a Lenexa, Kan., company hired by Wal-Mart to record its meetings and events.
A former board member told that he had no recollection of Clinton defending unions during more than 20 board meetings held in private.
The tapes show Clinton in the role of a loyal company woman. "I'm always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else," she said at a June 1990 stockholders meeting.
Clinton would not agree to be interviewed on the subject but now says she no longer shares Wal-Mart's values and believes unions "have been essential to our nation's success."
The videotapes do show that Clinton used her role to push for more environmentally friendly policies and better treatment of women.
"We've got a very strong-willed young woman on our board now; her name is Hillary," said Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton at a 1987 stockholders meeting in describing Clinton's role in pushing for more women to be hired in management positions.
Critics say Clinton's efforts produced few tangible results, and Wal-Mart is now defending itself in a lawsuit brought by 16 current and former female employees.
"I don't doubt the sincerity of her efforts, but we don't see much evidence that conditions for women at Wal-Mart changed much during the late 1980s and early 1990s," said Joe Sellers, one of the lawyers suing Wal-Mart on behalf of the women.
Wal-Mart declined to comment to ABC News about the lawsuit, but the company has said previously that it is confident it did not discriminate against female employees.
Sen. Clinton has recently sought to distance herself from Wal-Mart.
In a campaign speech last year in New Hampshire, Sen. Clinton said, "Now I know that Wal-Mart's policies do not reflect the best way of doing business and the values that I think are important in America."
Her Senate campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from a Wal-Mart Political Action Committee, although discovered another $20,000 in contributions from Wal-Mart executives and lobbyists.
Clinton spokesperson Howard Wolfson said, "There is no basis to return" the money.
According to the New York Times, Sen. Clinton "maintains close ties to Wal-Mart executives through the Democratic Party and the tightly knit Arkansas business community." The May 20, 2007 article also reported that her husband, former President Clinton, "speaks frequently to Wal-Mart's current chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr." and held a private dinner at the Clinton's New York home in July 2006 for him.
President Clinton defended his wife's role on the Wal-Mart board last week after the issue was raised by Sen. Barack Obama in a CNN debate.
His wife did not try to change the company's minds about unions, the former Arkansas governor said.
"We lived in a state that had a very weak labor movement, where I always had the endorsement of the labor movement because I did what I could do to make it stronger. She knew there was no way she could change that, not with it headquartered in Arkansas, and she agreed to serve," President Clinton said.
In a written statement, Clinton spokesperson Wolfson said, "As President, she will fight alongside labor to promote the economic growth of America's middle class." He said Clinton strongly believes Wal-Mart workers should be able to unionize and bargain collectively.
He did not directly respond when asked why she did not quit the board over the conpany's anti-union efforts. "Wal-Mart was Arkansas's largest employer when Sam Walton asked Sen. Clinton to join the board," he said. "As the first woman to join Wal-Mart's board, she worked hard to make it a better corporate citizen."
In its statement, Wal-Mart described Sen. Clinton as "a valuable contributor" who "pushed us to be a better company."

Thursday - Quick Hits

Because they have done such a good job. Advisory panel recommends a 49% and 66% percent pay raise for the mayor and city council. UT

Navy blame for Chollas creek sewage in 2006. UT

ROV will be open on Saturday for early voting for Tuesday's primary. UT

County Board caves in to developers, lowers fee that was designed to road improvements. UT

Mayor Sanders and Councilmember Atkins endorse report recommendations for new management structure for Balboa Park. UT

City Council postpones decision to tap emergency funds to correct city general fund imbalance for fiscal year. UT

State Senate bill would require climate change to be taught as part of the science curriculum. UT

Over the objections of the planning group, board of supervisors approves controversial Elfin Forest project. NC Times

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Labor takes on District 3

I heard from a number of people that the Labor Council held their endorsements in District 3 today. I haven't heard an outcome yet. This is a huge endorsement for any Democratic candidate, but especially important in the worker-friendly 3rd District. Any word?

Brian Bilbray's Economic Stimulus Plan: Create Our Own Poverty

Cross-posted at DailyKos
Drawn from CarlsbadDem's diary with permission

Last night Congressman Bilbray hosted a constituent teleforum- a sort of hybrid robocall/conference call. One of the contributors at Calitics was on the call and caught one of the more honest moments of the Congressman's recent career. The conversation turned towards a discussion over whether undocumented immigrants perform manual labor that citizens otherwise would not perform. Congressman Bilbray, needless to say, does not see this as either an excuse or a problem. All it takes is some good old fashioned American ingenuity to overcome the challenge. Or, maybe, exactly the opposite. As closely as blogger CarlsbadDem could get it down:

What those people are really saying is that we aren't producing enough unskilled, poor workers. They're saying that we aren't producing enough poverty in this country. Well, my answer is that the federal government could produce a lot of poverty if it wanted to. We spend billions on education and training. We could create our own.

That's right. Create our own poverty. So there you have it, boiled down nice and easy. All the United States needs to do is stop educating people. No fuss, no muss, and market forces will drive out all those immigrants. The problem is just that we aren't competing for the jobs because we're too busy pursuing college degrees and jobs that would pay rent.

This fits rather nicely with many of Bilbray's other political positions. Like not funding SCHIP healthcare for children (if they're healthy, they'll go to school and get all uppity about graduating). Like opposition to lower interest rates on student loans (college graduates are bad for the economy- they won't do manual labor). Like opposing a cost of living increase to the minimum wage (a remotely living wage will empower too many people). Like supporting warrantless spying (if people have rights, they'll want to use them). Like opposition to hate-crime legislation (hate is healthy, it gets people elected). Like tax breaks for the rich (they can hire more of our new virtuous class of uneducated native-born citizens).

It's one of the most fundamental pieces of governance that a population kept insecure is easier to control. Keep them poor, sick, hungry, uneducated and desperate and they're docile. They'll turn on each other instead of turn on their government. We've seen this theory in action for the last seven years, if not for nearly 40. Heck, Brian Bilbray's entire platform is "blame the guy next to you, not me." It's rare though that anyone is this blatant about their deeper intentions.

When Bilbray was first in Congress from 1995-2001, he was one of the more moderate members of the GOP. That reputation played no small part in his winning the special election to succeed Duke Cunningham in California's 50th district in 2006. But he spent his years away from Congress as a supershady lobbyist and, as may be clear by now, the guy is a total nutjob.

Nick Leibham is the Democrat aiming to send Bilbray back to the K Street breadlines. I'm guessing he wouldn't mind some scratch.

Oh, and I called Bilbray's office hoping to hear the comments for myself and was informed that the call was not recorded (very odd), so confirming the exact wording is probably impossible. But CarlsbadDem says "is my sincere best recollection, that I believe to be accurate in all significant ways." I have no reason to doubt that.

Wednesday - Quick Hits

CCDC president gets pay raise, but loses out on bonus. UT

City Council moves closer to requiring RVs and trailers to have permit to park overnight on city streets. UT

County moves closer to long overdue countywide fire service. UT

The first of seven workshop on Sunrise Power link held last night. UT

New magnet high school opening in Vista may be delayed due to budget crisis. UT

O.C. Board of Supervisors vote to pursue lawsuit to cut sheriff deputies pensions. UT

County home prices fell by 13.4% in 2007, second highest drop in nation. NCTimes VOSD

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Caltrans has decided to relocate the Minutemen "adopt-a-highway" from the I-1 to route 52. UT

Faculty and students at UCSD will be participating in four days of Climate Awareness discussions. UT

City of Vista marks 45th anniversary of incorporation. UT

City attorney Mike Aguirre informs SEC that he's concerned about city's actions. UT

Foreclosures in Riverside county skyrocket. Up 50% from month before and up 300% from same time last year. UT

Monday, January 28, 2008

Prop 93 - Do we have to go there?

We have received two mailers, one from Vote Matters and another from Citizens for Accountability and Legislative Reform, both asking for my partner to vote Yes on Prop 93 but for rather strange reasons.

You see, my partner has a Latino surname and these mailers are asking for his vote because Latino representation is under threat should Prop 93 fail.


Given how gerrymandered the state is, thanks to our Democratic majority seeking job security and the Republican minority seeking relevance, I don’t see how Latinos “lose” representation.

In the Vote Matters mailer, which looks like a Christmas card addressed to “Our Sons & Daughters / Nuestrtos Hijos y Hijas”, we are asked to support our sons and daughters in the State Legislature so they can continue to work for better schools, health care, and jobs. It doesn’t say a word about the proposition or its affects, just that these Latino lawmakers could lose their jobs.

First of all, these people are older than we are so I don’t buy the immediate familial connection, maybe as distant cousins or uncles and aunts. Second, so long as local school boards rule, I don’t know what Sacramento can really do--short of throwing more money at education. Third, State Sen. Kuehl has been pushing healthcare for quite sometime. Speaker Nunez didn’t jump in until late in the game. This calls into question his priorities. Fourth, as for jobs, I think employment is a state issue and not a Latino majority district one. Finally, politicians should spend some time in the real world and not the one they inhabit in Sacramento, with taxpayer paid staff, vehicles, and offices. This way they can get a serious reality check on the state they govern.

In short, this appeal to Latinos strikes me as wrongheaded and a bit underhanded. To quote my partner, if he didn’t know any better he would have tossed it because it looks like a Christmas card sent too late to matter..

As for the Citizens for Accountability and Legislative Reform, this is a standard, 8.5 x 11 sheet letting us know that “Now is the time to be heard.” Given that all but one of the 8 photos on the back are of Latino legislators from Los Angeles, I’m assuming that this is another Latino targeted piece, especially because it’s addressed to my partner. We are told that Prop 93 protects our communities from special interests by electing our leaders, means better representation, and means real reform. Again, nothing is said of what Prop 93 is or might do.

I choked on my coffee when I read this. It appears to me that special interests already elect our leaders and that Prop 93 ensures that those who are bought remain bought for a longer amount of time thereby denying communities the opportunity to elect someone else. So much for better representation. And real reform? By real, do you mean positive? Because I’m having trouble in seeing how gaming the system to extend your term in office represents positive reform.

I was already biased against Prop 93 because of the underwhelming performance of Nunez as speaker. Now, with this “divide and conquer” strategy, as is evidenced by these mailers, in play as a gambit to win, I’m becoming solidly against it.

It obvious to me what is happening. The proponents can’t win on the merits and need to go “racial” to turn the vote out. Which means that those who opposed to the prop don’t have to do much to knock it over.

Way to go, Sacramento. You could say vote yes because it’s about better government instead of keeping our Latino familia in power. I have nothing against the latter argument, but I think it’s the wrong one to make. Even in a targeted mailing.

Monday - Quick Hits

Both Democratic and Republican state lawmakers vow to fight Governor's proposed closing of 48 State Parks. UT

Analysis by SDSU professor finds San Diego jury pools lacking in Latinos. UT

Homeowners who invest in new water conservation equipment can receive rebates from county water agencies. UT

City Council is planning on overhauling the HUD block grant program. UT

Homeless Shelter task force doesn't have anyone who works with the homeless on it. UT