Friday, May 30, 2008
I finally mailed my absentee ballot yesterday after debating who I was going to vote for mayor. Now being the good Dem that Gracchus is, I normally vote for the endorsed Democrat in the race. This time, however, I couldn't fill in the bubble for Floyd Morrow.
I have meet Floyd Morrow on several occasions, I have talked with him and I like the guy. I think he is sincere in why he is running for mayor, I just don't believe he is a credible candidate. So that left me with the "less-of-two-evils" candidate to choose from.
Now, I'm not one to buy into the "new and improved" Steve Francis despite receiving flashy mail pieces touting union endorsements and showing Steve with his new best friend Donna Frye. As Public Enemy says "Don't Believe the Hype." But what is the alternative to Steve Francis?
It is Jerry Sanders who has shown himself to be about as competent in the job as was Dick Murphy. Sanders is emblematic of a current type of Republican pol who believes that being both petulant and disingenuous are governing virtues. Mayor Sanders has refused to work with others on the council to try to solve some of the myriad of problems in the city. Instead he has demonstrated that he has no leadership skills and that his primary duty as mayor is in keeping the status quo when it has come to the special interest downtown.
Now, I know what supporters of Sanders are going to say: Hey, he came into office with the city in crisis, while at the same time embarking on a new form of governing with strong mayor. And how can you trust Steve Francis? He'll say anything to get elected.
Well that might be true about Steve Francis, but I'm willing to give him a shot at running the city after what I have seen Sanders do for the last three years. I know if Steve Francis is elected mayor, I might not agree with some of the policies he will put forward. But I believe that he will be more willing to work with the council in trying to solve some of the city's problems and for that reason I gave him my vote yesterday.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Say what you will about him. The fact is that he can put together a campaign. His people have been walking for over six months now and his signs are everywhere. Compared to the others, he has a solid shot.
Were it not for Sherard. There is a Republican business IE that has about 30 walkers getting $16/hour canvassing and reinforcing her already high name ID. Sherard’s campaign hasn't done much because they’re broke. Oddly and through no effort of her own, she too has a solid shot.
What will it take for Sacramento to wake up and stop going the Vince Hall-lite route? He has the institutional advantages. But he never walks. He campaign has only recently sprung into high gear and it screams too little too late. With IE’s and Arabo targeting similar universes, Marty loses out due to Arabo’s sign reinforcement of his name.
My heart goes out to her only because she has the best community profile of these candidates. She can still squeak through but only if her people are running a massive behind-the scenes operation. Not being privy to it, and only seeing a few of her sighs up, I’m counting her out of this one
How this turns out is anyone’s guess. The Republicans think Sherard is the weakest candidate and it makes sense they’d do what they could to help her. Were it not for Arabo, they might get away with it. Block could go balls out this upcoming weekend and kick up the percentage but I don’t think it will be enough And Ricasa is still viable for something else.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Labor does not run candidate campaigns
They can run IE campaign on behalf of candidates and issues but they are not the “campaigns.” Those belong to the candidate, their consultants, and staff. Regardless of what the other side would have you believe, Labor does not dictate to candidates how to run their campaigns.
The Democratic Party does not run candidate campaigns
Here, the other side gives the Dems too much credit. The purpose of the local party is to assist, though volunteers and the media, their endorsed candidates and causes. They do not operate candidate campaigns nor to they, like Labor, order campaigns to bow to their wishes.
Consultants run candidate campaigns
Ever notice how the local press goes to the consultant first, then the campaign manager? These hired guns are called in to give the campaign the oversight, direction, and keep said campaigns on course. They can tell campaigns what to do and can clue them into resources that these campaigns would otherwise not have.
Candidates run campaigns
The final nail of accountability goes to the name at the top of the letterhead. It is seen as a reflection of their abilities in being able to hire (and fire) the right people and to get elected. Some campaigns operate more independently of their consultant than others, but it is up to the candidate and their manager, chosen to be the right hand, to decide what is the best course of action. At the end of the day, it is the candidate who accepts responsibility for what has happened no matter who was at fault.
Unless there was some boneheaded move by a staffer, consultant or volunteer that gets press time, these are the tiers of responsibility.
So when consultants start blaming the “party” or “labor”, just remember that neither of these two can run the shop for the campaign. That’s why there is a campaign manager and consultant in the first place.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial Day Is an Excellent Opportunity to Focus on the Needs of Our Veterans in California
By Mary Salas
Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee
This Memorial Day while you are enjoying a backyard BBQ take a moment to ponder this little known fact: on any given night in California over 50,000 veterans are homeless, while other veterans may be suffering from mental health issues or experiencing difficulty transitioning back to work. Among the many needs and challenges we face as a state, appropriate care for our veterans must be a priority.
California is home to more than 2.2 million veterans. While it is correct to note that the care of our veterans is primarily the responsibility of the federal government,
the ability of the federal government to honor this obligation has been called into question. Time and again we have seen inefficient delivery of veteran services and benefits and a failure to anticipate and plan for an increase in health care problems associated with veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq.
Many veterans are in need of mental health and suicide prevention counseling and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, the signature injuries from the Iraq War. There is also an estimated backlog of over 600,000 claims for federal benefit applications with the US Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation and pension payments. These can take months, if not years, to process.
Because less than 11 percent of eligible veterans in this state actually receive these payments (which ranks us 38th nationally in terms of participation), millions of dollars are not being paid to our resident veterans and therefore not being returned to our economy. If California could increase this rate to the national average of
slightly over 12%, more than $330 million could be returned to our veterans and our economy.
Unfortunately, our state and local governments are no position to help either, given the budget challenges we are currently facing. Nonetheless, more must be done to better use the resources we have.
The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office indicates that approximately 144,000 military veterans in California who could be receiving comprehensive medical benefits from the US Veterans Administration (VA) health care system are enrolled instead in the state-funded Medi-Cal Program. The state could eventually save as much as $250 million annually from a voluntary shift of veterans from Medi-Cal into VA health care by implementing a data matching system which would identify veterans that are eligible to transfer to the VA.
California’s Department of Veterans Affairs administers a farm and home loan program that is restricted to serving only pre-1977 veterans and to lending for only single family mortgages. Meanwhile, thousands of veterans in need of transitional and multifamily housing receive little, if any, support. This program must be modernized to meet the needs of today’s veterans.
Regardless of how one feels about the Iraq war, we will all be forced to deal with its aftermath. Our state and local governments will be challenged to care for the veterans of past service as well as the soldiers returning from the Iraq war. These soldiers have sacrificed their welfare for ours. Let’s renew our commitment to these brave men and women as we commemorate Memorial Day.
Assembly Member Mary Salas was appointed Chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs in 2007. Her father and six uncles all served in the armed forces. She represents the 79th California State Assembly District which includes the cities of Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Coronado, and portions of San Diego.