Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why Is Everyone Ignoring Orange County?

Hey, now! I'm hearing talk about races in CA-4 (Doolittle), CA-26 (Dreier), CA-41 (Lewis), and of course- CA-11 (Pombo). Well if all these Republican-leaning seats are at least considered to be possible longshots, then what about CA-40 and CA-46?

I know these are very much longshots, since all California seats are gerrymandered. However I think that if any seat(s) change hands in Southern California, then these two are the best chances other than the already mentioned CA-26.

In CA-40, Florice Hoffman is running against Rethug incmbent Ed Royce... I know, I know, you haven't heard of him... Well, you probably haven't because HE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING FOR NORTH ORANGE COUNTY. For instance when Cal State University, Fullerton, requested federal funds for new science programs, they went to their congressman for help. He said he'd help... So HE CALLED REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ'S OFFICE, the one and only Orange County Democrat, and asked that she add this to the appropiations bill. ROYCE VOTED AGAINST THIS, BUT STILL CLAIMS CREDIT FOR IT!

In CA-46, Rethug incumbent Dana Rohrabacher epitomizes the current culture of corruption. For one, he boasts of BEING BEST FRIENDS WITH JACK ABRAMOFF!!!! Of course, he also ATE FOR FREE AT SIGNATURES. HE VOTED FOR EACH AND EVERY PIECE OF ABRAMOFF-SUPPORTED LEGISLATION. Running against Abramoff lackey Rohrabacher is Jim Brandt, a retired Marine and successful businessman who actually wants to serve our communities, and refuses to sell himself to the highest bidder.

Also what may help in these Congressional races are numerous highly competitive local races... And ONE HUGE STATE RACE- That is, the competitive 34th State Senate Seat, where Democrat Lou Correa should be getting plenty of help from the state party.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Congresswoman Supports Clean Energy... Horray!

[LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Congresswomen Linda and Loretta Sanchez announced their endorsement of Prop 87, saying oil companies need to finally pay their fair share to clean up the air in California. "It is time the oil companies pay their fair share so we can reduce pollution that causes asthma, lung disease and cancer," Congresswoman Linda Sanchez said. "Studies are showing air pollution has a disproportionate health impact on Latinos, African Americans and children." ]
["I strongly endorse Prop 87, and will encourage voters in Orange County to support the Clean Energy Initiative. As every driver who pulls up to a gas pump today knows, we urgently need to develop cleaner and cheaper energy sources -- and oil companies benefiting from high gasoline prices should pay their fair share for this," Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez said. "Passing Prop 87 will force oil companies to return some of their profits back to consumers -- and not just keep raising prices at their pumps." Prop 87 is a $4 billion effort to reduce California's dependence on gasoline and diesel by 25% over the next 10 years. The effort will be funded by oil drilling fees paid by oil companies.]

Thank *** Loretta's doing the right thing!

Now I know that if hard core Repugs (such as those OC Blog/Red County) are mad at her, then she's obviously doing something right!

Oh wait, that's right! She supports a common sense solution to our current energy crisis. She agrees that oil companies should give back just a portion of their recent record-breaking profits in order for us to invest more in renewable energy for the (not so distant) future.

Now I don't agree with Loretta 100% of time (such as her recent vote against Net Neutrality), however this is one instance when she's 100% correct. Thank you, Loretta, for taking a truly principled stand! This is actually one moment when I'm proud to have Loretta Sanchez as my Congresswoman.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Arnold: Who Can Trust Him?

Though I don't always agree with Greenhut and the other OC Register "libertarians" (actually, it's more like almost never), this article caught my eye this morning. I've been saying the same thing to various progressive friends, but maybe it takes a conservative saying this for people to actually believe it: Arnold will say anything to hold onto power. And what's worse, he probably doesn't even believe in what he's saying.

Now Arnold isn't dangerous because he's "moderate". He's dangerous because he pretends to be everything to everyone. So you're a principled fiscal conservative? Well, Arnold says he wants to balance the budget... Oh wait, now he's saying he "has no plan" to balance the budget! So you're a dedicated environmentalist? Well, Arnold is committed to providing more renewable energy!... Oh wait, but he's also accepting millions of dollars from oil companies! So you don't like taxes? Well, neither does Arnold... Except that he has no problem "raising taxes" for the poor and middle class by raising park fees, Cal State and UC tuition, community college fees, and much more. We really can't believe this guy farther than we can throw him!

I still can't understand why anyone believes anything coming out of Arnold's mouth. He pretended to be a "reformer" during the Recall election, and then a true conservative during the 2005 Special Election. Now he's playing the role of a "center-left politician with big plans" for the state. Seriously, if this guy wanted to work on his acting, then why couldn't he have just stayed in Hollywood? If Arnold couldn't even act very well, then why should we be stuck with him as Governor?

- Andrew

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Steven Greenhut: GOP seems ready to be fooled twice
Gov. Schwarzenegger hasn't earned the loyalty of California conservatives

Sr. editorial writer and columnist
The Orange County Register

Those who believe in nothing will fall for anything, as the old saying goes. So it's only fitting that a Republican Party that has ceased to believe in anything has fallen for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Maybe in the early days of his administration, and through the defeat of his reform agenda last November, it was defensible to support him. But no more. Yet many Republican leaders at the state GOP convention in Century City last weekend were still atwitter over the Terminator's tired clich├ęs and faux tough talk.

One delegate I talked to epitomized this silliness: She was thrilled that the governor gave a luncheon speech that sounded "conservative." In that speech, the governor vowed to "secure the borders for once and for all." In fairness, the governor has said similar things throughout the summer, but in late July he claimed to first learn about widespread anger at illegal immigration during a community meeting in La Mesa, where he accused anti-immigration forces of being hateful. And the governor has waffled back and forth between supporting and opposing National Guard troops at the border. Who really knows where the governor stands on this or any other issue?

At Century City, Gov. Schwarzenegger blasted the Democrats: "Our friends in the other campaign want to go back to the failed policies of the past – higher taxes, more government spending, more government regulations and less growth."
Compare what the other party does with Schwarzenegger's program of higher debt spending, more government spending and more government regulations and less growth, and it's quite a choice, isn't it?

Of course, the Democrats are always bad. So, of course Republicans will usually rally around their candidate, no matter how far afield his viewpoints might be. But a point is reached where it's not worth it anymore, where victory isn't so sweet because "our" guy isn't in any fundamental way different from "their" guy. I reached that point with Richard Riordan, when he ran for governor, and am at that point with our current governor, who, frankly, tells audiences anything he thinks they want to hear.

It was pathetic that any convention delegate would be debating whether the Schwarzenegger convention speech sounded conservative enough. Who cares? When a politician has proven that he has no principles whatsoever, and tailors his remarks to his given audience, then why should those remarks have any credence?

We've heard the "immigrant comes to America for opportunity" shtick a million times. We've heard how much he admires Milton Friedman, the great free-market economist, at least a thousand times. At the Republican Flag Day dinner in Orange County, I heard the governor say he became a Republican because it is the party of power, and he loves America because it is a powerful nation.

Yuck. I choose my party affiliation based not on its power, but on its principles. I love America because of its stated commitment to liberty and justice, not because it is strong. This tells me something. The governor is a sucker for power, which no doubt explains his fierce tack to the left now that he is convinced this is his safest route to remaining in power. Given that the Democrats nominated a nerdy, leftist technocrat who never met a tax he didn't want to impose on Californians, Schwarzenegger has an easy task before him. That makes it all the more shameless that he would say and do anything to get elected. It isn't even necessary.
At the Republican convention, Gov. Schwarzenegger refused to be seen with the Republican slate of down-ticket candidates. State Sen. Tom McClintock, one of the most principled men in modern political life, is running for lieutenant governor against John Garamendi, who during an Editorial Board meeting a couple years ago actually sung the praises of the Cuban health care system! Chuck Poochigian, who has established a solid legislative record on crime and civil liberties issues, is running for attorney general against Jerry Brown, who has vowed to use the office to target private businesses.

The governor is too good to stand with McClintock and Poochigian or some of the other perfectly well-qualified GOP candidates for statewide office? Then Republicans should be too good to stand with him.

Just for starters, this "Republican" governor is promoting:

•A massive $42 billion spending program on infrastructure that exceeds even the amounts sought by Democrats.
A prescription drug initiative that, according to the Pacific Research Institute, will impose price controls on pharmaceutical companies and will lead to the development of fewer new medicines and more government subsidies.
A large increase in the minimum wage, just as the economy starts grinding to a halt.
A costly anti-property-rights environmental agenda that includes government spending on solar roofs, hydrogen cars, the setting aside of 25 million acres of land, bans on offshore drilling and an otherworldly scheme to force businesses to comply with new global-warming regulations.

On his campaign Web site, the governor boasts about having created a new government health-care bureaucracy, about spending 27 percent more on health care than the previous administration and of increasing the enrollment of people in government health-care programs.
Funny me, but I thought that supporters of Milton Friedman's ideas understood that markets offer the best solutions to crucial issues, not expansion of government regulations and spending. Yes, the governor has vetoed many of the Chamber of Commerce's job-killer bills, but he has supported many other efforts that shackle the marketplace and impose undue burdens on business. His actions have shown no real love of freedom ... or of justice.

Did I mention that the governor has so far refused to support Proposition 90, the statewide initiative that would stop cities from using eminent domain to transfer homes and small businesses to big developers? The governor, who apparently likes nothing more than power, has sided with the powerful interests on this one.

If you really want to understand what this governor is all about, listen to John Hagar, the special master overseeing reform of California's criminally mismanaged prison system. At a court hearing in San Francisco, Hagar "fired a barrage of accusations at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his innermost circle, alleging perjury, the trading of favors, politically motivated intimidation and more," according to a Los Angeles Times report July 16. "As Hagar sees it, Schwarzenegger's bid for reelection has prompted his aides to improperly snuggle up to the prison guards union, a deep-pocket powerhouse in California politics. To sweeten relations, Hagar asserts, Schwarzenegger is granting the union clout over key decisions – and at least temporarily shelving his agenda of prison reform."

If the polls are right, and after the election the governor remains the only statewide GOP official, will Republicans still think it was worth it to sell out all their principles on behalf of someone like this?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Meeting Our Next Governor

Yesterday, I traveled with my dad through the amazingly speedy 55 and 91 freeways to Anaheim Hills yesterday to see the retiring state treasurer, and hopefully future governor, Phil Angelides. I wanted to hear for myself Angelides' new budget plan, and my dad wanted to hear for himself what Angelides would do about the mess that Ahhnold made out of Workers' Compensation. In the end, we were both fairly impressed by what Angelides had to say.

During much of his speech, Angelides connected Schwarzenegger's policies in Sacramento those those of Bush in D.C. The centerpiece issue yesterday was education, and Angelides reiterated his promise to roll back the tuition hikes at Cal State and UC schools that have been making state schools increasingly unaffordable over the last four years. Yes, to be fair, the tuition hikes began under Davis, but this has been taken to a new level under the Governator, who infamously said, "Tuition here is too low compared to the rest of the country." When asked for his thoughts on Angelides' plan to make college more affordable, Arnold has said flat out that "we cannot afford it". Well, of course we can't when we continue offering tax loopholes to major corporations and the superwealthy... The ones who need help the least! Just like Bush not realizing how his foreign and domestic policies have both caused great damage to our nation, Arnold refuses to recognize how his state policies are wrecking the future of California. If Angelides really wants to win the state's top office, he needs to continue bringing home the fact that Arnold is out of touch with working Californians, and that Arnold's plans for the state aren't that different from Bush's plans for the nation.

Also yesterday, Angelides explained his new fiscal policy of lifting the financial burden off the poor and middle-class. Specifically, he would like to offer tax credits of up to $660 for families earning less than $100,000. Also, he would like to increase by 50 percent the property tax break for low-income senior and disabled owners and renters. And as mentioned earlier, Angelides wants to roll back state college tuition by up to $5,000. All of these proposals sound great... But some were starting to wonder how Angelides intends to pay for all of this. Well, this is where the centerpiece of Angelides' fiscal policy comes in: he would like to close all the corporate tax loopholes that have been added over the years in addition to imposing a three-year tax increase that will only affect the wealthiest 1% of Californians. This was really something that Angelides needed to do: stress how his fiscal plan will benefit average Californians without boring them with little intricacies. He needs to fight back Arnold's claim that Angelides is raising taxes on everyone, and instead point out that Arnold is increasing the financial burden on working-class Californians. Angelides also likened his fiscal plan for the state to Clinton's 1993 economic recovery package... Again, something he needs to run with! By connecting himself to Clinton and tying Arnold to Bush and the Republican fat cats, Angelides may just be able to take advantage of the national Democratic wave and ride it all the way to the Governor's Mansion!

After the speech, my dad introduced himself to Phil Angelides and asked him what he'd do about the Workers' Compensation fiasco. As it is now, my dad has to fight tooth and nail just to see his doctor. What was supposedly Arnold's attempt to "clean up waste" in the system two years ago was in reality another special interest "gravy train" that has been a boon to the health insurance corporations. Angelides promised my dad that he'd actually fix the system in a way that would help the ones meant to be served by Workers' Comp: the disabled workers! Also I briefly introduced myself to Phil, and told him that I'd do my best to turn out Santa Ana Democrats for him. I also mentioned this to Phil's daughter, Megan. Hopefully, that was a good hint that the Angelides campaign would be better off making use of local programs, such as OC Precinct Captains, to reach out to Orange County voters. There is no reason why multiple GOTV operations should all target the exact same voters... And completely annoy voters in the process! Orange County has already joined the statewide effort to implement Howard Dean's Fifty State Strategy in California... It already worked in turning out more Democrats to defeat Arnold's "top props" last year... Maybe the Angelides campaign should take notice and take up our offer this year!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Phil's visit behind the Orange Curtain... Even if he didn't want to stay too far from the curtain! I really hope that Angelides pulls it off this year. Contrary to Arnold's claims, he's no moderate! He is just another Republican fat cat in disguise. If we get that message out to California voters, then we win! This is why I plan to work my behind off all the way through November... and boy, do I hope it pays off!

Monday, August 14, 2006

WTF?! Oh, what could have been...

In yesterday's LA Times, something big happened: one of our beloved OC Rethugs got caught with his hand in the cookie jar! Over the years, Rep. Gary Miller (R- Diamond Bar to Mission Viejo, with a bunch of weird places inbetween) has made big bucks on Inland Empire real estate. Apparently with one recent deal over 165 acres in Monrovia, Miller claimed that the city forced him to sell the property under eminent domain. However, the city of Monrovia denies this... and the records in this case seem to confirm Monrovia's story. Here's the scoop from the recent Times article... It's just too bad we don't have a challenger in the 42nd now (but kudos to Mark Hull-Richter for attempting a qualified write-in!). Still, I wish the party could have been more serious in reaching its (supposed) goal of having candidates in ALL DISTRICTS!

Even though a seat may be considered "safe", we never know when scandal comes knocking (again) at the GOP's door... and opportunity comes knocking at ours! Of course, all the Orange County Republicans in DC are quite slimy... Dana Rohrabacher's (46th) best friend is UBER-LOBBYIST JACK ABRAMOFF!! John Campbell (48th) seems to think BAGHDAD IS SAFER THAN LA OR DC!! Ed Royce (40th) is more than interested in grandstanding with the House Immigration Hearings, but does NOTHING TO BRING HOME FEDERAL FUNDS FOR POLICE AND FIRE!! In fact, the one Orange County Representative in Congress who does ANYTHING for Orange County is, of course, the one DEMOCRAT: Loretta Sanchez (47th).

This, again, is another reason for us to continue our work for these good Dems. Orange County will not remain Republican forever, so let's start to take advantage of the current political climate and build a real Democratic Party here. Seriously, let's not get caught in another situation where we could only WISH about "what could have been..."

Well, I'm done with my late night rant, so enjoy the article below! ; ),0,2223572.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Official's Tax Break: on Firm Ground? Rep. Miller has avoided paying millions on real estate profits. He says the sales were forced; cities' officials dispute that. By William Heisel, Times Staff Writer August 13, 2006 When U.S. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) sold 165 acres to the city of Monrovia in 2002, he made a profit of more than $10 million, according to a financial disclosure form he filed in Congress. Ordinarily, he would have had to pay state and federal taxes of up to 31% on that profit.Instead, Miller told the Internal Revenue Service and the state that Monrovia had forced him to sell the property under threat of eminent domain. That allowed him to shelter the profits from capital gains taxes for more than two years before he had to reinvest the money.But there is a problem with Miller's claim: Monrovia officials say that Miller sold the land willingly and that they didn't threaten to force him to sell.Miller, whose 42nd Congressional District includes chunks of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, claimed the same exemption in two subsequent Fontana property transactions, allowing him to continue sheltering his profits from the Monrovia sale. And in each of those cases, the purchasers say eminent domain, which allows a government agency to force a sale if it's in the public interest, was neither used nor threatened.Internal Revenue Code Section 1033 was designed to protect people whose land is condemned by government agencies or destroyed in natural disasters. Other investors wishing to postpone capital gains taxes would have to follow complicated rules that include reinvesting the entire amount in other property within 180 days. For Miller, a millionaire land developer in the Inland Empire and a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, repeated use of the forced-sale exemption has enabled deferment of capital gains taxes through at least 2009.Miller declined to comment on the sales after officials in Monrovia disputed his eminent domain contention. Officials with the IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board said it's not their policy to comment on individual cases.In an earlier interview, Miller described being threatened by Monrovia during the bargaining process and said the city gave him no choice but to sell. He said that he prided himself on transparency and noted that he fully disclosed all of his property transactions."The base of the deal was either you sell to us or we'll have to condemn it," Miller said.But records and interviews in Monrovia show that the sale of Miller's land was voluntary.Glen Owens, a member of Monrovia's Planning Commission, said the city could not have used eminent domain to purchase Miller's property, because it was acquiring the undeveloped hillside land for a wilderness preserve using state funding that specifically prohibited forced sales."The state doesn't go along with eminent domain," he said. "You have to have a willing seller."A letter from then-City Manager Don Hopper at the time of the sale confirms that use of state funds blocked the city from considering eminent domain."Under the guidelines of the Challenge Grant Program, all property owners must be willing sellers," Hopper wrote in May 2002.A videotape of a February 2000 City Council meeting, packed with people pushing the city to protect the hillside, shows Miller pleading with city officials four times to buy his land."Why don't you buy my property? I've asked you repeatedly," Miller said.Miller's press secretary, Kevin McKee, wrote in an e-mail to The Times, "Mr. Miller and the city of Monrovia agreed upon the purchase price and a friendly condemnation."Although early drafts of Monrovia's sales contract with Miller included the phrase "friendly condemnation," it was stricken when the final deal was made. Miller and his wife signed an amendment to the escrow instructions on Aug. 1, 2002, saying, "condemnation deleted."Scott Ochoa, the assistant city manager at the time and now the city manager, said the city always discusses the possibility of so-called "friendly condemnation" when it is negotiating a purchase in case a seller wants to claim the forced-sale exemption. In this case, though, the state funds took that option off the table, he said.Miller said that two years after the Monrovia sale, he raced to beat his extended deadline of Dec. 31, 2004, for reinvesting the profits. On Dec. 28, he reinvested some of the profits by purchasing 10 lots for about $5 million near the expanded 210 Freeway in Fontana, a building in Fontana for $1.3 million and five acres in Rancho Cucamonga worth about $2 million. He bought the properties from Lewis Operating Corp., a major Inland Empire developer and one of Miller's largest campaign contributors.Miller took an exemption again when he sold the 10 lots to the city of Fontana in 2005 and again when he sold the building to Fontana this year, claiming both were compulsory sales. Those moves gave him at least another two years after each sale to reinvest the funds without paying capital gains taxes.But records and interviews in Fontana show that those sales were not compulsory."From my perspective, if we were ever asked, I would say we were not threatening eminent domain," said Clark Alsop, the lead lawyer representing Fontana.In fact, Miller bought the properties knowing that Fontana would be purchasing them."The market kept going through the roof, as you know, and I was running out of options," Miller said. "Lewis had bought some property at the request of Fontana. I thought, 'That's safe. I'll buy it. They'll buy it a year from now, and that's no big deal.' "Such a sale could have meant that Miller would finally be liable for the capital gains taxes he had deferred by purchasing the Fontana property.But when Miller sold the 10 lots, most of them with homes, to the Fontana redevelopment agency in April and June 2005 for about $5 million, he filed a tax withholding form for the sale and claimed an exemption by checking a box that said that the sale was "being compulsorily or involuntarily converted" and that he intended to acquire a similar property with the money "to qualify for nonrecognition of gain."To bolster his case that the sale was forced, Miller also asked the city for "a letter that talked about eminent domain," said Ray Bragg, the city's redevelopment director.Bragg called it "a courtesy letter. Agencies do it when asked."The March 22, 2005, letter, signed by City Manager Kenneth R. Hunt, does not threaten to take Miller's land. In fact, it notes that the "redevelopment plan for this project area does not currently authorize the use of eminent domain." But it also notes that, "the Redevelopment Agency is in the process of amending the redevelopment plan to authorize the use of eminent domain."Bragg said that as far as the city is concerned, the letter does not threaten the use of eminent domain."It's really between him and his tax man and the IRS as to whether what is said in that letter is valid to say that the city was going to condemn the property," Bragg said.Fontana attorney Alsop said he had not been consulted about the letter."It's pretty clear to me that the city cannot make a representation to the IRS that this is property being taken under the threat of eminent domain and therefore this person deserves a tax break," Alsop said.Another property owner in the area, Jesse Bojorquez, bought land the city had its eye on and ultimately sold it to Fontana's redevelopment agency. He asked for the same kind of letter to support a claim for a forced-sale exemption.Unlike the letter Miller was given, Bojorquez's letter from Hunt contained a paragraph that explicitly stated it was not to be used as "a representation or warranty as to the applicability of the Internal Revenue Code Section 1033."I'm just a little guy," Bojorquez said. "Why would they beat me up in my letter and not beat this guy up? It's not fair."More than a year later, when Miller sold the Fontana building he had purchased from the Lewis Corp. to the city, he again filed a tax form invoking an exemption by claiming that the sale was compulsory. The city planned to use the structure as a temporary home for a branch of the county library.Again, the city wrote Miller a letter noting that it had the power of eminent domain in its downtown redevelopment district but wasn't planning to use it to acquire the library building. There was no need to. When Miller bought the building from the Lewis Corp., he assumed Lewis' lease arrangement with Fontana that included an option for the city to buy the property outright."In reality, that letter is meaningless, and any IRS auditor who took a look at it would know that," Bragg said.By invoking Section 1033 again, though, Miller was able to defer the payment of a portion of the capital gains taxes from the Monrovia sale until at least 2009.The property he bought in Rancho Cucamonga with some of the proceeds from the Monrovia sale hasn't been sold.Experts in eminent domain law said the arrangement between Fontana and Miller is pushing the legal envelope."Public use condemnation is meant to be a rarity because it's such an extraordinary power," said Doug Kmiec, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine University. "And a taxpayer who has manipulated the process to provide evidence of a threat where none exists is not much different than a taxpayer who claims deductions on his tax return based on things he made up in his basement."Tax experts said Miller would have a tough time proving to an IRS auditor that he was forced to sell property three times in a row."You really shouldn't be just happening into all these 1033 transactions unless you're very unlucky," said Washington, D.C., tax lawyer Brian Lynn, who has written about the tax exemption. "Multiple 1033 transactions might look fishy to an auditor. You have sort of the pattern-of-evidence problem."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Losing the Boom

Damn, this sucks! I may NEVER have a chance to experience what was the most legendary gay club... HECK, THE MOST LEGENDARY CLUB, PERIOD... in Orange County. The Boom Boom Room is the longest running party scene on the Left Coast... and it's set to close early next month. I guess we had this coming... for years now the queer scene in Laguna has been on the decline. Now just about all of the OC Coast has become a playground for the ultrarich and famous, and many of the artists, hippies, and queers who used to live in Laguna (and give the town its reputation as OC's unique beachtown) can no longer afford to stay here.,1,2028500,full.story?coll=la-editions-orange

Well, maybe the Boom's fate hasn't been completely sealed. There is a major grassroots effort to save this histroic Laguna landamrk... the "Save the Boom" coalition is doing a petition drive to stop the pending closure... Check out their blog and read about this uphill battle:

I sincerely hope that they can succeed... In the past, Orange County has had one place to go to get away from the snobs, the fundies, and the suburban sprawl. Frankly, South County still needs Laguna, that one magical beach town where people aren't stared at and sneered just because they're "different".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Why Am I Active?

Recently I've actually had some time to think about why I became such a raging activist. How did I transform from a typical kid who just believed whatever his parents believed to a passionate progressive who recently convinced his dad to reregister as a Democrat? Well, a few things have happened over the last five years:

- 9/11: The American people were united in sympathy for the victims of the attack... heck, THE WORLD was united for those first few days... then Bush f***ed up. The administration took advantage of the attack to push this "War on Terror" that would give them a "carte blanche" to disregard our Constitution, pulverize our civil liberties, and (attempt to) become an Imperial Power in the Middle East.

- California's Wild Ride with Deregulation: Enron basically caused an "artificial" power shortage in order to profit off of Pete Wilson's misguided attempt to deregulate our electricity market. Of course, Bush also "helped" in this effort... one of his first executive orders issued overturned Clinton's executive order banning speculative trading in our power market. But of course, Bush does what's best for his friends (such as Ken Lay).

- Global Warming: The science proves it. The rest of the world is trying to curb it (with the Kyoto Protocol). Bush & Co. is just giving us bull**it. Instead of taking any kind of initiative on this serious threat to our planet, the administration is still denying that this is a real crisis that is being caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. Again, they're doing what's best for their friends (oil companies, auto companies, etc.).

- Iraq: Al-Qaeda was never there. The weapons of mass destruction were never there. Our "democracy" isn't really working there. So why exactly are we there? Again, Bush's friends (defense contractors in pursuit of profit and neo-cons in pursuit of global domination) wanted our military there. In turn, we've lost over 2,500 brave young men and women... oh yeah, and possibly over 100,000 INNOCENT CIVILIANS have been slaughtered in this tragic misadventure. Oh yeah, we lost that last bit of goodwill from the rest of the world as a result of the push for war.

- Education: Why is it that Bush & Co. wants to continue even more testing for schools, then provide no funds to these public schools to make them better? Why is it that Bush would prefer to indoctrinate our kids with religious dogma than let them be taught real science? Why are funds for college student aid being cut? I guess we're no "friends" of the Bush cabal.

Now these are just a sampling of why I've become so active. There are more things that I can think of... but I'd rather not spend the rest of the month on this posting. I'd rather use my time to be active.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Now Making a Move in Santa Ana

I said I'd continue the story... Now I intend to finish it!

After recovering from my post-election depression, I decided to make sure that the same mistakes made in the 50th would not be repeated in Orange County. That's why I signed up as Santa Ana Captain with Precinct Captains. I want to actually talk to my neighbors, build personal relationships with them, and engage them in the Democratic Party. This way, they won't be "bothered" into voting for Steve Young, Loretta Sanchez, or Jim Brandt... they'll want to vote for them. Of course, I'd also like to use this new tool to help local candidates as well. We have a city council race in November, and we'll have an (most likely) open county supervisor's seat in January. Obviously, I'll have have a whole lot of work to do from here on in!

Of course, I wouldn't mind if others join me in this new endeavor. I'd like to sign up some new volunteers here in Santa Ana, and there are plenty of other locales in OC that need neighborhood volunteers. Hopefully, this will be the start of a real, grassroots movement behind the Orange Curtain.