Monday, April 30, 2007

Profiles in Orange: Hanging With OC's Movers and Shakers

Here's Part 1 of what happened during the Democratic Convention this past weekend, as I kept bumping into all my Orange County friends. I want to give you a sense of what it's like for all of us progressives in OC, and I want to tell you about what we did in San Diego over the weekend. Though there were a few disappointing moments, overall we had a great time doing some great work.

Follow me down below for more on what happened on that magical first day of the convention...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

We started off at the new delegates' orientation meeting, and I bumped into a few familiar faces. Benny Diaz, AD 68 Delegate and Orange County LULAC leader, was there. Cecilia Aguinaga, Santa Ana School Board Candidate and AD 69 Delegate, was also there. Ray Roberts, who ran for Assembly in AD 67 last year, was there. In fact, I just kept bumping into more and more familiar faces from OC. All are committed activists, and all were in San Diego over the weekend to speak up for Orange County Democrats and our progressive values.

And oh yes, Cecilia and I bumped into some guy named Art Torres. ; )

After the meeting, I bumped into Chris Prevatt, my very wise friend who blogs at The Liberal OC. We chatted while I was waiting in line for my delegate credentials... And lo and behold, Hekebolos shows up! We all then got into it as we chatted about what we hoped to see happen at the convention (and Chris starts telling us naughty jokes). ; )

Later on in the evening, I had a chance to speak with Santa Ana City Council Member Michele Martinez. (Full interview coming soon!) Now while other local politicians here continue to make us promises that they always end up breaking, Michele truly is keeping it real. She has done more to get local folks involved in what happens in our city than anyone else here, and she is already is doing so much for the city in giving our youth alternatives to gang violence and in making our city a cleaner and healthier one.

Actually not too long after meeting Michele inside the convention center, I got to see her again. Actually, I got to see ALL my fellow AD 69 delegates (including the great Orange Juice blogger, Claudio Gallegos) at Nicky Rotten's bar in the Gaslamp District for a little Central OC get-together. We laughed, we chatted, we gossipped... Basically, we had a great time!

And then, just when I thought that I couldn't have any more fun, I arrived at the "Blue House at the Brew House" event! I bumped into near and dear friends, such as Susan Kopicki, Carl Weibel, and Roz Freeman, of DFA Orange County. I bumped into online friends that I hardly ever see offline, such as Dday, Brian, and the entire Calitics crew. I bumped into people that I've only heard of online, but never had a chance to meet before, such as Congressional Candidate Charlie Brown.

Basically, it was just terrific to see all these fantastic Democratic activists all in one place, and all for one cause. We all care about our core progressive values. We all want to end the war. We all want to prevent the coming climate catastrophe. We all want health care for all. And we all want to restore honor and integrity to the White House by electing a Democratic President in November of next year as we continue to see progress on Capitol Hill with a strengthened Democratic majority.

And yes, it was terrific for me to see all my good Orange County friends there on that first day at the convention. I didn't feel so alone, afraid, and totally lost when I had my friends there, walking with me. I didn't feel so alone when I got to sit next to my friends at these meetings. Oh yes, and I DID feel so privileged and proud to introduce my awesome Orange County friends to all the rest of you who never thought before that there were so many terrific Democrats "behind the Orange Curtain".

Coming soon... What happened during those next two days. : )

Announcing a NEW OC Drinking Liberally Group!

Calling everyone in South Orange County! You have a new Drinking Liberally group:

There's a new Drinking Liberally event starting up in Orange County. In case you're unfamiliar with it, Drinking Liberally is "an informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics." Starting this Thursday, May 3, we will be meeting weekly on Thursdays at 7pm at the Canyon Fireside Grille, 22312 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita. It is being hosted by Gary Kephart (

Now here's another option for all of you in South County who want to relax, unwind, and talk progressive politics with other friendly people... WITHOUT having to make the commute all the way to Santa Ana! South County Drinking Liberally... Ready to serve good politics, good talk, and good times EVERY THURSDAY in RSM. : )

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Behind the Scenes With Obama and Friends

(Cross-posted at the Obama OC blog)

Yesterday, something amazing happened. Barack Obama came to speak at the convention, and I was able to see him up close. And as he actually spoke downstairs, I had a chance to see him speak from the base of the stage... And I saw the magic of Obama right there, as all of us were mesmerized and blown away.

I'd love to share more about my experience with Team Obama in San Diego yesterday, so why not follow me after the flip for more (including more photos)?

All the fun began outside, as Obama supporters braved the morning marine layer and not so warm weather to start building some excitement and give Obama a warm welcome to San Diego. There were convention delegates outside, and there were regular locals. There were always-active progressive Democrats outside, and there were people out there who had never been interested in politics before. No matter where they came from, or what their history of political involvement had been, they were all inspired by that "skinny guy with the funny name", and they were compelled by his message of hope, action, and change to actually get up and take action.

The mood outside was upbeat and lively, and I had such a difficult time NOT getting caught up in the good feeling.

Unfortunately, I could not stay outside for very long. I needed to return inside, and rejoin my fellow delegates inside the convention center. However as soon as I went inside, I found a couple of old friends from around here. They worked with me on Francine Busby's campaign for Congress last year, and I was delighted to find out that these rockstar activists are now part of Obama's grassroots campaign in San Diego.

But anyways, I met my friends, and we were soon swept into a meeting of Obama campaign operatives preparing for the Illinois Senator's arrival. We were given directions on what to do upstairs to prepare for Obama's entry in the convention center, and we soon got to work in ensuring that Obama's time spent here was time well spent. However, our "jobs" did not stop us from snapping photos whenever we had the chance. ; )

After Senator Obama was finished upstairs, it was time for us to go downstairs and prepare for Obama's grand entry onto the floor. We waited outside, awaiting instructions on where to go on the floor and where to run when we get out and welcome Obama to the stage. At first, we were a little frustrated with the wait...
But in the end, the waiting was all worth it.

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finished speaking, we awaited our final move. And when we got the signal to go, we rushed toward the stage, flashing our signs and cheering from the top of our lungs. The exuberance was just palpable from all corners of the floor as all of us were sppeding toward the stage. We were about to finally meet the man of our dreams and our hopes.

Soon, Obama arrived... And we all went wild. And then, he spoke. And once he spoke, the magic truly began.

For good reason, the rest of us have become cynical about what politics can achieve in this country, and as we’ve turned away in frustration, we know what’s filled the void. The lobbyists and influence-peddlers with the cash and the connections – the ones who’ve turned government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we’re here to tell them it’s not for sale.

People tell me I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I promise you this – I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.

I’m running for President because the time for the can’t-do, won’t-do, won’t-even-try style of politics is over. It’s time to turn the page.

And so if we do not change our politics – if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works – then the problems we’ve been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.

We must find a way to come together in this country – to realize that the responsibility we have to one another as Americans is greater than the pursuit of any ideological agenda or corporate bottom line.

Democrats of California, it’s time to turn the page.

We are one signature away from ending this war [in Iraq]. If the President refuses to sign it, we will go back and find the sixteen votes we need to end this war without him. We will turn up the pressure on all those Republican Congressmen and Senators who refuse to acknowledge the reality that the American people know so well, and we will get this done. We will bring our troops home. It’s time to turn the page.

It’s time to show the world that America is still the last, best hope of Earth. This President may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open.

It’s time to fill that role once more. Whether it’s terrorism or climate change, global AIDS or the spread of weapons of mass destruction, America cannot meet the threats of this new century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America. It’s time for us to lead.

It’s time for us to show the world that we are not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries. That we are not a country that runs prisons which lock people away without ever telling them why they are there or what they are charged with. We are not a country which preaches compassion to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of a major American city.

That is not who we are.

We are America. We are the nation that liberated a continent from a madman, that lifted ourselves from the depths of Depression, that won Civil Rights, and Women’s Rights, and Voting Rights for all our people. We are the beacon that has led generations of weary travelers to find opportunity, and liberty, and hope on our doorstep. That’s who we are.

I was crushed. I was grumbled at. I was uncomfortable contorting my tiny body on the cold, hard ground. However, I did not care. I was having the time of my life as I was watching perhaps the greatest speech ever spoken unfold in front of me. We all cheered, and we all knew that we made the right choice in going with Obama. And once Obama finished speaking, more people rushed to the floor to catch a glimpse of him, touch him, speak with him, just see someone who is actually inviting us to join in this campaign. Obama may be the big celebrity here, but he also empowered us by reaffirming that this campaign really is about us, and about our hopes to end the war, and protect our climate and our planet, and clean up the slimy ways of Washington. We were all empowered, and we all wanted to thank Obama for giving us this opportunity for hope, action, and change.

My world had turned on its head, and I was loving it. I may have already decided to support this person for President, but this completely sealed the deal for me. Whether it was all the people outside, or seeing the actual candidate inside, I got the feeling that I had made the right choice. I think I have become a part of something special, and I can hardly wait to see where all these hopes and dreams go from here. : )

(P.S.: If you want to see the full text of Obama's speech yesterday, go to Lynn Sweet's blog on The Chicago Sun-Times web site.)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Will Democrats Be Speeding to Trestles on the 241?

For quite some time, all of us in Orange County have wondered what the state Democratic Party would do regarding the huge controversy over extending the 241 Toll Road to Trestles. Well, yesterday we finally received an answer. The party would try to reach a compromise between the labor groups supporting the 241 extension to Trestles and the environmental groups opposing this. However in the end, Democratic State Central Committee members may very well vote tomorrow to protect San Onofre State Park and Trestles beach from the reach of TCA and a possible 241 extension.

So what happened yesterday in the Resolutions Committee? And how may this affect the ultimate battle over Trestles? Well, follow me down below for more on what happened inside the convention center yesterday...

Just as everyone was ready for a epic battle over the future of San Onofre State Park, Resolutions Committee member John Hanna (who also happens to be from Orange County) offered a compromise resolution. It was not quite what the environmentalists wanted, and not exactly what the labor groups wanted. After some early confusion, the epic battle resumed.

Environmentalists first cheered when Hanna made this statement: "We must stand firm. We can't support any highway, or toll way, to be built through a state park." However, they stopped cheering when Hanna began to describe the mitigation options open in his compromise resolution that he as offering in lieu of the original resolution opposing any extension of the 241 into San Onofre. Basically, Hanna's measure leaves open the possibility that environmentalists and labor can work with TCA, which would then work with the federal Department of Defense, the Navy, and Congress on a possible land swap deal that would give environmentalists comparable open space to protect, and labor the Foothill-South 241 extension that they want done. However if no agreement can be reached, then Hanna's measure closes any possibility of a toll road that would rip through San Onofre.

In the end, environmentalists were ready to support Hanna's resolution. And so was the Resolutions Committee, as they passed this resolution on a 16-7 vote. Even as a couple of labor people rose to decry this measure as infringing on the "good public policy" that was being made by TCA and Orange County politicians, their cries could not stop the Resolutions Committee from making the first step toward sending this resolution toward a full vote by the Democratic State Central Committee. At today's Resolution Committee meeting, the committee members must approve the measure one more time, and place it on the agenda of ten resolutions to be voted upon at the floor by the full central committee tomorrow.

After the vote, environmental activists seemed pleased with the outcome. Nancy Mooney, of the Coalition to Save San Onofre, told me that this resolution that passed yesterday was not quite what they were hoping for, but they are ultimately happy that something passed. Speaking about possible mitigation options and a land swap, she said, "We don't believe it's possible to mitigate." But still, she called it a victory. "Under that condition, we consider it a victory. We believe it's good for us."

But will today's Resolutions Committee vote be good for Save San Onofre? And if the Resolutions Committee passes the measure onto the full central committee, will all the Democratic delegates agree to this measure? Stay tuned for more as all sides look inside the San Diego Convention Center to catch a glimpse of the future of Trestles.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Son of "Mr. Moral Values" Ain't That Moral

Oh, my! Check out what Nick Schou has for us in this week's OC Weekly:

Steve Sheldon isn’t nearly as famous as his gay-bashing evangelical-minister dad. Most people know him simply as the son of Lou Sheldon, whose Traditional Values Coalition raises money to fight the vast gay conspiracy to undermine America but has less of a problem with sins that don’t involve lube. In 2000, Sheldon the elder helped lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his Las Vegas casino clients kill federal gambling legislation. Crucial to that effort was his son Steve, a Newport Beach-based public relations consultant who in the previous decade had already taken more than $100,000 from Sin City to fight Indian gaming in California.

But along Garden Grove’s Main Street—one of the last relics of small-town America in the suburban sprawl that has engulfed Orange County—Sheldon the younger is rapidly becoming a celebrity. Just not in a good way. Last October, the longtime consultant to the City of Garden Grove convinced city council to give him the exclusive right to develop a $40 million condominium project adjacent to Main Street. In approving the deal, the city sold him the land—currently a city-owned parking lot serving Main Street businesses—for just $1.5 million.

In January, the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association filed a lawsuit to stop the 100-unit condo project, alleging it violates city and state law by declaring the parking lot “blighted” and handing it to Sheldon without competitive bidding.

Hmmm, so why is America's holiest family involved in some not-so-Godly behavior? Just what is Steve Sheldon up to in Garden Grove? Follow me down below for more...

So what exactly is Steve Sheldon up to? And what's going on in Garden Grove? Art Pedroza sheds some light on all of this at Orange Juice:

The Republicans in Garden Grove are up to their old tricks - and their usual ally, Democrat Council Member Mark Rosen, is helping them. The O.C. Register reported today that developer and GOP moneybags Steve Sheldon allegedly purchased a parking lot that serves the Main Street area with the intention of turning it into a 100 unit condominium complex.

Sheldon is of course the son of right-wing nut the Rev. Lou Sheldon (pictured). And he is allied with most of the members of the OC GOP Central Committee.

The president of the Garden Grove Downtown Business Owners Association, Scott Weimer, says that the complex will doom area businesses by getting rid of valuable parking spaces that are owned currently by the City of Garden Grove.

OK, so this sweetheart deal between the son of Lou Sheldon and the city of Garden Grove doesn't look all that ethical... But is it illegal? Business owners in Downtown Garden Grove seem to think so. (From OC Register)

Main Street would be in deep trouble if the city sells the property to a Newport Beach developer with plans for a 100-unit condominium complex overlooking the lot, said Scott Weimer, president of the Garden Grove Downtown Business Owners Association. The group has a court hearing in May on its claims that city officials violated state and municipal court when they approved the project.

"Parking is the lifeblood of any commercial area," Weimer said. "How are we supposed to survive if our parking lots are taken away from us?" [...]

The association filed the petition in Orange County Superior Court in January, asking the court to halt the condo project, which includes 12 live-work apartments, proposed by Sheldon Development on a 1.7-acre site near the intersection of Garden Grove Boulevard and Acacia Parkway.

Association members allege that the city violated state and municipal code by proceeding without a recommendation from the Parking and Main Street Commission. Weimer said city officials did not act as good custodians of the parking lots. Deeds for the lots were transferred from the county to the city in 1975.

Wow. So what is it with these holy rollers, that they can easily tell other people how to live their lives, even as they can't even stay out of trouble themselves? It never ceases to amaze me how these folks have no problem comparing me and my queer friends to Hitler and the Gestapo (WHAAA???!!), but they do have a problem with being upstanding legal citizens. And oh yes, why do they seem to have no problem whatsoever putting so many small businesses in Garden Grove in such jeopardy by taking away all their parking spaces, just so that son Steve can profit off a new condo development?

Don't any of these people know what Jesus has to say about practices like this? Don't they ask any more, "What would Jesus do?" I don't think he'd do any of this.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Road Trip to San Diego

Here's what happened on my way to San Diego. I stopped in Encinitas...

And later at Torrey Pines...

It's almost too bad that I'll be indoors most of the weekend, and that I won't have too much time to enjoy all the beauty outside. But whatever. That's what happens when you try to make the world a better place. : )

Happy Birthday, The Liberal OC!

And best wishes to Mike, Chris, Dan, Gila, and the entire Liberal OC team! Here's what Mike has to say about this special anniversary:

The Liberal OC turns one year old today. Looking back in our archives, the most talked about topics back when we started this thing were Tan Nguyen and his racist run for congress, and Phil Angelides v.s. Steve Westly.

And the very first post on this page was an email that was sent to me by Benny Diaz regarding the May Day protests last year.

Here’s to one more year of political blogging!

Yes, here's to another year of the best damn blogging behind the Orange Curtain! Our blogosphere wouldn't be the same wihout you. Horray for The Liberal OC! : )

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Senator Is Ready to Stop the Illegal Bounty Hunts

Have you finally had enough of the bounty hunting? Are you sick and tired of seeing the Republican Party pay workers to illegally switch unsuspecting voters from Democrats and Independents to Republicans? Are you just frustrated over hearing about any more about these nasty misdeeds that only serve to prevent voters from truly making the choice that they want?

Well, help is on the way! Lou Correa, my State Senator, has written legislation to take on these nasty bounty hunts. And I'd like to tell you all about it after the flip...

So what exactly would this legislation do? Well, I'll let the Legislative Counsel explain it to you:

This bill would prohibit any person, company, or other
organization, except state political parties that reimburse their
central committees and clubs on a per-affidavit basis, from agreeing
to pay money or other valuable consideration on a per-affidavit basis
to any person who assists another person to register to vote by
receiving the completed affidavit of registration, would prohibit the
receipt of this per-affidavit consideration, and would make
conforming changes. A violation of these prohibitions would be an infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

Wow, so how about that? Here's a simple solution to a prickly problem. If we just cut off the incentive for paid canvassers to agree to bounty hunts that illegally re register people as something that they don't want to be, then we actually get rid of these illegal bounty hunts. How can we not agree to this?

And oh yes, who better to introduce this legislation than someone who has actually experienced the repercussions of these horrid bounty hunts? Lou Correa had a tough enough race last year, but his challenge last year was only greater as the Orange County Republican Party resorted to dirty tricks to try to prevent Lou from winning. And yes, one of those dirty tricks was a bounty hunt that illegally switched Democratic and Independent voters in the 34th State Senate District to Republicans against their will. Unfortunately, Lou had to deal with all of this himself as he ran for State Senate...

However, he is now taking action to ensure that these dastardly misdeeds never happen again. SB 812 is a good piece of legislation that prevents any more abuse of voter registration drives. No more bounties, and no more illegal switching. This sounds good to me, and this works great to ensure that our democratic process remains strong, healthy, and free of manipulation. Now that's a good thing. : )

AD 69: Solorio and Tran Team Up to Stop Voter Intimidation

Are you sick and tired of seeing headlines like this regarding voter intimidation in Orange County? Have you had enough of candidates using scare tactics to prevent legally eligible voters from actually exercising their right to vote? Do you want to make sure that we never, ever see anyone trying to scare people away from the ballot box ever again?

Well, here's our chance to do something about voter intimidation in California. My Assembly Member, Jose Solorio (D- Santa Ana), is actually teaming up with Republican Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) to offer some real solutions here. Follow me after the flip to find out more.

Here's what Solorio's office has to say about this:

Assemblymen Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) and Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) have introduced a package of two bills that seek to prevent voter intimidation, such as the case witnessed in Orange County in 2006.

“I am proud to partner with Assemblyman Van Tran to help discourage future voter intimidation cases from occurring in Orange County or elsewhere in the state. Our bills will ensure that candidates are aware of the state’s voter intimidation laws and deter future offenses by stiffening the penalties for voter intimidation,” said Assemblyman Solorio.

“Freedom to vote is one of the most important rights Americans’ have. Our laws must protect every citizen’s right to vote and allow us to vigorously prosecute anybody who tries to intimidate voters,” said Assemblyman Van Tran.

AB 122 (Solorio) requires election officials to give potential candidates for elected office a copy of the provisions of law that prohibit voter intimidation and the penalties for violating those provisions of law.

AB 46 (Tran) would increase penalties for an individual convicted of committing voter intimidation by making it a felony, punishable by a minimum of 16 months or up to three years in prison.

Both bills have passed the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting with bipartisan support. AB 122 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week and AB 46 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee tomorrow.

The bills were introduced in response to an October 2006 letter that was mailed out by the campaign of a U.S. Congressional candidate to some 14,000 Latino voters in Orange County in an attempt deter them from voting in the November election. In fact, Assemblyman Solorio received one of those letters himself.

The letter incorrectly stated “you are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or your are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.” This statement is extremely misleading at best because immigrants can vote if they become citizens. In response to this voter intimidation effort, the Secretary of State’s office sent letters to these 14,000 Latino voters who received a letter reassuring these voters of their right to vote.

Isn't it about time that we pass something like AB 122? Isn't it about timke that we protect people's right to vote from such horrid and nasty scare tactics? Isn't it about time that we pass something like AB 46? Isn't it about time that we prosecute these folks who try to scare voters away from voting?

If you care about our right to vote, it might be a good idea to call your Assembly Member and ask him or her to support these bills. Our right to vote is just too precious to lose. Or be scared away from.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ah, Mr. Republican Insider Finally Lost It

I'm not sure where to even being rebutting this post, which is a rich combination of paranoia and grandiosity that would make your hero Art Pedroza proud. [...]
Andrew, if you really want to see a "noise machine" all you need to do is read your own posts: loaded with straw men, unsupported assumptions, jumped-to-conclusions, screechy rhetoric and paranoia.

Hey, looky here! Jubal/Matt Cunningham responded to my post, which was a response to Jubal/Matt's response to Art Pedroza's original "Chismes" post on Orange Juice that caused the entire Orange County Republican Party to explode. Ain't it amazing how these supposedly omnipotent Republican insiders are shaking at the boots at the thought that their ridiculous scheme to allow someone who ran one of the most racist campaigns in Orange County history to run their "voter registration program" in minority-majority Central County is being exposed? And that the sheer stupidity of this plan of theirs is now out in the open, for all to see?

So why is Jubal/Matt still fuming over this? Well, he completely lost control. And why is he so angry about that? Well, I'll tell you all about it down below...

So what's the problem here? Well, the Republican Party's master cyberspace spinner has lost control of the message. He tried so hard to save the OC GOP's latest blunder from becoming a massive train wreck...

Smart move. There's no shortage and wannabees and armchair consultants in OC politics. What there aren't a lot of are campaign operatives with proven track records of success -- especially in central Orange County. The OC GOP would have been remiss to pass up utilizing someone who'd been toiling in the central OC vineyards for the past year running very successful voter contact program. Saulo ran the most successful aspect of the Lynn Daucher campaign (the absentee ballot program), and then managed Trung Nguyen -- who nearly everyone expected to do no better than third or fourth -- to within 3 votes of victory in the 1st Supervisor District special election.

... But all that hard work and fast spinning of Jubal's couldn't save his party from the ultimate reality on the ground.

It looks like the first installment of this new column was quite a hit. The O.C. Register's Total Buzz blog covered our chisme regarding the guy tabbed by the OC GOP to register new voters in central Orange County. That would be Saulo Londono, the campaign manager who sent Trung Nguyen to the border to stop the Mexicans. I'm sure that will go down real swell with the people of Santa Ana!

I love what Londono had to say about the story, over at the Total Buzz, "Although the blogs are heavily dramatizing the situation, the real reason for being quiet (about the new job) is quite simple: strategy." Sure - great strategy. Maybe they can get Lupe Moreno and Tan Nguyen to help register new Reep voters too!

Red County/OC Blog stepped up to defend Londono, predictably. Matt Cunningham/Jubal referred to Londono's successful track record. Last time I looked he LOST the last two campaigns he headed up. Maybe second place means first place in Jubal's book?

Jubal is angry because Jubal can no longer control the message. In the bad old days, when OC Blog was really the only big kid in Orange County's political blogosphere, Jubal/Matt can simply get the good word out on his clients and control what was said about them online. And since OC Blog was really the only big source for what was happening in OC's political scene, everyone would just believe what Jubal and his minions were saying...

However, this isn't the case any longer. Orange Juice now offers different perspectives on what's happening throughout the county. The Liberal OC now offers a progressive point of view to counter the right-wing spin at OC Blog-land. And yes, now I've become a thorn on Jubal's side as well. Basically, Jubal's not the sole star of the show any more. The new kids on the block are finally growing up, and speaking out.

I guess this is the real issue here. Now it certainly is important in and of itself that the OC Republicans are hiring someone who was part of a VERY RACIST CAMPAIGN to head a minority outreach and voter registration program in Central OC. However, another major issue has entered into the fray. The Orange County Republican elite is no longer in control of what we say and what we think online. Competition has arrived, yet the supposed "champions of the free market" don't seem to like the free flow of ideas and opinions.

Too bad for them. 'Cuz this new diversity of thought is really letting some fresh air rush in behind the Orange Curtain. ; )

Finally, an ALL DISTRICT STRATEGY for California Democrats

Let's face it. California is not as strongly Democratic as we think it is, or as we'd like it to be. Right now our state is a "blue state", but it is fast turning RED. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 45 California counties when he first ran for President. In 2004, John Kerry only won 22 California counties. In the past six years, Democrats have only picked up ONE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT from the Republicans... And Democrats have actually LOST SEATS IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE during that same period!

So what can we do about it? Well, if you're a delegate to the State Democratic Convention in San Diego this weekend, then you can find out what to do after the flip...

Leon Thompson, the Executive Board representative from the 77th Assembly District, has written a resolution to be voted on at the convention. Now we've heard all this talk about a "58 county strategy" to make Democrats more competitive throughout the state, but what will it actually do? Leon's resolution actually has some teeth in it, as it requires the state party to give some seed money to EVERY PARTY-ENDORSED LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE in the general election. This resolution will actually direct the party to refocus resources to grassroots campaigns in "red districts". This resolution actually gives a boost to those Democratic candidates in "red districts" who fight hard for our Democratic values, but who may not have enough funds to really get the message out throughout the district. This resolution actually does something to make our party more competitive statewide, and more importantly it offers more than just pretty language and empty rhetoric...
It offers real action.

This may not be the ultimate solution, but it is a good start. And it's something we really need to start doing a better job at. After all, if the Democratic candidates can't depend on their own party for at least some support, then what's the point of having a Democratic Party?

The full text of the resolution is directly below, and can be found here.

All District Strategy for Funding California Legislative Races

Whereas the recent Democratic takeover of Congress has proven the effectiveness of Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy for funding the Democratic Party in every state regardless of the voter registration advantage to the other side or the history of Republican voting patterns and resulted in election victories and Democratic Party advances and

Whereas the California Democratic Party’s recent election funding decisions resulted in only modest advances and victories not on the scale of results nationally, and

Whereas providing resources for candidates in each legislative district will build the Party’s identity in every geographical area, develop a deep reserve of competitive Democratic candidates and encourage volunteer loyalty,

Be it resolved that the California Democratic Party shall adopt at its 2007 Convention to allocate at least $4 million to be spent in all Assembly and State Senate districts that are open seats or in which there is a Democratic challenger to a Republican incumbent, to assure that every endorsed Democratic candidate for the state legislature gets at least some funding for the general election, enabling candidates to mount a viable campaign, then

Be it resolved that for the general election, each party-endorsed Democratic challenger or party-endorsed Democratic candidate for an open legislative seat shall receive at least $50,000 in seed money, and that candidates who raise $50,000, produce a field plan, and sign up 50 volunteers or more shall received at least $50,000 in additional matching funds. The money shall be spent to implement a grassroots organizing and GOTV effort by the candidate. Evidence of volunteer sincerity will be a five dollar check to the candidate.

This policy will spread the Democratic message to voters in every part of California, thus helping to grow the Party and get out the vote even in conservative regions. This strategy will improve the chances of victory not only for those legislative seats funded, but for all Democratic candidates in California - including “down-ticket” candidates for local offices as well as candidates running for statewide and national offices.

Submitted by Leon Thompson

77th Assembly District E-board Representative

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Speeding Our Way to Peril on the 241

A national conservation group yesterday named San Mateo Creek as the nation's second-most imperiled waterway on its annual list of the 10 most endangered rivers.

The report by American Rivers in Washington, D.C., heightens the status of a decade-long battle by fishing groups, surfers and environmentalists to stop plans to build a toll road along the creek and across San Onofre State Beach. [...]

It picked San Mateo Creek for the No. 2 spot because of “the magnitude of the threat” posed by the planned toll road, plus state and federal agencies' decisions expected in the next two years that “will decide the future of the creek,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.

Wow. I nearly missed this article buried in The San Diego Union-Tribune last week. However, that doesn't mean that this wasn't important. If anything, this article is yet another reminder of the great peril that we all face if TCA is allowed to build a toll road to Trestles.

So what exactly is the threat to San Mateo Creek, the last wild waterway in Southern California? And just how great is this threat? Follow me down below for more on what is threatening our wild space.

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So why is San Mateo Creek in such peril? And just how grave is the threat? The Union-Tribune has more:

The creek made headlines in 1999 when a college student accidentally discovered southern steelhead, an endangered species, in its waters. Until then, scientists believed the trout were extinct in San Diego and Orange counties.

Efforts to restore the creek and make it more hospitable to steelhead and other native species have been slow but steady, said George Sutherland, a San Clemente volunteer for Trout Unlimited.

Since 2002, the state Coastal Conservancy has allocated $300,000 to upgrade the San Mateo. The creek has been plagued by an invasion of non-native plants and aquatic animals, as well as the pumping of groundwater from an aquifer that supports the creek.

In the past three years, volunteers for Trout Unlimited have removed more than 33,000 non-native bullfrogs, crawfish, largemouth bass, green sunfish and bullheads, Sutherland said.

So what would we lose if TCA were allowed to extend the 241 Toll Road to Trestles? Oh, only several years of progress in restoring the native habitat of the Southern California Steelhead Trout. And if that weren't bad enough, it gets worse. Seven other endangered species would also lose their home if TCA were allowed to build its toll road to nowhere.

So why build the 241 to Trestles? This boondoggle would do absolutely nothing to ease traffic. This project has already wasted so much of our tax dollars in court, and it would only continue to do so as it is totally illegal. This lame waste of money would ultimately cost us jobs as San Onofre State Park would absolutely have to close? So why waste any more time, any more tax dollars, and any more breath trying to save this worthless proposal?

Is it worth losing the "Yosemite of Surfing"? Is it worth killing off all the endangered species that call this place home? Is it worth annihilating one of California's most precious treasures? Is it worth killing off THE LAST UNSPOILED WATERWAY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

I don't think so.

Horray for Orange Juice!

Oh yeah, and before I forget... Horray for Orange Juice! They've been so courageous during this whole time in standing fast against efforts by the Orange County Republican Party to censor them. I only wish I had the tenacity of Art Pedroza, Claudio Gallegos, and the entire O-J Team! : )

Republican Insiders See Us As "Punks With Computers"

A long time ago I was told that in this business you are judged by your enemies. If your enemies are mostly democrats then you must be doing something right. They're willing to tear you down, especially people like Andrew Davey who posted on the Calitics page. He's just a punk with a computer.

That was former campaign manager for Republican Alan Uke in the 50th Congressional District, campaign manager for Republican Lynn Daucher in SD 34, and all-around insider in the Orange County Republican Party, Bryan Lanza... Speaking about little ol' me. So why is the OC GOP political elite suddenly wailing over me at Red County/OC Blog? Follow me down below to find out...

Remember when I called out the Orange County Republicans for blaming Orange Juice blogger Art Pedroza for their own problems with Latino voters? Well, Jubal/Matt Cunningham found out about it... And he's not very happy with me right now for shining some light on the OC GOP's ridiculous decision to hire someone who was part of Trung Nguyen's virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Latino campaign to head a voter outreach and registration effort in Latino-heavy Central County. So what is he doing about it? Oh, he's just resorting to bashing ALL OF US who have the nerve to call out the OC GOP on their great mistake.

Of course, there are the inevitable detractors. ex-Republican Art Pedroza thinks it is bad idea because Trung Nguyen posed in front of the border fence for one of his mailers. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Let's not hire the guy with the proven track record of success because of a mail piece (which Art terms "anti-Latino," which I suppose it is if you look at it through MeCHista-colored glasses). And Saulo committed the cardinal sin of being a staffer for Assemblyman Van Tran, a stain not even Saulo's previous stint with Lynn Daucher, the previous object of Art's political affections, could wipe away. Too bad anti-Van Tran prejudices obscure the ability to render a fair estimation of Saulo's talent and experience. And here's some fan mail for Art's post and Claudio Gallegos hyperventilation-disguised-as-a post/All-Republicans-Look-Alike-To-Me rant from local lefty Andrew Davey. It should speak volumes when the attaboys for attacking Saulo are coming from the Left Wing.

Oh, joy! So now I REALLY KNOW what these GOP insiders think of not just me, but of bloggers in general. We are supposed to be their tools, their mouthpieces, their vehicles to spread their propaganda... Kinda like what Jubal/Matt Cunningham and his buddies do all the time at OC Blog. And when we're not doing a good little job of spreading the Orange County Republican Party's propaganda, we're just worthless "punks with computers". Never mind that most of us bloggers consider ourselves to be independently minded individuals who are not beholden to ANYONE. In fact, I thought that the real goal of political bloggers is to take on the establishment. I didn't know that we were supposed to be PAID SPINNERS FOR IT.

I guess this just reveals the true dilemma with Republicans and blogging. The blogosphere is meant to be a force of nature, something that no one can control or should control. Bloggers have minds of their owns, and they shouldn't be forced or bribed into promoting someone else's agenda. However, Republicans don't seem to understand that. They think they can control what we say and do in the blogosphere. And when they fail in trying to dominate us, they whine and scream about our petulant, "punkish" behavior. My goodness, no wonder why Art Pedroza left the Republican Party. I complain when Jubal/Matt tries to rough me up every so often, but what if I had to deal with this all the time, and from someone who's supposed to be my comrade in arms? No wonder why Art could not take any more of their disgusting consultant-driven, insider-incestuous, corruption-fueled extreme right-wing noise machine.

To them, we're just "punks with computers"... Who are threatening their entire power structure.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

And Sorry Again for the Technical Problems

Hopefully, I'll be able to fix this soon. My regular home internet (wireless) isn't working, so I can't use that. My dial-up backup isn't very reliable, so I can't even depend on that right now. I just want something here, and something soon. Yes, I just need a RELIABLE internet connection at home. Hopefully, that can be done very soon. : )

Happy Earth Day!

OK, so this is late. Sorry about that, as I have had yet more technical problems today. But anyways, I hope you're having a great and productive weekend as we all get out and do something for our planet.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

SD 34: Lou Correa Stands Up for the People of Vietnam

This just in from Brian Joseph of The OC Register, blogging at Total Buzz:

Orange County Sens. Lou Correa and Tom Harman ignited fireworks in Senate chambers this morning when they objected to the introduction of a delegation from the Vietnamese government.

The senators said it was inappropriate to welcome representatives of an oppressive regime that had caused so much pain for Vietnamese residents of Orange County. Ceremonial introductions like that are infrequently challenged.
"I don't believe this is necessary," Correa said.

So why were Vietnamese government officials allowed into our state capitol? Why would officals from an extremely oppressive regime be allowed into OUR HALLS of government? And why would anyone want to respect a regime that has absolutely no respect for its own people?

Follow me after the flip for more on what the heck happened at the Capitol today...

So how the heck was this allowed to happen? Well, unfortunately another State Senator made the mistake of inviting these Vietnamese government officials to Sacramento:

The senator who brought the delegation, Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, defended the action by saying the delegates are here "to learn about our Democracy."

Oh, really?! So the Vietnamese government really wanted to "learn about democracy"? Well, maybe Leland Yee should talk to my member of Congress, who recently returned from Vietnam. Apparently, the Vietnamese government is so interested in "learning about democracy" that they won't even let their own people exercise it... Heck, they wouldn't even let them meet with Loretta Sanchez!

So why should we give this government any type of "welcome"? And why are they so interested in "learning about democracy" here when they don't allow their own people to practice any? Maybe if the Vietnamese government was REALLY interested in "learning about democracy", they would start putting some democratic ideals into practice. Yes, that would be better than just coming to OUR STATE CAPITOL to demand any respect that they don't deserve.

OC Republicans Blame a Blogger for Their Own Woes

The Executive Director of the OC GOP, some guy named George, called Ryan and complained about this post. He asked Ryan to remove my reference to the OC GOP voter registration effort. No go! Ryan was NOT my source for that information. And no, it is not coming down. If the OC GOP wants to put a guy in charge of voter registration in central OC, who ran perhaps the most anti-Latino campaign I have ever seen (i.e. Trung Nguyen standing at the border to "stop" the Mexicans), that is his prerogative. But it is a dumb idea!

So what exactly is going on at Orange Juice? Apparently, these little chismes from Art Pedroza caused screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth over at the Orange County Republican Party:

Here's a shocker - my sources are telling me that GOP Assemblyman Van Tran is trying to talk Democrat (and former state legislator) Joe Dunn into running against Supervisor Janet Nguyen in two years. Tran is apparently still quite bitter over Nguyen's victory over his Trannie, Trung Nguyen. This sort of thing is not new for Tran - he has worked behind the scenes with other Democrats before, such as Bruce Broadwater and Mark Rosen.

Rosen by the way changed a prior vote and ended up backing Republican Steve Jones to replace Janet on the Garden Grove City Council. I wonder if Tran had anything to do with that? Jones is a developer - watch and see if he either has contributed to Tran and his cronies or will do so in the near future.

While we are on the subject of Trannies, Trung's campaign manager, Saulo Londono, was apparently tabbed by the OC GOP to conduct voter registration in Central Orange County. They didn't even bother to ask Janet how she felt about this. The sense was that Van Tran has been successful at this and so they went with the Trannies. I cannot see how this is going to work out. The Trannies will make this work for them and will not try to help the most prominent GOP elected official in the area, Janet Nguyen. (Yes, she is ostensibly in a non-partisan office, but you know that is true in name only).

So what's going on with those lovely Republicans? And why do they hate bloggers? Well, follow me after the flip for more...

Ah, so the campaign manager who devised this marvelous anti-immigrant mailer for Trung is now taking over the OC Republicans' "voter registration" efforts in Central County...
A region with communities full of LATINO AND VIETNAMESE IMMIGRANTS!! And what, they don't expect any harsh words for this latest bone-headed move of theirs? If anything, they should be thanking Art Pedroza for pointing this out as a huge error. Since I'm not nearly as helpful and courteous as Art, I'd just prefer to LAUGH AT THEM for giving Latino voters yet ANOTHER REASON TO BE ANGRY AT THEM.

I guess they never learn. They didn't learn from Tan Nguyen and his errors. They didn't learn from all the immigrant-bashing of the Special Election. And now, this. But instead of blaming themselves for repeating the same mistakes of alienating minority voters in Central Orange County, they blame a blogger for calling them out on it!

I don't know what else I can say about this, so I'll leave it to another Orange Juice blogger, Claudio Gallegos, to sort this out:

Absolutely stunning. So George over at the GOP took it upon himself to order one of our Republican bloggers to censor us, the very nerve. For all their flag waving, America loving talk, they once again show their disdain for the very basic right of all Americans, FREEDOM. Instead of obsessing over the second amendment, the OC Republican Party should look more into that 1st Amendment, you know that pesky Amendment that gave Art the right to post what he did.

If Art wants to out various voter registration efforts, he has a right to. And NO REPUBLICAN, nor DEMOCRAT for that matter, has a right to try and censor what we post simply because there is something written that makes them mad. Apparently Republicans feel a need to silence Orange Juice.

Which brings me to my next point, how Democrats support free speech. Several times on this blog, there have been commenters and posters who have made Democratic ED Mike Levin or Chair Frank Barbaro their personal blogging punching bags. Never has Mike Levin nor Frank Barbaro called me to ask that I delete someone's post or comment. I am sure they don't like some stuff posted on here, but they believe in the value of one's right to free speech. It seems the Orange County Republican Party has a problem with free speech. Shame on them, Orange Juice will never be silenced.

Jeez. Remind me to never, ever try to help the Orange County Republican Party. Obviously, they don't appreciate folks to point out their huge mistakes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Health Care for All Comes to Costa Mesa

"We expect our government to use our tax dollars to provide us with national security, and I contend that insuring us from illness and injury should be considered national security. Just compare the 3,000 Americans we lost on that dark day, September 11, 2001, with the 18,000 Americans who die every year due to denial of medical care. Private corporations, whose number one responsibility is to turn a profit for their shareholders, have proven themselves spectacularly unsuited for insuring our health, and every other civilized nation has come to the conclusion that health insurance is the proper function of government."

That was Vern Nelson, local health care activist, giving an amazingly eloquent speech to the Costa Mesa City Council on why they should support SB 840, California's plan for real universal health care. So what else happened at the city council meeting? Well, follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

Vern and his "posse" of people who care about health care access for arrived early for the city council meeting, and they were among the first ones to speak during the "public comments" segment, before the city council began to deliberate on the scheduled agenda. First up was Joe Tyndall, a computer tech writer from Costa Mesa who was concerned about the quality of health care in his own city. And in addition to his speech, he also provided all five council members with information packets on health care and why SB 840 is the only real solution for California.

"Americans pay more than $7,000 per person per year for health care, more than any other nation. Yet, we stand 37th in the quality of health care as measured across a wide range of indices. The cost of health care spirals out of control, while the number of Americans without health insurance continues to grow. Every other industrialized nation has a single-payer, Medicare-like system that leaves no person uninsured and costs roughly half as much per capita as our profit-driven, employer-based insurance system."

Wait, isn't Governor Schwarzenegger proposing "health care reform"? Dr. Richard Lara then explained to the council why Arnold's "reform" doesn't really change anything for the better.

"You, as a city, and we, as citizens, would save money if the health care crisis were solved. I suggest that you ask the Governor NOT to veto the solution if it comes to him again. He evidently feels guilty about that veto, for he is making a great show of interest in health care. He has admitted that there IS a crisis. He has proposed ten pages of band-aids. His scheme is like solving a transportation crisis by making us own a car. If you can't afford it, the state will help you out, using tax dollars. The auto makers would love that plan. And the army of bureaucrats who will determine just how much help you need. This, from the man who wanted to shrink government!"

Wow, no wonder why no one likes his "health care reform" plan. But if Arnold-Care doesn't solve anything, what does? If Arnold can't solve our health care crisis, then what can?

Allan Beek, an Orange County resident who cares about real health care solutions, gave us the real solution: SB 840.

"SB 840 saves money- about $8 billion a year, according to the best estimate. [...]
Medicines are bought at bulk prices... About 40% cheaper than what we pay here. (But the manufacturers won't mind- they get 10 million new customers.) [...]
Emergency rooms will be for emergencies only. Nearby hospitals will share, rather than duplicate, expensive equipment. One simple system of payment will replace 15,000 different insurance plans. Senate Bill 840 will cut administrative overhead from today's 30% to at MOST 5%. We can all have preventive care and stay as healthy as nature permits. Preventing disease is cheaper than curing it. With all these savings, we can give a top-notch package of benefits to EVERYONE, still spending almost as much money total, so there will still be as may jobs. We don't cause unemployment, but the jobs will be providing health care."

After the presentation, Costa Mesa City Council Member Katrina Foley was quite impressed with this presentation. She actually asked the city's legislative director to put together an analysis of all the current health care proposals in California- including SB 840. Fortunately, there are folks in Costa Mesa who see that city residents need a real solution for their health care problems.

And I guess this proves how SB 840 truly is the best choice for universal health care in California. OK, so all these great speeches still aren't convincing you? Well, then go analyze SB 840 for yourself at Health Care for All. Here, you can see personal stories of struggle under the current privatized health care industry. And yes, you can find more reasons why we need REAL health care reform soon, and why SB 840 is the best course of action for that.

Don't we owe it to our fellow Californians to provide them with health care security, once and for all?