Saturday, June 30, 2007

Is the iPhone THAT Amazing?

Huh??!! Nah. I'll wait until all the crazy kinks are worked out.

Bush = Chaimberlain?

You know, Dubya often likes to compare himself to Winston Churchill. He likes to wrap himself in the flag and declare himself a courageous "Wartime President". However, Lynn Olson shatters this Bush = Churchill image in today's Washington Post. If anything, Bush may be more like the infamous Neville Chamberlain than he'd like to admit. Want to see how? Read this article.

March with the Democrats at the Surf City Fourth of July Parade!

What do you think of when you think "Fourth of July"? The American flag, perhaps? Fireworks? Independence? Apple pie? Ice cream? The beach? A parade? Well, what if I told you that you can experience all of that AND MORE on Wednesday?!

Yes, my friends, this Wednesday is July 4th. And yes, this means it's time for the Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade, THE LARGEST INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER! And guess what? The Democratic Party of Orange County will once again have a fantastic float in the parade! Oh yes, and our fabulous Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will be marching with us! Oh yes, and we need more people to march with us in the parade. Come on now, don't YOU want to be a part of the parade?

So would YOU like to be a part of this world-famous All-American celebration? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Ditch Crazy Dana, Obama OC, and Trash Dirty Gary)

For the past 28 years, OC Democrats have been a part of this VERY OC tradition. We've had local elected officials like Former State Senator Joe Dunn and current State Senator Lou Correa join us in the parade. We always have the Young Democrats dancing on the float. Oh yes, and how about that float? Live music. Festive decorations. The American Spirit. What more could you possibly want?

So why NOT go? Join in on the fun. Just remember to COME EARLY TO FIND PARKING. Here are some details on what will be happening, courtesy of The Liberal OC:

The parade begins at 10:00 A.M. and ends at 12:30 P.M. Democrats begin gathering at 7:30 A.M. to march. We will have shuttle cars to take you to the staging area or to the handicap cheering section.

Shuttle Starts: 7:00 A.M.
Last Shuttle: 9:00 A.M.

Please come early, the traffic gets very busy and we cannot transport everyone at the last minute.

For parking and shuttling, drive to Seacliff Village, located at Goldenwest and Yorktown. Look for the Del Taco fast food restaurant. Then look for the signs saying “Democratic Parking.”

Oh yes, and before I forget, we should all remember that all marchers with the Democratic Party of Orange County entry must wear red T-shirts or polo shirts and blue jean or dark/navy blue shorts or pants. Get it? Got it? Good.

Well, I'm picking out my red shirt and blue jean shorts. How about you? The Fourth of July Parade may only be once a year, but it's something that give us great memories to last us all year long. Why not be a part of these great memories?

To participate, simply show up!

If you have any questions, please contact Caren Bolinger at 310-293-8320 or email her at
: )

Friday, June 29, 2007

Grandma's Going Home

OK, my aunt just got the discharge form. Grandma's going home. Her appetite is improving. She's no longer dehydrated.

Well, she still has her problems. Her blood sugar is still on the low side. We still must force her to eat at times. We still must help her walk. However, she's getting better.

And oh yes, she's going home. She's going home with us TODAY. Thank goodness. : )

After a Little Scare, Some Relief

As soon as we got to the hospital, we had some frightening news waiting for us. Grandma's blood sugar was down, so I suddenly began to worry. Will she have to stay in the hospital longer? Is her condition worsening? What will happen next?

Well, I got some reassurance from the doctor. The doctor said that Grandma should be released today. But still, this will depend on whether or not we can count on her to eat.

Right now, we're still trying to get Grandma to eat her breakfast. She just took another bite of her banana. She had a little bit of her Cream of Wheat. She doesn't even want to touch that egg-like-product-whatever-you-want-to-call-it. OK, she's drinking a little more orange juice.

I hope she eats. I hope we can take her home today. I hope this nasty episode will finally end soon.

Watching My Grandma, Feeling "SiCKO"

My grandmother was just released from the hospital this morning. She nearly collapsed in the bathroom on Wednesday morning, and she's had to spend the last two days in the hospital. She was severely dehydrated. She had diarrhea. She couldn't eat. She was extremely weak. Basically, this is what happens to a ninety-two year old diabetic woman all too often.

So we had to drive Grandma to the hospital. We got a bed for her in the emergency room pretty quickly, but then we had to wait forever in the emergency room until the hospital finally had a room ready for her. Grandma finally got her room, she was able to sleep, and she was able to recover over the next 36 hours.

Thank goodness we caught Grandma in time, before she lost consciousness. Thank goodness Grandma's feeling better. And thank goodness she has good health insurance. What would have happened if things weren't as good for us?

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

My aunt and I stayed with Grandma overnight on Wednesday. We just couldn't bare the thought of having her stay in the hospital alone. She doesn't like sleeping in a strange bed in a strange location, so we didn't want Grandma to be alone. She was able to fall asleep, though we couldn't (we had to "sleep" on cheap, uncomfortable chairs). We were there withe Grandma, she didn't have to be alone, and she was at ease.

Earlier in the day, my dad paid the hospital $50 so that Grandma could stay in the hospital. Her insurance covered the rest. I guess I should consider my family lucky. Other seniors go into debt to cover their health care costs. I don't imagine how they could ever be at ease.

Yesterday, Grandma was starting to feel better. She was starting to eat again. She was hydrated again. But we had something scarier to worry about. The hospital wanted to send a therapist in to help Grandma walk again! Ahhh! Scary! Another $300 tacked onto our bill! No!

OK, so we also really didn't need the therapist. We can help Grandma walk. My dad used to work in a hospital, after all. But what if we did actually need the therapist? And what if we really didn't have the money to pay for the physical therapy? Why should we have to turn that down for Grandma, just because we couldn't afford it?

Many seniors in California face exactly that problem every day. They must go without the prescription drugs that they need. Yep, over one-third of California seniors have no prescription drug coverage. They have to worry about being "burdens" to their children. As more and more people become caregivers for their elderly parents, they don't get the support they need to afford the financial burden of being a caregiver. To be honest, that's what my family DOES have to worry about right now.

As soon as we got to the hospital this morning, we had some frightening news waiting for us. Grandma's blood sugar was down, so I suddenly began to worry. Will she have to stay in the hospital longer? Is her condition worsening? What will happen next?

Well, I got some reassurance from the doctor. The doctor said that Grandma should be released today. And after a few more hours, a couple more blood tests, and another hospital meal, we were finally able to take Grandma home. We're back at the house now, and Grandma is so happy to be home.

However, my dad isn't happy that he has to go to the pharmacy to get Grandma's new prescriptions. She has a new pill to take for her Diabetes, and another pill to take for her diarrhea.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Can't Wait 'Til Tomorrow Morning

Grandma should be home by then. Our crazy little escapade through the bad and good in hospital care should be over by then. Grandma will be happy to be home, and we'll all be glad to return to our regular everyday lives. I can hardly wait 'til tomorrow morning.

She'll Be Free Tomorrow

Most likely, my Grandma will be getting out of the hospital tomorrow morning. Thank goodness! Grandma NEVER likes sleeping in a strange bed in a strange place. We'll probably be taking her home tomorrow morning, and hopefully we'll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief. : )

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Grandma's Getting Her Medicine

She's getting her medicine. OK, the nurse just left. Grandma just wondered what happened. OK, the nurse is back for another shot to check her blood sugar. Poor Grandma. She's ready to sleep, but she can't. Hopefully that will change soon.

Scary Day with Grandma

We've been at the hospital all day with my Grandma. She nearly collapsed in the bathroom this morning. She was severely dehydrated. She was extremely weak. Basically, this is what happens to a ninety-two year old diabetic woman all too often.

So we had to drive Grandma to the hospital. We got a bed for her in the emergency room pretty quickly, but then we had to wait forever in the emergency room until the hospital finally had a room ready for her. Now Grandma's ready to go to sleep, and she's getting the care she needs.

Thank goodness we caught Grandma in time, before she lost consciousness. Thank goodness Grandma's feeling better. And thank goodness she has good health insurance. What would happen if things weren't as good for us?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Obama TV Ads Now Up in Iowa

(Cross-posted at Obama OC)

Wow! It looks like Obama is starting up ads in Iowa. Oh yes, and they're featuring two interesting folks who have crossed paths with Obama in Illinois. One is a REPUBLICAN State Senator, while another is a highly respected progressive law professor. Here's some more from CNN:
The new commercials feature Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who worked with Obama in the Illinois Legislature -- and backs the candidacy of GOP Sen. John McCain -- and Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe.

"Many of the reasons that I like Senator McCain are the same reasons that I've always admired Barack Obama -- ethics, independence and a little bit of maverick spirit that lends hope that this country wouldn't be gridlocked in partisan politics," Dillard said.

A 60-second commercial, called "Choices," focuses on the decision Obama made after graduating from Harvard Law School, opting to turn down lucrative offers from law firms and instead move to Chicago as a community organizer.

And here's some more info on that second ad:
The other 30-second spot, titled "Carry," addresses Obama's work in the Illinois Legislature, where Dillard praises him for pushing ethics legislation, expanding child care and health coverage and supporting tax credits for the working poor.

"Senator Obama worked on some of the deepest issues we had and was successful in a bipartisan way," Dillard says in that ad.

Aides described Tribe, a member of the Harvard law faculty, as a mentor for Obama. Tribe praises Obama for his decisions after graduating.

"It was inspiring, absolutely inspiring to see someone as brilliant as Barack Obama, as successful, someone who could have written his ticket on Wall Street, take all of the talent and all of the learning and decide to devote it to the community and to make people's lives better," Tribe says in the commercial.

The spots also feature scenes from Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, an address which vaulted him to prominence within the party.

Wow. I guess Obama's doing so well in Iowa that they're taking the campaign there VERY SERIOUSLY. It's not that often that campaign ads go up this early. However, Obama's rising in the polls in Iowa. And perhaps, these ads may help put him over the top. : )

Former Long-time OC GOP Executive Director Picked As New CA GOP COO

Now that Australian immigrant Michael Kamburowski has resigned as COO of the California Republican Party, the Reeps have now chosen Bill Christensen to replace him. Christensen served the Orange County Republican Party as Executive Director fro many years before heading out to Arizona, and then returning to California last year for "Victory 2006".

So can he make things better for the Reeps? I wonder. Red County/OC Blog has more.

Nativo Lopez to Stir Trouble Against SoCal Congressional Democrats

Oh gawd, no! It looks like Nativo Lopez wants to organize protests against Loretta and Linda Sanchez, Xavier Becerra, Joe Baca, Zoe Lofgren, Maxine Waters, and Howard Berman... Basically, he doesn't like any one who supports comprehensive immigration reform. Sigh. Mike Lawson caught it in the Capitol Morning Report, and he has more at The Liberal OC.

Want to Learn How to Campaign? Come to DFA Training!

Have you always wondered what you can do to run a more effective campaign? Are you planning to run for office soon? Do you just want to be a better informed activist? Well, then come to the Orange County DFA Training next month! There is still room available, and we're preparing a great program for all of you Southern California progressive activists coming!

So what exactly do we have in store for you? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So what exactly can you expect at DFA Training? Take a look at this:

Staffers, professionals, and volunteers researched and developed a curriculum for winning local elections and for organizing between elections. We reached out to campaign professionals who shared DFA's vision for grassroots-led democracy. By themselves, none of DFA activists or local candidates would be able to afford this level of professional expertise. With the training we can connect activists and campaigns with professionals to build a sustaining and politically savvy organization.

We'll have workshops on field campaigning, organization building, communications, keeping voter files, and fundraising. Want to figure out how to use the precinct captain program to turn out all the Democratic voters in town? Want to learn the secrets to effective fundraising? Want to know how to use earned media to your advantage? Well, then you need to come to DFA Training and learn from the experts!

Come on, now! Don't you want to come and join us? Don't you want to learn to to build a winning organization?

So will you be coming to Orange County? And will you be coming from some far away location like San Bernardino or San Buenaventura or Beaumont or Del Mar? Need a place to stay during the weekend? Well, you're in luck now! DFA-Orange County has reserved a hotel room just for you!

Take your pick on these hotels where we've reserved an affordable yet comfortable room for you:

1. Comfort Inn, 2620 Hotel Terrace Dr., Santa Ana; 714/966-5200 (front desk)
Rate: $79.99 a night single or double on reservations made before July 4; 30 rooms are blocked
Internet: wireless throughout the facility
Each room has a refrigerator & a microwave
Breakfast: complementary with some hot items
Amenities: hot tub, heated pool,
When calling request 'Democracy For America blocked rooms'

2. Best Western, 2700 Hotel Terrace Dr., Santa Ana; 714/432-8888
Rate: $84 a night single (one king) or double (two queens); 7 day cancellation
Internet: DSL in room and wifi
Breakfast: complementary included
Confirmation #: 306900; request DFA Training Academy block

OK, so we have a hotel room ready for you. We have a space at class waiting for you. We'll have yummy meals ready for you. Oh yes, and we have fun after-school activities that we're planning for you. What else could you possibly want? Go to the Orange County DFA Training Academy page and reserve your spot today! It's $60 for the two-day event, and only $30 for students and low-income attendees.

So don't wait! Don't hesitate! Reserve your spot for Orange County DFA Training Academy today! We can't keep a spot reserved for you forever. ; )

UFCW Says No Strike Yet

The OC Register is reporting that the grocery workers are willing to hold more negotiations with the companies after the strike authorization vote. So can a strike still be averted? I guess we'll have to see how the final negotiations go.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bill Clinton Rocks the House in Newport Beach

Dan Chmielewski attended the latest Orange County fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, and he has the full recap at The Liberal OC. The President had a moving personal story about a New York firefighter stopping him to thank Hillary for her legislative work to get 9/11 first responders funding for treatment of the air they were breathing shortly after the Twin Towers’ collapse. Dan also now has a moving personal story about his 7 year-old daughter meeting the 42nd President (WOW!!). All in all, it sounds like everyone had a great time! : )

OJ Takes on the CA GOP Immigrant Employees Scandal

Ain't Art Pedroza happy that he left the Republican Party BEFORE all this s*** hit the ceiling? Go to Orange Juice for more.

Why the Orange County Human Relations Commission Matters

The Liberal OC sets the record straight, and explains why the OC Board of Supervisors should continue funding for a program that successfully reduces discrimination and promotes greater understanding in our community.

SoCal Grocery Workers Vote for Strike

I just knew this was coming. I knew it was coming. Get ready for another strike at a Vons, Ralphs, and/or Albertsons near you. (From LA Times)

Southern California grocery workers voted Sunday to give their union the right to strike if negotiations for a new contract fail. Union officials said the measure passed by an overwhelming 95%.

Contract talks between the United Food and Commercial Workers [UFCW] union and Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons over a new agreement for 65,000 workers from Bakersfield to the Mexican border broke off late last week. Sunday's strike authorization vote was set by the union after the grocery chains failed to meet a Thursday deadline for a formal offer.

So what exactly happened? Why couldn't an agreement be reached? What's at stake for the grocery workers? What's at stake for the grocery workers? And what happens next? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So why couldn't an agreement be reached? The OC Register explains:

At issue are health benefits, pensions and adding a lower payment scale for employees, who say they haven't had a raise since 2002. A representative for the grocery companies called the vote premature and said store officials remain hopeful that they will get back to the bargaining table this week.

Oh, so the vote is "premature"? And the stores are hopeful that they will "get back to the bargaining table this week"? Well, why couldn't they just work out a fair agreement from the bargaining table to start with? They could avoided all the risk of another strike with a fair agreement.

Take a look at this fact sheet from the UFCW. Profits for the stores have been better than ever, yet the corporate executives at Ralphs (Kroger), Vons (Safeway), and Albertsons (Supervalu) refuse to share any with the workers. The store executives always whine about Wal-Mart and Costco eating away at their market share, yet Wal-Mart and Costco COMBINED only control about 8% of the Southern California market. THAT'S ACTUALLY LESS MARKET SHARE THAN WAL-MART AND COSTCO HAD IN 2003, when the grocery companies were claiming that they need to cut workers' wages and benefits in order to remain competitive against Wal-Mart and Costco. Yet even though all the workers worked so hard after returning from the 2003-2004 strike to rehabilitate the supermarkets, the grocery companies not only refuse to give them any thanks, but they won't even give the workers the fair wages and benefits that they should have been given in 2003.

No wonder why workers were so ready yesterday to approve the strike. (From OC Register)

Union workers, still feeling the effects of a five-month strike ending in March 2004, said they are willing to take the risk of a walkout. Debbie Johnson, a mother of four who has worked at the Vons in Huntington Beach for 27 years, said she's ready to rely on her husband's paycheck for a while.

"I'm tired of playing the game that goes back and forth," Johnson said. "There are other jobs out there. I could go anywhere and not have to do all the (work) I do now." [...]

Eddie Davalos, a dairy department supervisor at an Albertsons in La Habra, said he decided to stay at the company for 15 years because of the good benefits. Under the proposed contract, the co-payments for his three kids' medical visits would go from $25 to $50, he said.

"I feel like it's a slap in the face," Davalos said.

Yep, it really is a slap in the face. These workers are struggling just to keep their heads above water. They're just trying to put some food on their family tables after helping us bring food to our family tables. However, the grocery company CEOs are enjoying record compensation as the companies are reaping in healthy profits. So why can't the workers just get some decent wages and benefits?

Something needs to be done.

So what can we do about this? What can we do to support the workers as they demand a fair contract? Well, we can start by signing the pledge to take your business elsewhere as the companies are forcing this strike to happen. And since we're not shopping at the stores that aren't respecting their workers, we might as well use the store finder to locate nearby grocery stores that are respecting their workers. We can also share these flyers with our friends, family, and neighbors, letting them know what's at stake for the workers.

Whether or not we ourselves are part of the UFCW, these workers are our friends. They are our brothers and sisters in solidarity. Let's show them some.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trung Nguyen Makes Me Laugh

I almost want to feel sorry for OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen after seeing this on The Liberal OC... Except that I just laugh my ass off instead! I guess he really wants to help Democrats win back this seat next year! ; )

(It's just too bad that he has to waste our time and money to do so with these ridiculous lawsuits.)

Vietnamese President Coming to OC...

And Little Saigon isn't liking it. In fact, Orange County's Vietnamese politicians are asking local business leaders to boycott the visit. However, that isn't stopping Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet from throwing a big bash at the St. Regis Monarch Beach! Total Buzz has more on President Nguyen's visit... I wonder if my fabulous Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will be allowed in... Hmmm, I doubt it.

CA-44: Someone's Keeping an Eye on Calvert

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

Ever notice this? I recently discovered this fantastic blog that's covering Creepy Ken Calvert. Eye on Calvert is doing a great job covering everything from the infamous 1993 prostitute incident to all the creepy lobbyist connections to all the global warming denying. You just have to see it all to believe it all!

So why is this blog up and running? Here's a good explanaton:

Ken is corrupt and it is our responsiblity to make sure everyone knows and force the hand of the GOP to get this man out of any position of power. I will post what we find and repost what others have contributed -- all in an effort to show more and more what Kennie boy is all about.

Oh, and mistersmith is already doing a great job at this! If we really want to get rid of Creepy Ken next year, we need to get the message out on just how creepy he really is. And what better way to get the message out than to blog it, and let the message spread out through the internets. And hopefully, voters in Orange and Riverside Counties will find it, and they'll then know what to do.

So what are you waiting for? If you're in or near the 44th District in Southern California, and you want to learn more about one of the CREEPIEST REEPS in our area, go see Eye on Calvert. It will really open up your eyes!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Should Boy Scout Leaders Be Held to Their Own "Scout Oath"?

That's a question that Chris Prevatt is asking at The Liberal OC in the midst of the "Fabulous Getaway to Key West" scandal. Oh yes, and Steven Greenhut agrees with him at Orange Punch. And when Chris Prevatt and Steven Greenhut agree on something... Whoa, the Boy Scout leaders must have REALLY screwed up on this!

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Appoints Gang Czar... Will Santa Ana Mayor Pulido Follow Suit?

Art Pedroza asks at Orange Juice.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of an Ocean View

Nothing says "California" like the coastline. We love our beaches. We love the ocean. And when we live so close to the ocean, we love to see it from the house. But what happens when your precious ocean view is taken away from you? What happens when your "personal space" with that lovely ocean view is INVADED?

"... [T]hat's a real invasion of our personal space," says Anne Kolp, who bought her home more than three years ago believing that the vista would never change. "It looks like a huge ship coming out of the ocean."
(From OC Register)

Believe it or not, this is what the War of Shorecliffs is all about. In a small community in San Clemente, people are fighting over property rights, and what that exactly means. Do we have a right to build a second story to our house? Do we have a right to a permanent ocean view? Do we have a right to preserve the "bucolic" feel of the neighborhood?

San Clemente is just one of many coastal cities that's grappling with this conundrum. OC's southernmost city has an ordinance banning second story add-ons in Shorecliffs. On the other end of OC's coastline, Seal Beach repealed its ban on three story homes. In San Diego County, Solana Beach voters recently passed an "anti-mansionization" initiative. A similar measure was approved by the city council of Manhattan Beach, in Los Angeles County. The entire Southern California coast is grappling with this issue. But is there a fair solution for all of these coastal communities? Do all coastal homeowners have the right to an ocean view?

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

San Clemente resident Robert Strutt wants to add a second story master bedroom suite with a wraparound deck to his lovely Shorecliffs home. He says that he just wants to add more "living space" to his home, and he wants to take advantage of his fabulous ocean view. However, the neighbors don't want Mr. Strutt to add that second story. They're afraid that his taking advantage of his ocean view would lose them of theirs. That's what led to this.

"If Robert is going to go up, that's a real invasion of our personal space," says Anne Kolp, who bought her home more than three years ago believing that the vista would never change. "It looks like a huge ship coming out of the ocean."

But Mr. Strutt thinks his privacy and property rights are being intruded by nosy neighbors who don't want him to improve his own home.

For his part, Strutt says he modified his plans to be less intrusive and that he has a right to build on his property.

"My privacy is as important to me as it is to them," Strutt said.

OK, so Mr. Strutt believes that his right to a second story is being violated by the new ordinance banning second stories in Shorecliffs. However, his neighbors believe that Mr. Strutt would be violating their right to an ocean view by adding that second story. So who's right here? And whose right matters here?

Actually, NONE OF THEM really have any of those rights.

Homeowners do not generally have a right to a view or a second story, experts say. Often, city regulations or neighborhood codes dictate what is allowed.

Cities typically respect the private policies of a community and "have no interest in what goes on inside the gates," said Joseph DiMento, professor of law and society and planning at University of California, Irvine.

Barring that, cities are hardly bashful about changing the rules and sometimes intervene in disputes, experts said. Still, residents will try to overturn unpopular regulations, they said.

"The powers of zoning and land use are for cities," said Matt Parlow, assistant professor of law at Chapman University in Orange.

Ah, ha! So we're really talking about the right of the city to regulate land use within city boundaries! Well, it looks like the City of San Clemente has clearly intervened in this dispute. They're exercising their right to regulate.

But is this the right to do? It depends on what the city is looking to do.

Perhaps the city has an interest in preserving the character of the neighborhood, and in preserving the views of all the homes on the block. Solana Beach seems to have that interest. In a special election this past March, voters narrowly passed the "Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance" that limits the size of homes on the small lots in six neighborhoods west of the 5 Freeway. Manhattan Beach also seems to have that interest. In April, the city council voted to impose a moratorium on merging properties to make way for more massive homes. Most of the residents of these cities wanted to preserve the "small, welcoming beach town" character of these old neighborhoods, and the cities followed through in respecting the wishes of the residents.

And you know what? This interest is legitimate. If the greater community wants to preserve the character of the community, then the elected officials should respect that the desires of the community. Simple as that.

So the major question here is what do San Clemente residents want. What do San Clemente residents want for Shorecliffs? Do they want all homeowners to be able to "mansionize" to their hearts' content? Or do they want the historic character of the community preserved? And do they prefer that every home in the community have an ocean view? Local governments are the ones that have the true right to determine what standards are set for the community. However local governments are supposed to represent local residents, and they should do what's in the best interest of the local community.

That's what San Clemente needs to decide. And that's what all the other California coastal communities struggling with "mansionization" need to decide. What's in the best interest of the community? And what do members of the community really want for the neighborhood? Ultimately, the people in the community must decide whether their beach cities should protect the right to pursue that grand ocean view.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Crazy Dana Pro-Criminal?

(Cross-posted at Ditch Crazy Dana)

Did you hear? Crazy Dana won't endorse ANY Presidential Candidate who doesn't pardon convicted Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. He feels that an injustice has been committed.

Now maybe there actually was an injustice. After all, they did shoot a guy who was entering the nation illegally. And yes, this guy was smuggling marijuana across the border.

But still, this guy was unarmed. This was a clear violation of Border Patrol policy, as well as federal law. Maybe Dan's right at The Liberal OC.

OK, so we have a tough situation here all around. But the United States is a nation of laws and the Bill of Rights applies to everyone in this country even if you are here illegally. The border agents violated department policy and the law. They committed a crime against a person who also committed a crime by entering the country illegally. But as my mom always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.

So why is Rep. Rohrabacher so pro-criminal? [...] Is Dana’s endorsement that critical?

Good question.

Why Is Hillary Clinton #1 in the Polls?

Gila is having a hard time trying to figure that out in The Liberal OC. Why is Hillary doing so well, when most of Gila's friends aren't supporting her? And where are her supporters anyways? Go to The Liberal OC if you think you have an answer.

Drama Abounds at Santa Ana City Council

Go to Orange Juice for the VERY JUICY recap of everything that happened at the Santa Ana City Council meeting last night! Council Member Bustamante was a rent-a-cop?! The city funds Chamber of Commerce propaganda?! The council voted to increase trash fees?! And a Democrat quotes Ronald Reagan??!! You just have to go to O-J to see this!

Listen to the Workers, They Need Affordable Housing

Cynthia Carranco, 16, must do her homework on the seats of dining room chairs because there is no other place to write in the three-bedroom house shared by nine people.

She knows her situation is not unique: A friend sleeps in a walk-in closet, and others also live in crowded conditions.

"Sometimes it's hard being a teenager and not having any privacy," said Carranco, an Anaheim High School student.
(From OC Register)

Cynthia Carranco was one of the speakers at last night's forum on affordable housing in Anaheim. She and the other speakers spoke of their dire need for affordable housing. Yes, there's the controversial push for affordable housing in the "Anaheim Resort" district. You know, the one where Disney is putting up an initiative to "save the resort district". However, there are other battles being fought here as well. Of the 8,700 new homes going up in Anaheim's Platinum Triangle "luxury urban high-rise" development, NONE of them will be available for the lower-income workers who already have jobs in the area. There's a dire need for affordable housing, but that need is just being ignored.

But you know what? It's not just Anaheim. It's the entire Southern California region that's facing this crisis of affordable housing. And what are they doing about it? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

"My prayer is that you guys think of my daughter when you consider whether to put affordable housing in the Platinum Triangle or anywhere else in the city," said speaker Maria Mejia, who shares a mobile-home room with her husband and daughter.

Are we even thinking of Maria and her daughter? Are we thinking of Maria's neighbors at that mobile home park? Do we think of them when they clean our hotel rooms? Do we think of them when they pick up our trash at Disneyland? Do we think of them when clean our plates after we leave the restaurant?

We should. After all, it's getting harder to keep people filling these jobs, as they can't afford to live anywhere in the area. Heck, it's even getting difficult for employers to retain white-collar workers, as even they can't afford housing in such expensive places as Orange County! Just what are we thinking?

And are we even listening?

[Anaheim] Councilwoman Lorri Galloway was the sole City Council member to attend the forum, put on by Orange County Community Congregation Community Organization, a coalition of faith-based groups. [...]

The group asked Galloway to commit to supporting affordable housing as part of Platinum Triangle plans, which she agreed to do.

"It's not the big developers they should be listening to. They should be listening to you." Galloway said to the crowd.

We really should be listening to these workers. They are facing a huge financial burden. And as they suffer this burden, so does the entire economy in Southern California. Workers can't afford to live here, and they can't afford to shop here. And they can only afford to work here for so long, before that high cost of filling the gas tank finally catches up with them. And if companies start to lose their employees, they can no longer afford to do business here. If we can't listen to these workers, then we're not listening to the needs of the local economy.

But are we doing that? Anaheim so far is not.

Statistics were projected on the church hall wall, such as the city's approval about 11,000 homes for higher-income families, but just hundreds for low-income families since 1998.

Developers don't want affordable housing at the Platinum Triangle. Disney and the hotels don't want affordable housing in the "resort district" around Disneyland. So where the heck is affordable housing "permissible"? Where can the workers live? And how long can they keep working here so long as there's nowhere in the entire area where they can afford to live?

Why can't Disney and the hotels and the developers and the Chamber of Commerce types realize that affordable housing for their workers is in their long-term best economic interest? Just how long do they think they can retain their workers if the workers can't live anywhere? Just how long do they think they can can get away with avoiding these long-term crises?

The benefits of affordable housing in the area far outweigh the costs. Employers can keep their employees. Employees can keep shopping at local stores. The city can keep these workers as taxpaying residents. More money is kept in the local economy. Everyone really does benefit in the end.

It's too bad that this problem is playing out in Anaheim. But you know what? It's not just Anaheim. It's Santa Ana. It's Irvine. It's Los Angeles. It's Riverside and San Bernardino (yes, even parts of the Inland Empire are starting to lose their "affordable" edge!). Southern California desperately needs affordable housing. But so far, all our "elected officials and business leaders" want to do is talk about building more "luxury housing" in areas that are already over saturated with "luxury housing".

Well, guess what? We already have plenty of "luxury housing"! What we need is affordable housing for low and middle-class workers! When will we start listening to them, and to their needs?

Monday, June 18, 2007

"The Best Speeches of Barack Obama" Now FREE Online!

(Cross-posted at Obama OC)

Come one! Come all! Get your free e-book! For a limited time, "The Best Speeches of Barack Obama" will be available FREE on PDF!

So what are you waiting for? Go get your FREE PDF copy of "The Best Speeches of Barack Obama"! Be prepared to be amazed!

Lawsuit Against OC Sheriff Mike Carona Hits Federal Court

Bill Hunt, the Deputy Sheriff who was fired after challenging Carona in last year's election, is not giving up on his quest to hold Carona accountable for his "political vindictiveness". Total Buzz has more on the newest lawsuit to hit the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Care About Security? How About Food Security?

Yesterday, I saw this in The Register. And as soon as I saw this, I was stopped in my tracks.

Roughly 2.5 million low-income adults in California can't afford to adequately feed their families, resulting in health problems and household stress, according to a UCLA report released this week.

The report measures food insecurity, which can range from reduced quality or variety of diet to skipping meals because of costs. In 2005, 30 percent of low-income adults statewide reported choosing between food and other basic needs, according to data from the California Health Interview Study. Among them, 9 percent experienced a disruption in eating habits or skipped meals. The study did not include the homeless.

In Orange County, the UCLA report says an estimated 190,000 low-income adults struggle to buy food, and about 36,000 people sometimes go hungry. The numbers don't include children.

Oh my goodness! 2.5 million people in California can't afford to feed their families? And 190,000 of them are in "wealthy" Orange County? 145,000 of them in San Bernardino County? 740,000 of them in LA County? What's happening to these people who can't afford to eat? Why is this happening? And what can we do to solve this problem?

Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So why exactly is this happening? The UCLA report offers a harrowing answer:

"Food expenditures are the most flexible item in household budgets and are frequently squeezed when income dips or unemployment strikes."

So these people are having to give up food as they try to scrape up the cash to pay for the mortgage or the rent, as well as the electric bill, and the heating bill, and the water bill, and all those other expenses. They're having to forgo one of the most basic human needs in order to provide for other basic human needs. Doesn't this seem disturbing? This shouldn't be happening. No one should be going hungry. Not in this nation, not in this state, not in any of our communities.

After all, this creates huge societal problems. Hunger does not only cause a growling tummy. So what can happen when people can't eat? Oh, the children just can't get educated while the adults don't get proper health care.

Back to The Register:

According to the research, children living in households without a sufficient food supply miss more school and experience more emotional problems. Adults are more likely to feel anxious or depressed. Additionally, families are more likely to forgo medical care and filling prescriptions, which affects their overall health.

While it may seem counterintuitive, adults living in households with a shortage of quality food were more likely to be overweight, according to the brief. As a solution, the report recommends helping households receive federally funded help, such as food stamps and child nutrition programs.

We all know the value of education. We know the value of good, preventive health care. We all know the value of good mental and emotional health. This is why we can't all these poor folks go hungry. Their hunger only contributes to greater problems for them, and for others.

So what can be done about this? What can we do to help these people afford something to eat? Well, maybe can support something like the NOURISH Act. The report suggested that the federal government step up its aid for these poor people who can't help themselves in providing food for the family table. Well, Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) has come up with a solution here.

Now I may not always see eye to eye with Joe Baca, but this time he's totally right on:

“We have a moral obligation to feed the hungry. The NOURISH Act includes many provisions to expand assistance to families and improve access for eligible underserved populations. I also propose increasing funding for food banks which provide important help when government programs are not sufficient to meet the rising demands of American families facing hunger.”

We really need to do something about this hidden crisis. The US is supposed to be the richest nation on earth, and California is supposed to be one of the richest states in this nation. And yet, some 2.5 million people struggle to afford feeding their families. This just shouldn't be happening.

The NOURISH Act sounds like a good start toward solving this problem. Perhaps we should thank Joe Baca for this good legislation. And maybe, we should write our representatives, and urge them to support Baca's legislation. We just can't let any more people needlessly go hungry.

Obama ‘08: Yes, He CAN Win

(Cross-posted at Obama OC)

One thing that I hear all the time from my friends backing other candidates for President is that “Obama can’t win”. I then ask why. Why can’t Obama win? They then respond that Obama can’t win the South because he’s black, or that people feel uncomfortable of mized race heritage holding the highest office in the land, or that America isn’t ready for anyone other than a white man holding the office of President. Well, what if I told you that all my friends are WRONG?!

Take a look at what’s in today’s Los Angeles Times. The good news is that American voters overwhelmingly want a Democrat in the White House. The bad news is that they seem to have problems with each of the Democratic Candidates. None of the leading Democrats is beating each and every leading Republicans in a head-to-head matchup. Well, none of the leading Democrats EXCEPT ONE.

Obama was ahead in all the matchups: by 5 percentage points over Giuliani, 12 over McCain and 16 over Romney.

Yep, you saw that right. OBAMA IS LEADING ALL OF THE MAJOR REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES! And you know what? This isn’t really surprising me.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Barack Obama has a special talent of building a strong consensus behind our progressive values. Obama can work for good policy that doesn’t compromise on its merits, but he can also get Republicans behind that good, progressive policy. Obama can present a real message of hope, action, and change, and he can do it in a way that inspires both Republican AND Green voters to change their registration, just so they can vote for Obama in the Democratic Primary. Obama has a special talent for bringing America together, and that’s why my non-Obama friends are wrong when they say that he can’t win.

The time is now for change. The Republicans just continue to sink lower and lower as George W. Bush continues this horrid occupation of Iraq, continues to ignore real solutions to our coming climate crisis, and continues to ingore the health care crisis that unfolding before our eyes. Voters are looking for someone who can change all of this, but they’re not sure that our leading Democrats can change all of this… That is, except that they’re liking what Barack Obama has to say. Now, they need to see us act.

I’m constantly amazed by all the people in Orange County who have never been inspired about a Democrat before, but are inspired by Obama. It’s the formerly apolitical twenty-somethings at Huntington Beach Pier. It’s that guy at the Tustin Chili Cookoff who changed his registration from Republican to Independent (DTS), just so that he can vote for Obama in the Democratic Primary. It’s the coworkers in Irvine who have never really been inspired by a politician before, but seem to really like Obama. They’re coming onto our side, and they don’t care about Obama being black or whether or not he’s mixed race or whether or not “he can win”. They just want better, and they think Obama’s the right person to help us achieve that change.

Let’s keep up the good work, and keep letting these people know that Obama cares about our hopes, and wants to help us achieve real change. It’s really achieving something. It’s shoeing everyone that Obama can win. : )

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Ask a Mexican" at Canyon Democrats!

OK, how many of you know "The Mexican"? Well, do you want a chance to meet one of the greatest writers to ever emerge from "Behind the Orange Curtain"? Then go to Canyon Democrats on Tuesday to see him!

The speaker for this meeting will be The Mexican himself, Gustavo Arellano.

Though best known for his syndicated weekly "Ask a Mexican" column appearing in the OC Weekly, Arellano also writes investigative articles and restaurant reviews for the OC Weekly and opinion pieces for the Los Angeles Times and other publications. An Orange County native, he is a frequent guest on KCRW's "Which Way LA?" and has appeared on the Colbert Report, Nightline, and other television programs.

Arellano will be signing copies of his new book of "Ask a Mexican" essays.

Come on, now! You know you want to see "The Mexican"! You know you want all your "spicy questions" answered. Go to Canyon Democrats on Tuesday, get local, and have a little fun while doing it! ; )

Friday, June 15, 2007

Drinking Liberally with Orange Republican Council Member

You just have to read this from The Liberal OC to believe it. After all the talk over this scandal over stolen campaign signs, the accused sign snatcher (and Orange City Council Member) came to OC Drinking Liberally last night to set the record straight. Wow, a GOP local elected official coming to a progressive event to speak with a "left-wing blogger"... Just go to The Liberal OC right now and read it! : )

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nine Digits Away from a Dream

What would you do if your American dream had to be deferred? And how would you respond when you find out that your dream must be deferred because of nine digits? Yep, nine digits would be separating you from your plans, your hopes, your wishes, your future. Doesn't that seem unfair?

Well, it is. It's quite unfair for all the young people to work so hard to go to college, yet can't access any financial aid because they are undocumented immigrants. And even if they can somehow make it through college, they can't get a job because they don't have those nine little digits. Even though they came here as children, and even though they only remember living here, they are punished for something they had no control over.

So what can be done about this injustice? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

A couple of days ago, I met this guy named Ricardo. He seemed like a nice guy, and like a typical young professional in Orange County who did everything he was supposed to do to succeed. Yet for some reason, he can't.

Ricardo did everything he was supposed to do in high school. He excelled in his classes, and he went on to college. He now has a bachelor's degree in molecular biology. He has a master's in health policy. He wants to serve people in the medical profession. However, he can't.

So why can't Ricardo get a job? He doesn't have those nine digits. His parents brought him here with them some nineteen years ago, and they all came here undocumented. He was only eight years old. He hardly even remembers Mexico. He's spent the vast majority of his life in the US, and this nation is the nation he calls home.

Ricardo never sought to break the law. He doesn't gang-bang. He doesn't deal drugs. He's not some "criminal alien". He's just a smart guy who did everything right and went to school and planned to do something good with his life. So why must he be "punished" for something that he had no control over.

Unfortunately, Ricardo had no opportunity to receive any financial aid. He started school before AB 540 became the law of the land in California in 2003. And since he didn't have those nine digits, he had to struggle just to afford his college tuition.

But even now that he's finished school, Ricardo still has to struggle. He can't get a job. He still doesn't have those nine digits. He's at his wit's end. Without the nine digits, all his dreams must be put on hold indefinitely.

So what can be done? Ricardo's just one person who's been unfairly "punished" because of his immigration status. These young people didn't make a "choice to come here illegally". They didn't just decide to "break the law". They came here as kids, yet they're being punished like adult criminals. What can be done to fix this?

Obviously, AB 540 isn't enough. This only helps immigrant students in California, and it only helps these students go to school. However, it doesn't help them get jobs after school. That's why we need the DREAM Act.

So what would the DREAM Act do? Basically, it would give a path to legalization for people who brought to the US undocumented as children by their parents. In order to qualify, they need proof of having arrived in the United States before reaching 16 years of age ,as well as proof of residence in the US for a least five consecutive years since their date of arrival. Oh yes, and they must have graduated from an American High School, or obtained a GED. Oh, and they must also demonstrate "good moral character," which is defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any drug charges whatsoever).

So what exactly would be done? Here's a quick rundown from the Wiki entry:

Immigrants who meet the above requirements would be eligible to apply for a temporary six (6) year "conditional" residence permit which would allow them to live legally in the United States, obtain driver's licenses, attend college as in-state residents, work legally (including obtaining a social security number), and apply for special travel documents which would allow for travel outside of the country for limited amounts of time.

During the six years of conditional status, the eligible immmigrant would be required to either (1) graduate from a two-year community college, (2) complete at least two years towards a 4-year degree, or (3) serve two years in the U.S. military. After the six year period, an immigrant who meets at least one of these three conditions would be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident (green card) status. During their temporary time, immigrants would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, though they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.

There, now doesn't that sound fair? Doesn't this do justice for people like Ricardo who never sought to "break the law", but just want a chance to do something good with their lives? Don't they have a right to pursue their dreams? Oh yes, and shouldn't they finally just have a chance to get those darn nine digits so that they can move on with their lives? Isn't it only in the best interest of the greater society that they can be productive forces in our society?

So would you like to find out more about the stories of these immigrant students, the story behind the DREAM Act, and why we shouldn't stereotype immigrants? If you're in Orange County, you can watch a special play, "9ine Digits Away from My Dream". You can hear more about Ricardo's story, as well as stories from other immigrant students in Orange County who are struggling because of an unfair system. And yes, you can gain some more understanding, and find out what you can do to change this.

And no matter where you live, you can urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to get the DREAM Act passed in the House. Isn't it time that we stop deferring these young people's dreams? Should we allow nine digits to get in the way of these people's dreams of better lives?

CA-41: Jerry Lewis Knows Little About Science

In case you thought that Crazy Dana Rohrabacher is the only person in Congress who refuses to recognize the reality of climate change, Chris Mooney is ready to dispel that myth at Intersection. Believe it or not,
Mr. Earmarks is amazed by how little we know about science. (From Intersection)

"It's amazing how little we know about the science of our environment and a thing called climate change. Before we automatically throw money into this subject matter we ought to know what we're talking about. Global warming is apparently a problem, but global cooling can be as well."

Yes, believe it or not, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Scandal) actually said that. So why exactly did he say this? And why is anyone taking him seriously? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So why did Jerry Lewis start talking about "global cooling" and throwing money into a subject matter that one doesn't know about? Why did he start talking about an obsolete climatological theory? Why did Jerry Lewis say all that s**t?

Oh yeah, that's right! He doesn't want to "throw money" to the NOAA's climate program! And why should our government actually throw money toward such junk as this?

NOAA's Climate goal is to: "Understand and describe climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond".

NOAA's Climate Goal is an end-to-end endeavor focused on providing decision makers a predictive understanding of the global climate system and to "translate" this information so the public can incorporate the information and products into their decisions. These outcomes are achieved through implementation of a global observing system, focused research to understand key climate processes, improved modeling capabilities, and the development and delivery of climate information services.

Come on now! Who needs more understanding of the global climate system? Who needs more observation of the climate? Who needs predictions and projections? Who needs to understand the consequences of climate change? Who needs understanding of science?

Oh wait, didn't someone just say this?

"It's amazing how little we know about the science of our environment and a thing called climate change. Before we automatically throw money into this subject matter we ought to know what we're talking about."

Oh yeah, that's Jerry Lewis! No, not that Jerry Lewis! Wait, do you think he's looking into a new career in comedy once he leaves that other boring job he's in now? ; )

Oh, wait! Jerry Lewis wouldn't be the first Republican Congresscritter to try his hand at comedy? Remember when Think Progress reported on Dana Rohrabacher's attempt at stand-up back in February?

[...] We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows? We do know the CO2 in the past had its time when it was greater as well. And what happened when the CO2 was greater since then and now? There have been many cycles of up and down warming. So with that said, I think that we’ve had a great discussion today.

I guess it is funny how these Republicans claim that they can't support taking action on the real scientific problem that's global climate change because there supposedly isn't "enough hard science" backing up this "theory"... However when federal agencies like NOAA are doing all the important research and finding the "hard science" that's backing up this theory, they don't want to fund the research. It would be so hilarious if it weren't so real and so dangerous. Climate change is a serious problem, and we'll face some real, frightening consequences if we don't act soon. However, these science-doubting Republicans don't want to take any action on this real global security crisis. And no, they don't even want to fund any research that would help us find real solutions to this real crisis.

So why again are these science-doubters allowed to say these things in Congress? Shouldn't our representatives in Washington be working on solutions to our climate crisis? Oh wait, the House now has that select committee on global warming! Apparently, the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill is taking the climate crisis seriously. However, the Republicans would rather continue denying reality. And so long as science-doubting Republicans as Jerry Lewis continue to disregard scientific reality, they are doing a real disservice to their nation and to their communities.

Jerry Lewis obviously knows little about science, and he knows even less about how best to serve his constituents.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Republicans Didn't Want to See "SiCKO"

And how do I know this? Well, Brian Joseph said so in Total Buzz! He didn't see any Republican legislators in the audience for the special Sacramento premiere of Michael Moore's new documentary on America's health care crisis. Oh yes, and he offers a bit of commentary on why the film is so "powerful".

Wow, I guess I really need to see it. : )

OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen Is STILL in Trouble

The Trung Nguyen fan club has now gone to court to file a complaint about her campaign paying consultant Jimmy Camp out of the account of Janet's illegal legal defense fund set up during the recount. Doesn't this soud crazy? Well, Total Buzz has more, so read all about it. She's not quite out of the hot water yet.

Pedro Guzman: Why Local Authorities Shouldn't Enforce Immigration Law

Remember when I told you about Orange County's program of conducting immigration checks in local jails? Remember when I raised the concern of someone being unfairly targeted for deportation for the simple crime of "looking like an illegal alien"? Well, my concern is now reality. (From LA Times)

The family of an American citizen who disappeared after apparently being mistakenly deported to Tijuana a month ago has filed suit asking the U.S. government to help find him.

Pedro Guzman, 29, a Lancaster construction worker, is developmentally disabled and penniless, and he hasn't been heard from since May 11, said his family at a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday.

Now if this can happen in Los Angeles County, then how long before this also happens in Orange County, and in other places where sheriffs' deputies are expected to enforce immigration law? Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

Remember what I said last month about enforcing federal immigration law at our local jails?

But why do this? Most of those immigrants in jail are incarcerated for rather minor crimes, like tagging a fire hydrant or riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the street. Does that merit being separated from one's family indefinitely? Does a parking violation merit losing one's job and one's livelihood? These are poor, desperate workers trying to survive. Do they really deserve this draconian measure?

And what about those inmates who are here legally, but are unfairly targeted by this system? Is that a real problem that we will face in Orange County? Is it fair to be targeted on the basis of the color of one's skin? Is it fair to be targeted on the basis of "looking like an illegal alien"?

Well, let's see. Pedro Guzman is a US citizen, so he's always been here legally. Pedro Guzman is developmentally disabled, so he probably wasn't all that prepared to defend himself when deputies were asking him about his immigration status. Pedro Guzman was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, so it's not like he's a "dangerous criminal".

I just had a feeling that this system of local law enforcement trying to enforce federal immigration law was a disaster waiting to happen. And guess what? The disaster happened.

Under a cooperative program by state and local law enforcement, sheriff's deputies trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel conduct immigration checks at Los Angeles County jails. The ACLU and immigrant rights groups opposed the program.

"The deputies who interviewed Mr. Guzman are poorly versed in the complexities of immigration law and were bound to make this tragic error," the suit states. "Additionally, the deputies are pressured to process inmates through the (jail system's) Inmate Reception Center as quickly as possible with little regard for his rights, because there are so many inmates to process."

Yes, the deputies already have so much to worry about with all the hordes of inmates in the probation system. And especially in overcrowded jails like those in Los Angeles County, deputies don't have the time to worry about the intricacies of federal immigration law. However, these intricacies are crucial to ensuring that these accused "illegal alien criminals" are afforded their basic rights. And these intricacies are essential to ensuring that US CITIZENS LIKE PEDRO GUZMAN AREN'T MISTAKENLY DEPORTED!

So perhaps those seven OC cities should ignore that grand jury recommendation that they follow the OC Sheriff's lead in meddling in federal immigration law. And perhaps, LA County should stop trying to enforce federal law. Oh yes, and Orange County should do the same. After all, do we want to see more cases like Pedro Guzman's?

Are You Going to Your Regional Delegates' Meeting?

Are you planning to go to your regional delegates' meeting? I think I am! But wait! What are these meetings for? And who can go? Well, if you were elected or appointed as a California Democratic Party delegate earlier this year, then you can go to this meeting and find out what the Democratic Party is doing in your part of the state.

Here's something from the email I got last night that explains these meetings some more:

These meetings are being convened in accordance with the CDP Bylaws which calls for the convening of a regional meeting at least 30 days prior to each meeting of the Executive Board.

The general purpose of the meeting will be to assist in the maintenance and development of the Party organization within each region. These meetings give the delegates in each region time to meet, plan, and coordinate various activities.

So would you like to find out what the Democratic Party is doing in your community? Do you want to find out where your regional delegates' meeting will be? Well, then follow me down below to find out...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So where's your local meeting? Look for your region and Assembly District here:

Region 1
(AD's 2, 3, 4)
Contact Regional Director Robert Haswell for more information at (530) 889-2278

June 24, 12:30 pm
Butte County Democratic Headquarters
1660 Lincoln St., Suite F, Oroville

Region 2
(AD's 1, 6, 7)
Contact Regional Director Mayme Hubert for more information at (415) 457-3914

June 2, 1:00 pm
Washington Mutual Bank-Community Room
700 S. State St, Ukiah
Cross streets: Gobbie & State

Region 3
(AD's 5, 8, 9, 15)
Contact Regional Director Owen Jackman for more information at (916) 989-0296

June 9, 2:00 pm
Sacramento Central Labor Council
2840 El Centro Rd. #111, Sacramento
Cross streets: West El Camino next to Truck Stop

Region 4
(AD's 12, 13, 19)
Contact Regional Director August Longo for more information at (415) 777-1314

June 10, 3:00 pm
Hiram Johnson State Bldg.
455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco
Cross streets: Between Polk and Larkin

Region 5
(AD's 21, 22, 23, 24)
Contact Regional Director Emily Thurberfor more information at (650) 468-4651

July 7, 9:00 am
Hillview Community Center
97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos

Region 6
(AD's 11, 14, 16, 18, 20)

Date and time to be determined

Region 7
(AD's 10, 17, 25, 26)
Contact Regional Director Gary Robbins for more information at (209) 499-3484

June 10, 1:00 pm
Operating Engineers Local 3
1926 N. Broadway, Stockton
Cross Streets: Exit Hwy 99 at Waterloo Rd.

Region 8
(AD's 29, 30, 31, 32)
Contact Regional Director Candi Easter for more information at (559) 227-5947

June 16, 11:00 am
Carrows Restaurant
4280 N. Blackstone, Fresno
Cross streets: Near Ashlan

Region 9
(AD's 27, 28)
Contact Regional Director Shawn Bagley for more information at (931) 758-0776

June 16, 11:00 am
Teamster Hall
931 E. Market St., Salinas
Cross streets: E. Market & Sanborn

Region 10
(AD's 33, 35, 37, 41)

Date and time to be determined

Region 11
(AD's 34, 36, 59)
Date and time to be determined

Region 12
(AD's 43, 44, 45, 49)
Date and time to be determined

Region 13
(AD's 38, 39, 40, 42)
Date and time to be determined

Region 14
(AD's 47, 48, 51, 52)
Contact Regional Director Terrence Montgomery for more information at (323) 292-9146
Date and time to be determined

Region 15
(AD's 46, 56, 57, 58)

Date and time to be determined

Region 16
(AD's 60, 61, 62, 63)
Contact Regional Director John Smith for more information at (562) 943-8527

June 9, 11:00 am
UFCW Local 1428
705 W. Arrow, Claremont

Region 17
(AD's 50, 53, 54, 55)
Contact Regional Director Sergio Carrillo for more information at (310) 910-5072

June 9, 11:00 am
UFCW Local 770
25949 Belle Porte Ave., Harbor City

Region 18
(AD's 67, 68, 69, 70, 71)
Date and time to be determined

Region 19
(AD's 64, 65, 66, 80)
Contact Regional Director RObert Melsh for more information at (951) 276-0016

June 11, 5:30 pm
Millies Restaurant
24626 Sannymead Blvd., Moreno Valley
Cross streets: Heacock & Perris

Region 20
(AD's 73, 74, 75)
Date and time to be determined

Region 21
(AD's 76, 77, 78, 79)
Date and time to be determined

Unfortunately, many regions have not yet scheduled a meeting. Hey, I feel your pain. Orange County's Region 18, where I happily reside, has yet to schedule a meeting. I'll keep an eye on this and the other "to be determined" meetings, and I'll give an update as soon as it's available.

But for all of you who do have regional meetings scheduled, mark your calendars. This is a good opportunity to stay involved in the Democratic Party. A delegate's responsibilities need not end with the convention. Keep involved, and find out what you can do locally to help the party. I know I'll try to... And perhaps, I can start by trying to make sure that I didn't miss my regional meeting. ; )

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Next Nuclear Disaster? At San Onofre?

"Everything they do is done with great secrecy behind closed doors... Their main purpose is to keep everything quiet so they can say: 'Nuclear power is so safe. Just look, we've operated all these years without hurting any of the public.' They have accidents all the time. They just don't call them accidents. They call them 'incidents' and 'occurrences.' Mild? They may be, they may not be, but they are possible precursors to something more serious."

That was Lyn Harris Hicks. She's a 30 year resident of San Clemente, and has lived by the nuclear reactors at San Onofre for all these years. She and the Coalition for Responsible and Ethical Environmental Decisions have been fighting to open up the culture of secrecy pervading the nuclear power plant. And on Sunday, The OC Register decided to join them in unearthing some of the radioactive, dangerous secrets of San Onofre.

Is the power plant really as safe as it's supposed to be? Is it vulnerable to terrorist attacks? Is it vulnerable to accidents? Is it just a disaster waiting to happen? Or is this just all being over hyped?

Well, San Onofre seems quite safe... Isn't it?

Overall, San Onofre gets good grades from the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission]. Seven years elapsed between its last two major enforcement actions. But some neighbors don't trust the commission. Last year, radiation 16 times higher than that allowed in drinking water was found beneath the decommissioned reactor known as Unit 1. The commission called it "troubling" but said it was within radiation protection limits.

Well, maybe things aren't as great as they seem at San Onofre. Even the best and most "perfect-seeming" of systems are still run by imperfect people. And yes, people make mistakes.

So just how safe is the San Onofre plant?

How safe is San Onofre? The last major enforcement action issued by the commission to San Onofre was on Sept. 13, after liquid radioactive waste leaked from a truck in Utah. The tanker's discharge valve was improperly closed and sealed.

The action before that was on Dec. 15, 1999, after operators failed to recognize a condition that rendered inoperable a diesel generator and battery chargers.

While violations serious enough to garner official dings are fewer and farther between than they were a decade ago, there are still many minor incidents – some reported by San Onofre itself. An Orange County Register review of commission reports shows San Onofre workers:

•Improperly labeled a container of radioactive material, which wound up in a chemistry-lab trash can.

•Allowed debris to collect in water-storage tank enclosures, which could block flow in an emergency.

•Failed to promptly identify trapped air in safety-injection suction lines, which could damage emergency core cooling-system pumps.

So just how safe is San Onofre? Aging infrastructure isn't safe. Radioactive water below the plant isn't safe. And oh yes, an open target for terrorist attack definitely isn't safe.

Oh yes, and how about that tritium?

That's not much comfort to Lyn Harris Hicks of San Clemente, who has lived beside the reactors for about 30 years.

She is deeply troubled that radioactive tritium was found last year in groundwater beneath a defunct San Onofre reactor more than a decade after it ceased operations. Public health was not in danger, the commission and Edison said: Every year, people are exposed to about 300 millirems of radiation from natural sources. Anyone in contact with the water would have received about 1/10 millirems.

Harris Hicks is skeptical. "Tritium into the beach is the most important issue to us," she said. "This indicates it may have been seeping into the ground there all those years. We have our young surfers down there all the time. … That's the problem of nuclear radiation, of course. It permeates."

OK, so tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides. But hey, that still isn't saying too much. It's still carcinogenic. And yes, continued exposure to tritium can be quite dangerous. It might just lead to cancer.

So what does all of this mean? No matter how "safe" San Onofre is made, it's still doing something very dangerous. And no matter how "safe" nuclear power is made, it's still very dangerous. And Dr. Helen Caldicott reminds us why:

The people [promoting nuclear power] are not biologists, they're not geneticists, they're not physicians. In other words, they don't know what they're talking about. And that makes me very annoyed. First of all, every reactor produces about [20 to 30] tons of highly radioactive waste a year. The majority of it is very long-lived and will have to be isolated from the ecosphere for hundreds of thousands of years ... As it leaks into the environment, it will bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain: algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish, us.

It takes a single mutation in a single gene in a single cell to kill you. [The most common plutonium isotope] has a half-life of 24,400 years. Every male in the Northern Hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads. What that means to future generations God only knows -- and we're not the only species with testicles. What we're doing is degrading evolution, and not many people understand that.

I guess not. I guess we still haven't realized just how dangerous the health effects of nuclear power can be. And of course, nuclear power plants still aren't prepared for possible terrorist attacks. These things really are ticking time bombs, just waiting to be set off.

So what can we do about it? Well, maybe we shouldn't allow for these nuclear power plants to continue operating. Maybe we shouldn't count on nuclear power as a panacea for our climate crisis. And yes, maybe we shouldn't rely on the unreliable power from nuclear power plants like the one at San Onofre.

So maybe residents in San Clemente like Lyn Harris Hicks do have reason to be worried. Nuclear power isn't reliable. It poses health risks. It creates open targets for terrorists. And perhaps, we shouldn't be counting on nuclear energy to power our lives here in Southern California.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

URGENT! Contact Senator Feinstein to Save Trestles (And Our State Parks)

Remember when Susan Davis' amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill passed the House Armed Services Committee? Remember that this is the amendment that ensures that the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), Orange County's toll road authority, complies with state environmental laws, which means that a toll road can't be built through San Onofre State Beach to Trestles? Remember that the bill moved on to the US Senate after it passed the House?

Well, we have a new problem. One of our own Senators, Dianne Feinstein, is undecided on adding something like Davis Amendment to the Senate's Defense Authorization Bill. I guess she's not sure yet whether California state environmental law is important enough to be enforced.

Follow me down below to find out what YOU can do to ensure that Senator Feinstein votes to enforce the law, protect our coast, and respect the integrity of our parks...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So what can YOU do to convince Senator Dianne Feinstein to save Trestles and urge TCA to extend the 241 toll road legally? Why not send the Senator an email? Why not send a fax to the Washington, DC, office at (202) 228-3954?
Why not contact one of Feinstein's state offices? Let Senator Feinstein know how you feel about preserving the integrity of our parks, and how important saving this unique coastal park truly is.

So what can you say if you send an email or fax? How about saying something like this...

Dear Senator Feinstein:

Please join us in supporting the addition of language to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill that repeals riders designed to exempt the Foothill-South toll road extension through San Onofre State Beach from state and federal law.

In addition, we urge you to repeal the additional rider that authorizes the Marine Corps to grant an easement for the Foothill South Toll Road that permanently encroaches into Camp Pendleton and compromises their mission.

The proposed Foothill South Toll Road is one of the most environmentally destructive projects in California and sets a dangerous precedent for the intrusion into state park lands well beyond Orange County.

At minimum, this project should have to comply with all the same laws as any other similar project – just like those reviewed at the local level every week. Allowing the federal government to override the Coastal Act sets a disastrous precedent, the Marine Corps should use its own professional judgment in how best to safeguard Camp Pendleton from encroachment, without pressure from Congress one way or the other.

Please support Representatives Davis and Sanchez in their efforts to ensure that the Foothill-South Toll Road complies with all laws of the United States and the State of California. In addition, we hope you will go a step further and remove the riders that currently create unprecedented legal exemptions for the construction of the Toll Road through Camp Pendleton.

Thank you for your past support for California’s unparalleled natural resources, and for your willingness to carefully consider the impacts of the Foothill-South Toll Road on our Southern California coastline.

Your Name Here

Or this, if you'd rather not be so loquacious...

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I am a supporter of the Susan Davis amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill, which repeals the legal exemptions for the 241 toll road extension through San Onofre State Park. I’m writing to ask you to vote in favor of this amendment, and also to vote to remove the riders that give the Transportation Corridors Agency so many legal exemptions for construction of this road.

I believe the builders of the toll roads should follow the same laws that everyone else follows and should not be granted special rights or privileges.

Thank you very much for considering this issue, and for your outstanding and long service to our state and nation.

Your Name Here

Now you don't have to write something like this or the longer letter. Just use these as ideas for whatever you'd like to say to Senator Feinstein about supporting the Davis Amendment. Just allow these to inspire you to make her heartfelt sentiments about Trestles and our state parks known to the Senator.

Susan Davis and Loretta Sanchez did what needed to be done in the House to save Trestles and our state parks. So now, it's up to the Senate. And right now, Dianne Feinstein can make the difference between preserving one of our most popular state parks for generations to come and setting a dangerous precedent for state and federal environmental laws to be ignored if they get in the way of a new highway and/or toll road and/or residential development. Dianne Feinstein can make a difference in the Senate this week, and she needs to know that we want her to make that difference.

But first, we need to make a difference. I need to make this difference, and so do YOU. I plan to write to Senator Feinstein about including the Davis Amendment in the Senate's Defense Authorization Bill. Would you like to do the same? Do you care about keeping our parks open for us to enjoy for many years to come? If so, then please ask Senator Feinstein to support including the Davis Amendment in the Senate's bill.

Senator Feinstein can make a difference for the better this week, but first we need to make that difference to urge her to do the same. : )

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Are Republicans Having Enough of the Scandal?

"When your seat is so safe that you're not concerned about perception, you become too wedded to Washington and you lose touch with your constituency, and you lose touch with your real purpose."

Want to guess who said that? Believe it or not, that was Karen Hanretty, a Republican strategist and former California Republican Party spokeswoman. And she was talking to the AP (via The Guardian [UK]) about the lovely Republican Congresscritters like John Doolittle and Gary Miller who
have been caught up in some naughty behavior lately. So what's happening? Are even Republicans starting to desert these crooked cons?

Follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Trash Dirty Gary and Calitics)

So what's happening? Are the Republicans finally waking up and smelling the strychnine? Is the culture of corruption finally too much for them?

The ethics cloud is discouraging the party faithful who've already watched the GOP shrink to minority status in California. And they add to the dilemmas of Republican strategists aiming to retake Congress next year following election losses blamed partly on GOP ethics problems.

``There is a sort of feeling among Republican activists who work hard to elect Republicans of, 'What the heck is going on here?''' said Los Angeles GOP analyst Allan Hoffenblum.

So I guess they're finally asking the questions that we've been asking all along. What the heck is going on here?

Why has Gary Miller been mixing his personal real estate business with his duty as a member of Congress to serve his constituents? Why has he put the desires of a developer in Upland over the needs of the people in his own district? And why the heck did he lie about "eminent domain" regarding that Monrovia land deal?

But of course, Gary Miller isn't the only crooked GOPer here. We also have Jerry Lewis. And John Doolittle. And Ken Calvert. Well, you get the picture. Thanks to all the sleazebags in Congress, California Republicans are in crisis mode.

No wonder why they're such a liability. Even Mr. FlashReport has to admit it:

But their problems make them less valuable allies for Republican presidential candidates looking to compete in California's primary, newly advanced to February. And the ethics clouds discourage a GOP base already chafing at moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's constant compromises with Democrats.

``This is presenting a huge distraction from the debate over ideas that really needs to happen in terms of who's going to control Congress,'' said Jon Fleischman, a GOP activist in Orange County. ``It creates a degree of cynicism that is certainly real.''

Well, I wouldn't consider it a distraction, Mr. Fleischman. If anything, it shows the true colors of these so-called "conservatives". They're more interested in conserving and expanding their personal wealth and power than they are in serving the voters in their districts. That actually plays a huge part in the debate of ideas. It just so happens that all of their "ideas" are just business deals that benefit themselves and are a rip-off to the people they're supposed to serve.

No wonder why even Republicans are starting to have enough of these crooks.