All posts by Ellinorianne

Barking Out the Vote with Sutter Brown

Yes, I admit it, I’ve been a Sutter Brown fan for years now, well,  since he set up shop on Facebook at least.  He’s the First Dog here in California and he’s been touring the Golden State to “Bark out the Vote” for Prop 30.  It’s brilliant really, who doesn’t want to meet Sutter, a well behaved Corgi who has a great sense of humor, is humble and yet takes the people’s business very seriously.

Photo source Sacramento Bee

And today my daughter and I were lucky enough to meet Sutter on one of his stops through California to support Prop 30.  

Sutter arrived to a gift from the Sharon Quirk-Silva campaign which he loved quite a bit.

And not only came to support Prop 30 but took to Sharon right away, letting her hold him for the group photo!

There was quite a turn out to help the Quirk-Silva campaign walk precincts and carry her to victory on Tuesday.  The California Assembly could definitely use someone like Sharon and I am sure Sutter’s Dad wouldn’t mind another Dem in the legislature.  Woof, woof.

But I can tell you, when Charlotte met Sutter, they were fast friends.

And the next thing you know, Sutter has a new body man, Charlotte was clearing the perimeter of dropped food, making sure there were no stray dogs in sight and procuring Sutter some water when he was parched from all the excitement!

But being the sensible dog that he is, Sutter knew when to rest and when to work.  He was gracious and took many photos with his adoring fans and was kind enough to pose with Charlotte.

I don’t have any photos, but he slipped in some sloppy kisses with her too, he must know that she’s an animal love and wants to rescue dogs when she grows up and is trying to figure out a way right now how she can raise money to rescue dogs right now, even though she is only 9.  I’m encouraging her to maybe find a way to use her artistic skills as a means to raise funds to help rescues.  And she also wants to start her own Dog Walking business as well, she’s already called it “Pups and Pals”.

Sutter is an inspiration, to young and old and he’s pounding the pavement to help not only his Dad pass an important Proposition, but to help kids like Charlotte get more funding to her schools.  Charlotte just knows she loves Sutter’s big smile and friendly disposition and just how darn cute he is.

Thank you Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown for lending us Sutter, to steal our hearts and remind us that politics shouldn’t be so serious all the time.  From one of my favorite photos (The infamous Eye Booger assist from Mom) to all the Sutter Cuteness in the State Capital, we love that you have let us into Sutter’s world and shown us that there is lots of joy in advocating for the big and the small ūüôā



Hanging out in Dad’s office!



Sutter approves this message ūüôā



Dictating a letter, so much to do!

And thank you Sutter for being a good sport, it was our pleasure to meet you today!

Sharon Quirk-Silva, She can Win AD-65

Sharon Quirk-Silva, Mayor of Fullerton and teacher of 24 years is running in the newly drawn 65th Assembly District.  Daily Kos put this as “Likely Republican” in their California competitive districts cheat sheet: November 2012 elections

AD-65 – Northern Orange County: Fullerton, Buena Park, Anaheim

Pres 2008: Obama 50%-47%

Gov 2010: Whitman 50%-42%

Sen 2010: Fiorina 50%-41%

Incumbent: Chris Norby (R-Fullerton)

Candidates: Chris Norby (R), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton)

Rating: Likely Republican

This district vacillates between safe GOP and likely GOP, but Norby’s performance in the primary (59%) raised eyebrows on his vulnerability. This area is turning blue quickly as Latino growth explodes, and this election might show exactly how much potential this district has for the Democrats in their quest for two-thirds…

But there’s a rub, since this District only constitutes a third of his old District, Norby has a Challenge, he needs to get his name out there, just as Quirk-Silva does.  People shouldn’t write this one off, the Republicans aren’t.

65th Assembly District (north-central Orange County): GOP Asm. Chris Norby is seeking reelection in this new district that encompasses a little more than a third of the voters in his current district. Norby’s sole opponent in the June 5 Open Primary and now facing in a November runoff is Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva, a member of the Fullerton City Council. She has been a teacher with the Fullerton School District for 24 years. Norby, who outpolled Quirk-Silva 59% – 41% in the primary, should be favored to win in November. However, he is running against a strong opponent who appears to be raising serious dollars – supported by EMILY’s List – in a district that has only a one-point 37% – 36% registration advantage.

And raising serious dollars is an understatement, Quirk-Silva has out raised Norby by almost double before the summer with $62,000 vs. his $33,000.  

This race matters and it can be won.  Orange County is changing in many ways and we have the changing Presidential race on our side as well.  As Mitt Romney’s coattails drag down National Races, could it actually drag down even further down the ticket?  What if he implodes to the point where he affects State Races, could it make a difference for candidates like Quirk-Silva?

Norby has proven himself to have the ability to put his foot in his mouth as well, from voting down extending death benefits for public works to condemning Title IX funding, which made National news earlier this year.  Brandi Chastain was appalled at his comments and the photo of her dismay was plastered everywhere.


Assemblyman Chris Norby contended that Title IX’s advances for women had also meant fewer athletic opportunities for men.

Said the Fullerton Republican: “We need to be honest about the effects of what I believe are faulty court interpretations or federal enforcement of Title IX, because it has led to the abolition of many male sports across the board in (California’s public colleges). And that was never the intention of this, to have numerical equality. It was never the intention to attain equality by reducing opportunities for the men.”

Chastain grimaced as Norby made his remarks, according to the AP, and she wasn’t given a chance at rebuttal because public hearings aren’t part of the resolution process.

USA Today

So not only is Norby vulnerable because of the Romney melt down but his inarticulate attack on Title IX.  I believe Norby is not a shoe in, I think with more support from local communities, grassroots efforts, walking and phone banking that Quirk-Silva has a chance to move this one into our court and we could sure use that extra seat.  I would love to see a Democrat like Sharon Quirk-Silva sitting there too!

Sharon Quirk-Silva has lived in Fullerton all her life, taught there and has been a fierce advocate for families and her community.  I don’t think there really could have been a better candidate for the seat.  Sharon is involved in her community in every aspect possible and she represents the best of what Orange County has to offer regardless of Party.

Methyl Iodide Approved under Industry Pressure

Methyl Iodide was approved almost a year ago by the State of California to be used in the production in many different crops but most widely known in the growing of Strawberries.  It’s been a controversial decision ever since and many State and National organizations have been pushing for not only the State to reconsider this approval but has sued the State and California has also asked the EPA to ban the toxic pesticide all together because of it is a known carcinogen and often used in the laboratory to create cancer.

California Watch has uncovered more evidence that the State’s approval was due to influence by the pesticide’s manufacturer Arysta LifeScience and they went to great lengths to influence the scientific evidence on whether to ban their pesticide due to safety concerns.  And there are many safety concerns.


The Feb. 16, 2010, memo by an executive of methyl iodide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience said maximum exposure levels that the state’s scientists had recommended for workers and people who live near agricultural fields were unacceptable to the company because they were too low.

“It is essential to revisit the toxicology assessment to come up with less conservative assumptions,” wrote John Street, the company’s global head of development and registration.

The memo was addressed to Jim Wells of Environmental Solutions Group, a Sacramento-based consulting firm that Arysta hired to help win regulatory approval for methyl iodide in California. Wells served as director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation in the 1990s.

Street recommended a range of exposure levels Arysta would support and laid out the calculations state pesticide regulation managers could make to arrive at those levels.

Eight months later, DPR managers overruled their own toxicologists – and a panel of expert scientists the department had commissioned to review the toxicologists’ work – and approved the use of methyl iodide at so-called regulatory target levels nearly identical to the lowest levels Street said would be acceptable to Arysta.

Arysta got to dictate what levels of Methyl Iodide are safe for human exposure even though in reality the Department of Pesticide Regulation set those standard much lower.  Why would they do that?  I mean, why would DPR set such low levels?  Oh that’s right, we have such regulations set forth in order to protect human health and environmental resources like water and soil but hey, if the manufacturer of the product, who is set to make a hefty profit by the sale of the pesticide says it’s safe, it must be safe!

Over and over again we are seeing the regulating arms of our Government, that are there to protect consumers, workers and those who live near agriculture (because in the case of methyl iodide, it’s not just about the people who eat the food its treated with, it’s a great health risk to those who work with it and live near it) being bought and sold by lobbyists of the Corporations set to profit dearly.

Ultimately this is not just about a broken system of who gets to say what is done where, but a broken food system that is far too dependent on artificial fertilizers and pesticides that not only puts our health at risk but our very precious resources as well.  We often think of water in California since it’s such a highly demanded commodity but soil should also be seen as a nonrenewable resource.  Healthy, untainted soil is also important to growing food and we are taking that resource for granted.

Helping Homeowners in the New Year

If you are like me, you’ve given some money in the last few weeks to causes you believe in and you’ve given generously.  Even though my family has faced some tough financial times I know we’re lucky to have as much as we do despite a job loss, health issues, etc.  I know that there are families out there that are struggling far more and fairing even worse.

The last decade has seen the further decline of the middle class as massive amounts of wealth as transferred to the top 5%.  For many the last vestige of hope remained in their homes.  That too is crumbling, for many, due to no fault of their own.

And the feeble attempt by the Government to bail out these homeowners has been a failure compared to the massive bail out Wallstreet received and the big banks received from our Government.  There is just no comparison in fact.

Now, anyone here who reads regularly knows that HAMP, etc. has been ridiculously unsuccessful and Foreclosures are on the rise.

State attorneys general and regulators have been pushing banks to perform more loan modifications and the report shows these efforts have had mixed results.

Overall home retention actions taken by banks dropped by 17 percent compared to the second quarter, but most of that was due to decreases in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Obama administration’s leading foreclosure prevention effort.

In the third quarter, HAMP loan modifications slid by almost 46 percent, according to the report.

Of course Republicans are arguing that HAMP is a huge failure and the program should be ended.  The issue isn’t the program (although it could have been a better program) but the banks dragging their feet for months now and the illegal activity involved with the foreclosure process that leaves many homeowners without any protection from their banks is unprecedented.  That is the issue, it is the greed by the banks to put the bottom line before keeping people in their homes.

This is, to me, this is the middle class.  Homeowners make up a huge part of the middle class, those who have invested a great deal in owning a home, putting down roots in a community and investing in an area.  I don’t think it should be seen as a time gone by, I don’t think it should be seen as something that has past because it is part of what makes people want to invest in the common good of their shared communities, those around them.  (And no, I’m not saying that renters do not want to invest in the community around them, this argument always sends my left eye twitching.)  . . .

But I have fallen into that idealistic bunch of people that believe the equity in a home is just one way a family can build some wealth, a middle class to upper middle class family can put money away each month as they pay their mortgage rather than paying someone else’s mortgage.  But ultimately this has been destroyed by the mortgage meltdown, the banking system failure and the absolutely dismal reaction by our Government to protect homeowners and the middle class.  This has been thirty years coming.

And I often hear people say, good.  Let home prices come down, they were too high, screw the boomers, screw the people who bought their houses for too much and let others get in on the market as those prices begin to decline.  This will give so many other people a chance to be homeowners.  (Which is true on it’s own, home prices are down, they were too high and should come down).

And to that I say, why not just be a fucking Republican then?  This is where the downfall of millions is the only way that many can afford a home? (The let them fail mentality)  It’s just not how progressives should think.  It’s not how this progressive thinks and every time I would see that argument, I would shudder at the thought.  It merely allows that right wing meme of the have and have nots win rather than the ultimate issue come down to fair wages, more jobs in the US, and the idea that we have to actually make it where more people can afford to BUY HOMES.  It needs to be both, fair wages and a fair cost of home which would mean more people being able to afford a home, not just sprawling suburbia but condos, townhomes, etc.

These are people.  And so, today, the Wall Street Journal published a piece entitled, “Faces of the Home-Foreclosure Crisis”.  This is what we need to remember.  Every piece of paper has a face to it and every home has a story, a life and family.  Every family is part of a street, a cul-de-sac and a community.

So this is is what I ask of you.  If you’ve read this far, donate $5 to your local legal aid society.   They are doing the work to help keep families in their homes.   You can use Google or go to the link above.  That’s all I ask.

Crossposted from FDL.

Why You Should Vote for Me as a 70th AD Democratic Delegate

Crossposted from the OC Progressive

Being a delegate is important to the Democratic Party of California for many reasons. ¬†It’s not just about picking who is going to be the Candidate for your party, in local and Statewide elections. ¬†It’s not just about going to the State Convention.

It’s about helping chart the direction of the party and representing the people in your district. ¬†And I have very strong opinions about where the party is going and what it needs to do.

California is facing a crisis, a crisis like its never seen before. ¬†Our financial future is on the brink and we are going to see a brand new Jerry Brown as Governor in 2011. ¬†We need delegates who understand what is at stake, what Jerry Brown is going to do with our budget and how to¬†mobilize¬†Progressives to support his plan. ¬†It’s not going to be an easy one.

Calitics has written extensively about the budget battles over the years and the many issues facing the State, from the failing Prison system, the Education system, Environmental issues to the Economy of California and has done so in a pitch perfect manner. ¬†I consider them to be my source for what is happening in California. ¬†They rely on sources like the Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times and many other¬†commentators¬†on what’s happening in Sacramento and then actually cut through the BS.

And yes, I read the Orange County Register. ¬†It’s important to understand exactly how our Republican representatives have contributed to what happens in Sacramento. ¬†It’s a huge piece to this puzzle.

Another important part of being a delegate is understanding what it means to¬†caucus for your¬†causes. ¬†Being involved in particular causes is important, it helps push the party to support issues important to certain segments of the party (such as coming out more strongly to support marriage equality), from women’s issues, environmental issues to educational issues. It helps shape the Party’s platform and it helps push Candidates to support very important issues. ¬†If you’ve been to a Convention, you will know that any serious candidate comes and speaks to the various caucuses and speaks directly to their issues.

My issues? ¬†Education, the Environment and the Economy. ¬†All these are connected. ¬†They each have much to do with social justice issues, from women’s issues, to health care issues to the current mortgage crisis, I believe that everything we are dealing with is connected and that the very web that we rely upon is being undone by a general feeling of distrust that our Government does not work for us. ¬†We must fight this meme and we need to prove otherwise.

Right now, the Government is working, it’s working very well for big banks and others who are showing record profits while the State still posts record unemployment. ¬†It needs to work for the rest of us. ¬†The budget battle will come down to saving Education, our public spaces and making sure that the most vulnerable of us is not completely left without a safety net.

And lastly, being a delegate will mean trying to bring resources down to Orange County for our candidates, that means when we have a Melissa Fox running for Assembly, she gets what she needs to run. ¬†Regardless if she can win, we need the resources so she can do Democratic outreach and to build a larger base of Democratic support so that we can continue to change the color of this County. ¬†It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about giving people a viable choice in a County that historically, for many years, there was no choice. ¬†With over 500,000 registered Democrats, there needs to be Democratic candidates that can get out and do outreach, have volunteers, have phone banking, etc. ¬†We need not just local support, but we need support from the State party that all races matter. ¬†Think of it as the Howard Dean 50 State policy at the California level. ¬†Orange County deserves that attention.

So, this is why I should be a delegate, I understand the things I will need to do and what I need to fight for. ¬†I understand the issues the State is facing, I understand how to lobby the party for progressive issues and I know where our priorities should be. ¬†Without education, there is no future for California, it is a huge part of what made this State golden. ¬† Environmental issues have always been important to me, from sustainable food production to protecting the State’s parks and resources (The water issue is huge and so few people actually understand what it is about, it’s not a fish vs. jobs, that’s for sure). ¬†And the economy is important too of course, it makes everything else run. ¬†It’s far too complicated to put in one sentence, but it does come down to making it work more fairly for all, not just very large corporations (Small businesses in California are struggling).

I ask for your vote and I encourage you to write to me. ¬†[email protected] if you have any questions. ¬†Thank you.

The 70th AD includes the following cities: Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods.  Even if you are not in the 70th, if you know Democrats who are there, I ask that you encourage them to be involved in the Delegate voting process and vote for me!

Here are the details of when, where and how to vote.  

Date: Saturday, January 8

Time: 12:30pm

Location: University Hills Community Center

Address: 1083 California Avenue, Irvine, CA 92617

Cross-street: Gabrielino

Onsite Phone: (949) 824-7345 (sales)

Convener: Steve Young

(949) 640-4400

[email protected]

Who can vote? Here is a FAQ on the process: http://www.cadem.org/admin/mis…

A person may participate in the ADEM if he/she:

A. Is a Democrat residing in and registered to vote in the Assembly District (by the

October 18, 2010 deadline, unless the person turned 18 or was naturalized after

deadline, and is registered or registers onsite);

B. Pays a $5 donation to defray the cost of the ADEM or signs a form declaring that to pay the fee would constitute an economic hardship;

C. Signs in on a form (to be provided by the CDP) indicating his or her willingness to

assume an organizational responsibility for one or more precincts within the district or to assume another specified organizational responsibility for the Party. The form will note that the person signing agrees that their contact information will be shared by the CDP with other chartered Democratic organizations. An indication by a person signing the form that they are not willing to take such responsibility shall not be grounds for disqualifying that person from participating in the ADEM.

“The True Cost of Gas”, Tell the Senate to Pass Real Climate Legislation!

I wrote about the issue this week because of a great piece at Alternet, Gas Is Really Costing Us About $15 a Gallon and tied it together with another piece about OPEC, OPEC and Low Oil Prices, ‘Raising the entry barrier for alternative fuels’.

It’s an issue that cannot be covered enough, especially since we’re seeing the environmental impact on our very shores and the external costs around the globe in disasters.

The external costs are those not added to the true cost, the cost we pay at the pump and those who usually pay that cost are the poor, the least of us who live on the outskirts of our society, either in our own Country or Globally in less developed Countries.

But as the Gulf nightmare has shown, the costs will become more apparent at home.  

And so the efforts of organizations like the National Resource Defense Council and anyone who is willing to talk about the issue should be applauded.

They currently have an amazing piece up by Ryan Reynolds (MY new hero, because he is also producing a documentary about a very wonderful Orca named Luna, who’s story is as tragic as it is beautiful), The True Cost of a Gallon of Gas.

The conclusion is the most important part, the true cost of gas is impossible to calculate because to try to measure the worth of biodiversity, the health of our children affected by pollution, the loss of habitat, I think it’s beyond our grasp to try to put it into small numbers before a dollar sign.  But it’s what we seem to live and die by.  

It’s easy to vilify Big Oil after a tragedy like this, but there are still hard working people in that industry who need to put a roof over their heads. I firmly believe we can pass clean energy and climate legislation and by doing so, put millions of Americans to work.

But we have to ask for it. We have to petition the government to move this kind of legislation forward. The Senate failed to do it this summer, but we should call on them to do it this fall.

If the voices are loud enough, lawmakers will start to listen and (if only in the interests of self preservation) begin to move the country in a new direction.

I think our approach to energy is going to change one way or another. Eventually the Earth will make us change. It would be great if we could get in front of that — and better still, be here to enjoy it.

It is easy to point fingers at big oil, what it comes down to is putting more and more Americans back to work and attempting to put big oil down at the same time.  It’s a hard sell.  They have a lot of money backing them, money to burn.

Not only does OPEC like the idea of cheap oil to keep alternatives outpriced and out of the market.  But you’ve got big players like Koch spending money to crank up the anti-global warming rhetoric.  Greenpeace traced their dirty money and all the players they fund to keep talking up the free market deniers on our airwaves to muddy the waters and keep people in denial.  It works too.  I wrote about it here.

But as Greenpeace has done, they aren’t just pushing back on Global warming, they are also pushing back on alternative energy, Bill Koch: The Dirty Money Behind Cape Wind Opposition.

III. OPPOSING CLEAN ENERGY

Funding Cape Wind Protests Bill Koch has a nearly five-year history of opposing one of largest renewable energy initiatives in America. Cape Wind, a project to develop the country’s first offshore wind farm, has received a significant amount of media attention, not only for its prominence as the first major proposal of it’s kind, but also for the manufactured opposition from wealthy individuals like Bill Koch.

According to the project’s developer Jim Gordon and his company Energy Management Inc., Cape Wind calls for the construction of 130 wind turbines off of Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.34 While the project is expected to produce 420 megawatts of energy, providing Cape Cod and the surrounding islands with three fourths of the area’s total electricity needs, Koch has been vehemently against Cape Wind. Koch has a home overlooking the Sound in Osterville, Massachusetts, and has been quoted in a variety of publications stating that Cape Wind would ruin the beauty and hinder his sailing in the area. “Who would want to sail in a forest of windmills?” said Koch, in a 2006 Forbes article.35 “I don’t want this in my backyard.”

According to capewind.org, the turbines will be visible 440 feet above the water. Point Gammon is the closest land area to the development, at a distance of 5.2 miles and Nantucket is the furthest away at 13.8 miles. The Web site also adds however that Cape Wind is “farther away from

the nearest home than any other electricity generation facility in Massachusetts.”36

Koch’s opposition to Cape Wind surpasses his verbal protest and manifests in his role as chairman for a front group that he also supports financially. He has been one of the largest donors to The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, one of the most recognized adversaries of Cape Wind. Formed in 2001, the group collects donations in efforts to lobby against the building of the wind turbines, and in 2006 had raised $11 million, 90 percent of which has been donated by Koch and

other wealthy opponents of the project.37 Koch, who serves as the group’s co-chairman, has given at least $1.5 million to support the cause.38 Other donations have come from extremely wealthy individuals like Paul Fireman of Reebok, who gave $250,000 and Michael Egan, son to the founder of EMC Corp., who gave $150,000.39

Evidence shows that the Alliance is particularly strategic in how they solicit such donations. In 2006, the Boston Globe reported that an internal fundraising guide from the Alliance shows that the organization has specific steps for wooing a donor. The 35-page guide teaches fund-raisers how to meet a donor, court them at home and engage them with a follow-up call. According to the Globe, the guide makes statements such as, “Don’t be afraid if there is silence, allow them to think about their response,” and “Highlight fund-raising successes to date, but our success will depend on major donors at the six-figure level.” The guide explains that small donations, such as $5,000, are frowned upon and viewed as “token gifts.”40

Oxbow Lobbyists Against Cape Wind

In addition to being the largest identified funder of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Bill Koch has also funneled $1 Million dollars to lobbyists to fight Cape Wind through his company, Oxbow Energy.41 By using his company as the conduit for these lobbying payments from 2005 to

2007, Koch helped the Alliance not exceed their limits for lobbying expenditures as a tax-deductable not-for-profit charitable organization. 42

Koch’s use of Oxbow to funnel money to lobbyists against Cape Wind started surreptitiously, with payments from Oxbow to the lobbying firm U.S. Strategies. That firm then paid other lobbyists to work against Cape Wind, including Kessler & Associates.43 This lobbying activity coincided with a

widely criticized move by members of the Alaskan delegation in Congress working with opponents to Cape Wind. The delegation attempted to attach language to a Coast Guard Reauthorization Act in Conference Committee that would have singled out Cape Wind and prohibited it from being permitted.

It was a lobbyist being funded through Koch’s company Oxbow that set up the first meeting between Alaskan Congressman Don Young and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Young inserted anti-Cape Wind language into the conference bill shortly thereafter.44 Due to a strong bipartisan outcry, the anti-Cape Wind provision was later significantly modified so that Cape Wind could continue forward in its permitting process.

Koch’s role in lobbying efforts against Cape Wind were revealed again in a 2008 Boston Globe article that described a lobbying disclosure form showing Oxbow along with the Alliance as the funders of yet another lobbying firm, BKSH & Associates, against Cape Wind.45 This was the

first time that Oxbow Energy and the Alliance were listed on the same lobbying disclosure form for anti-Cape Wind lobbying which the Alliance and Oxbow would later claim was a ‘mistake.’

The efforts of Koch and the Alliance were defeated this past April when U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the project, making it America’s first offshore wind facility.

Bill Koch: The Dirty Money Behind Cape Wind Opposition  Used with permission from Greenpeace, They want as many people as possible to spread the word!

It’s not just money behind the scenes, we know that, it’s lobbyist money, it’s money given to think tanks to put pundits on the TV to try to convince Americans that climate change is not real and, as we learned this week, Fox News, the mouthpiece for the Republican party is not staying on the sidelines either when it comes to the money game, 1 million dollar donations are not “fair and balanced” (Not that I had an delusions otherwise).  

This is about buying public opinion and continued complacency so that we will continue down the same path that keeps a very few people and corporations rich while many pay the price for our dirty energy dependent society.

Corporations can buy candidates, the Supreme court said so.  But we can vote.  We can lobby for better legislation, we can talk to our neighbors and tell them that what we see before us, the world that is changing around us, this is not an illusion, it is reality.

We cannot afford to pay for cheap gas anymore in the lives lost, in the cost to our environment, to the cost to our oceans, air and our future.  These costs are far too high and the stakes are so much more than any of us could imagine.

Take action, tell your Senator to act on Climate legislation.  Not later, not when it’s too late.  

I am extremely disappointed by the Senate’s failure to address the governmental and corporate failures that led to the BP oil disaster. The inability to respond to a great environmental catastrophe, coming on the heels of the failure to deal with climate change, is astonishing. By doing nothing the Senate has failed to create American jobs, increase our security and protect the environment.

The BP blowout has disrupted the lives of millions on our Gulf Coast. The well may finally be plugged, but we are still left to wonder about the long-term effects of millions of gallons of oil and a million-plus gallons of chemical dispersant on our health and the environment. It will be a long time before we fully understand the consequences.

But we already know the costs of inaction on clean energy and climate legislation. Every day since the Senate failed to act:

 — America falls another $210 million behind in clean energy investments;

 — we miss the opportunity to create nearly two million good-paying clean energy jobs; and

 — we import another 491 million gallons of oil, raising the price of oil, which gives Iran — a recognized sponsor of terrorism — another $173 million dollars in oil profits.

And while the Senate fails to act, temperatures keep rising. In fact, since 1985, every single month has seen global average temperatures higher than the average for all of the 20th century. As a result, more than one third of U.S. counties face higher risks of water shortages in the coming years.

You still have an opportunity to invest in our workers at home, to stop sending billions of dollars overseas, to slow the rate of climate change. But this will require your active leadership in making sure the Senate takes action now. There is still time to get the right legislation enacted, a bill that responds to the Gulf spill, limits carbon pollution, ends our oil dependence and creates new, clean-energy jobs throughout the country.

Tell California lawmakers not to Approve Cancer Causing Pesticide

We need to do something about this and we have little time.

You need to do something, even if you don’t live in California, this needs to be stopped because California is the largest Strawberry producing State.

So what’s so awful about methyl iodide?  Well, it is a carcinogen, a neuro-toxin and anyone who studies it uses the utmost precautions, from gloves, to respirators and they want to spray this on the soil that we grow our food in!

According The Pesticide Action Network methyl bromide is known by the State of California to cause cancer and can be used in the lab with great predictability to do so!

This pesticide is used on the soil before strawberries are planted and tarped to kill anything in the soil.  But according to the report by the Department of Pesticide Regulation it’s just beyond uncontrollable.  This threatens our water safety, worker safety and public health.  Why would we approve such a toxic product to be put anywhere near our food?


Based on the data available, we know that methyl iodide is a highly toxic chemical and we expect that any anticipated scenario for the agricultural or structural fumigation use of this agent would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health. Due to the potent toxicity of methyl iodide, its transport in and ultimate fate in the environment, adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible.

Do you need to read more?  We need to act now, not just in California but all over the US, to stop this poison from being approved for use in California because much of what we grow here is eaten elsewhere.  

And it’s not too late for the rest of the Country either!  Pending this review by California, the EPA says it will reconsider the decision, we can also ask the EPA to revoke the use of this pesticide on our food.  We must!

TAKE ACTION¬Ľ

Call The Governor

Methyl iodide is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used in the lab to cause cancer. Scientists say it “cannot be used safely,” yet DPR has proposed approval. We have until the end of June to register public concern. Call  Governor  & demand that methyl iodide not be approved: (916) 445-2841

Sign the Petition to EPA

Public comments accepted through June 29. Sign our petition to say no to methyl iodide.

Email the Department of Pesticide Regulation

Submit your comment to CA DPR by emailing here: [email protected]

3.31.10 :: A Legal Petition was submitted to U.S. EPA urging a rethinking of their national decision. Sign the petition.


24 hours to stop methyl iodide. Please call now.

Key Sacramento representatives have the opportunity to block the registration of methyl iodide in California during the next two days. They need to hear from you in order to take action. Tell them that our health and water are too important to compromise with a chemical that causes cancer, late-term miscarriages and “chronic, irreversible brain damage.”

Instructions: Political insiders tell us that one phone call is worth dozens of emails.

1) Call California Senators & Assemblymembers, using the suggested talking points to get you started. Below, you will see Senator & Assembly members’ phone numbers. Make your call, then;

2) Tell a Friend with the feature below.

Talking points for your call:

I am calling to ask [Assemblymember/ Senator X] to ensure that methyl iodide is not registered for agricultural use in California. As you consider the budget of the Department of Pesticide Regulation, I urge you to ensure the Governor is unable to register toxic methyl iodide.

As a resident of California, I am extremely concerned about the health and environmental effects of this toxic chemical and believe it is the responsibility of the Senate and DPR to protect me and my family from such poisonous substances. Although I support the decision to phase out methyl bromide, I don’t think replacing one dangerous chemical with another upholds this responsibility in any way, especially when alternatives exist. From farms like Swanton Berry to strawberry giants like Driscoll, farmers know how to grow strawberries and other fruits and vegetables without toxic fumigants.

I am so concerned about methyl iodide because:

¬Ľ Methyl Iodide is a known carcinogen, a thyroid disrupter, a neurotoxin and may cause miscarriages.

¬Ľ It is used in laboratories to create cancer cells for scientific research.

¬Ľ Methyl Iodide will contaminate our groundwater.

Call these Assemblymembers and Senators

Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (D), Chair – Imperial

(Southern San Diego, all Imperial County, Coachella, Chula Vista, El Centro, Calexico, Imperial Beach)

916-651-4040

Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D) Vice Chair – Van Nuys

(Van Nuys, Northridge)

916-319-2040

Senator Mark Leno (D) – San Francisco

(San Francisco, Marin, West Sonoma)

916-651-4003

Senator Alan Lowenthal (D) – Long Beach

(Long Beach, Bellflower, Artesia, Bellflower)

916-651-4027

Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D) – Los Angeles

(North Hollywood, Pacoima, San Fernando, Panorama City)

916-319-2039

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D) – East Bay

(Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, Moraga, Richmond)

916-319-2014

Primaries Matter in the 70th Assembly District

Gary, my husband, got a sample copy of the OC Register this Sunday and we were quite happy to see two Democratic Candidates along side the four Republican primary candidates for the 70th Assembley district race.   How often does that happen?

It doesn’t really, unless there is a primary. ¬†This is the new reality for Democrats in Orange County and why primaries matter.

Candidates crowd Assembly field to replace DeVore

Melissa Fox

The Democratic side of the draw features two Lake Forest attorneys – a former Kansas state legislator running a low-key bid and a first-time candidate who’s been aggressively campaigning for the past year.

Both return-candidate Michael Glover and newcomer Melissa Fox say they can upset the GOP nominee. Fox points out that Barack Obama beat John McCain in the district in 2008, that a ballot measure calling for parental notification for abortions failed in the district, and that the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage passed in the district by less than a percentage point.

“The seat is not as far away as it might seem,” said Fox, an Orange County native.

The two candidates offer few distinctions on policy, and both acknowledge that an ability to appeal to Republicans and unaffiliated voters is key. Fox, 42, has outworked Glover on the campaign trail – knocking on voters’ doors, raising money and building the kind of relationships that have resulted in endorsements from the California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, California Federation of Teachers, California National Organization for Women, and Equality California, among many others.

Michael Glover

Glover, who fell 16 percentage points short of defeating DeVore in 2008, acknowledges Fox’s advantage among establishment Democrats

“Maybe I made a mistake by not getting to know more Democrats,” he said

But he has some of the most specific policy positions in the race – including the legalization and taxation of marijuana – and he has the experience of serving from 1973 to 1980 in the Kansas Legislature.

“I’m running because I’m the best qualified candidate,” said Glover, 62. “When I get to Sacramento, I know how the sausage is made.”

You see, it’s compelling! ¬†And it means OC Register readers see that Democratic candidates exist and they are running in primaries and that we want these seats too. ¬†That it’s not a one party system Orange County anymore.

Why is that good for not just Democrats?  That means Republicans have to debate their ideas, they have to define themselves and hopefully that means they have to become a bit more moderate if they win.   Orange County has over 500,000 Democrats as well as many Declined to State voters who are also their constituents.  Primaries matter.

And this Primary matters a great deal to not only to me, but to Orange County Democrats. ¬†I’ve been pretty clear about who I support and I’m voting for Melissa Fox. ¬† ¬†And I believe that Michael Glover also has every right to run, it’s obvious this primary has been good for us. ¬†But when it comes to game time, to the general election, is Glover going to run as hard as Melissa Fox has in the Primary?

Melissa has garnered endorsements, not just a few but a lot,¬†endorsements ¬†you have to WORK hard for. ¬† I’ve watched her run from meeting to meeting, luncheon and dinner, I’ve seen her work a room like a candidate but also like someone who really cares about what she does. ¬†Melissa has a way of making every single person she meets feel important and part of her mission, which should be every Orange County Democrats goal, to be heard in Sacramento.

Melissa Fox reaches out to every¬†constituency, small and large and makes it a point to learn about all the issues. ¬†She came to Oak Grove Elementary School and walked the picket lines with our teachers and listened to what they had to say about the CUSD issues, all of which would cover the 70th AD. ¬†Melissa is engaged and inquisitive and most of all, she’s positive, her energy level is obscene, I’ve witnessed her outrun everyone in her team and just keep going. ¬†This is who I want representing me in Sacramento, this is who I want representing me as a Democrat on the ballot in November.

It can’t be about just knowing how the sausage is made. ¬†We’ve got lots of ¬†people in Sacramento representing us now, who know a lot about making knackwurst¬†and all the other kind of stuffed goodies, but that’s not really gotten us very far, has it? ¬†The only way things can change is we have a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and the Senate.

The last thing we need is someone running a “low-key bid” in the general election.

It’s about making sure that the things that work get funded and the things that don’t work get re-examined. ¬†And I want someone who is willing to work and learn and who will run in the General election like they’ve been running in the Primary. ¬†For me, that’s Melissa Fox.

Here is a campaign video that Melissa Fox for Assembly put together, take a look.  And most important, vote this primary, please.  Primaries MATTER!

And, here is Melissa’s website if you want to learn more.

Joe Shaw — Huntington Beach City Council Candidate

(Joe is a great guy and would make an excellent City Council member. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

This is going to be a diary about my friend Joe Shaw, who is running for Huntington Beach City Council and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.  It’s a diary I promised myself to write because Joe is one of my dearest friends who has been there for me over the last couple of years in ways that no one else has.  

But let me start with the story of the Blosa Chica Wetlands via the Bolsa Chica Land Trust…

Satellite photo via Google Earth


The Bolsa Chica Land Trust was formed in 1992 by a small group of Californians who believed that one of the last standing wetlands ecosystems in Southern California was worth preserving for future generations. The Land Trust now includes more than 5000 members from throughout California and twenty other states.

The mission of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust is to acquire, restore and preserve the entire 1700 acres of the mesa, lowlands and wetlands of the Bolsa Chica, and to educate the public about this natural treasure. The Land Trust conducts educational programs to build awareness about the role of the Bolsa Chica wetlands system in the natural and urban environment, and tell the story of its rich history. The Land Trust’s Bolsa Chica Stewards have been working since 1996 on the mesa re-vegetation project.  Over 2000 volunteers have spent thousands of hours replanting the mesa. More than 8,000 native plants have been planted at the Bolsa Chica Mesa. Over 15,000 volunteer hours have been logged. Volunteers of all ages are bringing the Mesa back to life.

Huntington Beach is where I grew up and the Bolsa Chicas are a big part of HB life, the beaches, the surfing and the other amazing ecological preserves (Joe is also a docent at the Shipley Nature Center).  And many residents in Huntington Beach and Orange County have fought for years to restore this amazing ecosystem.

Wetlands are important for many reasons, they actually sequester more CO2 than Rain Forests and provide habitats for many migrating birds on their way to the artic, some of which are endangered (Brown Pelicans, Snowy Plovers, Peregrine Falcons, White-tailed Kites, and Light-Footed Clapper Rails).  

Wetlands help prevent beach erosion and also help a great deal with urban run off mitigation before that water reaches our oceans.  It is also an amazing place to find a huge amount of biodiversity, from plant to animal life and is so important as environmentalist to protect and preserve.

But unfortunately, the Wetlands is endanger again from more development issues.  

HB Planning Commission Votes Against Bolsa Chica,

and Allows More Housing on the Mesa

Commission votes 4-3 to change open space zoning to residential

to benefit bankrupt developer Hearthside Homes.

Bolsa Chica, and the people of Huntington Beach lost a round Tuesday night in the battle to maintain open space zoning on part of the Bolsa Chica Mesa; a zoning that protected the area from development.

When Commissioner Elizabeth Shier-Burnett implored her fellow commissioners to explain what public benefit could come from changing the zoning, she got no good answers, but four commissioners voted to change the zoning anyway.

Planning Commission Chair Blair Farely, Commissioner Shier-Burnett, and Commissioner Tom Livengood are to be commended for their votes against the zone change.

Commissioners Janice Mantini, Fred Speaker, John Scandura, and Barbara Delgleize voted to change the existing zoning on the land that protected it from development so Hearthside Homes, the developer currently in bankruptcy, could profit.

This however, is not the end of the story. This issue will be appealed to the City Council. The Trust will work very hard to educate our council members as to the reasons the environmental studies were inadequate, as well as to why the zoning on this land should not be changed. As soon as we know when the City Council meeting on this issue is scheduled, we will let you know!

The Bolsa Chica Land Trust was formed 18 years ago to preserve Bolsa Chica, and we remain true to our mission. If necessary, the Trust will take our fight all the way to the courts to protect the land on the Bolsa Chica Mesa.

This is it, this is why we need Joe.  Three of the four votes on this commission are running for City Council and could very well collect donations from the very developer that could profit from building these homes on the buffer zone that boarders the Bolsa Chicas.

There is a reason for a buffer zone.  And there is a reason why Huntington Beach ensures every time there’s an open seat that they have to run someone who will protect the Bosa Chica’s from further land development.  This battle is never ending.

But why support Joe Shaw?  Joe’s not just some guy in Huntington Beach, he’s a long time Kossack, joeesha user id? 2344. His first diary? I am a delegate.  Joe’s a professed Deaniac and he’s still highly involved in our local DFA chapter.  He emcee’s meetings and I go so I can see him in person now and again.  I said I loved my Joe.

Joe is an environmentalist’s dream.  He got an early endorsement for the Sierra Club for one thing.   He’s served on the board for the Orange County League of Conservation Voters.  He not only planted his own Native Garden, he’s promoting it as part of his campaign (and Charlotte, Gary and I were there to help dig the holes and plant the natives that day as well!).  

Joe also worked his ass off for Debbie Cook’s Congressional campaign in 2008, one of the greenest candidates in Orange County ever.

Joe Shaw also works on other local campaigns, supports so many in the County and is involved in Central Committee and is still a State Delegate.  When my husband Gary ran for State Senate in 2008, Joe was one of the very first people to go to Gary and say, how can I help?

This is Joe Shaw.  This is my dear friend.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and he will jump over the moon to help anyone who needs it.  I want to help him.  I can’t donate money to his campaign because of my own financial circumstances.  I can give time and I can write diaries.  This is the diary I wanted to write.

Joe is also an openly gay man in Huntington Beach, not one of the most liberal cities in Orange County, California.  But he’s out and he’s proud and he is also involved in the GLBT community and has been for years.  I could go on forever why I love Joe and couldn’t ever tell you how much he’s helped me personally over the past few years.  But he has.  So I want to help him.  It’s why I fought Prop 8 so much, it’s why I want to fight here for him.  It’s why I am I so lucky to have people who understand my passion for the environment and who get me, my love of blogging and support that effort (Hello, Joe put up OC Progressive along with Gus so I could write locally).

I don’t know if I have anyone as good of a friend as Joe in my life right now.  And I don’t know if I could think of life without him at this point.  He’s been my rock and if I need someone to talk to, there’s Joe.  If I need a hug, or a scream.  I have Joe.  Everyone needs a friend like Joe.

And here’s what a Snowy Plover looks like, one of my favorite birds of the Bolsa Chicas.  We saw some babies when Charlotte and I visited the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, unfortunately they might be very busy soon because of the River of Oil in the Gulf.  This rescue center specializes in animals affected by oil spills.  Another great resource in the heart of Huntington Beach.

Yep, this is where I’m going to ask you to give five or ten bucks to Joe, for me, for his community and for the Bolsa Chica’s.  Even if I only raise $50, it is worthwhile because I love my Joe.  So does my daughter Charlotte, by the way.

Capistrano Unified – Corruption Galore

There is a path to follow in this series regarding the mess here in South Orange County and the Capistrano Unified School Districts Board of Trustees.  The big picture needed to be outlined in one diary, to show how this board was working against the teachers and the bargaining process.  It was merely a snapshot, the picture is bigger and it has been going on for years.

The second piece of the puzzle has to do with¬†Education Alliance, a Political Action Committee in Tustin, CA and a number of other political entities hell bent on dismantling public education (And opposing other important political issues such as health care reform and climate change legislation) so that they can privatize and funnel money into charter schools.  

The argument of the Charter school people is that Capistrano Unified isn’t working, even though it is ranked as 137th in the State out of 870 school districts and it’s the highest ranked school if you consider it’s size by number of students. ¬†Capo also has an amazing¬†graduation rate with over 95% of their students graduating high school with the State average at 79%.

The district is working, the teachers are the reason why our schools are competitive and the students are high achievers as well as passionately involved parents. ¬†Pacific Research Institute would like you to think otherwise, that communities like Capo are dysfunctional. ¬†PRI has been touting their documentary,¬†Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School which attempts to paint this as an issue of public education, which it is not. ¬†It’s an issue of corrupt and ineffective board of trustees. ¬†And they were corrupt, it’s why so many parents wanted them gone, so beginning in 2006, recall candidates started to replace the corrupt board and replace it with new slate of “reform” candidates who would restore out district to sanity and transparency, or so we thought.

And the story to be told here is about another Board of Trustees that has replaced the last bunch by taking advantage of angry, hurt parents in a unimaginable situation. ¬†This is about the current board of Trustees and it’s not pretty.

“We have been engaged in this battle for many years and it just came to a point where it made sense to end this litigation,” said plaintiff Tony Beall, a Rancho Santa Margarita city councilman and a leader of Capistrano Unified’s “reform” movement.

The settlement agreements were authorized by Capistrano’s “reform”-minded school board, the same group many of the families in the lawsuits helped elect. Indeed, the leaders of the politically popular “reform” movement – including Beall and Tom Russell – will receive some of the $653,350 settlement money.

Trustee Ken Maddox defended the board’s decision to award money to some of the parents who helped get him and his colleagues elected, saying it was “silly” to suggest a conflict of interest.

OC Register

Emphasis added by me

Silly? ¬†Really, you think that’s silly?

I don’t think it’s silly, I think it’s a¬†valid point, that Tony Beall, Republican Mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita and political backer of Winsten received settlement money from the board of Trustees just months after he was sworn in.

Capistrano Dispatch 12/12/08 – Winsten was sworn in by reform committee leader Tony Beall (Beall was a donor to Winsten’s campaign and a recipient of settlement funds). Capistrano Dispatch 12/12/08 – Winsten was sworn in by reform committee leader Tony Beall (Beall was a donor to Winsten’s campaign and a recipient of settlement funds).

Source

Then the recall itself cost almost¬†$700,000 because they couldn’t wait for the general election in November, which would have meant a lot more turn out. ¬†But what about saving the district some much needed money?

The school board on Monday authorized paying the Orange County Registrar of Voters Office $677,603 for the full cost of administering the special election.

Opponents of the recall say the special election was pointless and a waste of money, as the two recalled trustees would have been up for re-election in November anyway, less than five months after the June recall election.

And now that two of this current board are under recall threat? ¬†Guess what their argument is? ¬†Seriously. ¬†And the writer of this piece happens to be Tony Beall. ¬†I know, it’s so ridiculous, the same players with the same song, singing in tune and together for the same purpose. ¬†Starting to think it’s more than just “silly”?

The recall proponents were roundly criticized when they commenced this recall because it appears virtually impossible for any organization to gather more than 22,000 valid petition signatures in the short nine week period remaining before expiration of the deadline to qualify for the November 2010 general election – thereby making it:

  • far more likely the recall proponents would force an $800,000 special election upon the cash-strapped school district in the middle of the worst budget crisis in our country’s history; and
  • far less likely voters would sign the recall petitions because voters do not want to take $800,000 away from the students.
  • Red County

    And then began the broken promises as soon as the votes had come in.

    The night they were elected, Lopez-Maddox made promises, lots of them but this is the one that many hoped would stick.

    Cost cutting: Maddox said one of the first things he will do is direct administrators to analyze all of the district’s outside service contracts to determine how much the district is paying and whether there are opportunities for cost cutting. Unlike when Bryson and others have asked for similar analyses, the new board majority will ensure district staff completes the tasks they are assigned, Maddox said.

    “We had a group of recalcitrant trustees who refused to yield on any issue where they may be determined to be wrong,” Maddox said.

    OC Register

    Now, rather than reinventing the wheel, I’m going to source two amazingly well researched sites,Capo Recall 2010 and¬†Capistrano Unified Children First for the following information. ¬†I want to thank those who came before me to gather information and keep track of the ¬†current board and their repeated abuse of tax payer funds when our School District can least afford it (When can school districts afford blatant abuse of funds?)

    One of the promises of this board was local control, Capistrano Unified is a huge district and a huge piece of reform that would keep influential money out of the system would be voting “by trustee area”. ¬† This would mean candidates from the local cities representing areas from Aliso Viejo for their schools to San Clemente for their local schools. ¬†Rather than it costing a candidate over a¬†$100,000 to run for a seat, they could spend less than $20,000 and rely on the donations of parents rather than special interest groups!

    All the Board of Trustees had to do was to request a waiver from having to vote on this issue and the problem is solved. ¬†But they refused to do so, five to one. ¬† So not only will it cost the district more money, they are attempting to make it seem like other¬†entities¬†are trying to waste money in¬†“forcing this election”.

    Then there is the Superintendent issue that’s been a tough one for many to swallow since there hasn’t been a new one in place for a little over a year now. ¬† The former¬†Superintendent¬†had a three year contract for almost a million dollars but as it stands, we’re paying an interim¬†superintendent¬†almost a thousand dollars a day who doesn’t have the kind of experience with this sized school district. ¬† ¬†How is this helping things?

    SPECIAL CUSD BOARD MEETING AT THE LAGUNA CLIFFS MARRIOTT ON APRIL 26, 2010.  The agenda is available is online.    The question is this, why are they meeting at a local Marriott hotel when they have a perfectly good, 38 million dollar District office to meet at?

    Ah yes, it’s the Superintendent that they are attempting to hire since currently paying the current one almost $1,000 a day doesn’t seem fiscally sound. ¬†I know. ¬†But this board likes to spend money on things like attorney’s fees.

    Rather than retaining in house council as they promised, they’ve¬†retained the services of 11 law firms and a PR firm called Communications Resources for Schools in December 2009, ¬†and have¬†spent 2.3 million dollars of our tax dollars on outside Attorney fees.

    And they don’t understand Brown Act laws either.

    Judge finds Capistrano Board of Education

    Violated “Brown Act” Open Meeting Law

    Ruling confirms CUSD Board solicited assistance from attorney with known history of open-meeting violations

    CUEA News Release

    ALISO VIEJO – ‘This entire school board ran on a campaign dedicated to restoring ‘honesty, integrity, and accountability’ to public education,” said Capistrano Unified Education Association President Vicki Soderberg, “but if their action in this case is their definition of these qualities, I want no part of it, and thankfully, neither do the courts.”

    In a writ of mandate issued March 16, 2010 stemming from a lawsuit initiated by CUEA against the Capistrano Unified Board of Education on November 3, 2008, Orange County Superior Court Judge David T. McEachen found that the CUSD board did violate California’s Brown Act open meeting law when it met in an illegal closed session meeting on August 11, 2008. The ruling specifically states that the school board “. . . did not adequately set forth closed session topics and is in violation of the Brown Act as to the unnoticed attendance of Spencer Covert and the proposed disciplinary action against Superintendent Carter.”

    Beyond the Blackboard

    What’s so upsetting about all of this is that I have only scratched the surface. ¬†There are videos of parents being ignored and belittled by this board during BOT meetings. ¬†There is a lot of evidence of downright hubris by the board for completely turning their back on their promises documented on the blog,¬†Beyond the Blackboard another amazing resource for parents in Capo. ¬†It’s all out there, one just has to dig. ¬†The problem is this, it goes so deep, you feel you might just bury yourself in this mess.

    Some very well done videos to pull all this together.

    And a video about the endless spending by this Board.  Millions of dollars.  It will make your stomach turn, it did mine.

    So how does the local Republican Party feel about this? ¬†It’s Orange County, the local political machine is the Republican Party. ¬†When the Board talks about the powerful unions, it is almost laughable because the unions just don’t have that much power.

    Republican Party of Orange County Unanimously Opposes Union-Backed Recall of CUSD Trustees by Tony Beall

    County Party Urges All Voters Not to Sign Recall Petitions

    (IRVINE, CA) – The Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee unanimously approved the following resolution yesterday pertaining to the new recall campaign which is being promoted by public employee unions and their allies against Capistrano Unified School District Trustees Ken Lopez-Maddox and Mike Winsten.

    So, why would the Republican Party care about a non-partisan Board of Trustees being recalled? ¬†Ah yes, they helped get this board elected. ¬†Note who wrote this piece too over at Red County. ¬†And note how they stick to the talking points, “Voters elected Trustees Lopez-Maddox and Winsten to bring positive change and reform to CUSD and that’s exactly what they’re doing,”.

    Really? ¬†Do you think they’ve changed much? ¬†Really?

    So now you know where the local Republicans stand on this who do run the show down here politically and I don’t hide my political affliation, I write for Daily Kos, Liberal OC and Calitics, it’s not secret. ¬†But I also wrote about the recall in 2008,¬†happy to know that the corrupt BOT at that time were being removed. ¬†A lot of people were duped.

    Why keep supporting a corrupt board? ¬†I don’t know, but here’s more posturing from¬†Tony Beall at Red County when the teachers chose to strike and using talking points that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, that the teachers are willing to take the pay cuts they just don’t want them to be permanent. ¬†That’s it.

    But he continues to bloviate about the busted promises of this board, this GOP Backed board.

    The seven conservative republican trustees serving on the Capistrano Unified Board of Trustees are under attack by the powerful California Teachers Association – and they need the immediate support of all conservatives who are sick and tired of the abuses and undue influence exerted by this powerful union.

    The seven Republican Reform Trustees in CUSD have proven they’ve got that political courage and resolve to change the status quo! ¬†Under their leadership, test scores across the district have soared to their highest levels. ¬†They have:

    Stopped years of deficit spending;

    Successfully balanced the budget;

    Increased financial reserves;

    Enacted strong anti-nepotism and conflict of interest policies;

    Completed a district-wide facilities assessment;

    Saved millions by cutting and streamlining the bloated bureaucracy; and

    Demanded the union accept a 10% cut in their contract.

    CUEA¬†has accepted the ten percent pay cut that’s the only honest statement here because even with the cut to teacher’s pay and benefits, the Board of Trustees still have a budget deficit to contend with.

    And of course, a lot of teachers and parents want to know what the board has to do with “soaring test scores”. ¬†Teachers are what make schools great. ¬†Teachers are who do the teaching, not Trustees and not bloggers and pundits or textbooks.

    It’s about the teachers not a Board of Trustees that has broken it’s promises and spends my tax dollars to line the pockets of lawyers, their political allies and others in order to keep the power structure in Orange County intact.

    They are on the wrong side of this issue.  Republicans and Democrats both support Public Education and their teachers.  There is a common ground when it comes to corrupt politicians and liars.  Republicans might want to be careful who they support.