All posts by eph89

CA-46 Pete McCloskey Stays for Change

(Rohrabacher is openly talking about losing in a Democratic landslide.  Go Debbie Cook! – promoted by David Dayen)

IMG00396 If the name Pete McCloskey sounds familiar, you may remember him as a 7-term Republican congressman from California. Paul Norton “Pete” McCloskey, Jr. comes from a long line of Republicans, going back to the 1850s. He served in the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Marine Corps Reserves, and served our country in Korea.

So why’s a former Republican congressman at a rally today endorsing Democrat Debbie Cook for Congress? Because he, like millions of Americans, knows that the Republican party has lost its way. Unlike today’s breed, McCloskey has stood up for ethics and our country’s future. He protected our environment by co-authoring the 1973 Endangered Species Act. He ran for President on an anti-Vietnam war platform. And he was the first representative to call for the impeachment of Nixon after Watergate. He truly put Country before party.

So, rather than traveling to other states to help Obama, McCloskey decided his time was better spent staying home for change in California – and working to get Obama the congress he needs to deal with a country in crisis and desperate for change.

Debbie Cook is an amazing candidate who’s neck and neck with Republican Dana Rohrabacher despite the tough odds in the district. People here are sick of our do-nothing representative who denies the real problems that face our country and our world. How are we to deal with the challenges of global climate change if – like Rohrabacher – we fail to acknowledge that there’s a man-made problem? How can we handle the rebuilding of our foreign policy if we – like Rohrabacher – buddy up with the Taliban? And how can we deal with our disastrous economic situation if we – like Rohrabacher – practice crony capitalism with the likes of Jack Abramoff?

Pete McCloskey knows that the way to do so is to elect better Democrats like Debbie Cook. Sarah Palin brags about her city of 6,000 – but Debbie Cook has been leading Huntington Beach’s population of 200,000 for 8 years. And unlike Palin, Debbie recognizes that our true energy future lies away from oil and gas, and in renewable, sustainable energy sources.

While at Netroots Nation, Pete got his first chance to meet this great candidate. And like many of you, he was won over. So Pete is out this weekend working to help send Debbie to Washington.

And it’s working. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that Rohrabacher’s afraid Republicans will stay home. Let’s ensure that those who are sick of the way the country’s been run during his terms turn out in force.

Pete knows that Californians don’t need to travel to other states to bring change to this country. If you are anywhere near Orange County or Long Beach, the Cook Campaign needs you in these closing days of the race. Give them a call at 714-842-6358 to find out how you can help turn voters out on Election Day. And if you’re not in the area, please give to help a great candidate close the deal and represent us in Congress.

(And this just in: Orange Juice Blog shares a great, convincing letter that McCloskey wrote to Republicans in the district.)

CA-46: Dana in the News

Wow, winning his barely-contested primary Tuesday must have given Dana Rohrabacher the confidence to start spewing wacky stuff again. I had started to believe that he was behaving better because of his serious challenge from Debbie Cook.

Not much new insight coming from this diary – but rather, I wanted to highlight some great posts I recently read concerning this race and Dana’s latest rants:

  • Daily Kos – the campaign comments on Rohrabacher’s nomination for Worst Person In the World.
  • Planet Gore – just yesterday, Rohrabacher denies ozone holes, bemoans being called a Stalinist by Al Gore and declares war on Chicken Little-ism.

Check them out, as well as today’s LA Times article with a great pic of Debbie in her element and good summary of the race and her potential.

Help Debbie out! contribute and learn about the campaign.

Hey Californians! Judicial Races Matter, Too

( – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Lost in all the presidential primary news is the fact that California has another important primary coming up on June 3rd. Many of us are boning up on Prop 98 and 99 and understanding the importance of our votes on those measures.

But most of us are woefully unprepared for decisions in other contests, especially those for the office of Superior Court judge. And with turnout expected to be light, we could wind up with some very scary judges if people don’t pay attention and vote.

Normally judges are appointed by the governor, serve out their six-year terms and are then considered reelected if there are no challengers.  But this year, ten seats in LA County are open because the incumbents retired and Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t have enough time to appoint successors, or otherwise decided to leave the decision to voters. Similar situations exist throughout California.

If you’re like many people I know, you leave this part of the ballot blank and feel a bit guilty. Or worse, you pick one like some people pick a horse race, by a picture, the sound of their name (seriously)  – or even by a coin toss. Lest you think that the vote doesn’t matter, consider the role these people serve in our judicial system. As the Times notes, they can “dissolve a marriage, break up a family, impose the death penalty, appoint conservators and decide whether a drug user ought to go to prison or deserves a break”.

And if you still think your vote doesn’t matter, consider two very different candidates among the many running in Los Angeles County for these seats.

A Good One. Thomas Rubinson, running for Office 82, is endorsed by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, LA’s daily for the courts and legal issues. The paper says he is “the only candidate for Superior Court Office No. 82 who possesses the qualifications for the post.” It goes on to quote from a recent performance evaluation in his role as criminal prosecutor: “He is experienced, intelligent and well versed in criminal law and procedure. He has demonstrated good judgment in his handling and evaluation of cases. Mr. Rubinson is a reliable and dependable employee, often staying beyond regular working hours to ensure that the job gets done. He maintains a professional manner and demeanor at all times and possesses the highest of ethical standards.”

A Scary One. On the other hand, Bill Johnson, running for Office 125, is the subject of a scathing LA Times editorial, which notes that “Los Angeles voters, if they don’t pay attention, could hand judicial robes to a racial separatist who called for restricting U.S. citizenship to persons ‘of the European race’ and deporting blacks, Asians, Latinos and others who don’t meet his racial criteria.” Calling it a “stealth election” the Times explains that he’s run for different offices under different names, and wrote a book supporting racial exclusion in the Constitution.

Would you have known this going into the polls? Absentee ballots are already going out. Make sure you’re registered to vote. Get your absentee ballot. Know about your candidates (one good local resource in LA is the Metropolitan News-Enterprise). And vote on June 3rd!

Share your insights on judicial candidates in comments below.  

A Great Challenger to Rohrabacher in CA-46

I’m surprised I haven’t read anything about this on Calitics yet, so I thought I’d do my part to get the word out. The mayor of my own home city of Huntington Beach is mounting a challenge against Dana Rohrabacher.

We as Californians have the potential for a very exciting race in our own backyard this year. I won’t waste my space telling you what you already know about Dana Rohrabacher, but you might not be as familiar with Debbie Cook. If so, expect that to change.

Debbie has been a city councilmember in our city for 7 years (the term limit is 8) and in that time has been a voice of reason in the sometimes-hostile environment of the OC. As such, she has forged good relationships with local leaders across party lines to help the region across municipal boundaries. She’s been a strong and consistent advocate for the environment, but also for maintaining our local infrastructure. I’ve particularly been glad that someone has taken up the reigns of looking ahead to our energy future, and she serves on the board of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. (Take THAT, Halliburton!)

You can read more about her candidacy and biography at What you won’t see stand out in text is the passion and commitment she brings to the office. But I hope to help change that over the coming months as I and others get the word out about this great candidate we have through video and in-person events.

If you’ve ever thought about giving money to get Dana Rohrabacher out of Washington, there really couldn’t be a better time. Debbie is the first elected official to challenge him in years. And at this point in the game, your donation will go a long way. The campaign is trying to ramp up quickly. Even better, if you got to the ActBlue fundraising pages, former mayor Connie Boardman is matching all donations up to the maximum.  What would you give to say “bye bye, Dana!”?

California Clean Cities Conference – Coming to You

(Here’s something we should think about… And act upon! – promoted by atdleft)

Prop 89 may not have passed, but the dialogue fostered by its being on the ballot shows there’s a lot of discontent with the role of big money in politics. Millions of Californians are disenchanted with the political process and the disproportionate influence that special interests have on legislation. And the desire for change that grew during that period last fall isn’t going away. More people now have an increased awareness of the problem and an interest in finding solutions to fix it. So what’s next?

For one thing, California Common Cause, CA Clean Money Campaign and others will be focusing on the same campaign funding issues in our local communities.  They are sponsoring a Clean Money – Clean Cities conference in Pasadena on March 15 and in San Jose on March 23 to educate us on the public campaign funding opportunities that could exist locally, modeled after successful efforts in Albuquerque and Portland. The conference will introduce us to the basics of clean money systems, the legal issues facing their implementation, and stories from clean money local campaigns.

Support for clean money and fair elections is still here. This conference is a great way to get involved in a new way. I know in my little Orange County city, donations in the thousands of dollars by developers and business interests went toward last-minute “independent expenditure” flyers that very likely affected the outcome of the races. We’ve seen bad practices all over the state – including in Modesto and Oceanside. Since when should it be acceptable for a Southern California group to send a mailer to Stanislaus County residents, or for a national Airport Owners and Pilots Association to back a city council candidate? At a minimum, voters need to clearly know which candidates are taking money from these outside groups, and candidates who are hurt from such independent expenditures need infrastructure to fight back. And disclosure laws just haven’t cut it. Good candidates don’t need help from shawdowy committees to get elected. California Clean Cities will help in making sure those good candidates get heard and can compete on a level playing field.

Clean money in local communities helps in two ways – there’s the immediate benefit of better representation and decision-making at the local level. But on top of that, each additional community that goes “clean” becomes another success story to support the ongoing efforts at the local, state and federal level.

CA-46: Could Impeachment Begin Here?

Say what you will about Dana Rohrabacher, but at least he’s got high entertainment value. Remember that classic oldie about the termite-caused global warming? Or who can forget everyone’s favorite: “Let the Prisoners Pick The Fruit”. So with everything falling apart around us, perhaps we could all use a little light-hearted cheer.

Like his latest talk about impeaching the president:

Speaking after the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that agent Ignacio Ramos was assaulted by inmates in his Mississippi prison at the weekend, California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher had a warning for the White House.

“I tell you, Mr. President, if these men — especially after this assault — are murdered in prison, or if one of them lose their lives, there’s going to be some sort of impeachment talk in Capitol Hill,” he said during a press conference in Washington, D.C.

“The president of the United States talks a lot about his Christian charity, and his religious beliefs,” Rohrabacher said.

“He now is showing a mean-spirited side to him, an arrogance, in which he will turn his back, even after one of these officers in prison has been brutally assaulted.”

Of course, he’s not talking about torture, violating the constitution, or damaging national security – he’s talking about illegal immigration.  But that’s “ok” – because what it shows is that NO ONE likes the job this guy’s doing.  Seriously, check out the comments at  A few of the gems:

Bush laughs at us who simply spew posts like this. We do not have power. We do not threaten his funds which come from the very wealthy who support his agrenda and have investments tied up in mexico. We do not threaten bad press or instability that would come with hundreds of thousands of illegals marchings.

Our only hope now is impeachment. And I don;t see enough support in Congress for that.

I can’t believe my President – the man I worked so hard to get in office – who I deeply believed in – has turned such a deaf ear on this issue.

I’d be ashamed if we turned a blind eye to give one of our own a pass on something so despicable in favor of ‘Party Loyalty’.

and my favorite…

Every day I’m feeling screwed.

These folks may differ with us in their views. But you don’t impeach a president for his views. You do it for his failure to do the job he took the oath of office for. On that we all seem to agree. Wake up America – Bush is not out to help anyone but the insanely wealthy. Could it really be up to Dana to show us the way?

Prop 89: Special Interests’ “No” on 89 Ad – Thick With Irony

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(cross posted to dKos)

I’m a proponent of California’s Proposition 89, the Clean Money and Fair Elections Act. I like to keep tabs on what the other side is doing. It helps me understand what they’re telling people, so I can counter it. So, I’ve been waiting for the Stop 89 people to come out with their TV ads. Well it appears they have. You can see one for yourself.

It has all the requisite feel-good items: Dad is sitting on the front step, while the kids are out playing with the dog. We’ve got happy soothing music in the background, and Dad explains to us that he really, really wants to reign in the special interests, but just can’t:

I’d love to reign in the special interests that control our state politics. That’s what I thought Prop 89 did. Than I read up on it. It turns out that Prop 89 was written by the special interests. It would stick us with $200 million dollars in new taxes, creating a campaign slush fund for politicians to use as they see fit. Can you believe it? It is like welfare for politicians.

Where to begin? First, it’s telling that he doesn’t name the special interests who wrote Prop 89. I guess if you consider average people to be special interests, then maybe he’s right. Sure, the California Nurses Association is a big proponent of the initiative, but that hardly means they wrote it. It leverages a lot of AB583, which was good legislation held up by special interests. And it’s supported by good government groups like California Common Cause, Public Campaign and the League of Women Voters. The ideas written into Prop 89 have been working well in other states for years.

Sticking US with $200 million dollars in new taxes? Well, if “us” is corporations, then technically “yes”. Prop 89 won’t raise taxes on individuals. And lest you worry about the corporations, the modest increase in their tax rate still keeps it under the rate in place from 1980 to 1996. Funny how when you cut taxes, any restoration becomes a “new” tax. And it won’t be a “slush fund for politicians”. There are practical qualification requirements. Candidates need popular support in the form of many $5 contributions to run under this system. Isn’t it better for the public to fund them than special interests? Who do we want them to remember once they are in office?

Which brings me to the final irony – this ad tells you how bad the special interests are, and ends with the required “Paid for by Californians to Stop 89, a coalition of business and taxpayer organizations and California Business Political Action Committee, sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and ChevronTexaco”. Oh, now I feel better. ChevronTexaco is a name I trust when I’m trying to understand who the special interests are. And there are many more ganging up to fight this initiative.

Let’s make sure that Californians aren’t fooled by this ad – lend your support to and stop the real special interests.

CA-46: “The act has worn thin”

(cross-posted to dKos)

Esquire Magazine has recently come out with their list of 2006 endorsements. While there are some surprises and some disappointments, in some cases they find just the right words for what we are feeling. Such is the case in their endorsement of Jim Brandt for California’s 46th CD:

For kicking back and having a beer, going surfing, or maybe doing the swing shift for the Minutemen down on the border, Rohrabacher’s your man. Otherwise, we are sad to say the act has worn thin.
Esquire endorses: Brandt

You would think by now people have a good idea of who Rohrabacher is. But apparently that hasn’t sunk it, as evidenced by the number of candidates in the OC still proud to claim his endorsement. Rohrabacher has managed to successfully hide during this campaign season. Hopefully that’s all about to change.

On Monday, October 23, there will be two debates that give people a chance to see the difference between these candidates:

Cal State Long Beach at 2:30 PM
Golden West College, Huntington Beach at 7PM

CD-46 is in a state where the districts were intentionally gerrymandered to protect incumbents. And the costs for advertising in this media market are huge. So many people just aren’t getting enough info on who these candidates are, and why we’ve got a real alternative to Rohrabacher this year.

I’m going to attend the evening debate and will post a diary afterwards to help get that information out. Locals, what do you think – is anyone going to the earlier one? Perhaps we can team up on the debate coverage that’s likely to fly under the MSM radar.

Jim Brandt has a great story to tell to people who are willing to hear it. We have a choice in November: either more of the same support for disastrous policies, or someone who’ll put an end to this act that’s worn thin.

Proposition 89: Clean Money, Corporations and Boiling Frogs

(Don’t tell the frogs… – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(Cross posted to dKos)

As I read the LA Times today, I was disappointed to see their endorsement of “No” on California’s Proposition 89, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act. What bothered me further is that the majority of their argument is supportive of the initiative. They acknowledge that such reform allows candidates to spend more time with voters discussing issues. They note that legislators become free to say “no” to any interests who use campaign funding as leverage for special treatment. And they realize that special interests are now also turning to ballot measures to get their way with Sacramento.

Indeed, the main thrust of their argument seems to be one of fairness to corporations. And it struck me that this is another example of the boiling frog parable. In their view, corporations are akin to citizens. Prop 89 is “insulting” to corporations. We have to be just as “fair” to them as to people.

Since when has it become acceptable for corporations to be on equal footing with human beings? Corporations serve a useful purpose in the business world, but it’s always dicey when their interests intersect with those of people. In fact, with awareness of American fascism increasing, we should be more concerned than ever about their close ties with government. True, corporations shouldn’t be treated as all-evil and taxed to the hilt for everything. But Prop 89 doesn’t do that. Its modest increase of 0.2% still keeps the tax lower than it was from 1980 to 1996. And most small businesses won’t pay any increase at all.

The Times’ premise seems to be if you don’t like something in a proposition, you should vote “No”. But voting “No” is not sticking with the status quo. To do that, just don’t vote on it.  When you vote “No”, you are explicitly choosing a system that gives big business a louder voice than individual citizens. One in which corporate interests are favored over the public good. And one in which our elected officials are obligated to spend time raising money instead of serving the public.

I’ve now heard the argument so many times that I’m tired of it: “Proposition 89 is great, but it’s flawed”. This is a cop-out. Reforming our electoral process doesn’t occur all at once by flipping a switch. It happens in steps. But it can’t even begin if we miss the big picture, the promise of real election reform, by focusing on nits that people will never agree on. That’s just a distraction.

We’ve become like those boiling frogs that don’t know what’s going on around us because the influence of corporations in government has increased so gradually it’s become accepted. Fortunately, the November ballot forces our awareness. We can choose to stay in that pot by voting “no”, or choose to change our situation with a “Yes” on 89.  

CA-46: “Global warming is baloney”

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(cross-posted at dKos)

Yes, that’s a real quote from Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA-46) that was cited in a news article of the past week.

Or if that story doesn’t grab you, try the one about the convicted financial officer who optioned a script from Rohrabacher. Or the one where he says his GOP colleagues aren’t moving fast enough to build a fence on the Mexican border.

I didn’t have to look hard for these stories. In fact, all of them came back easily on a Yahoo News search of ‘Dana Rohrabacher’. I’m sure many of you know this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rohabacher’s tenure in congress.

But what many of you probably aren’t aware of is who Rohrabacher’s challenger in the November election is. He’s Jim Brandt, a business owner and Vietnam veteran. I’m frankly surprised and frustrated that he’s not more visible to us. But I’d like to change that. Here are some key things you should know about Brandt:

We need strong National security that doesn’t betray our constitution. The U.S. must be defended against real threats, but no American is truly free while he or she is living under a perpetual shadow of quasi-official government suspicion.

We can protect the environment without being anti-business. In fact, California has countless opportunities to develop new technologies for energy independence.

Our future depends on fixing our educational system. California once led the way in education, and today it’s in dire straits.

Like that? We need to help him. I’m writing this diary today because a key opportunity is tomorrow, Sunday, September 24th at noon in El Dorado Park (Long Beach). The campaign is featuring a BBQ, where you can learn more about the candidate, his vision for California and the country, and how we can help him defeat Dana Rohrabacher.

A lot of us feel that 2 more years of Rohrabacher is a done deal – but that attitude isn’t going to win the House for us. This election is going to hinge on turnout, and we need to let the progressives and reasonable folks of California’s 46th know that there’s an alternative – and a real reason to get out to vote. The campaign can use help with phone banking, precinct walking and other GOTV efforts. Sign up for the Voter Outreach efforts – even if you’re outside the district. Get the word out to others – recommend this diary if you’d like. Not only do we need every one of the district’s 117,803 registered Democrats to show up and vote, we need to let our dissatisfied Republican and unaffiliated friends know there’s a reason for change.

I don’t work for the campaign. I’m just a resident of California’s 46th who wants to see some change. I know there are a lot of us out there, and together I hope we can make a difference.