All posts by medleysoul

Californians for Humane Farms

Volunteers are gathering signatures for the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruetly Act. This initiative would simply make it so that farm animals have the room to sit down, stand up, and turn around in their cages.  It would affect 20 million animals in California who are very tightly confined all of their lives. This initiative would give California the most progressive animal welfare laws in the country. The EU has already banned such confinement.  We need 650,000 signatures by the end of February to get it on the November ballot. To help out, just sign up and they will send you petitions. Thanks.

ARNOLD’S Pension Plans and HEARTLESS Vetoes

(What is Grover Norquist so afraid of? Somebody besides corporatists with a little bit of power. It tears him up inside to see the power of collective action of CalPERS. It’s not something that should be messed with. It’s too important to the state and the global financial community. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

On Janurary 5 of 2005, Arnold proposed privatizing California’s public pension funds.  Referring to his proposal, Arnold said, “This is a national battle, like the recall was.”  He also said there will be “national money coming in to help us fight the battle”….

Pension Plans

National business groups have been upset with California’s public pension funds.  The presidents of both the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Rountable have criticized CalPERS.  One of the reasons they are upset is that CalPERS (under the leadership of Harrigan and Angelides) has been a leader in the corporate reform movement. It sued the NYSE and several specialist firms for engaging in trading manipulations.  It also sued WorldCom and Enron after their financial scandals, and it has withheld votes from directors for many businesses including Citigroup’s Sandy Weill (the banker who overturned the Glass-Steagall act).  It has divested from Sudan due to the government-backed genocide, and has lobbied the SEC to allow shareholders to nominate directors (which was vigorously opposed by the chamber).

Grover Norquist, who was an economist and chief speechwriter for the US Chamber of Commerce, said, “Just 115 people control $1 trillion in these funds. We want to take that power and destroy it.”

So on January 5 of 2005, Arnold proposed privatizing California’s public pension funds.  Referring to his proposal, Arnold said, “This is a national battle, like the recall was.”  He also said there will be “national money coming in to help us fight the battle.”

Arnold even withdrew four of his own nominees to the CalSTRS pension board after they voted against his plan.  They voted against it because the actuaries calculated that it would cost California taxpayers $5.9 billion over the next 10 years. One of the withdrawn nominees, Republican Jim Grey, said, “If you have to be in lock step, I guess I shouldn’t be one of his appointees.” 

Grover Norquist praised Arnold saying, “The governor of California has provided a useful example of things a governor can do to earn ideal ratings from Americans for Tax Reform.”  The San Francisco Chronicle reported,

“A group affiliated with Norquist sent out letters this week to Republican lawmakers across the country urging them to follow Schwarzenegger’s lead and call for pension reform in their states.”

Although Arnold backed off in 2005, Grover made it clear that they’re going after CalPERS again (similar to how Bush tried to privatize Social Security):

”Gov. Schwarzenegger has not backed away from the pressing need for a defined contribution system. He is merely responding to a small uncertainty concerning disability and survivor benefits within the current reform initiative. Gov. Schwarzenegger is slowing down, clarifying any misconceptions with his pension reform plan, and will resume his crucial push to save the retirement security of California state employees in 2006.”

Arnold has even started using Norquist’s rhetoric saying,

“Taking money out of the private sector is a no-no because we don’t want to feed the monster… We want to feed the private sector, and we want to starve the public sector.”

So Arnold cut state funding to colleges—causing tuition to rise. He also proposed to cut funding from programs for the disabled—an action that was protested by the disabled community— and for programs such as Medi-Cal.

Side note: To read more about Grover’s power go here, here, and hereThirty-five state legislators and 19 congressmen from California have signed Grover’s tax pledge. California signatories include Brian Bilbray, Richard Pombo, Jerry Lewis (chairman of the powerful U.S. House Appropriations Committee who’s under investigation), Duke Cunningham, Tom McClintock (running for Lt. Governor), Dick Ackerman (California Senate Minority Leader), Howard Kaloogian (Chairman of Recall Gray Davis Committee), and Jim Gilchrist (founder of the minuteman project).


SB 698 – Media access to prisoners
  Current law allows the media to tour prisons and to conduct random interviews with inmates, but forbids interviews with specifically requested inmates (for more details see CDC regulations, Title 15, Section 3261.5 on page 88 of the document).

The bill Arnold vetoed would have allowed the media to conduct interviews with specifically requested inmates (with prior agreement of the inmate). The bill was authored because

“denying prisoners access to the media (and vice-versa) encourages increasing isolation of a prison system where human rights abuses can multiply freely free of public oversight.”


Arnold vetoed it saying, “it is important to avoid treating inmates as celebrities.”  In comparison, the Bush administration worries about PR moves while human rights abuses occur in their Guatanamo.

Did you know that California is the only state in the nation that allows segregation in its prisons? The prison system is so bad that in 2005, a judge put the California Department of Corrections under federal receivership.

AB 561-Prison Education Assessment
Arnold vetoed a law requiring educational assessments of prisoners and the implementation of programs to satisfy those needs.

SB 1050- Counting write in votes
In San Diego, a judge ruled that 5,500 ballots were invalid because voters had forgotten to fill in the oval after they had written in the name of Donna Frye (a write-in candidate).  Although Frye would have won, the judge gave the election to Republican Dick Murphy. 

The California Legislature passed a bill in response to “Bubblegate.”  It would’ve required that all write-in-votes be counted (even if the voter forgets to fill the oval). Arnold vetoed the bill explaining that it “will lead to an unnecessary delay in completing the canvass and certifying election results.”

Debra Bowen, who authored the bill, said,

“What ought to be apparent to everyone is that people who take the time to actually write in a candidate’s name deserve to have their votes counted…”

Sadly, in June 2006, San Diego passed a law barring write-in candidates from running in general elections. 

SB 469 (Bowen)- Petitioner Disclosure
Arnold vetoed another bill authored by Debra Bowen.  The bill would have required proposition signature gatherers to disclose the top five contributors to the effort and to disclose whether or not they are paid to collect signatures.

SB 455 –Enforcement of Pesticide Laws
  Current law gives county agricultural commissioners discretion to enforce pesticide laws. Arnold vetoed SB 455, which would have required “enforcement actions” to be taken for failure to protect people, animals, and property from pesticide drift contact, or for failure to provide workers with training and protective equipment.

According to,

“In the year 2002, some 172 million pounds of pesticides – many highly toxic to humans – were used in the state, reports Californians for Pesticide Reform.  More than 90% of pesticides used in the state of California are prone to drift away from where they are applied and can become airborne toxins causing severe effects, including coughing, vomiting, and skin rashes, especially in children.  Long-term exposure to pesticides is linked with cancer, birth defects, spontaneous abortions, infertility, neurological illnesses and asthma.  Too often, when inspectors find violations of pesticide safety regulations they simply issue a warning and no fine… In over 40% of DPR’s 2002-03 inspections, washing supplies and protective gear were not provided for pesticide applicators and in 60% of inspections, fieldworker pesticide safety information was not provided. Also, many violations are found, but few penalties are assessed.  In fiscal year 2000-01, counties issued fines in fewer than 20% of cases where violations were confirmed.  In fiscal year 2003-04 counties found over 8,000 violations but only 582 fines for agricultural pesticide use violations and 370 fines for structural pesticide use violations were issued statewide. “

According to an article from Monteray County Weekly,

In fiscal year 2003-2004, the last year for which numbers are available, there were 112 documented pesticide-use violations in the county. Only one resulted in a civil penalty… Mendoza says it’s a simple change but one that can give a voice to fieldworkers who are afraid to come forward for fear of losing their jobs, despite the illegality of any such retaliation… She tells the story of a group of 30 workers, employed by Mesa Packing, who entered a broccoli field May 28 of last year and were exposed to a host of pesticides.“The workers shouldn’t have been in that field; they’d just sprayed it. But the employer sent them there anyway”… On another incident in August of 2004 involving a harvesting crew in Salinas working for Smith Packing, workers were exposed to pesticide drift. “Two violations were found: lack of fieldworker training and failure to provide prompt medical attention,” Mendoza says. No fines were issued. “Two months later, the same crew was exposed again. At that time, they still hadn’t received any training. Again, no fines were issued.” Ramos just wants something done to protect workers like herself. The 41-year-old single mother of four makes just over $8 an hour and has been working the fields in and around the Salinas Valley for 30 years. She’s concerned about what a lifetime of pesticide exposure will mean to her long-term health.“I am not the same since it happened,” she says of her exposure. “I have allergies now, with sneezing problems and itching. I’m different.”

Recommended Article: The New Colossus

What’s There to Like About Phil Angelides? This:

(One person’s views on why this election is important and why Phil Angelides is the best man for the job. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Here’s the Research:

Angelides supports the clean energy initiative. The iniative will reduce oil consumption by 25% and tax oil companies by $4,000,000,000 over the next ten years and would make it illegal for the oil industry to pass the tax on to consumers (especially with its record profits).

Angelides supports the clean money iniative, which would provide public finances to candidates who can obtain at least 750 $5.00 contributions from voters and who have participated in at least one primary and two general election debates. It would also place new restrictions on contributions and expenditures by lobbyists and corporations.

Angelides was complimented by Elliot Spitzer for getting CalPERS (the nation’s largest public pension fund) to only do business with investors who seperate research and investing practices. Spitzer said, “I applaud Treasurer Angelides for his actions. Today’s announcement is an important first step in ensuring that these reforms become the new market standard.”…

CalSTRS (the nations third largest public pension fund) approved Angelides’ motion to divest from sudan to pressure an end to the government backed genocide in sudan.

Angelides called on the California State Legislature to pass AB 2584, which calls for an end to the loophole that allows corporations to escape taxes by relocating offshore.

Angelides wrote Barbara boxer a letter asking her to support net neutrality.  

Angelides has called for the basic right of shareholders to nominate directors (William Donaldson, chairman of the SEC, instead caved to anti-reform pressure by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable).  Angelides says the push to privatize public pension funds is largely in response to the new trend of public pension funds calling for socially and environmentally responsible investments.  

From Angelides’ website: California State Treasurer Phil Angelides today called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt tough rules that would make permanent the ban on the stock market abuse of spinning – the practice where a favored executive receives a preferred allocation of stock in an initial public offering (IPO) from an investment bank that does business with the executive’s company.…

The executive directors of four major environmental groups criticized Westly campaign ads against Angelides, saying, “All of the environmental organizations who do endorsements believe Phil has the vision to be the greenest governor California has ever had. Don’t let Steve Westly’s attacks prevail over the environmental movement’s best judgement in this election.”… They also criticized Gary South in the letter. Westly endorsed Angelides after the primary.

Angelides said he will legalize gay marriage (california has the first legilature to approve of gay marriage but Arnold vetoed it).

Angelides has called for a rollback of the significant student financial aid cuts and calls for an expansion of grants.


For to live in an oil-dependent society is to live in fear.  The fear of terrorism funded with the very dollars we spend at the gas pump.  The fear of war to defend or defeat oil-fueled regimes in the Mideast.  The fear of what happens to our families and our jobs when, inevitably, oil prices soar out of sight. The fear of what is happening to our planet and the legacy we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.…

I believe President Bush is running deficits in Washington very deliberately. His plan is to finally run up so much debt that it inevitably creates pressure on the funding of things that count, in terms of the long-term strength of the society: educating kids, retirement security for American families. A mini version of that is going on in Sacramento.…

On Arnold’s gay marriage veto: “Just as Wallace, Thurmond and many other segregationists came to regret their errors, I hope that Gov. Schwarzenegger will come to change his views.”

“The merger should not be approved unless the executive compensation package is stripped out…”

“Imagine if we said no to HMO profiteering, expanded health care for working Californians and their children, and then moved on to universal health care — making our state a model for the nation.”

“It takes more than empty soundbites to educate a child, more than scorched-earth rhetoric to balance a budget, more than celebrity swagger to care for the sick and the aged.”