All posts by smoker1

Abel Maldonado’s Fail Shows Strength of Realignment

This week, Abel Maldonado held a news conference announcing a statewide effort to repeal the realignment program.  Proof of the dangers of realignment: the heinous murder of Mary Beth Blaskey.  Jerome Anthony Rogers has been arrested and charged with the murder.  Rogers, 57, has a lengthy criminal record, but was last in prison in 2003.  

Got it?  The last time he was in prison was 2003 and Maldonado is using this case as an example of how realignment is failing.  Realignment came last year, not 10 years ago.

Why would Maldonado use a case that has nothing to do with realignment to promote an effort to repeal realignment?  Because there is no such case within the realignment universe.

I had imagined, when realignment was first announced, that there would be some horrible crime coming from the release of inmates that would become an emotional issue.  It hasn’t happened.  Maldonado’s fail has demonstrated the opposite of what he was trying to show: Alignment has been relatively successful.


As I remember, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was considered some progress in the civil rights arena. But now to see an end to it so that gay members of the military can serve as openly and honestly as anyone makes me happy and proud.

Did it take too long to get here?  Of course.  Today I will remember all the men who served time in Leavenworth Prison for being gay while in the military (it was a 20 year sentence).  I will remember those who fought discrimination when it was the hardest to do so.  

I’ll remember those who opposed civil rights progress (they are the ones who fight nearly all forms of civil rights progress), but not today.  Today I’m grateful for what what has been achieved.  Although I am not gay, every advance in civil rights is a blessing for all of us.  Every oppression oppresses all of us.

To all who played a role in making this happen, thank you.

CCPOA ads on Calitics????


I know that Calitics needs to raise some revenue (no problem there), but must that revenue come from CCPOA?  Are there no standards for advertising here?  CCPOA charges heavy dues to build a warchest to support right-wing candidates and pump up the hate and fear in California to support more prisons, more guards, more broken lives and ultimately less public safety.

Adsense is a Google program that rewards you for placement and/or clicks, but isn’t there some way to screen out the most offensive organizations?  What would you do if BP bought an ad?  Sarah Palin?  Fox News?  Glenn Beck?

Seniors hate John Laird, or So Claims Mysterious Organization

“Well”, I says to myself.  “The seniors sure don’t like John Laird much.”   I had just listened to a radio ad hitting John Laird in his race for the Special 15th Senate District.  Something about budgets and spending and salaries and expenses.  Standard hit.  Nothing special.  But I was struck at the end by the sponsors of the ad:  The California Senior Advocates League.  I’ve been worried recently about my father who is in a senior center,so I’m glad to learn that there is a League that advocates for him.  Who are these guys and is it possible they could help my father?

So I looked them up and it turns out that the California Senior Advocates League has only been advocating for seniors for a couple of weeks.  Mostly they have been advocating for seniors by sending out mailings against Mary Salas who is running in the Democratic Primary in the 40th State Senate District.  They are apparently branching out by hitting John Laird also.

But who are these kindly older people who make up the California Senior Advocates.  There are only two donors:  JOBSPAC, A Bi-partisan Coalition of CA Employers and Put California Back to Work, Sponsored by the Civil Justice Assn of California.  So is that it?  These guys want to advocate for seniors by putting them back to work?  I’ll have to check with Dad, but I don’t know that he wants to go back to work–depending of course on the job.

And who is this Civil Justice Association?  And why do they want to put seniors back to work?  I looked them up and it turns out that the “Put California Back to Work, Sponsored by the Civil Justice Assn of California” is filled with some pretty great groups including, CA Alliance for Progress and Education (I am for progress and I am for education); Californians for Balance and Fairness in the Civil Justice System (I love balance and fairness); Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy (you betcha); Diversity PAC (is this like LGBT?); JOBSPAC (wait…they are the senior partner of the Senior Advocates!); a whole bunch of insurance companies.

So it seems that JOBSPAC is the real player here.  Who exactly is JOBSPAC?  They are a virtual Who’s Who of big business.  A candidate might be shy about getting money from Phillip Morris, but they are less shy about getting money from JOBSPAC.  So Phillip Morris and Anthem Blue Cross and Chevron and the Pharmaceutical Industry contribute to JOBSPAC and the politicians they support are not tarnished by the unseemliness of taking money from companies from big business.

The easy answer is for business to hide behind JOBSPAC.  Some think that JOBSPAC is just too controversial so they hide behind these little pop up PACs like “Put California Back to Work” and “California Senior Advocates”.  I want to know the process of developing the names.  Is it like a drinking game?  Do lobbyists get cash prizes for coming up with the most ironic and cynical names of organizations?  

Actually, I think they do.

19th Congressional District

Congressman George Radanovich has announced his retirement to better support his wife who is battling cancer.  I wish them the best.

While the seat has been a Republican stronghold, GOP registration has gone from 47.64% five years ago to 43.62% today.  That is a huge decline, but not really enough to attract a top tier Democrat.  It has attracted a great deal of Republican interest because there are so few political jobs to go around.

The latest rumor has to do with Bill Jones, the former Secretary of State and author of the 3 Strikes Law.  He probably has the ability to clear out the Republican Primary, but former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson seems to like the Tea Party riff and could give it a go even with Jones in the race.  

Although Jones has a statewide stature, he has some major defeats in his past.  He could only manage 16% of the vote and a third place finish in the GOP primary against Bill Simon and Richard Riorden.  He lost to Barbara Boxer by 20 points.  Most Republican activists believe that anyone with a pulse should be able to beat Barbara Boxer (they gravely misunderestimate her) and that could put some doubt into Jones’ candidacy.

Jeff Denham has the support of Radanovich and (as important) David Dreier, but all of that was engineered before the Jones rumors and the apparent interest from former Congressman Richard Pombo.  

Do any of these candidates actually live in the district?  Not that its at all important in a Republican primary in the era of Tom McClintock and Dan Lungren.  Regardless, it could be one of the major primary shootouts in the nation.  

Washington and Sacramento

At the risk of oversimplification, I think that the national problems we have now are a manifestation of Republican excesses in the White House and Congress for WAY too long.  The cumulative effect of destroying regulatory oversight, budget deficits, foreign policy blunders, anti-science policy and the general lawlessness within the Bush Administration has brought us this horrible situation.  I worked hard for Obama since February 2007 and have great faith in his ability to lead us out of this mess.  I have hope for us nationally.

California’s problems are certainly related, but generally the budget problems in Sacramento are a manifestation of Democratic excesses for WAY too long.  The unions played a major role in electing many of the key political figures and they expected (and received) a good return on their investment.  It is unfair to call this a complete manifestation of Democratic excesses because Republicans fed liberally at the CCPOA and PORAC trough and delivered for law enforcement.  When it comes to SEIU, the Democrats delivered.

I’m not as hopeful for a solution in California.  We cannot continue along these lines.  We must change.  When comparing taxes among various states, some states have high sales tax but low income tax.  Others have high corporate tax but low property tax.  California is either at the top or near the top of every kind of tax.  Why is that? Do we have such superior services compared to the rest of the states?  If so, can we afford them?

I don’t know the details of all the pension agreements, but many employees get 3% per year for their last year of service.  This means that if they begin working at age 20, they can retire at age 53 at full salary for the rest of their lives.  In fact, if they continue working after 33 years of service I really don’t know why.  They are in essence working for free.  They go out and get another job.

Is there some company that anyone knows about that offer this kind of pension?  I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Public employees have health benefits, overtime rules, job security provisions that are rather generous when you look at it in the context of the economic pain that’s out there.

I know that people will ask me if I have no sympathy for the 219,000 working men and women of this state.  The answer is that I have more sympathy for the 1.7 million Californians who are currently unemployed (and the many more who have given up).  

We need real change and, frankly, I don’t know where it’s going to come from.  Republicans make me want to puke and Democrats have no ability to stand up to their benefactors, public employee unions.  So, I am not hopeful.


Warning:  This is rumor.  There has been NO verification of this.

I have heard that Abel Maldonado plans to run in the Democratic Primary as a write in candidate to defeat Dennis Morris.  As I understand it, the old cross primary law is defunct unless we are talking about write in candidates.

Does anyone else know about this?