Tag Archives: Imperial Valley

Where Have You Gone, Saul Alinksy?

       California needs a knight in shining armor to deliver it from the forces of budget shortfalls, program cuts, and sub-15% legislative approval ratings.

       At first, I thought our hope was Gavin Newsom, but his departure from the Governor’s race leaves a handful of candidates on both sides that seem inherently opposed to doing the one thing that could save this state: raising revenue.

      So, who is going to carry the baton? Where is our saving grace, and when will he/she hurry their butt up and save us from sinking further and further into debt and depression?

     One person who could posthumanly save the State of California is Saul Alinsky. Deemed by many as the “father of community organizing”, Alinsky helped organize the Back of the Yards area of Chicago introduced to the national stage by Sinclair’s “The Jungle”.

      Alinsky passed away in 1972 (in Carmel-By-The-Sea), but his revolutionary tactics for mobilizing the masses have time and time again generated the true catalyst for change: Friction. Given the current economic situation in this state, Lord knows we need something.


       According to PPIC, the average income for a family of four in the lowest 10% bracket dropped 24% to just above $11,000 between 1967 and 1994, while the income for a family of four in the top 10% rose 35% to over $110,000. This was the situation in 1994. I don’t have numbers for more recently, but one can only imagine.  

       In times like this, when the gap between rich and poor is widening at an increasingly alarming rate, it is imperative that we create some friction. We are now beyond the point of using words like “if” and “should”. Rather, we need to use democracy to our advantage to get rid of the anti-tax BS that, to use a strong but justified word, oppresses working Californians and limits their access to life, liberty, and slows their pursuit of happiness.

       The goal, then, needs to be to educate Californians that revenue supports the programs that provide and create more diffusible social classes, and hence, that make the California Dream a reality.

       We’re not asking for a miracle, we’re only asking that people who are hurt by program cuts recognize this and mobilize to protect their interests!

This is the struggle that encompasses almost all Californians. The middle class suburban family in the Bay Area relies on K-12 education just as much as the immigrant family from the Imperial Valley does. The elderly couple that lost their eligibility for Medicare is hurt just as badly as the state worker who is furloughed four days a month and on top of that has to pay 32% more to send their kid to a UC, CSU, or Community College. Why are these people given the bill while Chevron pays $0.00/year to drill oil from the earth and Bank of America is able to raise interest rates at their own whim? More importantly, why are Californians letting this happen when it so obviously against their best interests?

       So, what do you think, Saul Alinsky?


This, then, is our real job-the opportunity to work directly with our people. It is the breaking down of the feeling on the part of our people that they are social automatons with no stake in the future, rather than human beings in possession of all the responsibility, strength, and human dignity which constitute the heritage of free citizens of a democracy. This can be done only through the democratic organization of our people for democracy.

-Saul Alinsky, 1969.

       Sacramento has made it apparent that it isn’t going to make any real attempt at reforming itself. That said, we live in a democracy, and if we can make the point that change isn’t an option, it is a necessity, then maybe we’ll see some action from our electeds.

       So, it’s not Saul Alinsky we’re waiting for; we’re waiting for the People of California to wake up and take their state back. I’m ready.

Meanwhile in the Real World, California Shudders

I had a great time at the convention, despite the eight hour resolution committee meeting and the fuss arising from that. I am pleased with the results of the convention. I’d like to second all the praise for John Hanna and add a hat tip to the CDP folks who staffed the committee, they did an amazing job with the resolutions committee.  I think there are a few changes that I’d like to see for the committee, namely a meal break during the eight hour meetings, but overall, the process was smooth.

But in the real world, “smooth” is not a term that can be applied well to California’s situation.  The signs are everywhere, all across the state. But nowhere has been hit harder, and could less afford such a blow than the Imperial Valley.  The LA Times takes a look at the region today, and the state of the Valley is far from strong.

“The valley has never seen things this bad, never,” said Roy Buckner, Imperial County assessor and a lifelong resident of Brawley. “This is the worst.”


Name the state statistic, and Imperial County (population: 172,000) is usually near the top or the bottom, whichever is worse: per capita income, welfare recipients, families below the poverty line, elderly living in poverty and so on.

From 1983 to 1999, while unemployment statewide averaged 7%, unemployment in Imperial County was 27%. Last year, the county’s year-end average was the highest in the state. In March, the unemployment rate was 25.1%, the highest in the United States for any area with at least 50,000 people.

(LAT 4/27/2009)

I doubt I really need to once again say that cutting state services at this time is exactly the wrong way to go about it.  It’s been said already by people more important that me, from Paul Krugman to the President. Yet, it can hardly be overemphasized that we have yet to hit bottom.  There will be more pain, and efforts to move money forward are misguided at best, deadly at worst.

The Imperial Valley itself bears a greater burden than most areas of the state.  It had far less leeway, as its economy was already weak.  Unemployment has always been high.  But one of the things that I learned from my trip to India and my efforts to learn more about the country is that labor cannot be considered something to be supported.  The Imperial Valley has a workforce that can be tapped as we move forward with the transition to the more realistic economy of the post-Bush era.  

Yet if we fail to take advantage of our resources, and of this historic time, we will continue to deal with the same problems.  Over and over again, we are pushed to make decisions that are penny wise and pound foolish, and it is places like Imperial Valley that pay for it.

Coachella City Councilmember Gilbert Ramirez, Jr, Endorses Greg Pettis for 80th AD

XPosted 5/23/2008 6:21 PM PDT on MyDesert.com in blog of BluePalmSpringsBoyz

Coachella City Councilmember Gilbert Ramirez, Jr., former Candidate for the 80th Assembly District seat being vacated by the termed-out Bonnie Garcia (R), has endorsed Greg Pettis, Cathedral City Councilmember for more than 13 years and former-Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City, for the 80th AD.  Ramirez joins former-Mayor of Coachella Juan DeLara in endorsing Pettis’s bid for the 80th AD.

Pettis widespread support for his candidacy in the Latino/Latina communities is also apparent in his endorsements by Co-founder of the Palm Springs Democratic Club Lisa Arbelaez, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club activist Bill Cain-Gonzales, Candidate for the Palm Springs Unified School District Greg Rodriguez, and Candidate for the 41st Congressional District Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean.  Pettis has also received endorsements from such Latino/Latina community activists as Christopher Arellano, Larry Baza, Juliet DeLara, Olivia DeLara. Tony Escobedo, Sylvia Escobedo, Maylon Gonzales, Jose Lemus, Christina Marquez, Rodolfo Martinez, David Membrez, Sylvia Preciado, Leticia Quezada, Nicole Ramirez, Dan Ruiz, Anthony Tapia, Ed Torres, and Joe Velasquez.

More below the flip…

(Given that Rick Gonzales, a Wells Fargo investment manager, has obtained the endorsement of three Coachella Valley Unified School District Trustees, Gloria Maldonado, Anna Rodriguez, and Maria Elvia Rios. it seems that fellow Trustee Victor Manuel Perez’ campaign in his home base of Coachella is unraveling.  It begs the question “Just where is Perez’ support in Coachella?”)

In comparison, Pettis has the endorsements of every single Democratic elected who has endorsed in the West Valley except for former-Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden who endorsed Gonzales.  Cathedral City Councilmember Paul Marchand, Cathedral City Clerk Pat Hammers, Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Karl Baker, Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Palm Springs Unified School District Trustee Meredy Schoenberger, and Candidate for Palm Springs Unified School District Greg Rodriguez have all endorsed Pettis’ candidacy.  Although Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet has not made an endorsement, he is co-hosting the U.S. Representative Barney Frank fundraiser for Pettis tomorrow, May 24, 2008, at the home of Andy Lindsky, Human Rights Campaign Boardmember.

In addition, Pettis obtained the endorsements of every single Democratic Club that endorsed thus far in the campaign, including the Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club, the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Inland Stonewall Democratic Club, the Palm Springs Democratic Club, the San Diego Democratic Club, and the San Diego Democratic Women’s Club.

Ramirez was conducting a campaign for the 80th AD until his signatures were invalidated by Riverside County in March 2008 (see The Desert Sun):

A former Democratic rival endorsed Greg Pettis in his bid for the 80th Assembly District seat, his campaign announced today.

Coachella City Councilman Gilbert Ramirez Jr., who was knocked out of the race for the Democratic nomination in March, threw his support behind the Cathedral City Councilman vying to replace outgoing Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City.

Garcia cannot run again because of term limits.

“With our economy in recession and our kids facing budget cuts from Sacramento, we want leaders with a successful track record of showing up day in an day out and protecting vital services,” Ramirez said in a campaign press release.

“Greg not only has a track record of success creating jobs in Cathedral City, but also a sensible plan to cover every child with health care and to invest in our public schools. That’s the kind of tested and trusted leadership we need in Sacramento to turn our state in the right direction.”

Ramirez did not qualify for the race because he failed to get 40 Democratic nominating signatures. Only 33 of 68 of his signatures counted.

(CA 80th AD) Manuel Perez’ Campaign Fights ‘Dirty Little War’ Against Frontrunner Greg Pettis

XPosted 5/21/2008 8:50 PM PDT on MyDesert.com in Blog by BluePalmSpringsBoyz

Well, well, well.  The character of a man is demonstrated when under pressure.  Seems that the leadership of Victor Manuel Perez, Democratic Candidate for the 80th Assembly District fails in more ways than one in the closing weeks of the campaign.

As suggested in the last electronic filing period, Greg Pettis has outraised and outspent his Democratic rivals combined.  Not just outraising Perez, but Perez, Gonzales, and Gutierrez combined!  The Desert Sun, in its editorial endorsement in the Democratic primary, echoed the endorsements of Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, former-Controller Steve Westly, State Controller John Chiang, State Board of Equalization Member Judy Chu, State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, and State Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Sally Lieber in noting Pettis’ exceptional experience and accomplishments during more than 14 years as Cathedral City Councilmember and Cathedral City Mayor Pro-Tem.  The Desert Sun also noted that Pettis was sure to continue to be a presence in the Coachella Valley following election, in this writer’s opinion, much unlike U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Baxely Mack and State Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia.  Garamendi stated,

“I’m getting behind Greg Pettis because he has a long record of results that matter to families throughout the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, and the experience to deliver on the promise of creating a healthier California,” Garamendi said.

“We need to put this seat in the hands of someone who will be ready from the first day in office to make our health care system more affordable and accessible, to improve our economy by reducing the achievement gap in our schools and keeping college affordable for more students and to take the lead in combating global climate change,” Garamendi added.

More below the flip…

Now, with Pettis leading in the last Binder Poll by at least 7 percent, outraising and outspending his Democratic opponents, and garnering the endorsements on the State, County, and Municipal level of most progressive Democrats and all of the local Democratic Clubs which have thus far endorsed, Perez and his out-of-district cronies have launched a dirty little war against Pettis.

As noted in earlier blogging, Perez has vacilated and equivocated on Marriage Equality.  In Democratic Candidates’ forums in the West Valley and East Valley, when questioned directly on how he would vote on Marriage Equality in the State Assembly, Perez stated that he supported equal rights but avoided answering whether or not he would vote ‘yea’ on Marriage Equality in the Assembly.

Now, in blogging posts, his cronies employed by the AFL-CIO-labeled rogue union suggest that Perez is in favor of Marriage Equality.  Interesting.  My sources from elected Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle indicated that while Perez avows support for Marriage Equality in the West Valley before gay-dominated audiences, in the East Valley and Imperial Valley, he is highlighting Pettis ongoing and continual support for Marriage Equality in a Rovian manner.  We call that homphobia and gay-baiting.

Combine this information with the widely witnessed Perez statement before the Sun City Democratic Club in his opening remarks that he is not a member of ‘an Alternative Lifestyle,’ we get the picture.  The audience at Sun City recognized Perez’ statement for what it was – mudslinging at its repulsive worst.

Bloggers in the Perez camp pit the West Valley versus the East Valley in blogs, pit Latinos against the LGBT community, and pit the have-nots against the haves in blogs on mydesert.com and elsewhere.  I thought this beyond the pale.  I thought the Democratic Party the party of inclusion, not one that is divisive.  Apparently not for the Rovians in the Perez camp.

In addition, the ‘rogue union’ has begun a shadow campaign in conjunction with the Perez Rovians to sling mud of the slimiest sort.  Tens of thousands of dollars spent on long-discredited mud and slime.  All the while, the Rovians portray themselves as victims.

For anyone interested in a discussion of Democratic values and issues, the Perez tug is against the current and in the other direction.  Not surprising since it has not the issues: governmental and legislative experience, women’s issues and freedom of choice, LGBT issues and Marriage Equality, realistic plans to avoid budget cuts to our children’s schools and education, environmental and green issues, and a plan for universal healthcare for all children and adolescents.

Pettis has served with distinction on the Cathedral City Council for more than 13 years, advocating for the less advantaged, the uninsured, and the disenfranchised.  Hence, his strong support for universal healthcare for all children in the Coachella Valley, for improved educational opportunities for all children and school administrations that are accountable to the parents, teachers, faculty and staff and that actually serve the needs of the children, and for strengthened legislation that protects the environment.

California – National Organization for Women endorsed Pettis as the best candidate to preserve women’s rights and freedom of choice in the 80th Assembly District.  Perez had an opportunity for a dual endorsement, but could not articulate a position on freedom of choice.  Jeez Louise!  This is 2008.  A Democratic candidate unable to articulate a progressive position of reproductive choice has no business in the business of politics!

Equality California (EQCA) could not even consider Perez for endorsement because of his equivocation on Marriage Equality.  Now with his hypocracy, praising Marriage Equality in the West Valley and whispering about Pettis’ support for Marriage Equality in the East and Imperial Valleys, Perez could not even gain an audience with EQCA.

Pettis delivered a plan to protect our children and our schools from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts.  On the other hand, Perez nearly bankrupted the Coachella Valley Unified School District, turning to monies from the State that resulted in the State of California placing the CVUSD into trusteeship.  Man, three of his colleagues on the CVUSD could not tolerate his devastating leadership there, opting for another Democratic candidate, Rick Gonzales.

We thought that we were done with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rove after seven devastating years of lies and deception.  Seems that Rove is alive and well in the Coachella Valley.