Tag Archives: progressives

31st Congressional District: Why Progressives shouldn’t support Mayor Pete Aguilar

Reposted from ieprogressive.com

This is a first in series of conversations to explain why Democrats and Progressives shouldn’t support Redlands Pete Aguilar to represent the 31st Congressional District. As I have researched this candidate, I have grown increasingly concerned about his position on issues, the shadiness of his dealings, and the associations he has made.

Reason: He is a Blue Dog.

As anyone who has read my posts, I despise the Blue Dog Coalition (AKA the Blue Curs) for unprincipled stands on important issues. Mr. Aguilar has shown by words and deeds that he will follow this mold by unilaterally caving before the debate has begun. In addition, he has the support of other prominent Blue Curs such as Rep. Joe Baca and Rep. Steny Hoyer, the leader of the pack. This coalition takes advantage of their safe position to enrich themselves, while playing smoke and mirrors with those they represent.

Reason: No Principles  

As a Redlands city councilman, Mr. Aguilar has had chance after chance to prove his Progressive credentials, but instead chose not to:


Aguilar said he supported the proclamation because it was supporting the concept of the living wage and not enforcing it in any way.

“If it were binding, I wouldn’t have been supportive of it,” Aguilar said Wednesday. -SBSun Nov. 20, 2008

This kind of attitude is inherent in the Blue Dog faction. They say good things Democrats and Progressives want to here, but when it comes time to vote, they lack the intestinal fortitude to vote with conviction.


Mr. Aguilar backed Big-Box stores and supported Measure O. Measure O would have dismantled an already existing Wal-Mart on Redlands  Blvd. leaving it to be a blighted area where vandals and vagrants can have free reign. In addition, this would have created another abandoned Wal-Mart on Highland Ave. as customers from that area overlap with the proposed Super Wal-Mart. All this for Sales-Tax Chickenfeed:

Councilman Pete Aguilar said the City Council opposes Measure O because it would inhibit the amount of sales,property and other tax coming into the city and prevent the expansion of services like police and fire, he said. -SBSun May 8, 2010

Video: “What Do We Do About Barack?”

What Do We Do About Barack?

This is the tough question that progressive Democrats are facing for the 2012 election. Many of us are disappointed and even angry over President Obama’s economic and political course. Widespread feelings of outrage at being ignored in favor of bankers and corporations are common among the very people who worked so hard to elect Obama in 2008. The President now faces a difficult re-election campaign, and organization is well under way. We want to help – or do we? A YouTube video, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… expresses this dilemma.

On July 10, 2011, progressive Democrats met at a potluck picnic in the Santa Cruz Mountains to bring out in open discussion our disappointments and anger about what the President has done or not done in the last two years, and our feelings about the 2012 election. We separated into small groups with two topics in mind:    

1) To give voice to the legitimate concerns of the progressive grassroots, with an eye towards influencing President Obama, and,

2) To answer the question “What DO we do about Barack?” We came to many different conclusions that need to be resolved before the election campaign begins in earnest. Whatever our differences are, they pale beside the Republican alternative.

This video summarizes what came out of our progressive picnic. We have made it available online, and are sending the link to Democratic clubs throughout America, in the hope that it will spark a national discussion of this critical issue.

Harvey Dosik

Cliff Barney  

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.

Progressives: Lead, Follow, or get the F*ck outta the Way (GOTV Part 2)


I wanted to use an old Marine Corps Adage to motivate us to GOTV for every swinging Progressive Candidate across California. We need the Governorship! We need the Senate! We need the Congress! And we definitely need the damn 2/3rds that Republicans have used to keep us from enacting Progressive Change in California. For these final 2 days we have to focus like a laser on electing candidates to help further our cause. Jerry Brown is ahead by 10 pts., so let us focus on the down ticket races that will indirectly help him. Let’s focus on Sen. Barbara Boxer who has fought tooth and nail for Progressives in California! Let’s focus on Gavin Newson or Kamala Harris who have taken bold strides in advancing a Progressive Agenda despite have themselves painted as a San Fransisco liberal or soft on crime. Finally, but not the least of all lets focus on electing memebers of Congress, State Senate, or Assembly who represent California’s interests. California Republicans will make up the some of the leadership positions in Congress, Assembly, and Senate. We have to bring these members down! We must face our fears and go boldly once more into the breach dear friends. Only our tenacity can ensure our victory. I will see you on the beach November 2.  

Progressive G.R.I.T. wins Elections (GOTV Part 1)

With 2 weeks left until E-Day, California Progressives have been building a firewall to beat back the tide of the Red Menace. We are walking precincts, knocking on doors, engaging voters neighbor to neighbor, and phonebanking, phonebanking, phonebanking!

The task at hand is daunting and morale may flag and spirits may dwindle, but I say we must stand together! We must show not just California, but the nation that we will not go quietly into the night; that we, the Progressive Movement, on principle will not go down without a fight.

In this this vien, the acronym G.R.I.T. should serve as a rally cry to all activists in our movement.

Grim Determination:We may not have the enthusiasm of the other side, but we have the intestinal fortitude to soldier on in the face of long odds and short tempers. We will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Regain the Momentum:Very soon…maybe not today, maybe not tommorrow, and because of our efforts we will regain the momentum. Maintaing a positive attitude leads to positive results.

Intensify the Effort:Every waking moment and every single body should be focused on winning this election. If we are not exhausted by the time this thing is over, then we have not done enough.

Turn the Tide:Our organization is better than the Teabaggers and thier allies, our determination is greater, our GOTV is legendary! We can win this!

Good luck and godspeed, see you Nov. 2 🙂

Will CA Dems Vote Next Year?

This post originally appeared at Speak Out California.

In last week’s post progressive voters on strike? Santa Barbara blogger Retired UC Santa Barbara Professor of sociology and renowned social activist, Richard Flacks looks at recent polls showing Democratic voters to be unenthusiastic about voting while Republican voters are highly motivated.  Professor Flacks writes,

These numbers tell us that the Democrats are going to lose the elections in 2010, but the underlying data are even more disturbing. They show that the heart of Obama;s support base is not planning to vote next year.

. . . The same sort of disillusionment pervades the ranks of liberal and progressive activists. Each week we can add new instances of administration betrayal of our hopes. The latest include the handling of the Honduras coup (defying near unanimity in the rest of the

hemisphere), and the continuation of Bush policies on the land mine treaty. The escalation of the war dwarfs all these other failures.

This is not President Obama’s fault, necessarily,

I’ve said in this space that it’s the structure of power in America rather than Obama’s weakness of will that accounts for the growing feeling that the chances for progressive reform are slipping away.

Professor Flacks’ post looks at a national poll, the “base” sense of betrayal is on national issues, and President Obama is not from California, but there is no reason to believe California Democrats are any more enthused  More likely less so.  California Democrats who do pay attention see Democrats in Sacramento caving over and over again to the demands of an extremist Republican minority, while those not paying attention see generally that nothing good is happening and government is doing very little for them.

What might come along to raise democratic enthusiasm and encourage them to vote?  Jerry Brown running for Governor?  With the statements he’s been making, don’t bet that Democrats are going to be enthusiastic about Jerry Brown as their standard-bearer either.

Click through to Speak Out California.

Winning Means Issue-Based Coalitions

At Netroots Nation’s New Media Summit last night, my staff and I ran into a couple of folks who seemed to have formed impressions of my platform based on my discussion of the April 15 tea party events. These erroneous assumptions about my platform and my campaign highlight a problem in the modern progressive movement – especially online – that I believe has stopped us from succeeding on issues such as the Patriot Act, FISA and big bank bailouts. To succeed, the progressive movement must be willing to coalition build and to act magnanimously in power.

I am a well-known government reform advocate (under the auspices of Government 2.0 – a move to increase transparency and collaboration between officials and the governed) and a far-left progressive with a track record of advocating for neighborhood-focused politics and progressive candidates. My platform is public, my cell phone number is public, my home phone number is public, my blog is public, my radio show is public, my tax returns are public.

I know how to coalition build to make positive change in our communities and in the federal government. When people are angry about taxes, bailouts and a government disconnected with the lives of everyday folks, you don’t mock them with sexual innuendo and other name-calling. You reach out to them and convince them that your ideas and policies are better. You work with them if your interests align, and you make clear just where you stand on issues you don’t agree on. That’s what I’m doing every day in my run for Congress, advocating progressive economic reform, equal rights for all citizens, an end to the drug war, and a responsive and responsible government.  

If you’d like to help, or if you’ve got a question about something I’m doing or that’s been written about me, just give me a call. The cell is 925-895-3744.

Thanks. To change.

(CA80AD) Powerful Women, Changing America

Yesterday morning, Agxibel Barajas greeted me from the front page of our local paper, The Desert Sun.  Agxibel is the office manager and scheduler for Manuel Perez, the powerful progressive Democratic candidate for California’s  80th Assembly District.  We’re going to lose her in the fall when she heads to law school, and that’s going to hurt.  She and Manuel go way back:

Six years ago, Agxibel Barajas was asked what she wanted to do with her life.

“Her response was: ‘I hope to be the first woman president of the United States,'” said Manuel Perez, who at the time was a field representative for Assembly candidate Joey Acuña.

Barajas had arrived at his office wanting to volunteer her services for Acuña’s campaign.

Six years later, the Coachella native is featured in a documentary by “Mad, Hot Ballroom” writer Amy Sewell that attempts to get people talking about why the United States has yet to elect a female president.


Coachella resident Agxibel Barajas, 22, took part in CosmoGirl magazine’s Project 2024, which gave Barajas the opportunity to intern with Merrill Lynch for eight weeks and led her to be a part of the documentary “What’s Your Point, Honey?” The documentary looks at women in politics. She was photographed in her home Monday in Coachella. (Marilyn Chung, The Desert Sun)

Agxibel rocks, but it took this article for me to get a better idea of her accomplishments, because she downplayed this when we talked about it the night before the primary.  This campaign is rich in excellent people like Agxibel, just doing their part to restore California and change America.  Of course, most of us aren’t quite this young!  With women like this coming up, we’re going to be just fine.

“My parents were farmworkers for a long time. I’m a first-generation college student,” she said.

Eyes on the Oval Office?

Does she really want to run for president someday?

“Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t,” she said. “I’m not going to say no because you never know.”

Barajas is no newcomer to politics.  She volunteered for Acuña’s campaign, and is now working for Perez’s 80th Assembly District seat campaign as his office manager/scheduler.

Perez said he has no doubt she will succeed at whatever she decides to do.

“She’s going to do a lot of great things in her future,” he said. “She’s very effective in what she does, very efficient, very thorough in her work, and definitely a leader for others in the community.”

Crossposted at dKos

Early Assessments

An interesting trend in the primary results is that the more progressive candidates tended to win the state legislative races – Yamada over Cabaldon in AD-08, Leno over Nation in SD-03, to give just a few examples – but the more moderate candidates had success in the Congressional races.

It’s hard to make a direct comparison, because many of the contested legislative races were usually not in the same places as the contested Congressional races. The legislative fights tended to be in safe Democratic districts (with AD-80 being a notable exception) whereas the Congressional fights were of necessity in those districts where Republicans currently hold the seat.

It may be that in those purplish districts moderates outnumber progressives among Democratic voters, and though candidates like Cheryl Ede and Vickie Butcher got a respectable 40% each, it suggests that progressives still have a lot of work to do in those red-to-blue districts. There may also be a presumption that a moderate Dem has a better shot at beating a Republican incumbent and even if that’s a true assessment, it suggests the continuing uphill climb progressives face on the frontiers of California congressional battles.

The progressive trend in state legislative races was clearer and more widespread. Industry-funded candidates like Gina Papan and Chris Cabaldon went down to a narrow defeat at the hands of more progressive challengers, while in other primary races, such as AD-14, AD-27, and SD-23, a field of progressive candidates fought to show voters who had the stronger left-of-center credentials. A similar dynamic even showed up in AD-80, where two different kinds of progressives – Greg Pettis and Manuel Perez – battled for the right to shift the seat from red to blue.

There does seem to be a very clear progressive trend happening within the California Democratic Party and its state legislative seats. It’s a welcome sign, especially as term limits provides new leadership in Sacramento. Democrats want a state government that addresses their needs – health care, education, transportation, the environment, and they now believe progressive Democrats are the most likely to deliver it.

It’s now on to the November elections, where we will aim for a 2/3 majority in both houses to consolidate progressive gains and finally start governing California effectively and sensibly.

John Edwards: “as President, I represent the American People!”

John Edwards has gotten many laughs with the cutting line about Industry Lobbyists: “If you give them a seat at the Table — they’ll eat all the food!”

Lobbyists are the “Bogey Man” that’s everyone loves to hate — but are they really that big of a Deal?

It’s just Business right? Corporations are People too. They deserve to have their Voices heard in DC, too, Right?  I thought I read that somewhere in the Constitution, Didn’t I? …. Hmmmm ….

There he goes again! Talking about those big, bad Drug Companies, Insurance Companies, and Oil Companies and their Lobbyists!  Woooh Scarey!

John Edwards – Just Say No


The reason we don’t have Universal Health Care today, is because of Drug Companies, Insurance Companies and their Lobbyists in Washington. They stand between you and the Health Care that you need.

We have to take this System on. We have to Change it! We have to be willing to be honest about it. I don’t believe you can change that system and bring about the change we need on Health Care, on Energy, and on everything else, unless you’re willing to say ‘It’s broken — It doesn’t work!’ If you defend it, and you say, ‘Oh well it’s fine, we’ll just take money from the Lobbyists, it’s no big deal — and then we’ll work it all out.’ — that doesn’t work! You have to say NO to these people.

You have to say as President, I represent the American People! I don’t represent Drug Companies, Insurance Companies and their Lobbyists in Washington! I don’t represent Oil Companies — I represent America! Because that’s the ONLY way we’re going to get the Change that we need in this Country. …

How dare Edwards have the audacity to want to actually “represent the American People, as President”?

Doesn’t he know, that’s not how our System of Government Works anymore?


Edwards does know, and he’s Just Saying No. No More!

NO More “Business as Usual”

NO More CEO’s “Buying a Seat at the Table” in Congress

Lobbying Overview – Total Spending, by Industry Sector:

NO More trading our Corporate Representatives for their, and vice versa:

Just how much of those Lobbyists BILLIONS finds its way into Congress?

HMOs – $30 Million


Drug Companies – $77 Million


Insurance Companies – $179 Million


Oil & Gas Companies – $117 Million


Electric Utilities – $81 Million


No More taking over the Election Process, by helping those Representatives pay their Campaign Bills:

If previous Campaign Donation Trends are any guide, get ready for another year of “Madison Avenue” Mud-Slinging!
(the 2008 “donations” are just getting started)



Drug Companies


Insurance Companies


Oil & Gas Companies


Electric Utilities


No More taking over the Legislation Process, by reminding those Representatives WHO paid their Campaign Bills:

Here are the Top 20 Members of Congress raking it in from each Industry sector:



Drug Companies


Insurance Companies


Oil & Gas Companies


Electric Utilities


John Edwards is Ready to give them Hell! 
He knows how they operate. He’s been beating Corporate Interests for 20 years, in the court room arena.

One things for sure, John Edwards does not back down from a Fight!

John Edwards – “Give ‘Em Hell”


Reform Groups Announce Six Benchmarks for Lobbying Reform

Jan 23, 2006

1. Break the nexus between lobbyists, money and lawmakers.

Cap contributions from lobbyists and lobbying firm PACs to federal candidates at $200 per election and to national parties and leadership PACs at $500 per election cycle.

Prohibit lobbyists and lobbying firms from soliciting, arranging or delivering contributions and from serving as officials on candidate campaign committees and leadership PACs.

2. Prevent private interests from financing trips and from subsidizing travel for members of Congress and staff, and executive branch officials and federal judges.

3. Ban gifts to members of Congress and staff.

4. Oversee and enforce ethics rules and lobbying laws through an independent congressional Office of Public Integrity and increase penalties for violations.

5. Slow the revolving door.

6. Place sunshine on lobbying activities and financial disclosure reports.

It will take more than just rhetoric.

John Edwards will take the power out of the hands of Lobbyists. He will:

— Take on the Lobbyists’ Power with a Constitutional Line-Item Veto:

— Prohibit Lobbyists from Giving or Raising Campaign Cash:

— Today, lobbyists approach politicians with campaign checks in one hand and wish lists in the other. Federally registered lobbyists gave over $23 million in the 2006 campaign. Edwards has never taken a dime from federal lobbyists or PACs. He will sever the connection between money and lobbyist influence by:

     * Ending lobbyist campaign contributions:

— Lobbyists should be able to make their cases on the merits, not by influencing politicians with donations. Edwards will prohibit all federal candidates from accepting campaign contributions from federal lobbyists.

     * Stopping lobbyists from bundling:

— Lobbyists solicit donations from others and direct them towards candidates to maximize their impact, a practice known as bundling. Edwards has never allowed any lobbyists to bundle donations for him. As president he will ban federal lobbyists from bundling for federal candidates.

— Close the Lobbyist Revolving Door:

     * Banning top government officials from becoming lobbyists:

     * Banning lobbyists from taking top government jobs

— Expose Lobbyist Contacts to Sunlight

— Prohibit Executive Branch Employees from Accepting Corporate Gifts



John Edwards — The Plan to Build One America

End the Unique Power of Lobbyists

— Prohibit lobbyists from donating to campaigns or fundraising for them.

— Fight lobbyists’ bread and butter – earmarked pork-barrel spending – with a constitutional version of the line-item veto.

— Close the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street by banning former top officials from lobbying their colleagues and lobbyists from taking executive branch positions related to their former clients.

— Expand the congressional ban on lobbyist gifts and travel to executive branch officials.

It’s really not a Laughing Matter! The Legislation that the Lobbyists help write and pressure through Congress IS really criminal, sometimes!

IF the Focus of this Country doesn’t change soon,
from how Wall Street is doing
to how “your Street” is doing

well America should just quit pretending to represent the People
and Actually start inviting CEO’s to Congress for Planning Sessions,
since it’s their Opinions that are the ones that matter anyways!

Oh wait, they already do —

The Cheney Energy Plan,
The Lieberman-Warner Carbon Give Away,
FCC Telecommunications Consolidation Plan,

… the list goes on.

Big Business gets the Concessions,
We the People get the Bills!

Edwards is right – It’s Time to End this Game!

And NOT when “it’s Convenient” for Politicians to fix it
(huh, when’s that ???) —  But NOW!

It seems some Senators IN OFFICE NOW, could be reforming this System of Corporate Favoritism, NOW — not “Later”? 

SO Why Aren’t they? …. Hmmm?

Post Script:

If John Edwards has a valid point about Lobbyists, why is the Media all too ready to just chalk it up to “Edwards has become Angry”?

Well, Could it have anything to do with the fact, that the Corporate Media is “trying to get their Seat at the Congressional Table” too?

TV-Radio Stations


Books, Magazines, Newspapers


It’s the American People WHO need to get Angry !@!
And Support Candidates, like John Edwards, who are willing to take on this Broken System — and NOT just go along with it!

No one else will do it for you!
Indeed, they’d rather have you “Relax, Just Go Shopping” …

“Business as Usual” is Good for “some interests”.
The ones that matter most in today’s world, it seems.

[Note: Most Images, click thru to more info!]