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USA: California Politics Archives

Recently in USA: California Politics Category

November 17, 2010

Fixing (no, no, not like that) California Republicans

By Armed Liberal at 16:13

I'm often asked by people - both Democrats frustrated that I won't toe the party line and Republicans who are baffled that I still self-identify as a Democrat - why I don't just ditch the party label and become a Republican.

(Note that this doesn't just happen online; it happens in my real life as well.)

I'm pretty deeply attached to principles I see as fundamentally Democratic, and I've been a Democrat all my political life. But beyond that, I live in California, where our Republican Party is just - nuts.

And ineffective.

Nuts and ineffective is, as Dean Wermer once famously said, no way to go through life, So I don't spend a lot of time trying to constructively criticize the GOP, because I'm not very interested in it.

But in reality, I ought to be - and a Republican Party that would even tempt someone like me would probably be a pretty strong party electorally. And if we had two strong parties here in California, my lame-ass but beloved Democrats couldn't get away with the nonsense they too-often peddle and would have to grow up.

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  • moxbox: It is really time to move past the "party" system. read more
  • Slocum: If this isn't done, CA will become Michigan with better read more
  • Foobarista: My only hope in CA is for Brown to have read more

No On Proposition 21

By Armed Liberal at 17:42

Proposition 21 restores a vehicle tax that was cut some years ago, and sets the funds aside for parks and wildlife programs.

First, I've got an immense problem with these "special fees" that pay for things that our basic taxes are supposed to pay for. Beyond that, the financial structure that we've erected in California with special fees, setasides, and voter-enacted budget restrictions.

I'd support an initiative to clear all those away and simply let the Legislature and Governor budget and if we don't like their work - fire them. We make a difficult job impossible with these kinds of restrictions (think Robocop2 and the list of rules they put on him - "Don't walk through puddles", etc.), and we give our leadership excuses for failure.

Second, this is a clear example of the cynicism of our political class and the fungibility of cash - from the "No" statement a quote from State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D) - "Why would anyone vote for the park pass (Prop 21) if we've already fully funded the state parks?"

A hearty "NO" on Proposition 21.

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  • Tim Oren: In spite of being a long term supporter and volunteer read more
  • toc3: I never understood the California Proposition thing. It doesn't appear read more
  • Thorley Winston: I actually would prefer it if more government services were read more

October 8, 2010

Jerry Brown For Governor ^2

By Armed Liberal at 22:46

Today's news is all about Crusty (the nickname that local commentators have given Brown) or one of his aides muttering that eMeg is a "whore" in an inadvertently recorded conversation.

My reaction is a little contrarian on this, for two reasons - I think it's nice to see politicians when they are human (and they're all human) - and I really, really dislike the "cloak of perfection" we expect our candidates to wrap around themselves.

But mostly, it's about substance. The call that Brown was making was to the Los Angeles Police Protective League - the union for LAPD officers - and the issue was that they were endorsing Meg because she carved out an exemption in pension reform for law enforcement.
With evident frustration, Brown discussed the pressure he was under to refuse to reduce public safety pensions or lose law enforcement endorsements to Whitman. Months earlier, Whitman had agreed to exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan.

"Do we want to put an ad out? ... That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be ... that they'll go to Whitman, and that's where they'll go because they know Whitman will give 'em, will cut them a deal, but I won't," Brown said.
So for all the folks hammering on my endorsement of him in the comments do you square that circle??

Here is Brown - doing the right thing and challenging the sacred cows - and here's Meg, milking them.

Brown is a much more complex figure than he is being credited as on the right. And from my point of view - when I make my vote - it's about the bet that Brown is more likely to take on the sacred cows effectively than eMeg, who has shown both that she's likely to be ineffective, and that she's scared of them.

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: Jeez, Mike. read more
  • MikeDC: Marcus Vitruvius, You're having trouble following his argument because it's read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: A.L., I'm having trouble following your argument, here, for two read more

Proposition 19. Smoke Two Joints In The Morning...

By Armed Liberal at 22:27

...smoke two joints at night.

I went to freshman orientation at LG's high school last week, and in his opening statement, the principal mentioned that by the end of their sophomore year, 50% of the high school kids in the nation have tried marijuana. So - de facto - it's as legal as alcohol.

Let's be clear. When I was in college, I did inhale. And when I was in grad school, I has a roommate for a year who was unstoned for - maybe - a week in the whole time we lived together. He's since written a book about his life and addictions (My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life: An Anti-Memoir ); being stoned didn't appear to work out so well for him - although we've communicated recently and he seems to be doing more than OK. But I've used him as a cautionary tale for my sons, two of whom survived high school and college so far and all of whom seem to be doing just fine.

So I'm not exactly pro-chronic. But I am someone who thinks that the drug wars are wars we should withdraw from; I'd rather live with treating more addicts and fewer shot-up gang members, and the best way to deal with the various cartels in Mexico is simply to defund them. We're trying harder and harder and accomplishing less and less about drugs using the "ban them" approach. So it's time to try something different.

Proposition 19 isn't remotely a perfect law. But it's a good-enough law that's come at the right time.

It will doubtless trigger massive court battles, and a serious political conflict; at the end of it, if we're lucky and sober enough, we'll have drug policies that actually work. As a step in getting there, I encourage you to vote "YES" on Proposition 19.

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  • TJSmith: Legalize it and pay for my pension with the read more
  • alchemist: I used to smoke. Never regularly, but often, all the read more
  • Roland Nikles: I agree we need to back away from the drug read more

Yes On 20, No On 27.

By Armed Liberal at 19:08

Let's do the easy propositions first.

When Prop 11 passed a few years ago, moving legislative districting in California out of the hands of the legislators and into a cumbersome but probably neutral bureaucratic process, a deal was made whereby the legislators stripped reapportionment of Congressional districts out of it. Because God forbid that Congressmembers are chosen by the voters, as opposed to choosing the voters.

Prop 20, sponsored by Charles Munger, undoes that deal, and adds Congressional districts in California to the districts that will be apportioned by the Citizen's Commission.

It's an obvious "YES".

On the other hand, a bunch of Democratic politicians and their minions got together and added Prop 27 to the ballot, which undoes Prop 11 and places redistricting back in the hands of legislators.

Which is a horrible idea. So please vote "NO" on 27.

I don't think fixing gerrymandering will fix all, or even many, of our political problems here in California. But it's a good start.

Remember, people shouldn't fear their government - government should fear the people.

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  • Roland Nikles: Agreed. Anybody know what prompted the addition of the social read more
  • aphrael: Proposition 27 is, in particular, a terrible idea because it read more

October 4, 2010

Carly Fiorina For Senator

By Armed Liberal at 02:55

I know you haven't forgotten this:

or this, from the San Francisco Chronicle:
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  • Roland Nikles: Looking at the Fiorina website I don't see much evidence read more
  • Tim Oren: > I'd find Fiorina a lot more persuasive if I read more
  • Foobarista: Since I think the last thing we want is the read more

Jerry Brown For Governor

By Armed Liberal at 02:13

Honestly, I wanted to break ranks on this one. I wanted to support someone who would try and break the stranglehold that public sector unions have on California politics, and with the bulk of Brown's funds coming from those unions...I'm not optimistic that he's the one.

And if eMeg had been...well, half the candidate that Chris Christie was in New Jersey (...rimshot!) I'd have been doorknocking for her.

But you know what? You need to be able to govern to be governor. And that starts with a basic ability to communicate in public. And her flat inability to shove aside this idiotic charge about her domestic help is the nail in the coffin for her.

It's not the issue - the issue is (as I just said) idiotic. But can you imagine Christie confronted with this?
"What? You're asking me why after I paid my maid three times the minimum wage, checked her paperwork, paid taxes on her - and she turns out to have defrauded me - I'm the bad guy? Next question."
Sorry, Meg, but you must be this tall to go on this ride...and you're not.


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  • Aog: So now it's about policy? I basically agree with Phil read more
  • Armed Liberal: Yeah, I saw that. Was actually going to update my read more
  • Aog: There's the brilliant communicator who deserves to be Governor of read more

June 1, 2010

Mickey Kaus

By Armed Liberal at 09:06

If you're a Californian, and a Democrat, I want to ask for one vote - for Mickey Kaus for U.S. Senate.

It's gonna be a symbolic vote - Boxer will crush him. But if he gets a decent percent...5 or even 4 percent, given the thinness of his self-managed campaign, it'll send a message to the Democratic powers-that-be that there's an audience for a message that isn't trimmed to suit the institutional powers that own the party.


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  • Thorley Winston: I don't think 5% is going to do much read more
  • tagryn: Considering you can get ~20% support for either 9/11 or read more
  • Glen Wishard: juliet - I guess you've never heard of Mickey Kaus read more

April 19, 2010

California Republicans And The Judean People's Front

By Armed Liberal at 07:39

I've got to admit that I'm constantly bemused by the California Republican Party. We're a crazy Democratic state (instead of a sane Democratic state) because the GOP is so insular and Judean People's Front-like.

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  • Thorley Winston: The day has come where Jerry Brown is the only read more
  • mark buehner: The day has come where Jerry Brown is the only read more
  • Glen Wishard: BTW, in the first poll taken at the beginning of read more

March 2, 2010

He's Baaaack!!

By Armed Liberal at 19:59

Here's Jerry Brown's announcement speech.

...there's a lot in here that I like, And, having worked for him before, I can say that he's stiffnecked and even crazy enough that he may just mean what he says.

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  • Thorley Winston: Uh, only Nixon can go to China? I don’t think read more
  • Phil Smith: the guy who is now running for governor while saying read more
  • Thorley Winston: ...there's a lot in here that I like, And, having read more


By Armed Liberal at 01:42

As a part of what I'm reacting to in the Watertown Times editorial last week (note that I'm not necessarily weeping and rending my garments over the election outcome - I don't know enough about Owens to have an opinion yet), let me toss this out. In the LA Times today, there was an op-ed which - to a large extent I agree with. the author complains about the political idiocy that's ruling California today:
The ineffective response to the current financial crisis reflects trends that have been hurting California public education for years. To win votes, political leaders mandated long prison sentences that forced us to stop building schools and start building prisons. This has made us dumber but no safer. Leaders pandered by promising tax cuts no matter what and did not worry about how to provide basic services without that money. Those tax cuts did not make us richer; they've made us poorer. To remain in office, they carved out legislative districts that ensured we would have few competitive races and leaders with no ability or incentive to compromise. Rather than strengthening the parties, it pushed both parties to the fringes and weakened them.

When the economy was good, our leaders failed to make hard choices and then faced disasters like the energy crisis. When the economy turned bad, they made no choices until the economy was worse.

In response to failures of leadership, voters came up with one cure after another that was worse than the disease -- whether it has been over-reliance on initiatives driven by special interests, or term limits that remove qualified people from office, or any of the other ways we have come up with to avoid representative democracy.
So what's not to like?

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  • mark buehner: Which will be an order of magnitude better than any read more
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June 8, 2009

Blue on Blue in Sacramento

By Armed Liberal at 06:21

Things are about to get very interesting in Sacramento, where the public employees unions are dropping the mask...
The relationship between Democratic leaders and some of their labor benefactors has turned particularly frosty: Many of the programs union members rely on for paychecks -- and the unions rely on for dues -- have been slated for deep cuts.

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  • Marc Danziger: Marcus, given the current politics in the state, if we read more
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