California Politics

May 2, 2007

California Democrats Pass Impeachment Resolution

“Sparked by an insurgency among delegates, the California Democratic Party has taken an historic step forward on the issue of impeachment. In a resolution affirmed by the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable “with appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment.” The delegate insurgency was coordinated by Progressive Democrats of America and its allies. While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment “off the table,” the Democratic Party rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue “on” the table. And it’s no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the convention’s Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair), the impeachment resolution was the top vote-getter (tied with one other resolution). Coming on the heels of mass actions and resolutions across the country in support of impeachment, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of Articles of Impeachment against Cheney, this action by the powerful California Democratic Party builds on the pro-impeachment momentum. The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney having acted in a manner ‘subversive of the Constitution’. “

Filed under California Politics, U.S. Politics by

April 26, 2007

Governor’s non-profit gives 15 companies award for innovation

The California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, a non-profit group started by Governor Schwarzenegger and his business associates, has recognized 15 large companies it says are the most innovative in the State:

The award recipients include Autobytel, Inc. in Irvine, DJO Inc. in Vista, FormFactor, Inc. in Livermore, Symantec in Cupertino, QAD in Carpinteria, Kintera, Inc. and QUALCOMM in San Diego, IXYS Corporation and NETGEAR in Santa Clara, and Callidus Software and Covad Communications Group, Inc. in San Jose. The City of Sunnyvale was the big winner though with four local companies winning the award: Kyphon, Juniper Networks, Network Appliance, Inc., and Trimble.

The awards cap off the California Tech 100 event—the “first-of-its-kind” statewide conference that has brought together a unique ensemble of angel investors, venture capitalists, CEOs, educators, and workforce talent professionals focused on celebrating the Golden State’s success as an innovation hotbed. California State Secretaries Victoria Bradshaw of the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and Dale Bonner of Business, Transportation and Housing (BTH) both spoke before enthusiastic audiences yesterday.

The California Innovation Corridor partners, managed by the California Space Authority (CSA), a statewide nonprofit organization, and administered through the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), chose the final recipients based on market leadership within their industry, employment figures, continuous innovation of products and services, contribution to the California economy, and significant accomplishments in 2006.

“These innovative companies” added CSA Executive Director Andrea Seastrand, “give people hope and dreams. They make us globally competitive and proud of our heritage as a nation of inventors, creators, and thinkers.” The California Innovation Corridor is a region spanning the length of the state from Alameda county in the north to San Diego county in the south, and eastward into the Inland Empire.

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics by

April 6, 2007

California may call for end of U.S. occupation of Iraq

Legislation has been introduced in the California State Legislature calling on President Bush to immediately begin the “safe and orderly withdrawal” of all United States forces from Iraq. California Senate President pro Tem Don Perata announced plans to place an advisory measure on California’s statewide ballot as part of next year’s February 5 presidential primary. The text of the resolution is as follows:

“The people of California, in support of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, urge President Bush to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the safe and orderly withdrawal of all United States forces; and further urge President Bush and the United States Congress to provide the necessary diplomatic and non-military assistance to promote peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Filed under California Legislature, California Politics, Iraq, U.S. Politics by

April 5, 2007

Bush hits record low in new California poll

Even for Democrat-leaning “blue” California these numbers are shocking. The Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University has just released a survey that shows President Bush has only a 23 percent approval rating and fully 72 percent of California voters disapprove of the job he is doing. While the Iraq War is a big part of the picture, the distrust of the President is much deeper and go to personal characteristics. A full 64% of Californians do not believe the President tells the truth versus only 28% who believe he does. Only 9% of Democrats and 15% of independents think he is telling the American public the truth. Governor Schwarzenegger, by contrast, remains relatively popular with approval ratings of 62% of California voters, slightly down from the last survey in January. The poll also found that Californians say the most important issue facing the state today is immigration (19%), followed by jobs and the economy (13%), and education (12%). Fewer mentioned health care (9%), gasoline prices (7%),or other issues. In addition, Californians have grown more pessimistic about the state’s economy for the coming year. Half of all adults (51%) now think bad economic times are to come. In January, only 39 percent of all adults expected bad economic times.

Filed under California Economy, California Politics by

April 4, 2007

Corporate "nonprofit" funds another junket for State officials

The Sacramento Bee has written another expose about the “California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy”. This so called “nonprofit”, actually made up of some of the largest Corporations in the State, made the arrangements for this “all expenses paid” trip to Japan for officials in the Schwarzenegger administration and several California State Legislators:

The California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a San Francisco-based nonprofit not required by law to disclose its donors, is paying for the trip. The group’s board of directors is populated by the top executives at the biggest energy and telecom companies in the state — among them AT&T, Verizon, PG&E, Chevron, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison and BHP Billiton — as the lawmakers and regulators tour Japan to discuss telecommunications and energy technology.

Along on the Asia trip — whose participants departed Thursday — are Timothy Simon and Rachelle Chong, two of the governor’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission, the powerful state board that regulates California’s multibillion-dollar telecommunications and energy industries. Also participating are Sen. Christine Kehoe of San Diego and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys, both Democrats, who chair the legislative committees that oversee energy and telecommunications policy in California. Sen. Alex Padilla, a freshman Democrat from Los Angeles and a potential swing vote on the Rules Committee — which will decide the fate of embattled PUC nominee Simon — is on the trip, as well.

“What makes this trip so particularly egregious is that the corporations are focusing on the exact levers of power in hosting this junket for the state’s top utility cops,” said Doug Heller of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer-advocacy group. “If you had to identify the people with the most responsibility over utility issues in the state, they’ve brought the two in the Legislature and 40 percent of the Public Utilities Commission.”

One of the corporate executives traveling this week in Japan is Kenneth McNeely, the president of AT&T California. Last year, McNeely helped secure major legislation allowing phone companies access to the state’s cable TV and Internet market. AT&T spent $23.6 million in lobbying for the bill, which was jointly written by Levine and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, and signed into law by Schwarzenegger… On Friday, the Public Utilities Commission announced that it had approved a video franchise agreement to allow AT&T access to California’s lucrative broadband market. McNeely, who was traveling with PUC members Chong and Simon in Japan when the deal was announced, issued a laudatory statement, which Heller jested was made “over sake shots with the regulators, no doubt.”

The article did not mention that AT&T also gave generously to the Schwarzenegger reelection campaign, and some of this money may have been used for the huge bonuses the Governor recently paid to his senior staff. A smaller campaign contribution of $25,000 was transfered from Schwarzenegger to his Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy just a few weeks after she voted to approve the purchase of AT&T by SBC Communication, leading many to believe that this was a payment made by the giant telecommunication firm in exchange for this vote.

Filed under Business Associations, California Government, California Legislature, California Politics by

April 2, 2007

Republican strategist Dowd has "lost faith" in Bush

In a stunning interview in the New York Times, Matthew Dowd who helped both President Bush and Governor Schwarzenegger get reelected, has said he has “lost Faith” with Bush and believes that Senator Kerry was right about Iraq:

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership. He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides. “I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.” In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him. He said his decision to step forward had not come easily. But, he said, his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power. Mr. Dowd, a crucial part of a team that cast Senator John Kerry as a flip-flopper who could not be trusted with national security during wartime, said he had even written but never submitted an op-ed article titled “Kerry Was Right,” arguing that Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate, was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Filed under California Politics by

March 28, 2007

Huge Los Angeles delegation in Washington D.C. for advocacy trip

“Today on Capitol Hill, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and nearly 200 business and community leaders from Southern California joined together to kick off Access Washington, D.C. 2007. This year’s advocacy trip includes the largest-ever bipartisan delegation of Southern California leaders including: Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent David L. Brewer III, LAUSD School Board President Marlene Canter, five Los Angeles City Councilmembers and more than 20 Southern California business and trade organizations. ‘As California goes, so goes the nation,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Southern California is America’s economic gateway. Without the appropriate federal investments in Southern California’s transportation infrastructure, goods movement, housing and education, Washington, D.C. lawmakers risk derailing vital job creation and destabilizing the nation’s backbone for trade and economic development’.”

Filed under California Politics, U.S. Government by

March 23, 2007

Donation of $500,000 to Governor’s charity linked to favorable laws for AT&T

The Los Angeles Times has reported that the $500,000 donation AT&T gave to one of Governor Schwarzenegger’s charities came just six months after the governor signed a law lifting barriers to the company’s bid to sell pay television service in California. The money went to After-School All-Stars, a tax-exempt group founded by Schwarzenegger in the early 1990s to provide tutoring, recreation and other programs to poor children. The organization’s board includes some of Schwarzenegger’s closest friends and aides, including Bonnie Reiss, a former senior aide in his administration, and Paul Wachter, his financial advisor, the Times reported. “It’s all to the good for low-income kids, but it’s also noted on AT&T’s balance sheet in more ways than one,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C. “There is a benefit to regardless of his technical affiliation with the charity.”

Last November, AT&T gave $25,000 to the Governor’s campaign, and just four days later Susan Kennedy, now his Chief of Staff voted as Public Utilities Commission member to approve AT&T’s merger with SBC Communications. Less then a month later, Governor Schwarzenegger paid that exact amount to Susan Kennedy leading many to suspect that AT&T had paid this money as a bribe in order to secure this favorable decision by the PUC.

Filed under California Politics, Governor Schwarzenegger, Philanthropy, Telecommunications by

March 22, 2007

Schwarzenegger takes the bait- makes up with Rush Limbaugh

They were eyeball to eyeball, and Schwarzenegger blinked. Earlier this week Governor Schwarzenegger responded to right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh who had been taunting him by saying that he is “not a real Republican” and of being a “Democrat pretending to be a Republican”. Speaking during an interview on the today show the Governor said, “Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant. I am not his servant; I am the people’s servant of California. Whether they call me a Democrat or a Republican, or in the center, or I changed, or this or that, that’s not my bottom line”. This “irrelevant” comment was widely praised, and maybe the Governor should have left it at that. Rush Limbaugh is popular among some conservatives but he is despised by progressives and liberals. He was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the war in Iraq and helped the Bush administration make it’s case that Iraq was “linked” to Al Qaeda, along with other frequently misleading and highly partisan reporting.

Limbaugh continued taunting Schwarzenegger, on Tuesday saying, “if he had the leadership skills to articulate conservative principles and win over the public as Reagan did, then he would have stayed conservative” and also mocked the Governor on his Web site by putting up a fake poster with Schwarzenegger’s face titled ‘Total Sellout’ a play on the title of the film ‘Total Recall’. On Wednesday the Governor threw in the towel and called into the show, but the dressing down continued. Limbaugh pressed Schwarzenegger about his the $12 billion universal health care proposal that is opposed by many conservatives, and said that the compromises Schwarzenegger said were necessary were really a “capitulation to liberals”. Schwarzenegger still seemed eager to make up with the talk show host, however, and suggested they get together to smoke cigars, “You and I, we’re going to have a good time again in our next smoke out,” Schwarzenegger said. “We’ll smoke a stogie together, and we will talk about this from here to eternity. The key thing is that people should know that you and I, we don’t have a fight.”

Filed under California Politics, Governor Schwarzenegger, Media and Entertainment, Opinion by

March 16, 2007

Bay area cities want US Department of Peace

“San Francisco joined the Bay Area cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Jose yesterday when its Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution endorsing creation of a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. By doing so, this sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country (encompassing some 5.4 million residents) joined the ranks of 20 cities voicing support for HR 808, legislation that focuses on innovative and proactive approaches to violence prevention…

Domestically the department will research, propose and facilitate practical, field-tested solutions to reduce conflict, providing financial and institutional heft to strengthen and complement our current efforts to deal with all forms of domestic violence and discord. And it will help develop curricula to educate students in grades K-12 on how to resolve conflict peacefully through peer mediation, and training in alternative dispute resolution techniques and non-violent communication skills.

Internationally, a Department of Peace will advise the president and Congress on the most innovative techniques to establish and promote peace among nations, and will research and analyze the root causes of war to help prevent conflicts from escalating to the point of violence.

It will create a Peace Academy, on par with the Military Service Academies, to build a world-class faculty of peace-building experts, many of whom currently live in the United States. They will analyze peace-building at the highest level, advise other branches of government, and train civilian peacekeepers and the military for domestic and international service.

House Resolution 808 currently enjoys the support of 60 Congressional co-sponsors, including Rep. Susan A. Davis [CA-53-D, Rep. Sam Farr, [CA-17-D], Rep. Bob Filner, [CA-51-D], Rep. Michael M. Honda, [CA-15-D], Rep. Barbara Lee, [CA-9-D], Rep. George Miller, [CA-7-D], Rep. Brad Sherman, [CA-27-D], Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, [CA-10-D], Rep. Maxine Waters, [CA-35-D], Rep. Diane E. Watson, [CA-33-D], and Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey, [CA-6-D].”

Filed under California Government, California Politics, U.S. Government by

March 13, 2007

Minuteman group having political implosion

The Minuteman Project- a group that patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border for illegal immigrants, has been called a citizens militia by some and “vigilantes” by others- including President Bush. The Los Angeles times reports that the group’s board is trying to fire project co-founder Jim Gilchrist:

The story behind the vote to dismiss America’s most famous anti-illegal immigrant fighter contains allegations of hubris and missing money, jealousy and greed, backstabbing and extremism… There were public accusations of secret bank accounts, missing funds, sloppy accounting and donations that had been collected without the full board’s knowledge.

Filed under California Politics, Immigration by

February 28, 2007

Chinese Media Denied Access to Senator Clinton

“A spokesperson from Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign apologized to the Chinese-language media after journalists were denied access to a Feb. 23 luncheon with Sen. Clinton in San Francisco. Event staff told reporters that the briefing was not open to ‘foreign press,’ according to the Chinese-language World Journal and Sing Tao Daily.”

Filed under California Politics, China by

February 26, 2007

California becoming dangerously stratified

Excerpted from “Golden State may be blinded by its luster” a disturbing opt-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle by Joel Kotkin- an Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation:

For much of the past century, California has often seen itself — and been seen by others — as America’s avant-garde state… Recently, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compared California to “the ancient city-states of Rome and Sparta,” praising it as “the harmonious, the prosperous state, the cutting-edge state.” Perhaps it’s time to ditch the celebratory rhetoric and take a closer look at the sober realities. Our magnificent state may still be the home to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the nation’s largest port complex and the world’s richest agricultural valleys, but by many critical measurements the state is slipping.

The most obvious signs are economic. Although far from moribund, the state may not be as fundamentally strong as its boosters, including the governor, suggest. The state rate of GDP growth over the past decade has been strong, ranking fourth in the nation, but California has been losing ground in the new millennium. In 2004-05, it fell to 17th, behind not only fast-growing Arizona and Nevada but also Oregon, Washington and rival “nation-state” Texas.

Job creation has been even less impressive. In the Bay Area and Los Angeles, it can only be considered mediocre or worse. More disturbing, as California’s population has grown — largely from immigration — per-capita income growth has weakened… Today, California ranks 12th in per-capita income. And it’s losing ground: Between 1999 and 2004, California’s per-capita income growth ranked a miserable 40th among the states. This slow growth reflects a gradually widening chasm between social classes. Although the rest of the country has also experienced this trend, the gap between rich and poor has expanded more rapidly in California than in the rest of the country.

Similarly, the governor’s entertainment industry friends, as well as art and developer elites close to Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom, may feel these are the best of times. But Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with Monterey, now suffer a poverty rate of more than 20 percent, among the highest level in the country.

Parallel to these developments, California is losing its once broad middle class, the traditional source of its political ballast and much of its entrepreneurial genius. Outmigration from the state is growing and, contrary to the notions of some sophisticates, it’s not just the rubes and roughhouses who are leaving. Indeed, an analysis of the most recent migration numbers shows a disturbing trend: an increasing out-migration of educated people from California’s largest metropolitan areas.

Given the shrinking per-capita income advantage for being in California, moving elsewhere increasingly makes sense, particularly for those who do not already own homes and don’t have wealthy parents…

Taken together, these trends suggest that California could be devolving toward an unappealing model of class stratification. As educated white-collar and skilled blue-collar workers leave, businesses in the state will be forced to truncate their operations — perhaps having an elite research lab, design office or marketing arm in California but shunting most midlevel jobs elsewhere.

Remarkably, neither political party seems to have a clue about any of this. David Crane, Schwarzenegger’s economic adviser, seems to think the state can make do by concentrating on the highest value-added work. He seems untroubled that more mundane jobs go elsewhere. That may make sense if you are a venture capitalist, dot-com wiz or movie producer, but it’s not so great if you are an electronics technician, customer support employee or movie grip.

To regain its promise, California needs to stop stroking itself and reverse course. A state that’s great for a relative handful of moguls — no matter how enlightened — and their servants cannot serve as the national model for anything but decadence and decline.

Filed under California Economy, California Politics, Economic Development by

Beverly Hills voter guide in Farsi draws complaints

“The city’s decision to publish its first completely bilingual election manual featuring Persian side-by-side with English has generated hundreds of complaints. The pamphlets for the March 6 city election were mailed out early this month to 21,000 voters. They were printed cover-to-cover in English and Persian, also known as Farsi… The city of 35,000 has a large and growing Persian population that began with wealthy emigres who fled the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s. City Clerk Byron Pope said his office received about 300 complaints within a week of sending out the new ballots… ‘The majority of them want an English-only sample ballot,’ Pope said. ‘They prefaced their comments with: `I’ve been a 20-year or 30-year or 40-year or 50-year resident . . . when my family came here, we had to learn English’. “

Filed under California Government, California Politics, Iran by

February 23, 2007

California faces major budget shortfall

“The Legislature’s chief budget analyst warned lawmakers Wednesday that an unexpected dip in tax revenues, along with a number of overly optimistic assumptions in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget, leaves the state facing a much larger fiscal problem than the governor’s spending plan reflects. Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Elizabeth G. Hill… urged the Legislature to begin cutting programs now to keep California from plunging too far into the red. ‘The state still faces many major risks and pressures,’ Hill said at a news conference where she released her analysis of the governor’s budget plan. She projects that about $2 billion in tax revenue the governor’s plan relies on to balance the fiscal 2007-08 budget won’t be there.”

Filed under California Government, California Politics by

Former assemblyman calls California’s pension plan a ticking time bomb

Former 38th District Assemblymember Keith Richman calls the rising costs of California’s public employee pensions a ticking time bomb that could send the state into financial ruin. ‘I think people are generally surprised and don’t know how bad the situation is,’ Richman said. ‘In fact, the majority of Californians still don’t even know we have an issue.’ Richman, a physician turned politician, continued his push for pension reform at a recent luncheon hosted by the Ventura County Taxpayers Association at Las Posas Country Club in Camarillo. ‘This is really the biggest fiscal issue facing the state of California,’ said Richman, who termed out as an Assembly member last year. ‘This money that’s going to go to pay for these skyrocketing pension costs and retiree pension costs is money that’s not going to education, higher education or our state’s infrastructure’. “

Filed under California Government, California Politics by

February 19, 2007

Big Trouble in Little Saigon

New American Media reports on the heated campaign for Orange County Board of Supervisors by two Vietnamese Americans, both named “Nguyen”. The election has triggered a recount and the two candidates are separated by only seven votes.

Filed under California Politics, Vietnam by

February 15, 2007

Alliance formed to fight Genetic Engineering of crops in California

“The Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance, a group representing California businesses and organizations concerned about genetic engineering, was launched today to push for laws protecting the state’s agriculture from genetic engineering (GE). More than 50 members have signed the platform, including the Breast Cancer Fund, California Council of Churches, Consumer Action, the California Farmers Union, Whole Foods Markets, United Natural Foods Inc. and Bon Appétit Management Company. The Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance platform, released today, calls for public notice of all plantings of GE crops in California, labeling of all food that contains GE ingredients, liability protection for farmers whose crops are unintentionally contaminated, and a ban on the planting of industrial and pharmaceutical crops.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Biotechnology, California Politics by

February 14, 2007

Coalition of citizen organizations launching huge healthcare reform drive

“A new coalition of organizations representing a broad swath of Californians announced a consumer-based healthcare reform campaign today. Together, the groups, which include AARP California, California ACORN, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Black Health Network, California Council of Churches IMPACT, California Labor Federation, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, CALPIRG, Congress of California Seniors, Consumers Union, Health Access California, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, Greenlining Institute and California Partnership, have more than 8 million California members. ‘Health care reform can only be successful if it’s based on the real life experiences of California families,’ said Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. ‘We need to hear from consumers to develop a comprehensive plan that meets their needs for affordable, quality heath care’. “

Filed under California Politics, Health and Medical by

February 12, 2007

Giuliani gets four standing ovations at California Republican Party convention

“Rudolph W. Giuliani came west to learn whether his brand of Republican politics has a chance among party members significantly more conservative than himself. By the time he had received a fourth standing ovation Saturday at the California Republican Party convention, the answer seemed clear”

Filed under California Politics by

Made with an easy to customize WordPress theme • Blues skin by TechieCoach