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August 2009 Archives

Clover Controversy

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Dear Ventura Voters,

What is it with the clover that two candidates for office are using them on their signs? Do your other candidates also have lucky charms? Are Irish-Americans a key constituency in your town? Is Mike Gibson trying to get some Monahan Magic?


Brian Dennert

PS. I will post a statement from any candidate that wants to explain their use of the clover on the front page of this blog.

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Education Reform:Parent Revolution

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When even the progressive grassroots group, the Courage Campaign, is turning against the current establishment it is a good sign for reform. Their approach has less flaws than the status quo.

Check out their website here and get involved.

Congress 2010: Marta Jorgenson

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Marta Jorgenson is running again for the Democratic nomination in the 24th congressional district.

After she dropped and endorsed another candidate last time she entered the race again and won the nomination. Ventura County Star reporter Timm Herdt wrote an article speculating it was her choice of ballot designation that earned her the nomination. David Atkins blogged over at Calitics what he influenced that elected.

I have sent her a request to interview her on this blog.

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Interview: Lesli Stein For Las Virgenes Unified School District

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I will be interviewing Lesli Stein on this blog entry. If you have suggested questions, feedback, or ideas to share please use the entry below this post.

Leslie Stein is running for a position on the Las Virgenes Unified School District. I am going to ask her questions regarding test scores, accountability, funding and more.

Click here for her website.


Click on continue reading to start the interview.

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Open Entry: School Board Interview

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This entry is for a discussion of my interview with Lesli Stein or for other topics.

Many students across Ventura County went back to school today. How did it go in your area?

Mike Stoker Hosting Candidate For Govenor Meg Whitman

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Click on continue reading for details.

Click here for my interview with Tom Campbell.

State Senator Tony Strickland has endorsed Meg Whitman and conservative political activist Steve Frank is working for Steve Poizner. I doubt that Peter Foy is really planning to run, but I am sure he likes people discussing the rumor that he might do it.

Who do you want to win the Republican nomination?

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The Strickland Report: August Edition

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Quick summary:

State Senator Tony Strickland is teaming up with Simi Valley City Council Member Barbra Williamson to raise money for charity.

He continues to hold scheduled public meetings, something Rep. Gallegly isn't doing.

State Senator Tony Strickland voted for the budget but thinks it is bad for everyone involved.

He finally helped eliminate one of those boards in Sacramento that pays politically connected people a high salary to for a few official meetings every month. I don't know what made Democrats defend them for so long but at least this talking point is removed from future budget negotiations.

Click on continue reading for the rest of the email update.

At the end of the update I posted an email sent in from a reader directed at State Senator Tony Strickland on prison issues.

Live Interview: State Assembly Candidate Mike Stoker

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The interview is scheduled for 2:30 to 4:30 PM. Come back then.

This entry is only for that interview. If you have questions or comments you can leave them on the entry below. Only Mike Stoker and I will be posting questions on this entry.

State Assembly candidate Mike Stoker is currently running unopposed for the Republican nomination to take on the winner of the Democratic primary ( Das Williams or Susan Jordan).

I am going to be asking him questions on the budget, state government reform, taxes, education and more.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mike Stoker for doing this interview. The interview is now over but you can read it on this entry and leave your thoughts on the open entry below. Mike posted his cell phone number if you have more questions. Was there a question I didn't ask that you want to see answered? Post it on the entry below.


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Open Discussion: Live Interview W/ Mike Stoker

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This entry is to discuss the interview with Mike Stoker or to post your thoughts on other topics that haven't been given enough attention locally. What's on your mind?

School Board Member Denis O'Leary Fasting For Education Funding

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After reading this statement I have a few questions for Denis:

1. What reforms do you support to reduce costs in education without impacting students? Have you read this series by The LA Times on the waste and fraud in Los Angeles Unified? I ask because I think if schools did a better job to be accountable with the resources give to them taxpayers would be more willing to provide increased funding. I know that LAUSD doesn't govern local schools but it does influence public perception. Waste and fraud shouldn't be defended.

2. What local State Assembly Members and State Senators are supporting this event?

Here is his announcement :


Please join me in an action to call for the restoration of State education funds. As you well know, Governor Schwarzenegger has led a confrontation over our state budget. Backed by a 2/3 vote rule necessary to raise any new revenues, the Governor's leadership has brought cuts to education which could be felt for a generation of students.

I am standing with fellow Trustees in the Oxnard School District, teachers, classified employees, administrators, union leaders and parents in a seven day fast in a call to Sacramento to restore education to the priority that many a politician has proclaimed as they ascended to their present leadership roles.

Click on continue reading for the entire announcement.

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Where Have You Gone California? Guest Blog Entry From School Board Member Rob Collins

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Here is the guest opinion School Board Member Rob Collins sent to me:


I was one of the approximately 200 curious local citizens that were willing to be at California Lutheran University at 8:30 on Monday morning, August 3, to see if there was any chance that California may have found a way to repair a state government that is clearly broken. Ventura County Star Sacramento Bureau Chief, Timm Herdt, led off the panel discussion about the possibility that a state constitutional convention might be able to bypass the legislature and pick one citizen from each of the eighty Assembly Districts to write a new constitution and then take this new document to the voters for approval. Mr. Herdt was extremely skeptical this plan could work. He asks in his Column on August 5 if can we trust plain folks to fix California? Better questions would be who else has the will or the legal ability to take on such a challenge. Who else can repair this train wreck we call California and put all our political trains that have crashed or heading in the wrong direction back on the right tracks to recovery?

Let us briefly look at some of these train wrecks that have taken place in this once Golden State, that is now in such a sorry state, that could hopefully be repaired by a state constitutional convention.

Click on continue reading for the rest of the Guest Blog Entry.

This Week: Interviews and Health Insurance Reform Meeting In Simi Valley

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This Wednesday night there is a Health Insurance Reform panel discussion hosted by the Simi Valley Democrats. Click here for the details. Rep. Gallegly has announced no plans to hold any scheduled and public events focusing on health care or other topics. Funny that the media focuses on the debates happening at town hall forums without being critical of the politicians that have skipped out. It is also funny that in Ventura County it is Democratic clubs putting on panel discussions, not elected officials.

Why are conservative protesters showing up to complain there isn't enough room in the facilities rented by Democrats but not demanding Republican office holders hold public and scheduled events? I emailed conservative activist Justin Tevis after I saw he called Rep. Lois Capps cowardly for not holding a town hall meeting ( She has said they are scheduling an event for September) to ask if the same standard applies to Rep. Elton Gallegly but he hasn't responded yet.

Sure some of these town hall meetings are rowdy but elected officials should take questions and argue with their constituents. We shouldn't have to give them a campaign donation to discuss policy with them. Sometimes I see dumb stuff at town hall meetings but often what I see is robust debate that shouldn't be avoided by politicians, regardless of party.

Tuesday afternoon I am going to be interviewing Republican State Assembly candidate Mike Stoker.

I am also confirming some other interviews including with a candidate for statewide office.

If you know someone running for school board or city council that would like to schedule an interview please send me an email.

Anti-Health Care Insurance Reform Rally Outside Rep. Lois Capps Office Today UPDATED

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I have a feeling this rally will be big when you count people from all the different sides. Bring your cameras and send me any photos you want posted afterwards. If you have a video you need help posting send me an email and I will do it for you. Keep it classy.

A group opposed to the proposals in congress to reform health insurance is protesting against Rep. Lois Capps because she hasn't scheduled a town hall forum ( She has stated an event is being set up for this September.) They are gathering this afternoon outside of her office. As expected, local progressives are gathering to support her and to show they support the proposals to reform health insurance. Her office has already announced an event is going to be set up in September, whereas Rep. Gallegly is not planning to do an event.

Click on continue reading for details.

Click here for the news story from The Star from the Democratic Club Meeting.

Click here for the political report from RedCounty from outside of the event last night. I like Eric Ingemunson's posts because they focus on Ventura County politics.

Rep. Gallegly continues to not hold town hall forums

How come people don't protest that Rep. Gallegly doesn't have town hall forums? If hundreds of people, including many Republicans, showed up to a Democratic Club meeting I am sure he could draw a crowd. Do people really not care to hear from him? I would think citizens of all political backgrounds would want him to do it. I disagree with him on many issues but I would like him to do it.

Do you agree with me that he should hold a town hall meeting? Leave a comment here or call his office at (805) 497-2224.

If anyone knows the last time he held a town hall forum was I will be very impressed. My standards are basic: it must be scheduled, open to the public free of charge, and announced before the event.

State Assembly candidate Das Williams is calling on people to show up to support reform. Click on continue reading to see his email.

State Assembly candidate Mike Stoker is calling on people to show up to show their opposition to the reform proposals and to protest against Rep. Lois Capps for not scheduling a town hall meeting on healthcare insurance reform although she has already announced they plan to do set an event up in September.

I emailed Mike Stoker to see if the wants Rep. Gallegly to hold a town hall meeting too, especially since he is encouraging people to protest against Rep. Lois Capps even though they are setting up a meeting.

Simi Valley Democrats are holding a panel discussion. Click here for details.

Even though there are always a few people that take away from an event I am glad that we live in such a vibrant democracy. Thanks for reading my blog and thanks to those of you that take the time to leave comments or go to events. Always bring a camera. If cheap digital cameras have a video feature. You might need it for evidence if someone does something stupid and people tend to behave better that way.

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Here are some photos of the event submitted by State Assembly Candidate Susan Jordan:



Thanks to Susan Jordan for posting this photos on Facebook and allowing me to use them. If you have photos to the event let me know if you want them posted.

I heard that Mike Stoker was there but I haven't heard any reports if Das Williams was there.

While people were protesting against a member of congress that has scheduled a tow hall meeting on health insurance reform and ignoring the local member that has not this was happening in Los Angeles.

Supporter Of Socialized Medicine AGAINST Socialized Medicine

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This letter to The Star is really funny. After extolling the virtues of a government run health care program he comes out against socialism. Just wait until he finds out who runs Medicare!

Re: Rep. Elton Gallegly's Aug. 9 commentary, "Only fix what's broken":

Gallegly's commentary concerning President Barack Obama's "healthcare plan" really hit home with my wife and me. We are currently enrolled in Medicare's Advantage Plan and it is absolutely supreme, the best we could hope for. Case in point: My wife has had 13 hospitalizations and three intestinal surgeries since 2006 through July 2008 and the total cost to us has been $0! This is a fact, $0 dollars. The bills have added up to more than $1.5 million.

I cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with the forgoing statements. As Rep. Gallegly stated, there are some 24,000-plus seniors on Medicare's Advantage Plan in his 24th District. Most have probably not read his commentary, but if they did, I'm sure they would really be surprised to learn that their plan is about to be taken away from them under President Obama's proposed "plan."

I am not a "crazy" or far "right" or as stand-up and shout-out type of guy, but I know a "good deal" when I have it and I do not want to lose it. To anyone! Socialized medicine is not for Americans, ever.

-- Charles D. Richardson, Fillmore

Simi Valley Democrats are holding a panel discussion on healthcare insurance reform. Click here for details.

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Health Care Insurance Reform Town Hall Forum UPDATE

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UPDATE: People in the comments are stating the organizers were allowing only club members in but a Republican friend of mine said that's not true and they simply ran out of space. They also said their Republican friend arrived early and got in. If you went please join the people leaving comments explaining what happened. Send me an email if you want any pictures posted. You don't need to register or use your real name to leave a comment but please keep it classy.

These events shouldn't be left up to clubs. Rep. Gallegly should hold scheduled public meetings where the public can ask questions.

Fellow Ventura County Star Blogger Dan Goldberg has posted a question on Youtube. If you can answer it for him I am sure he will appreciate it.

Here is the announcement from The Ventura County Democratic Party asking supporters to show up:

Tomorrow night, Wednesday August 12, 2009 a county-wide Healthcare Forum will be held at the Thousand Oaks Main Library, called the Grant R. Brimhall Library, 1401 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362. Please arrive at 6:00 pm so that you can get a seat. The program starts at 6:30 pm. The press will be in attendance.

Tea Baggers and others have called to say they plan to show up, so it is likely that the meeting will be disrupted. Because of this, it is necessary to have the best-possible Democratic turn out. Please come ready to speak your mind and armed with the facts about healthcare reform. MoveOn.org has an excellent review of the points at http://pol.moveon.org/truth/lies.html, as well as the White House at whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/.

This event is co-sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley, Simi/Moorpark Democratic Club, Camarillo Democratic Club, SoCal Grassroots, and Democrats in Ventura County.

Do people really show up to disrupt panel discussions even when there are no elected officials in attendance? Let's hope everyone keeps it civil.

Too bad none of our federal elected officials has announced a town hall forum on healthcare in Ventura County. That includes Rep. Lois Capps and Rep. Gallegly.

Our State Senator Tony Strickland and our State Assembly Member Audra Strickland frequently take questions from the public in scheduled and free public events. They both deserve credit for it.

Click on the appropriate button below to share this entry on a social network like Facebook.

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Shawn Stern Campaign Update ( CA 24 Currently Gallegly)

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Candidate Shawn Stern, who is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party in CA 24, hasn't been public much in his campaign recently but he recently attended a fundraiser for the DCCC and took some pictures with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:



To all the candidates running for office: Your news doesn't have to be big to get a post on my blog. Send in your events, pictures, and announcements that you want posted.

Shawn, let me know what Thursday night you want to be interviewed.

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Signs Up In Ventura City Council Campaign

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Mike Gibson is among the early candidates to have their signs up for the November Ventura City elections and is said to have the most up so far. He sent in the above photo and the following message:

This is to formally announce my candidacy for Ventura City Council for the November 3, 2009 election. I filed my nomination papers with the City Clerk's Office today. I thought you might be interested in posting the announcement on your blog. Please find more information on my background, experience, education, platform, position on the issues, etc. on my campaign Web site: mikegibsonforcitycouncil.com. Thanks and let me know if you need any additional information on my campaign. Thanks.

I have been critical of Mike Gibson on many occasions but the fact that he keeps sending me stuff to post shows he doesn't back down. Mike, let me know what Thursday you want me to interview you.

Click here for his website.

Click here for Mike Gibson's announcement from the last campaign.

Click here to read the debate he had with progressive blogger David Atkins on if America is a center right nation.

I will be posting this poll on every entry I write discussing the Ventura City Council elections.

Click on the appropriate button below to share this entry on a social network like Facebook.

More Cowbell

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Here is a video of State Assembly candidate Das Williams announcing his candidacy:

In his speech he mentions working for the ANC in South Africa, growing up in poverty, and what it will take him for to win.

But my favorite part? The person that brought a cowbell to the speech. More cowbell please.


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Comment Of The Week 8/3 By Greg Stratton

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I don't post a comment of the week every week, but this comment stands out because it is from former mayor and school board member Greg Stratton defending the local Republican club and blaming Sarah Palin's staff for the confusion over the event at The Reagan Library she didn't attend:

This comment came from former Mayor and former School Board Member Greg Stratton:

This is not the fault of the Simi Valley Republican Women. They have been 'stood up'. And worse, Palin's staff is not taking responsibility. Yes, elected officials do sometimes have to cancel, so all acceptances have some exit words attached. Peggy Sadler knows how that works. Palin's people know that too, and acted very unprofessionally when they used that out to claim she had never accepted. Hogwash.

Palin was on national TV for a week when she quit, and the reporters continuously spoke about the event at the Reagan Library. No denial at that time. Now all of a sudden they never were planning to be there?

Perhaps Sarah or her staff didn't understand the difference between the a Republican Women event at the Reagan Library and the Reagan Foundation. This event obviously wasn't important enough for her, so she finked out.

BTW, the 4th was the last day for refunds. Don't stiff the caterer, he has to order food on the 5th.

I think it is great that a Greg stands up for the local club, even though they won't state publically is Sarah Palin's staff really did send a request several weeks before the event asking for her name to be removed.

I trust the local club more than the former governor.

California Democratic Party Running Campaign Training Locally

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The California Democratic Party is running a training session in Ojai this month. The event is already filled up. Should local Republicans be concerned?

Click on continue reading for details.

In other California Democratic Party news they passed a resolution calling on congress to create an exit plan from Afghanistan and a resolution expressing their opinions on Irish reunification.

Anyone that wants to share news from the training is welcome to write a guest blog entry.

Thursday Night Live: Interview W/ Das Williams

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I interviewed State Assembly candidate Das Williams ( District 35) tonight by using the comments section of this entry. I asked him questions on education reform, marriage equality, budgetary reform and more. Click on continue reading to check it out.

Das, thanks taking questions here on my blog. I appreciate your time! Come back in a few months as the election gets closer.

If you would like to comment on this interview please use the open thread below this entry.

Thanks to statewide blog Calitics for mentioning this interview and posting a link. I appreciate it.


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Open Thread: Das Williams Interview And More

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This entry is primarily for you to discuss the interview I did with State Assembly candidate Das Williams.

What do you think of his responses? What made you more or less likely to vote for him? What was your favorite question or response?

This is an open thread though, so if you want to post suggestions for blog entries or your thoughts on issues not currently being discussed on this blog feel free to give your input.

The comments recently on some entires have gone over the top. I don't allow curse words, racial language, or stuff of that type. If you see a comment that bothers you please email me.

Some people have been banned from all Star blogs because of their comments here or on other blogs.

Please keep it classy.

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Ventura City Council: Darren Block

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Former candidate Darren Block was a signature short of qualifying for the ballot.

There might be as many as 16 people running for 4 positions on the Ventura City Council. I will be posting information as they send in links to their websites, Facebook pages, and YouTube videos.

I know that my fellow blogger, Marie Lakin, will also continue to keep us informed with detailed articles on the issues in Ventura. If you have a small announcement, like a new website, send it to me.

Here is a few videos from the first candidate I see posting them on YouTube:

Click here for a list of all of the potential candidates.

Click here for Darren Block's campaign site.

I will be posting this poll on every entry I write discussing the Ventura City Council elections.

Click on the appropriate button below to share this entry on a social network like Facebook.

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Rep. Lois Capps Raising Money

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Rep. Lois Capps has an upcoming fundraiser scheduled and I am sure Rep. Gallegly will be around too. But will they have any public events that are scheduled and free to attend? Gallegly is now on Facebook and Twitter. Both are great for asking politicians questions. Become a fan and start asking him questions.

Let me know if you see any press releases, public events, or other meetings, send them in for me to post.

I am most interested in events that are scheduled and free to attend.

Click on continue reading for details of the fundraising event.

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International Basketball League Champion State Senator Tony Strickland

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Simi Valley Democrats Hosting Healthcare Insurance Reform Debate

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Here is their announcement:

The Simi Valley/Moorpark Democratic club is sponsoring a debate on health care reform
7pm, Wed. Åugust 19 at the Simi Valley Library community room, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road.

Advocates on both sides of this issue will be represented. Joe Howry, editor of the Ventura County Star will be the moderator.

For more information, please call 805-592-2234. Light refreshments will be served.

My understanding is they need more people to participate in their panel discussion. Call them if you know someone interested in being on the panel. There will be questions from the audience and time to discuss the issues in detail.

Simi Valley / Moorpark Democratic Club President Brian Levy has a new job and will no longer be able to lead the group. Brian has done a great job organizing events and getting people involved. Best of luck with the new challenges!

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U2 Sings For The Iranian Protesters

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I am thankful U2 has honored the people of Iran that are protesting against their illegitimate government by dedicating their performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday to them. Let's hope that even as the media attention fades the efforts of the people of Iran do not.

Brian Dennert here

This blog is dedicated to Ventura County politics. Send in ideas for posts to briandennert@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter Twitter.com/dennert The Facebook page for this blog is facebook.com/briandennerthere You do not need to register to comment but keep it classy. Report abusive language to me at my email address.

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