Susan Jordan, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination in the 35th State Assembly District, recently announced some law enforcement endorsements. For a Democrat running largely on her environmental protection background diversifying her base of support is critical. This announcement shows she is not a single issue candidate. I consider myself an environmentalist but there are many critical issues our state is going to need to deal with in the coming years.
I would like to see endorsements from people that want to reform education and from business groups next. I have invited Susan Jordan to come on here for an interview when she gets a chance. I have already interviewed Republican Mike Stoker and Democrat Das Williams.
The winner of the Democratic Party nomination is expected to be the prohibitive favorite in the general election.
Tim Allison, candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the 24th congressional district, has a fundraiser scheduled in Camarillo next week. Click on continue reading for details. Complaining about the need for candidates to start early reminds me of people complaining that stores seem to put up holiday displays earlier each year. But doesn't it seem like there is never a time without elections anymore? My blog traffic hasn't changed much from the time before the presidential election!
I am not going but if you do go send me any pictures you want posted.
Side Note: I am working on my response to the outcome of the trial of State Assembly Member Audra Strickland's Chief of Staff. I will get it up this week. Wait for that entry to share your thoughts. If you can't wait then go to the comments section of one of the numerous news stories on the Star's main page. Thanks.
( Photo courtesy of Ventura County Democratic activist Sharon Hillbrant. Marie Panec holds the microphone. In the background congressional candidate Tim Allison speaks to Rep. Brad Sherman.)
Moorpark Professor and Oak Park School Board Member Marie Panec has officially announced she is running for the Democratic Party nomination in the 24th congressional district. The seat is currently held by Rep. Gallegly.
I have an interview scheduled with her on this blog coming up on Thursday, October 8th. Leave some suggested questions in the comments section and I would include some of them.
Click here for her campaign website. It is under construction but you can sign up for campaign newsletters there.
The poll questions below are obviously not scientific as they reflect the intensity of readers of this blog, not the average voter. Many of these are all ongoing polls started from earlier entries.
I had an interesting idea. I would like to see Rep. Capps and Rep. Gallegly debate healthcare for local citizens. They can meet in an area where many people from both districts can attend. I am sure they can find a venue and a moderator to host it. To be clear I am not interested in hosting or taking credit for the event. I just want to watch the debate.
Would you like to see them debate? Leave a comment or vote in my poll showing your support for this proposal. You don't need to register to vote or to leave a comment but keep it classy.
( Did you hear President Obama called Kanye West a jackass? Kanye West might have the most memorable line from last week but the President said what much of America was thinking.Is this the real video of his comments?)
Thursday Night Interviews:
I am scheduling interviews for Thursday nights with local elected officials, candidates, and activists. If you are interested send me an email and let's schedule it quickly.
Here are some of my favorite comments from the last week ( and from the recent past):
While so many comments are the same personal arguments over and over again on a different entry Scott Blough focused his thoughts and questions on specific policies that don't have an easy liberal or conservative answer:
Andy and GS: It is my understanding that many teachers, who worked in the private sector prior to being public school teachers, paid FICA taxes into social security and lose out on social security benefits once they become public school teachers. Some have even fulfilled their full "quarters of credit" obligations under the program indicating they would be eligible for full benefits if they were disabled or reached the age requirements to draw on the program. Many teachers also may work side jobs during the summer or in the evenings and pay social security taxes. If they met the contribution metrics, should they be eligible for social security or not? I would think they should be.
Nobody wrote the funniest comment of the week while plugging another blog:
"Yo Brian, I'm really happy for you, I'll let you finish, but Marie Lakin has one of the best blogs of all time. One of the best blogs of all time!"
Owen and I see many issues differently but we both agree on the merits of this painting:
That is one of the greatest paintings in world history.
After his comment there are a few funny barbs back and fourth that are memorable. Check it out here.
The picture form Norman Rockwell takes place a town hall meeting. Rep. Capps had a town hall forum on healthcare and Rep. McKeon has scheduled an event. Rep. Gallegly hasn't announced any plans to hold a town hall meeting on healthcare.
Eric Ingemunson and GS had an interesting discussion that showed their commonalities were greater then their differences but the policies are so arcane most people aren't going to read through their discussion. This blog is for people that are really interested in politics so go check it out.
Thanks for reading my blog.I would appreciate your input on my recent interviews. You don't need to register to comment but keep it classy.
Enjoy the video of a group of young people exploring some caves.
In the comments section please leave a list of productions that filmed scenes in Simi Valley. Let's see how well you know this town. The more obscure the better. I will post the winner on the front page. You don't need to register to leave a comment.
Tonight I am interviewing Monique Dollone, who is running for a position on the school board for the city of Ventura.
I am going to be asking her questions about her campaign, charter schools, accountability, and more.
This entry is just for this interview between us two.
If you have suggestions, comments, or criticisms use the entry below this post.
To read the interview click on continue reading.
Also, I am now using Twitter.com to cover local politics. Go to twitter.com/dennert or click on Twitter on the right hand side of this blog for my latest tweets.
Thanks for reading my blog.
In the interview Monique Dollonne stated she was endorsed by Marcos Vargas. Marcos posted this statement to clarify his position:
For clarification, I have not, and have no intention of endorsing Monique Dollonne, or any other candidate for the Ventura School Board. My policy, since the mid 1980s has been to not endorse candidates. I have asked Ms. Dollonne to refrain from making any further such claims.
UPDATE: Here is a statement directly from Monique Dollonne:
For clarification: Monique Dollonne never said she was endorsed by Marcos Vargas or CAUSE. Marcos Vargas' name was listed under her supporters' list. Marcos Vargas, as an individual has supported her financially and morally in her previous campaign and has committed to support her financially in her current campaign as an individual and not as a CAUSE representative. She never sought an endorsement from CAUSE as an organization since CAUSE has never supported the fight for equity and justice in education for the children of Ventura , which is what Monique is all about. She believes all our children can learn and should all have access to the best education our American system could and should provide. All her supporters care about the children first! They have the courage to stand up to the broken system, step out of the delusional bubble created by the bureaucracy and make a change for the benefit of all our children!
( Since the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy this song has been on my mind often.)
The Ventura County Democratic Party has started an annual fundraising and awards night last year. This is the 2nd annual year and they have a limited amount of tickets to sell. Are you going? I don't often attend events like these but I am thinking of going.
At this major party fundraiser, we will celebrate the contributions of the Kennedy family to American democracy. The event features keynote speaker Attorney Gloria Allred, women's rights crusader, and guest speaker Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The fundraiser will be held in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday, October 10, 2009.
Guest Blog Entry: My Take on the Presidential Address By Michael Gillooly
So I just watched Obama's address to Congress on the issue of health care reform, and I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring on the topics of the speech, it's effectiveness, and health care reform in general. This isn't meant to be a polished essay or a complete analysis by any means, only my reaction to one of the most important moments in Obama's young presidency and in the history of health care reform. I took a few pages of notes during the speech, so I think my summaries are fairly accurate. Also, I don't mean to dumb down the issues at all by providing pretty straightforward, perhaps inadequately supported commentary, but for the sake of time, and the realization that my opinion is marginally important, here goes. My goal in writing this is mainly to share my thoughts on the speech, and hear from others who've heard it. If you've watched the full speech, please feel free to comment- even if you think I'm completely wrong.
First off, I thought the President gave a fair and non-partisan summary of the problems we face in the current health care system. These issues of course include skyrocketing cost of coverage, decreasing quality of care, and the number of Americans being dropped from their coverage daily- I won't waste time detailing these issues, since they are thrown around pretty frequently, and are agreed upon by both Democrats and Republicans. Therefore, President Obama successfully articulated the clear and present need for health care reform of some sort in the US. We can not continue to do nothing.
Next, I thought Obama did a decent job emphasizing aspects of health care reform that are supported bipartisan. He mentioned previous attempts by members from both sides of the ideological aisle(ie John McCain Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Grassley's contributions, etc.). It was also very smart to begin with aspects that are supported bipartisan, basically indicating that the issues that unite us are greater than those that divide us. The President subdivided these reforms into 3 groups who would be affected: people with insurance; people without insurance; and people without insurance by choice. To cherrypick a few of these reforms, Obama called for: continued consumer choice of health care insurers/providers; no denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions; no rationing of care; and the "market exchange" concept. Again, I took a lot of notes on this part of the speech, but if you want to hear all the ideas stated you should probably just youtube the speech- there's no way I can summarize the President's speech better than he said it.
Here's the takeaway point, at least for me; the majority of the speech was spent outlining sensible, nonpartisan/bipartisan reforms that would drive down costs while increasing availability of coverage. Though more controversial aspects of reform(the public option) garnered murmurs and even boos, if you watch the video, there are many moments when the President received a standing ovation from congressional Republicans. I would argue that a major purpose of this speech was a call to action to members of Congress.
Obama also addressed a few of the controversies surrounding the health care debate. Being that the media focuses in on these controversies, I'm sure you've heard of them- death panels, health insurance to illegal immigrants, federal funding of abortions, and public option-caused government takeover of the private sector. Honestly, I didn't think he spent enough time addressing these concerns. While I don't believe most of them, a significant portion of Americans are legitimately afraid. I think the President could and should have done more to ease these fears(as evidenced when a GOP Representative from South Carolina shouted "it's a lie" at the President). Doing so may have lessened opposition across the country, and therefore better paved the road to reform..
Moving on to the public option, President Obama next attempted to explain the public option and how it would work. He claimed that a government-run insurance option would not derail the health insurance industry, but would force private companies to keep costs down in order to remain competitive. Also(and I didn't know this before), Obama cited a statistic that only about 5% of Americans would likely choose the public option. More importantly, he reminded the audience that a public option is not the cornerstone or driving force behind the reform movement, and should not be used as a wedge to change. I believe that if opposition to the public option strengthens, it will likely be dropped from the proposed legislation. Personally, I'm unsure of how I feel about the public option. Clearly, people have legitimate concerns regarding it, and I'll be the first to admit that I need to learn more about it before I form an opinion. Still, Obama was pretty successful in minimizing the perceived impact the public option would have on the US(as opposed to the destruction of liberty and a rapid descent into socialism).
And now, the question all of America has been asking- how do we pay for it?? Stating that the projected cost of reform would be $900 billion over the next 10 years, Obama pointed out that this would cost less than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Bush era tax cuts to the "wealthy." Put that way, and it doesn't seem like that much. But it's still 900 BILLION DOLLARS, an amount that can't even be fathomed, let alone dismissed. Obama claimed that this amount would be paid mainly by savings within the system decreases in waste(vague, I know), and keeping prices down through competition, fees to insurance companies for the most expensive practices, and efficiency in general. My hope is that specific, detailed areas of saving will be targeted and publicized over the coming weeks. Finally, Obama again stated that he would not sign a piece of legislation that would add a dime to the federal deficit; he believes that all future costs would be offset by a decrease in waste and fraud. Perhaps this is the "Read my lips, no new taxes" of Obama's presidency, but he was pretty clear. If he goes back on that, he can say goodbye to 2012. What I didn't know- Obama clearly said that the final legislation will include a provision that if health care adds to the deficit in any way, mandatory spending cuts in other areas of government expenditure would be enacted. I think that's a great idea.
I've heard a few people reject the President's address as typical empty words, devoid of legislative details and full of sh... something. Though I agree with them to some extent(on the lack of details), we have to consider that this address was not intended to completely and thoroughly explain the President' favored means of health care reform. Though some of us were left asking for clear policies, think about the millions of Americans who are less educated, less informed, or just plain less interested. This address was supposed to be a simple, utilitarian spark notes of health care reform, explained in terms easily understood by the common man. This address was basically meant to redefine the argument, to steer public discourse away from death panels and socialism/fascism and toward meaningful change. I truly believe that the President is reaching across the aisle, as shoving health care reform down America's throat without any Republican support would basically mean electoral death in both the midterms and a possible re-election bid. The reason he was scant on details is because the final legislation hasn't been written yet. He asked for input from all members of Congress, and he was very clear that he supports some Republican-favored ideas(ie tort reform). There's still time to have your voices heard, and frankly, I'd like to hear them.
Here is the full video that had people comparing the President of the United States to Hitler:
Nathan Sweet of Moorpark posted the comment of the week on Facebook:
"If a 20 minute speech to school children will brainwash them into blindly obeying the President of the United States, I want him to talk to my kids. I want him to say " stop hitting your brother...eat your vegetables..."
Are you that paranoid? Please!"
Did you watch the speech? I plan to watch it tonight.
NASCAR made an ad to promote the speech to students. They wouldn't have helped out if they thought it was a partisan speech.
( I am a big fan of paintings by Norman Rockwell. In this painting make sure to analyze the everyman who is to be given respect in our system of government. He is a blue collar worker showing up to a public meeting. I like the social messages in Norman Rockwell's paintings so much that the bland selection of prints in the Home Town Buffet in Simi Valley irritates me.)
Rep. Lois Capps held a town hall forum in Oxnard focuses on healthcare reform. I didn't go but here are some links to the coverage:
From The Ventura County Star
From Daily Kos ( Did I miss the background story of an Oxnard Church been burnt by an arsonist? Can someone fill me in or leave a link?)
The coverage and photos from the event show it was a peaceful event with strong arguments from many people. Sometimes we allow the obnoxious people to define our democracy with rude behavior, conspiracy theories, and demagoguing of issues until differing sides cannot even agree on what is being discussed.
That's a mistake.
The overwhelming majority of people attending town hall forums are decent, passionate, and patriotic citizens that want to be heard. The coverage should focus on them.
That's why I have next to nothing to add to a story to the story of brawls at rallies. It is an insult to everyone else there to minimize their concerns and issues and to focus on the drama. Sure the drama draws our attention and is newsworthy. But I just have the enthusiasm for it now.
It isn't often that The Reapportionment Act of 1929 and Public Law 62-5 are bought into our modern political conversations but it made for a very interesting read. I hadn't heard of 62-5 before but The Reapportionment Act of 1929 has been an interest of mine.
Go read the article and leave him a few comments here as feedback. I don't agree often with his opinions but I have so far been impressed with a few of his fair comments he has put in his entries. I am likely to regret saying that but it is true. For example: He said it was fair Democrats gave priority to their club members to get in a packed event at a recent Democratic Club meeting on healthcare instead of complaining, like some other people did.
My first question for Eric: Are you, as a conservative, really pushing to dramatically expand the numbers of politicians?
Ventura County Star reporter Timm Herdt has already reported on this story but since then State Senator Tony Strickland's legislation to ban politicians from paying their spouses for working on their campaigns has come closer to becoming state law.
Tony and Audra Strickland used to pay each other for working on each others' campaigns, but under this legislation that would be banned.
The argument for some is that allowing a spouse to be paid with campaign funds means politicians are able to transform campaign contributions into money they can deposit in their personal accounts.
This law won't apply to federal office holders like Rep. Gallegly, who pays his wife to work on his campaigns.
Elected officials often argue their spouses put in work that should be compensated and that they are hiring someone they trust.
What do you think? Do you support State Senator Tony Strickland's legislation?
I support his legislation. The appearance of a conflict of interest undermines our system, even if no conflict actually exists. I am glad he has changed his mind and now is the leading the push for this reform.
I have more videos and pictures to post later this week. If you have videos of pictures from today you want posted send them to me.
Former State Assembly candidate Ferial Masry has news regarding her intentions:
Candidate for Sheriff Geoff Dean (R) worked the crowd. Here he is speaking to Ventura City Council Members Brian Brennan and Ed Summers. I expect Geoff Dean's list of endorsements will be updated with new bipartisan additions soon.
I ran into a friend of this blog Denis O'Leary of Oxnard. Denis has been a long time activist for a variety of progressive causes.
State Assembly candidate Susan Jordan gave a speech that outlined her life story and the causes she supports. Her opponent Das Williams was there too. I will post his picture later. Das, if you have pictures from today you want posted send them in.
Here are a bunch of polls related to the labor day picnic and candidates that were there.
( Have you seen this video of Rep. Barney Frank ridiculing a woman at a town hall forum?)
This year a group called "Working Blue" made up of labor unions is hosting the picnic. Seems fitting for a Labor Day event.
This event is a great way to meet elected officials and party activists. I am planning on going and doing some interviews. What questions would you like me to ask of the elected officials and candidates that are expected to be there?