Monday, November 03, 2014

Tomorrow's Endorsements-- In The Races On My Own Ballot In Los Angeles


I live in Los Feliz, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. I vote down the street in a neighbor's garage. We don't have any high-profile races to vote on here-- nothing that will swing Congress one way or the other. Our gubernatorial race-- pitting incumbent Jerry Brown against a random Republican from the Greed and Selfishness wing of his party-- is not being seriously contested. The last publicly available poll showed Brown ahead 56-37%. Almost all the Democrats running statewide are way ahead in the polls-- including good candidates like Betty Yee (Controller), Dave Jones (Insurance Commissioner) and John Chiang (Treasurer) and really bad ones like Gavin Newsom (Lt. Gov.). The race for Secretary of State looks closer, although mediocre state Senator Alex Padilla has a narrow lead over horrific GOP one-percent fanatic Pete Peterson.

The most important statewide race that's up in the air is for state Superintendent of Public Education, which pits a really good incumbent, Tom Torlakson, against a Wall Street whore, Marshall Tuck. The L.A. Times poll shows Torlakson narrowly ahead, 32-29% with most voters completely clueless and undecided-- and no party designation on the ballot to help them make up their minds. The Courage Campaign doesn't endorse candidates but yesterday they warned their members in California about the dangers Tuck poses to education in the state. They highlighted four reasons to oppose Tuck:
Backed by Wall Street executives and business interests who want to create an education market place and profit off of our kids.

Proposes to increase standardized testing and then use student test scores to judge teachers and schools -- even though education experts, economists and the American Statistical Association all say that this is a bad use of the data.

Has alarming ties to for-profit education companies. Anyone who's paid attention to Los Angeles' iPad fiasco can tell you that when education leaders are too closely tied to for-profit companies, it doesn't end well for taxpayers or students.

Heavily financed by the same people who tried to take down Prop 30-- the measure that gave much needed funds to our schools. They funneled $11 million through a Koch brothers group in 2012 to starve our schools, but they lost, so now they're putting their money behind Marshall Tuck.
The congressional race is between Blue Dog warmonger Adam Schiff and progressive Independent Steve Stokes. I know Schiff will win but I'm eager to cast my ballot for Stokes, a much better candidate, and to help slow down Schiff's push for Boxer's Senate seat. My Assemblyman, Mike Gatto, seems to do a good enough job to merit reelection. And I'm eager to vote for Jeffrey Prang as County Assessor and for Sheila Kuehl as County Supervisor. The 3rd Supervisorial District is much bigger than just one or two congressional districts. We're very enthusiastic about Sheila Kuehl, as are our friends on the West Side. Dorothy Reik, president of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains is as big a Sheila Kuehl supporter as we are here in Los Feliz. Last April she saw an email touting Sheila's corporatist/developer-friendly opponent, Bobby Shriver, being supported by some astroturf group calling itself "Friends of the Santa Monica Mountains." She told me that "a Google search turned up nothing at all that Shriver had done for the mountains and there was no reason to expect that as Supervisor he would change his ways-- especially since he is being supported by developers who have been eyeing our precious Santa Monicas for decades.  So yesterday when I met former Congressman Anthony Beilenson who wrote the legislation that created the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area I mentioned this to him. He was similarly outraged and issued the following statement:" 
When I heard she was running, I jumped at the opportunity to endorse Sheila Kuehl to be the next County Supervisor. As Henry Waxman recently said, she is a "powerful and effective advocate for the things I care about."

Today, I feel a sense of urgency to talk about what it means to be a friend of the Santa Monica Mountains.

In 1978, as a congressman, I authored the legislation that created the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, (SMMNRA),155,000 acres, visited by millions of Angelenos and people from around the country, and the world.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban public park in the world, had no greater friend and advocate in Sacramento than Sheila Kuehl.

For fourteen years Sheila Kuehl passed legislation, identified resources, protected the park's environment, partnered at the federal, state and local county level, and joined the effort to fill in the mosaic of what has become one of the richest contiguous national park systems in the world that sits inside of and is surrounded by a vast metropolis.

Sheila Kuehl was instrumental in the public private partnership, the team effort required to successfully save critical land and bring it into the public domain as permanent open space.

During her tenure, Sheila identified over $80 million dollars for key acquisitions in the SMMNRA, including Liberty Canyon, a significant wildlife linkage; the former Ahmanson Ranch purchased with state bond monies to protect watersheds and improve water quality; Lower Topanga State Park, 1,800 acres, now part of the Callfornia's largest State Park; Soka campus, now King Gillette Ranch, and permanent public open space; significant wildlife corridors and connectors along the Backbone Trail.

Sheila's genius as a partner in protecting the SMMNRA, to preserve and protect the rare, biologically rich and diverse areas so critical to the survival of the entire ecology of the Santa Monica Mountains, is the kind of experience only  someone who has done what she has done can bring to the Third District as their Supervisor. She knows the ropes.

Her broad support, her intuition, her intelligence her integrity and her strength was unparalleled in Sacramento. Her legacy is apparent today, as those who have followed her, like Senator Fran Pavley, have continued to embrace the importance of federal, state, and local county partnerships  to protect the Santa Monica Mountains.

Now, Los Angeles County again has the opportunity to be the beneficiary of Sheila's extraordinary talent. Millions of Angelenos and visitors from all parts of Southern California and the world, enjoy the natural beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Thanks to the efforts of Sheila Kuehl the Santa Monica Mountains still remain the "people's mountains."

Sheila Kuehl is our friend, and a proven friend of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Former Congressman Tony Beilenson

Let's go through the 6 statewide propositions:

• Prop 1 authorizes $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, improving access to and quality of drinking water statewide by funding water quality projects in several categories: safe drinking water, recycled water, regional water security, groundwater sustainability and coastal/river protection. I'll probably vote for it but I'm torn because of the nature of the giveaways to special interests and because it is both expensive and wasteful.

• Prop 2 requires the state to siphon off money for a rainy day fund-- while it's still raining and the money is needed to repair the damages already done during the Recession. This is an easy NO vote for me.

• Prop 45 is a big one that the special interests hate and have spent millions to defeat with misleading ads. It puts the brakes on skyrocketing health insurance rates and requires health insurance companies to justify rate increases to the public and receive approval for any increases by the California Insurance Commissioner. This is an easy YES vote for me.

• Prop 46 increases the malpractice damages cap to $1 million for the first time since 1975 to account for nearly four decades of inflation. It also requires mandatory drug testing for doctors with hospital privileges, raising concerns from privacy advocates and the drug policy community. Sounds like a good idea to me-- despite the barrage of special interest TV propaganda against it.

• Prop 47 rolls back the idiotic "war on drugs," while alleviating the state's prison overcrowding. It reduces penalties from felony to misdemeanor for most nonviolent crimes, and redirects savings to rehabilitative programs and schools. Easy YES vote for me.

• Prop 48 is another Indian gaming casino referendum that I can't quite figure out how to vote on-- so I won't. A yes, vote, from what I can tell allows tribes to buy land in areas of California near big population centers explicitly to open casinos.

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At 5:27 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Interesting article: Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is behind 85 percent of Florida’s anti-pot campaign

I wonder what his angle is? Maybe that's another reason DWS is down with keeping pot illegal?

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" It also requires mandatory drug testing for doctors with hospital privileges"

HowTF did this get added to the proposition?

I have to admit that when I heard the commercial for this prop my immediate reaction was "Fuck no - I am not voting for more drug testing".

Who could have possibly thought linking drug-testing-doctors to malpractice caps was a winner?

Almost no one hates doctors. We hate insurance companies. Why not do drug testing of insurance company workers? It makes no effing sense.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Arcas17 said...

I agree with the anon at 10:29 AM. Why would anyone want to single out doctors for drug testing? My best guess is along the same lines as the 10:29 anon -- that the reason is to create a norm for more and more workplaces and more and more professions to drug test their workers. We already drug test, for example, truck drivers and workers in other professions where use of heavy equipment is common; this would expand that to doctors and perhaps set a precedent for other professions. It would effectively transfer the War on Drugs to the economic sphere from the legal sphere, where the ability to wage the War on Drugs is faltering.

Another thought I've had, though I haven't seen anything written on it, is that it is a subtle attack on medical marijuana. Some lawmakers might think doctors who tend to approve patients to get medical marijuana also tend to smoke marijuana themselves.


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