Decline To State Voters

August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin For VP?

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 9:58 pm

Juneau


The wipeout in the 2006 election left Republicans in such a state of dejection that they’ve overlooked the one shining victory in which a Republican star was born.

 

The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.

 

Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle–especially to transparency and accountability in government–can produce political success. And by the way, Palin is a conservative who only last month vetoed 13 percent of the state’s proposed budget for capital projects.

 

The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, “may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.”

 

As recently as last year, Palin (pronounced pale-in) was a political outcast. She resigned in January 2004 as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission after complaining to the office of Governor Frank Murkowski and to state Attorney General Gregg Renkes about ethical violations by another commissioner, Randy Ruedrich, who was also Republican state chairman.

 

State law barred Palin from speaking out publicly about ethical violations and corruption. But she was vindicated later in 2004 when Ruedrich, who’d been reconfirmed as state chairman, agreed to pay a $12,000 fine for breaking state ethics laws. She became a hero in the eyes of the public and the press, and the bane of Republican leaders.

 

In 2005, she continued to take on the Republican establishment by joining Eric Croft, a Democrat, in lodging an ethics complaint against Renkes, who was not only attorney general but also a long-time adviser and campaign manager for Murkowski.

 

The governor reprimanded Renkes and said the case was closed. It wasn’t. Renkes resigned a few weeks later, and Palin was again hailed as a hero.

 

Palin, 43, the mother of four, passed up a chance to challenge Republican senator Lisa Murkowski, the then-governor’s daughter, in 2004. She endorsed another candidate in the primary, but Murkowski won and was reelected. Palin said then that her 14-year-old son talked her out of running, though it’s doubtful that was the sole reason.

 

In 2006, she didn’t hesitate. She ran against Gov. Murkowski, who was seeking a second term despite sagging poll ratings, in the Republican primary.

 

 In a three-way race, Palin captured 51 percent and won in a landslide. She defeated former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the general election, 49 percent to 41 percent. She was one of the few Republicans anywhere in the country to perform above expectations in 2006, an overwhelmingly Democratic year. Palin is unabashedly pro life.

 

With her emphasis on ethics and openness in government, “it turned out Palin caught the temper of the times perfectly,” wrote Tom Kizzia of the Anchorage Daily News. She was also lucky. News broke of an FBI investigation of corruption by legislators between the primary and general elections.

 

So far, three legislators have been indicted.

In the roughly three years since she quit as the state’s chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic.

 

Political analysts in Alaska refer to the “body count” of Palin’s rivals. “The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah,” says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called “Voice of the Times,” which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct.

 

One of her first acts as governor was to fire the Alaska Board of Agriculture. Her ultimate target was the state Creamery Board, which has been marketing the products of Alaska dairy farmers for 71 years and wanted to close down after receiving $600,000 from the state. “You don’t just close your doors and walk away,” Palin told me. She discovered she lacked the power to fire the Creamery Board. Only the board of agriculture had that authority. So Palin replaced the agriculture board, which appointed a new creamery board, which has rescinded the plan to shut down.

 

In preserving support for dairy farmers, Palin exhibited a kind of Alaskan chauvinism. She came to the state as an infant, making her practically a native. And she is eager to keep Alaska free from domination by oil companies or from reliance on cruise lines whose ships bring thousands of tourists to the state.

 

“She’s as Alaskan as you can get,” says Dan Fagan, an Anchorage radio talk show host. “She’s a hockey mom, she lives on a lake, she ice fishes, she snowmobiles, she hunts, she’s an NRA member, she has a float plane, and her husband works for BP on the North Slope,” Fagan says.

 

 Todd Palin, her high school sweetheart, is a three-time winner of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks. It’s the world’s longest snowmobile race.

 

Gov. Palin grew up in Wasilla, where as star of her high school basketball team she got the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her fierce competitiveness. She led her underdog team to the state basketball championship.

 

Palin also won the Miss Wasilla beauty contest, in which she was named Miss Congeniality, and went on to compete in the Miss Alaska pageant. 

 

At 32, she was elected mayor of Wasilla, a burgeoning bedroom community outside Anchorage. Though Alaskans tend to be ferociously anti-tax, she persuaded Wasilla voters to increase the local sales tax to pay for an indoor arena and convention center. The tax referendum won by 20 votes.

 

In 2002, Palin entered statewide politics, running for lieutenant governor. She finished a strong second in the Republican primary. That fall, she dutifully campaigned for Murkowski, who’d given up his Senate seat to run for governor. Afterwards, she turned down several job offers from Murkowski, finally accepting the oil and gas post. When she quit 11 months later, “that was her defining moment” in politics, says Fagan.

 

Her campaign for governor was bumpy. She missed enough campaign appearances to be tagged “No Show Sarah” by her opponents. She was criticized for being vague on issues. But she sold voters on the one product that mattered: herself.

 

Her Christian faith–Palin grew up attending nondenominational Bible churches–was a minor issue in the race. She told me her faith affects her politics this way: “I believe everything happens for a purpose. In my own personal life, if I dedicated back to my Creator what I’m trying to create for the good . . . everything will turn out fine.” That same concept applies to her political career, she suggested.

 

The biggest issue in the campaign was the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope that’s crucial to the state’s economy. Murkowski had made a deal with the three big oil companies–Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips–which own the gas reserves to build the pipeline.

 

But the legislature turned it down and Palin promised to create competition for the pipeline contract.

 

She made three other promises: to end corruption in state government, cut spending, and provide accountability. She’s now redeeming those promises.

 

Palin describes herself as “pro-business and pro-development.” She doesn’t want the oil companies to sit on their energy reserves or environmental groups to block development of the state’s resources. “I get frustrated with folks from outside Alaska who come up and say you shouldn’t develop your resources,” she says. Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on “federal dollars,” as the state does today.

 

Her first major achievement as governor was lopsided passage by the legislature of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which is designed to attract pipeline proposals this summer. The state is offering $500 million in incentives, but the developer must meet strict requirements. The oil companies have said they won’t join the competition.

 

Palin’s tough spending cuts drew criticism from Republican legislators whose pet projects were vetoed. But her popularity doesn’t appear threatened. “It’s not just that she’s pretty and young,” says Dittman. “She’s really smart. And there’s no guile. She says her favorite meal is moose stew or mooseburgers. It wouldn’t shock people if that were true.”

 

Fred Barnes is executive editor of  THE WEEKLY STANDARD

August 3, 2008

Cindy McCain – Rwanda

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 10:25 pm

Rwanda’s Women Are Leading the Way
By Cindy McCain
The Wall Street Journal
July 28, 2008; Page A13
http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB121720134007588395.html

I have recently returned from Rwanda. I was last there in 1994, at the height of the genocide that claimed the lives of more than 800,000 Rwandans. The memories of what I saw haunt me still.

I wasn’t sure what to expect all these years later, but I found a country that has found in its deep scars the will to move on and rebuild a civil society. And the renaissance is being led by women.

Women are at the forefront of the physical, emotional and spiritual healing that is moving Rwandan society forward. One of them, from eastern Rwanda, told me her story — a violent, tragic and heartbreaking testimony of courage. She spoke of surviving multiple gang rapes, running at night in fear of losing her life, going days without food or water and witnessing the death of her entire family — one person at a time, before her eyes.

The injuries she sustained left her unable to bear children. Illness, isolation and an utter lack of hope left her in abject despair.

And yet the day I met her, she wasn’t consumed by hatred or resentment. She sat, talking with me and a few others, beside a man who had killed people guilty of nothing more than seeking shelter in a church. She forgave him. She forgave the perpetrators of her tragedy, and she explained her story with hope that such cruelty would never be repeated.

It is a humbling experience to be in the presence of those who have such a capacity for forgiveness and care. It is also instructive. If wealthy nations want their assistance programs to be effective, they should look to the women who form the backbone of every society. With some education, training, basic rights and empowerment, women will transform a society — and the world.

Women today make up a disproportionate percentage of the Rwandan population. In the aftermath of the genocide, they had to head households bereft of fathers. They had to take over farms, and take jobs previously done by men. But there were opportunities, too: Today, 41% of Rwandan businesses are owned by women.

I saw their impact first hand at a coffee project in the city of Nyandungu. All the washing and coffee-bean selection is done by hand, by women there. Women to Women International, a remarkably active and innovative nongovernmental organization, has already helped over 15,000 Rwandan women through a year-long program of direct aid, job-skills training and education.

The organization is launching a project to train 3,000 women in organic agriculture, and is reaching out to females across the country. The women who instruct their fellow war survivors in economic development are an inspiration to those who cherish the essential benevolence of humanity.

But that is just the beginning. A new constitution ratified in 2003 required that women occupy at least 30% of the seats in parliament. (In our House and Senate only about 17% of the seats are filled by women.) Some wondered at the time whether it was feasible to meet this target. Now, nearly half of parliament and a third of the president’s cabinet posts are held by women. Rwanda today has the world’s highest percentage of female legislators.

Rwanda has a dark past but a bright future. It has a long way to go — the country remains one of the world’s poorest, and the social reverberations of the genocide are evident everywhere. Yet in the midst of tragedy, the women are building something genuinely new. Perhaps it is fitting that a nation so wracked by death could give birth to a vibrant new age. I know that one thing is clear: Through their bold and courageous actions, these women should inspire not only their fellow Africans, but all individuals — men and women — across the globe.

July 26, 2008

A First Lady we can be proud of!

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 4:12 pm

 

 

As voters continue to question whether one lady is proud of her Country, we must question which lady would our Country be proud of.

 

Ask not what your Country should have done for you,

 but what have you done for your Country.

 “I saw the bodies along the roadside.” Checkpoints were manned by 12- and 13-year-olds with AK-47s. “The kids were drinking — bottles of Guinness, I remember. They would point their guns at you. They wanted money. We paid.” Along the way, she picked up several abandoned young people, later turned over to the care of an Irish charity.

“You could see the chaos, hear the shots, hear the screaming. You could smell it.” What, I asked her, could you smell? “The smell of death,” she replied.”

“I remember having to step over the decomposing body of an infant, covered with white powder, lime I guess, to get into one building.” The field hospital covered four acres. McCain’s team provided primary care for sick and frightened refugees, many of them suffering from dehydration.

 None of her relief work has been done for political consumption or Washington prominence. On the contrary, it has been an alternative life to the culture of the capital — the rejection of the normal progress of a senator’s wife. “It is not about me — it never has been. I felt it was important — that I had to do it. I never took government money. It was my own, and I am not ashamed of it.”

Below is the complete article I read while having coffee in a quite café in Bozeman Montana.  “This is the First Lady” I would be proud to follow.

David Hernandez

http://www.declinetostatevoter.org

A Quiet Humanitarian

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, July 23, 2008; A15

KIGALI, Rwanda — Cindy McCain‘s first visit to this country, in 1994, was during the high season of roadblocks and machetes and shallow graves.

Following a call for help from Doctors Without Borders, McCain had assembled a medical team with the intention of setting up a mobile hospital in Rwanda.

Arriving by private plane in mid-April, a couple of weeks into the massacres, she realized that the chaos made deploying her team impossible.

 At the airport, she paid for the use of a truck and set out for Goma in then-Zaire, where hundreds of thousands of refugees were also headed.

“I never saw anyone harmed,” McCain recalls, “but I saw the bodies along the roadside.” Checkpoints were manned by 12- and 13-year-olds with AK-47s. “The kids were drinking — bottles of Guinness, I remember. They would point their guns at you. They wanted money. We paid.” Along the way, she picked up several abandoned young people, later turned over to the care of an Irish charity.

“You could see the chaos, hear the shots, hear the screaming. You could smell it.” What, I asked her, could you smell? “The smell of death,” she replied.

Arriving across the border in Goma, in what is now Congo, McCain found cholera victims stacked beside the road “like highway barriers.” “I remember having to step over the decomposing body of an infant, covered with white powder, lime I guess, to get into one building.” The field hospital covered four acres. McCain’s team provided primary care for sick and frightened refugees, many of them suffering from dehydration. For nearly a month, McCain organized deliveries of food and water for the operation, collecting supplies at the Goma airport.

“I have never seen anything like it before,” she says, “and never since. . . . When I came home, I couldn’t put it into words for my husband.”

The rushing return of these memories came on Cindy McCain’s first visit to Rwanda since the genocide. In the shadow of Barack Obama‘s world tour, McCain joined a bipartisan delegation — including former Senate majority leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle — organized by the ONE Campaign, a group that advocates for the fight against global poverty and disease. (I am also involved in the efforts of ONE.)

McCain came back to a very different Rwanda — peaceful, well governed, and making, with American help, some of the most rapid progress in the history of public health.

“What has struck me,” says McCain, “is that most people are reconciling. A woman I met was gang-raped [during the genocide], her throat was slit, she lost her whole family, but was willing to forgive. The reason this will be a successful country is the women — some of the strongest, most inspiring women I have ever met.”

Given her history of humanitarianism, these adjectives might be associated with McCain herself. The election of her husband would also bring to the White House an adventurous, traveled, intriguingly fearless first lady. Over the years, McCain has taken medical services to a Sandinista stronghold after Nicaragua’s civil war; set up a mobile hospital near Kuwait City while the oil wells still burned from the Persian Gulf War; helped in Bangladesh after a cyclone. And while in that country in 1991 she found her daughter Bridget in an orphanage — “She really picked me,” McCain insists. Sometimes the desire to save every child is properly concentrated on a single child.

Like most of Cindy McCain’s life, these stories are generally hidden behind a wall of well-tailored reticence. She values the privacy of her family and resents the intrusiveness of the media. None of her relief work has been done for political consumption or Washington prominence. On the contrary, it has been an alternative life to the culture of the capital — the rejection of the normal progress of a senator’s wife. “It is not about me — it never has been. I felt it was important — that I had to do it. I never took government money. It was my own, and I am not ashamed of it.”

But all this would have political consequences in a McCain administration. Even if a first lady is not intrusively political, the whole White House responds to her priorities. Cindy McCain has had decades of personal contact with the suffering of the developing world. And in some future crisis or genocide, it might matter greatly to have a first lady who knows the smell of death.

michaelgerson@cfr.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4, 2008

Dennis Prager on McCain

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 3:48 pm

Why I Support John McCain
Dennis Prager
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Last week, a conservative magazine reported that I would not vote for John McCain for president. The magazine based its claim on a column I had written in May 2007 about why I could not support John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination.

The magazine was wrong. Though I did not support Sen. McCain in the Republican primaries, the moment he became the presumptive Republican candidate I endorsed him wholeheartedly for president of the United States. Having not been a supporter from the outset, perhaps my endorsement of John McCain will carry more weight among conservatives who are still undecided about whether to vote for John McCain.

My bottom line is this: The gulf between John McCain and conservatives is miniscule compared to the gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama. This is true regarding virtually every issue of significance to America. The America that a President Barack Obama would shape, with the help of a Democratic Congress and a liberal Supreme Court, would be very dissimilar from the America shaped by a President John McCain.

Conservatives who will not vote for McCain are well-intentioned utopians. They are comparing McCain to a consistently conservative candidate. The reality, however, is that McCain is not running against a consistently conservative candidate. He is running against a consistently left-wing candidate. And America cannot afford to have its first leftist president ever. It can afford liberal presidents — such as Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter (who governed as a liberal but became a leftist after leaving the White House), or John F. Kennedy, or Lyndon Johnson, or Harry Truman — i.e., all the Democrats who have been president since World War II. But the Democratic Party has moved well to the left of liberalism. And Barack Obama is at the left of that left-wing party.

Furthermore, given the strong possibility of a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a liberal Supreme Court for decades to come, given the number of Supreme Court appointments a Democratic president will be able to make, an Obama victory will move America more radically leftward than ever in its history.

That is why the argument that an Obama administration will be so destructive that Americans will reject the left and then elect a real conservative to undo the damage done in an Obama presidency is deeply flawed.

First of all, other than impeachment, there is no way to undo Supreme Court appointments, two or three of which a President Obama would likely make. And given how active most liberal judges are, it won’t matter much if the country has some conservative epiphany and then elects a Republican president and Congress. Because even if the Congress and the president will not pass liberal legislation, a liberal Supreme Court will. On almost any social issue that matters — the right to bear arms, late-term abortion, the definition of marriage, capital punishment, and many others — a liberal Supreme Court will rule on these issues, and there will be nothing that a post-Obama Republican president, even with a Republican congress, will be able to do about them.

Moreover, the argument that Americans will have a conservative epiphany after four years of an Obama presidency is predicated on America being greatly damaged by his policies. What kind of mindset welcomes such damage to the country it loves for the sake of potentially gaining politically after the damage is done? Is it, for example, really worth a considerably weakened economy (which Barack Obama’s tax and other economic policies would likely lead to), with its widespread suffering and unforeseeable social and political consequences, just to — hopefully — get a conservative into the White House four or eight years later?

And the damage won’t necessarily be undone. Even Ronald Reagan, the most popular conservative to ever serve as president, could not roll back most liberal creations. He never could get rid of the useless Department of Education, for example. Nor could a then-popular President George W. Bush do a thing about Social Security even when he had a Republican House and Senate. And how will Barack Obama’s successor undo the damage done to Iraq, the Middle East, the War on Islamic Terror, and the credibility of America’s assurances to allies once Iraq slides into chaos as a result of America’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq?

 

Therefore, as well meaning and sincere as many conservatives are, this mode of thinking — let the country suffer under a left-wing president, Congress, and Supreme Court and then it will come to its conservative senses — will likely lead to a downward spiral from which it is hard to see the country escaping for a generation, if it is lucky.

There is one person who can prevent this unhappy future — John McCain.

He will not raise taxes, the last thing we should be doing in a weakened economy.

He will reduce government spending, and thereby prevent the state from controlling even more of American life.

He will ensure that America wins in Iraq. That will make one of the biggest and richest Arab states the freest of the Arab states. And it will hand Islamic terrorists the biggest defeat they have ever suffered. It will teach potential enemies not to attack America (whether Iraq did so directly is irrelevant to the point). And it will reassure America‘s allies around the world, many of whom, as in Iraq, risk their lives for America and liberty, that America will never abandon them.

He will appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court and to federal benches, thereby depriving the left of its most powerful weapon in reshaping America in its image.

He may attract enough Hispanic votes (while securing the borders) to prevent that critical constituency from identifying with the Democratic Party, something that would ensure left-wing victories for decades to come.

He will develop nuclear power, environmentalist (read leftist) opposition to which has been morally indefensible. We would all love to have a solar powered or wind powered country. However, on planet earth at this time, nuclear power may be the cleanest source of energy we have. That is why France, not heretofore known as politically conservative, relies on nuclear power for nearly 80 percent of its electricity.

However noble their intentions, conservatives who do not vote for John McCain will be morally complicit in what happens to America during an Obama presidency.

June 8, 2008

Is Barack Hussein Obama the first Affirmative Action Presidential Nominee?

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 5:19 pm

 

Before we start down the path of reason, let’s address your reaction to me mentioning Mr. Obama’s middle name.

 

It is OK to say Rodham as in Hillary Rodham Clinton, but not Barack Hussein Obama, why? What is it about the Nominees middle name that makes you feel uncomfortable?

 

Deal with it, that’s his name….

 

Now, onward to my first premises.

 

Most of the county who was not at a sporting event was part of the millions of Americans who watch the Democrats attempt to bring resolution to the Florida and Michigan Primary mess.

 

Most agree, the manner in which Florida was resolved at least had the appearance of fairness.

 

The Affirmative Action comes in the resolution of Michigan.

 

Some facts in evidence are these and are not being disputed.

 

Both Rodham and Hussein could have appeared on the Ballot. Only Rodam choose to take the necessary steps and expense to do so. There was nothing preventing Hussein from doing so.

 

Rodam as agreed did not campaign in Michigan yet received 328,309 votes.

 

Hussein was not on the ballot but the “uncommitted” number was 238,168.

 

It is important to note there were others on the ballot such as Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel.

 

Prior to the Primary, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the State of Michigan was legally able to hold its primary in January and that the DNC could not prevent it.

 

As a result, the DNC took action.

 

New Hampshire which had also been instructed to hold its primary at a later date or suffer the consequences, disregarded the DNC instructions and went forward. They requested a Waiver and no DNC action was taken against them.

 

So much for equal representation…

 

At the DNC Rules meeting, was heard testimony and pontification about the Democratic Party being all inclusive and how the Republicans were the real culprit in the Delegate mess of Florida and Michigan.

 

Once blame was successfully assigned to the Evil Republicans and George Bush, the panel went on to complete its agenda of getting a Black Democrat, the nomination.

 

Twenty nine.5 uncommitted delegates were given to Hussein based on “Exit Polls”.

 

Nineteen members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee made the decision to give Rodham 34.5 delegates and Hussein 29.5.

 

Even though Rodham receive more than 90,000 more votes than all uncommitted combined, she was stripped of four delegates and only given 5 more that Hussein.

 

The other candidates who received approximately 29,000 votes got 0.

 

If that is not Affirmative Action, nothing is.

 

It was sad to hear Rodham “suspended” her campaign and did not continue to the convention. I know it is being touted as party unity, but lets call it for what is really is; Affirmative Action and a feeble attempt to ease White Guilt.

Now there are those who carry so much resentment against the Clintons that they could care less about what took place.

 

I have even received a certain amount of criticism for even pointing out the abuse of the process and the constitutional rights of the voters.

 

We as Americans must stand together in defense our process.

 

There is a principal which I finds works best,

 

 “Principals before Personalities”.

 

 

June 1, 2008

Michael J. O’Gara For Judge #94

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 3:26 pm

Greetings Friends and Supporters,

 

During my 20 years as a Community Advocate I have had the pleasure to meet and work with many of you.

 

During my years as an advocate in the Sun Valley Community I had the good fortune to meet and work with Mr. Mike O’Gara as members of the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council.

 

Mike has always gone far and above and been a fine example of Community Service.

 

Much too often we are presented with the opportunity to cast our vote for a candidate we know very little about. In light of the constant flow of campaign material we may become jaded to the candidate’s campaign material.

 

There does come a time when we are able to receive information outside of the candidate’s campaign which will aid us in our decision in voting.

 

Please consider my recommendation for Michael J. O’Gara for Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Office #94.

 

Michael is the son of my friend Mike and that goes along way in my book. With a seventeen year track record as a Deputy District Attorney prosecuting those who commit crimes against your community and families.

 

 He has stood for us against those criminals; don’t you think it is time we stand up for him?

.

 For more information go http://www.ogara4judge.com/

 

 

Vote on June 3rd for Michael J. O’Gara

 

David Hernandez

 

 

Please pass this on to your e-mail groups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 27, 2008

California needs eminent-domain reform, but not Props. 98 or 99

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 3:51 pm

The proponents of Propositions 98 and 99 would have you believe that voters must approve one of their measures. If you don’t like 98, then you must vote for 99, or vice versa. But Californians would be better off voting both down.

At first glance, the two propositions seem similar. Both ostensibly deal with eminent-domain reform, which has been a hot issue ever since the U.S. Supreme Court gave local governments permission to seize private property and turn it over to private developers in the 2005 case of Kelo v. City of New London.

Historically, governments have only been allowed to take private property – with appropriate compensation – for a public use, such as building a school or road. Post-Kelo, they can take your home, business or house of worship and turn it over to any deep-pocketed developer who wants it.

There can be little doubt that, in the wake of Kelo, eminent-domain reform is needed badly. But neither Proposition 98 nor Proposition 99 is the answer.

Proposition 98 is the fruit of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Its campaign is heavily funded by California landlords – and that’s the problem.

On the plus side, Proposition 98 effectively deals with the abuses inherent in Kelo. It would prohibit municipal governments from taking any private property for another private use.

But – as is often the case with California initiatives – Proposition 98 is a good idea tainted with political subterfuge.

That’s because even though proponents don’t talk about it much, Proposition 98 goes far beyond reining in eminent-domain abuse. The initiative also includes language to ban rent control – a wholly different issue in the minds of most Californians.

In California, rent control is as politically popular as eminent-domain abuse is unpopular. That’s why Proposition 98’s backers are cloaking their attack on rent control in a campaign that focuses exclusively on eminent domain.

To be sure, there’s an argument to be made that rent control doesn’t work, and California would be better off without it. But that’s an argument that ought to be made on its own merits, within the context of its own proposition – not snuck in, Trojan horse-style, via eminent-domain reform.

Meanwhile, if Proposition 98 goes too far, Proposition 99 doesn’t go far enough.

The measure was created by the League of Cities – which, as one of the main beneficiaries of the Kelo ruling, has a vested interest in preserving municipalities’ unjust eminent-domain powers.

Thus, Proposition 99 protects only homeowners from having their property taken for private purposes, while extending no protections to businesses, renters or houses of worship. And the homeowner protections are rather flimsy at that. They don’t extend to “blighted” property, a term that, under state law, can apply to just about anything.

Worse yet, Proposition 99 contains a political poison pill – a provision that would block Proposition 98, even if voters overwhelmingly approve it, should Proposition 99 get as little as a single vote more.

And that’s Proposition 99’s real purpose – killing Proposition 98 by any means possible.

The backers of Proposition 99 are insincere about reforming eminent domain. They just hope to block Proposition 98 and all future prospects for eminent-domain reform by giving voters a false sense that the issue has been resolved.

Unfortunately, both propositions are deceptive. Each is saddled with political baggage and its supporters’ ulterior motives.

Which is why both deserve a “no” vote.

Proponents of both propositions need to learn that dishonesty won’t be rewarded at the ballot box. And a defeat could force them to try to forge compromise reform in the Legislature – where such policy ought to be made in the first place.

 

 Los Angeles Daily News

May 26, 2008

Libertarian Party selects Bob Barr

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 11:27 pm

Libertarian Party selects Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee
Former Congressman plans to take the White House as Libertarian candidate

Denver – The Libertarian Party has nominated former Congressman Bob Barr as its candidate for president for the 2008 election.

“I’m sure we will emerge here with the strongest ticket in the history of the Libertarian Party,” Barr stated in his victory speech shortly after being selected as the Party’s nominee. “I want everybody to remember that we only have 163 days to win this election.  We cannot waste one single day.”

More than 650 Libertarian delegates met in Denver from May 22 till the 26 for the 2008 Libertarian National Convention.  After six rounds of voting Sunday afternoon, Barr was selected as the Party’s presidential nominee. 

“We’re proud to present to the American voters Bob Barr as our presidential nominee,” says Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis. “While Republicans and Democrats will fight for their own power in November, Libertarians will fight for Americans.  Bob Barr is one of the strongest candidates in the Party’s 37-year history, and we look for him to have an enormous impact in the 2008 race.  Republicans and Democrats have good reason to fear a candidate like Barr, who refuses to accept the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude of the current political establishment.  Americans want and need another choice, and that choice is Bob Barr.”

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting http://www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.
 
For more information, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 333-0008 during normal business hours, or at (202) 731-0002 during any other time.  For an interview with the Barr campaign, please contact Audrey Mullen at (703) 548-1160.

 

May 18, 2008

Nonpartisans received the wrong forms

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 3:57 pm

Another ballot flap for independents

Nonpartisans received the wrong forms

By Fred Ortega, Staff Writer

Article Last Updated: 05/18/2008 12:26:55 AM PDT

Some Los Angeles County independent voters are facing another conundrum in the June 3 primary, just months after the “double bubble” fiasco of the Feb. 5 presidential primary.

Nonpartisan voters who requested absentee ballots for the Republican or Democratic primaries have instead received nonpartisan ballots that do not list any partisan candidates.

Officials with the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office said they are addressing the problem, which has affected about 3,000 so-called “crossover” nonpartisan voters.

Registrar officials said they have already sent out the correct ballots and that those nonpartisan voters affected should receive them in time to cast their votes in the June primary.

The error was the result of a computer glitch that sent out nonpartisan ballots based on the voter’s preference at the time of the last election – while ignoring their more recent request for a crossover ballot, said Efrain Escobedo, the registrar’s executive liaison.

“We received a couple calls from voters and our quality control caught it,” said Escobedo.

He added that corrected ballots with an explanatory note and new sample ballot booklet were sent to all the affected voters Friday morning.

He said the glitch affected about 3,000 of the roughly 560,000 vote-by-mail ballots that the county has sent out so far.

But even a few thousand votes could make a difference June 3. That is because, with the early presidential primary out of the way, experts believe this secondary primary will be marked by an unusually low turnout.

“It is hard to say what the precise impact will be,” said Michael Alvarez, a political science professor at California Institute of Technology, who was among those nonpartisan crossover voters who received the wrong ballot.

“There could very well be voters who have already received these ballots, have filled them out and returned them,” Alvarez said.

He noted that the nonpartisan ballot includes judicial and county candidates and propositions, but omits any partisan offices, including candidates running in the state Senate and Assembly primaries.

And the confusion caused by receiving two sets of ballots in the mail could lead to many voters sending in the wrong one – or both.

“One would hope the registrar would rectify that and count the ballot if they receive a second ballot from those voters,” Alvarez said.

Given the complex nature of the American electoral process, it is not surprising that mistakes occur, said Jack Pitney, politics professor at Claremont McKenna College.

“Absentee voters should take a careful look at their ballot to make sure they got the right one,” said Pitney. “The most important candidate races in this primary are those for state Legislature, and most Californians have only a hazy grasp of what the state Legislature does.

“In a close, low-turnout race, a handful of ballots can change the outcome,” Pitney added.

This latest obstacle facing the county’s independent voters comes on the heels of the now-infamous double bubble incident – which required independent voters to fill in an extra bubble specifying the party they wanted to vote under in order for their selections for partisan candidates to be counted. The problem ended up affecting nearly 50,000 voters.

Anyone with questions about the absentee ballots should contact the Registrar’s Office, 562-466-1323, or visit http://www.lavote.net.

 

September 3, 2007

Independents-Voters No on can take for granted

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidhernandez @ 4:53 am

CAMPAIGN ’08: ANXIOUS INDEPENDENTS

The voters no one can take for granted

Both major parties are trying to lure the unaffiliated, many of whom have soured on Bush but aren’t wild about the Democrats.

By Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 2, 2007

HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLO. — When President Bush campaigned for reelection three years ago, this community near Denver was a promising territory: a fast-growing collection of cul-de-sacs and nearly identical homes, where thousands of young families seemed open to Republican ideas.

The “exurbs,” the far-flung suburbs of Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Denver and other cities, were full of parents too busy with school, church and work to bother affiliating with either major party. GOP strategy held that, come election time, Republicans could win these voters with talk of lower taxes, stronger security and family values — not only to help Bush, but to position the party for long-term dominance.

But talk today to Donna Howe, 49, a mother of two who backed Bush in 2004, and a dramatic setback to that plan emerges.

Like many of her neighbors, Howe is an independent voter who is frustrated by the direction of the country, nervous about national security — and open to a Democratic candidate “with good ideas on healthcare and a reasonable plan to deal with the Iraq war.”

The same holds for Jim Tuccio, 44, who lives a few streets away and blames Republican mismanagement of the economy for strangling the mortgage company he once worked for, costing him his job.

Unaffiliated voters, who split evenly between Bush and Democrat John F. Kerry in 2004, are now looking more favorably at the Democratic Party, a reaction to Bush’s slide in the polls, the U.S. struggle in Iraq and other disappointments with GOP leadership.

It is a dramatic political development in such a closely divided electorate, and one that is likely to paint a different Electoral College map that for the last two elections was shaded Republican red in the heartland and the South, and Democratic blue in the coastal West, the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.

Strategists in both major parties believe the shift among independents was crucial to last year’s Democratic sweep of congressional and state races in a number of traditionally Republican states, such as Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Ohio.

Here in Douglas County, the state’s Democratic governor won nearly 50% of the vote last year — a major achievement, considering that fewer than one in five voters here are Democrats and that President Bush had won overwhelmingly in 2000 and 2004.

Strategists agree that the shift foreshadows a far more complicated calculus as next year’s presidential election unfolds. Already, both major parties are examining ways to lure the increasingly important constituency, which though losing faith in Bush, is not enthusiastic about the Democratic Party. At stake are the White House and control of Congress, with competitive Senate races expected in Colorado as well as in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia — all with heavy concentrations of independent voters.

“These independents are not marching into the Democratic Party and declaring themselves Democrats, but the change is in the tilt,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. “They are definitely leaning toward the Democrats.”

Polls show that the movement among independents is a broad phenomenon.

Surveys by Pew have found that far fewer voters now identify with the Republican Party. Where the two parties had roughly an equal hold on the electorate in 2002, now only about 35% call themselves Republicans or independents leaning toward the GOP, compared with about 50% aligning with the Democrats.

Moreover, independent voters are shifting their outlook on government, Pew found, putting them more in line with the Democratic Party in their concern about income inequality and belief in a government safety net for the poor.

Even some of the GOP’s most ardent backers — supporters whom Bush’s campaign courted heavily in 2004 — are less enthusiastic about the party, among them Latinos and women in suburbs and exurbs.

And holding the loyalty of evangelical Christians has become one of the most surprising problems for the Republican Party.

Support among white evangelicals neared 100% after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the White House used pastors, church membership directories and other tools to mobilize evangelicals for the 2004 election. But Bush’s support among these voters dropped to 44% in a June Pew survey, sparking concern in GOP circles that an unmotivated base would cripple the party’s efforts to compensate for losses among independent voters.

Phil and Sue Waters helped organize their suburban Denver megachurch to campaign for an anti-gay-marriage referendum on last year’s state ballot. But even these core GOP voters are feeling less excited about pitching in for the party’s candidates in 2008.

Their church, Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, has long been a hub for Republican politics in closely fought Jefferson County. In a surprising change last year, a Democrat won the area’s congressional seat. Democrats plan to target the county next year for the open Senate seat as well as the presidential election.

On a recent Wednesday evening, after a prayer service devoted to a Bible verse about respecting the authority of God and government, the Waterses said they had lost their enthusiasm for the current authority figures in Washington, and said they were worried about next year’s election.

“I’m still a Republican, but I’m very close to being an independent,” said Phil Waters. “I’m closer to the middle than I used to be because of the way the Republicans have screwed things up.”

Democrats, who chose Denver for their national nominating convention, are trying to build on such momentum. But party strategists recognize that they must proceed gingerly to win independent voters.

If 2004 was the year of the red-meat message to the party base, 2008 is shaping up as a time for the soft sell to the middle.

In Arapahoe County, another suburban Denver battleground, a group called Democrats Work is trying to woo unaffiliated voters by cleaning parks, building school playgrounds and performing other community service projects. The goal is to show that “Democrats are more like your friends and neighbors, not necessarily the people in Washington,” group founder Thomas Bates said.

Some Democrats tried the soft-sell strategy in last year’s elections. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who took over a GOP seat in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, highlighted his moderate views on issues important to swing voters. In one direct-mail piece, he cited his daughter’s epilepsy as his “personal” reason to back stem-cell research. The independent voters “call the shots,” said Perlmutter, who stalks unaffiliated supporters at area supermarkets through his twice-monthly Government at the Grocery sessions.

Democratic analysts say the 2006 election underscored the importance of downplaying partisanship and campaigning to the middle.

An analysis of 30 competitive races found that the Democratic Party’s voter turnout was strong, due in part to Republican troubles and unusual Democratic unity. But turnout of the hard-core GOP base was just as good. The findings suggested that Democrats could not hope to win without a majority of independent voters.

“Turnout was a neutral factor in ’06,” said Mark Gersh, director of the National Committee for an Effective Congress, which conducted the analysis for House Democratic leaders. “What gave us victories was garnering votes among moderates and independents.”

The same realization is dawning on some Republicans, who concede that they have not fielded candidates with enough appeal to unaffiliated voters — at least in Colorado. Even when Bush won the state in 2004, the GOP lost a U.S. Senate seat and ground in the state General Assembly.

“The ideal candidate is not necessarily a party activist,” Dick Wadhams, state GOP chairman, said.

For the most part, independent voters will watch from the sidelines as party members choose their presidential nominees in the coming months. Then, the nominees will probably pivot from partisanship to the middle — and any outcome is possible.

Unaffiliated voters fed up with Bush, for example, might be willing to back former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, two Northeastern Republicans with a history of reaching beyond the party base.

Or some independents, like Howe, the Highlands Ranch mother, may be ready to vote for a Democrat. In Howe’s case, that’s unless the nominee is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, whom she faults for staying with President Clinton after his affair with a White House intern.

“I have no idea who I’ll vote for,” she said from her porch in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

She said she wanted someone to fix the high cost of healthcare and worried about how her college-student daughter would afford it in the future. “What’s she going to do when she’s not under our plan?” Howe asked.

Tuccio, the former mortgage account executive, long viewed the GOP as the party of affluence and strength. After losing his job, he has doubts.

“I’ve been getting let down, but I don’t see the wealthy getting hurt,” he said in the foyer of his home.

Tuccio said he did not know whom he would vote for next year either. As he searches for a new job, thinking about the election “is probably the last thing on my list of things to do.” But, he said, “I know it’s important.”

When the campaigns come calling, Tuccio will be listening — and neither side can take him for granted.

peter.wallsten@latimes.com

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