CA Democratic Party

Big Real Estate Loses Key Anti-Tenant Democrats

By Dean Preston

Tenants Together

Many ambitious legislators in Sacramento believe that their path to victory is by selling out tenants and aligning with realtors and landlords. No doubt they get campaign money for playing this game. But several Democrats around the state have learned the hard way that supporting Big Real Estate to the detriment of working people is not a good strategy for re-election.

Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton) sold out tenants by casting the deciding vote to kill Ellis Act reform. She thought this would keep Big Real Estate at bay in her effort to win reelection. She had a rude awakening and lost her seat 55-45%.

Schoolyard Tricks and the Education Budget: Queenie, Queenie, Where's The Ball?

By Sheila Kuehl

Somehow, writing about the Governor's initial budget for education made me think about schoolyard games. Is the money there or not? Is the state giving or taking away?   

Where's the ball?

For me, schoolyard games always began when they pushed us out of class for recess expecting that we would get some good exercise and have some fun. Maybe it's just me, but I remember those "fun" times in a darker light as vehicles for the stronger kids to terrorize, embarrass and trick the rest of us, especially during the ball games.

Ball game tricks probably date all the way back to the ancient Mesoamericans who were thought to have played games with rubber balls as early as 1600 B.C. I'll bet they also played some version of an early twentieth century English and American game called Queenie Queenie, Who's Got the Ball?

More on the Governor's January Budget: Women and Children First (Under The Bus)

By Sheila Kuehl

In my last essay, I compared the poor families in California to an array of long-suffering silent movie heroines who were threatened by heartless landlords or mustachioed villains and inevitably rescued in the nick of time by the super hero of the day (much like the spate of films we're all shelling out big bucks to see). Unfortunately, there is no end of the reel rescue for the millions of kids and families further abandoned by this year's budget.

In a state where the rate of children living in poverty increased by more than 5% between 2009-10 and just continues to grow, where the numbers of single mothers with jobs fell by more than 10% between 2007 and 2010 and is now much worse, we, nevertheless, seem to return again and again to slashing the social services area of the budget in order to balance it.

Gov. Brown's January Budget: The Tin Man Strikes Again

By Sheila Kuehl

Most people don't know that L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz books, was a populist with a passion for true American equality. Thanks to the MGM movie starring Judy Garland, most of Baum's political overlay is lost to the general public, but, in truth, he fashioned the Tin Man to stand for industrialization, which didn't have a heart, while the Scarecrow stood for the farmer, who looked to be wiped out by industrialization. The saving factor, Baum thought, would be for the workers in industrialized cities (the tin men) to develop their hearts and make league with the farmers for the good of all.

California Democratic Party Announces Endorsements for November Ballot Propositions

By The California Democratic Party

The California Democratic Party’s Executive Board this weekend announced the Party’s endorsements for the November ballot propositions. Key endorsements include Yes on Props 30 (Protecting school funding), 34 (repeal death penalty), and 37 (GMO labeling) and No on Props 32 (assault on unions) and 33 (auto insurance rate hike). See more:

Bad News: We’re No Longer the Nation’s Biggest Nuts

By Peter Schrag

It’s just a half-century since California was widely regarded as the nation’s cradle of kookiness. It was because of the sunshine, famously said Jesse Unruh, the “Big Daddy” speaker of the Assembly in the 1960s, that we grow so many fruits and nuts.

The evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, one of America’s first radio preachers, built her mega-church here; it was from Southern California that she reportedly vanished into the Pacific in 1926 and, claiming to have been kidnapped, mysteriously reappeared (in Mexico) a month later. The media, of course, ate it up.

The June Primary: This is Democracy?

By Peter Schrag

Contrary to first impressions, there were a few signs of sanity in last week’s Top Two primary election results.

(1) Orly Taitz, the mother of all Birthers, got just over three percent of the vote in her campaign to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein – or at least to run against her in the November election.  Elizabeth Emken, one of the 14 Republicans in the race, got 12 percent and will have that honor and spare the GOP the embarrassment of having a Birther as its standard bearer. 

(2) The voters passed Proposition 28, the tweak in the state’s legislative term limits law, though we may never know whether it was because they thought they were liberalizing it by letting legislators serve twelve years in either house or tightening it by reducing the current total of 14 years – six in the Assembly, eight in the Senate.  But we still have the anti-democracy of term limits – in essence a declaration of no confidence in ourselves as voters.

The June Ballot: Lots of Reform, How Much Change?

By Peter Schrag

Those of us who can be bothered to go to the polls in next month’s primary, or fill out and send back our mail ballots, will probably notice that almost everything seems different: the districts, the ballots, the chance to fiddle with the state’s term limits law.

Whether you’re registered as a Democrat or a Republican or decline to state, your ballot will have all Assembly candidates on one list, all state Senate candidates on another, all congressional candidates on another, regardless of party.

You’ll find Democrat Dianne Feinstein in eighth place among U.S. Senate candidates,
just under Marsha Feinland, who defines her party preference as Peace and Freedom.

Among the 24 on the Senate ballot, there are five other Democrats, an American Independent, a Libertarian, another Peace and Freedom candidate and fourteen Republicans. One of them is lawyer-doctor Orly Taitz, the mother of all Birthers. You can vote for any one of them.

New York Times Misinforms Readers on Jerry Brown’s Budget

By Paul Hogarth

Adam Nagourney’s report on Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revise budget got one obvious fact wrong – the state doesn’t have a “new” $16 billion shortfall. The budget deficit was already $8 billion, and now we have to deal with another $8 billion. But what also isn’t “new” about the New York Times article is the false notion (repeated ad nauseam by the traditional media) that Democrats and Republicans are somehow “equally” to blame for the budget crisis.

It's OK That the California Republican Party Is Irrelevant

By Robert Cruickshank

One would think that in a democracy, the preferences of voters would drive political analysis. If voters abandoned one of the parties in droves to the point where that party became irrelevant, it would be a sign of a healthy political system that was adaptable and flexible to changing public views. If, however, one party became massively unpopular yet still wielded power and influence, that would be the sign of a failing political system - one that did not reflect the views of a democratic people.

In California, we have witnessed the long yet inevitable death of the Republican Party. Driven by a base that hates everything about 21st century California, from its diversity to its social and economic values, California Republicans have made themselves irrelevant by their refusal to abandon that crazy base or their own unpopular ideologies.