Congressional race heats up

There was a great story in the paper yesterday looking at the 32nd Congressional race, written by Rebecca Kimitch.

What I found particularly interesting is that Monterey Park Councilwoman Betty Tom Chu is throwing her name in the hat. I wonder how badly that will pull the vote away from Judy Chu, who is the Board of Equalization Chairwoman. Judy Chu’s consultant called the move by Betty Tom Chu, who will drop the “Tom” on the ballot, as a dirty trick.

Tom Chu said she is running to represent Monterey Park at the federal level. As a side note, Judy Chu is a Monterey Park resident and started her political career by serving on the Garvey School District and then on the Monterey Park City Council.

Kimitch also mentions Sen. Gil Cedillo’s spending, which the L.A. Times details.

Thinking about it, Gifts for Guns IS like the ending of Terminator 2

This quote from the Governator this morning at a press conference on gang violence and the “Gifts for Guns” program. The video can be seen here.

“Every time a weapon is surrendered, every time a gun is taken off the street, neighborhoods are safer,” said Schwarzenegger. “The guns will be melted and used for something more positive. I think that was also the theme for Terminator Two. The Terminator let himself down into the molt and he gets melted and he kind of wants to terminate himself in order to stop the violence.”

Thinking about running for Congress? You still have time

Still thinking about whether you want to run for the 32nd Congressional District seat?

Well, you still have time. The deadline is April 6. All you need to do to qualify is be at least 25 years old, have about $1,700, need between 40 to 60 nomination signatures and have lived in the state for the past 7 years – you don’t have to live in the district.

Here’s the county’s press release:

March 18, 2009
CONTACT: Marcia Ventura (562) 462-2726 or Eileen Shea (562) 462-2648


Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) Dean Logan announced today that persons intending to run for office in the 32nd Congressional District Special Primary Election on May 19, 2009, may file nomination documents now through Monday, April 6, 2009 with the RR/CC at 12400 E. Imperial Highway, Norwalk, CA 90650, 2nd Floor, Room 2013, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Special Primary Election on May 19 is being held for the purpose of electing party candidates for the Special General Election on July 14, 2009, which will be held to fill a vacancy for the unexpired term ending January 3, 2010, in the 32nd Congressional District resulting from the resignation of office by Hilda L. Solis. (If any candidate receives a majority of all votes cast at the Special Primary Election, he or she shall be declared elected and the Special General Election shall not be held.) The Special Primary will be held in consolidation with the Statewide Special and Consolidated Elections, including (if required) the 26th State Senate District Special General Election.

Persons wishing to run for office must be 25 years of age or older and a United States citizen for at least 7 years and an inhabitant of the state at the time of the general election. Candidates do not have to live in the district. Candidates must have been affiliated with a party, as shown by his or her affidavit of registration, at least 3 months prior to filing nomination documents, or for as long as he or she has been eligible to register to vote in the State. The candidates must not have been affiliated with any other qualified party for 3 months immediately prior to filing.

The deadline for filing nomination papers is Monday, April 6, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

The filing fee is $1,740.00 and 40-60 nominating signatures are required. Petition forms are now available for persons wishing to secure signatures in lieu of all or a portion of the filing fee. Signatures submitted on the in lieu petitions may also be applied to the signature requirements for offices on the nominating petition provided they are registrants of the same party as the candidate. All candidates must pay the nonrefundable filing fee or present in lieu signatures at the time they receive their nomination papers. The total number of in lieu signatures needed is 3,000 for Democratic and Republican party candidates, 90 for Green, 87 for Libertarian and 150 for American Independent and Peace and Freedom party candidates. Persons filing in lieu signatures will be notified within ten calendar days of filing the petition of any deficiency. The deadline to file signatures in lieu petitions is Monday, March 23. In the event of a deficiency, candidates may submit, prior to the close of the nomination period, a supplemental petition or pay the pro rata portion of the filing fee to make up the deficiency. The deadline to file a supplemental petition is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 6, 2009.

Further information can be obtained by calling the RR/CC, Election Planning Section at (562) 462-2317 or by going online to the RR/CC website and clicking on Voter & Election Information.

Persons requiring multilingual assistance in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino or Vietnamese regarding information in this press release, can call (800) 481-8683

Harsh criticism for state budget deal

It seems everyone’s got an opinion on the state budget these days — our local pols included.

Here are some quotes from conversations I had last week with mayors in three local cities:

“I’m pleased that it has passed, which will help free up some of the cash flow that has been held back by the state controller. However, I’m not happy about the tax increases and the fact that taxes are being raised in the middle of one of the worst recessions we have had in decades.”
— Joe Vinatieri, Whittier mayor

“I think there are going to be serious repercussions. Without a doubt, solving the budget by increasing taxes is not the way to go and I’m very disappointed.
— Frank Venti, Monterey Park mayor

“I’m cautiously optimistic about the future. I know California still has a tremendous deficit. We have a lot of problems pending. We have the clouds of recession hanging over us. Passing the budget is the necessary first step on the path to a brighter future, economically speaking. But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
— Louie Lujan, La Puente mayor

Lujan went on to question the two-thirds majority needed to pass California’s budget. Ever since the drawn-out process to get the state’s budget approved began, lawmakers have been mulling the requirement, and whether its time for voters to dump it.

In fact the Associated Press had this story today about the issue:

“We have to do something,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. “I think anybody who’s watched this slow-motion train wreck over the last three months ought to agree that this system no longer works, if it ever did.”

California is one of only a handful of states that require more than a simple majority to pass budget bills. Rhode Island, like California, requires a two-thirds vote. Arkansas requires three-fourths votes to pass most appropriation bills and simple majorities to approve a separate bill that sets the state’s spending priorities.

Lujan said he didn’t know what the solution was, but “something less than two-thirds has to seriously be considered.”

He also said he found it out odd that among Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado’s demands in exchange for his “yes” vote, Maldonado asked for ballot measures that would create an open primary system.

“Maldonado’s proposal in changing the California elections code has nothing to do with budgetary process,” Lujan said. “It surprises me … it’s an odd forum to discuss (that).”

On the Los Angeles County supervisor front, Michael Antonovich released this statement last week about his thoughts on the state budget:

“What was missing was a comprehensive package of structural reforms including eliminating or consolidating overlapping departments and high-paying political commissions … Imposing one of the highest tax rates in the nation is a tax-and-spend orgy that further drives businesses, individuals and jobs out of state.”

Sigh of relief

Local politicians at the city level are likely breathing a sigh of relief now that State Sen. Gloria Romero and Assembylman Ed Hernandez withdrew their names from the race to fill Rep. Hilda Solis’ spot.

Now, our local San Gabriel Valley politicians won’t have to split hairs over who they will endorse — they can support Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu as she seeks out Solis’ spot, and can support Romero as she seeks out State Superintendent.

Otherwise, it would have been interesting to see who the SGV politicians would have ended up endorsing, risking possibly losing endorsement in their future endeavors.

UPDATE: Sure, take the time off..but forget about pay

Reporter Dan Abendschein was told this morning that El Monte staffers will be on an unpaid furlough through Jan. 5, starting some time this week.

Of course, El Monte is not the only state agency imposing furloughs, the LA Times reports. *But is it legal.

Schwarzenegger orders mass layoffs, unpaid furloughs

Union leaders for state employees vow to challenge the legality of the mandatory time off, which amounts to about a 9% pay cut according to the governor’s finance department.
By Patrick McGreevy and Jordan Rau
December 20, 2008
Reporting from Sacramento — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered mass layoffs and unpaid furloughs for state workers starting in February to address California’s growing fiscal crisis.

Under his executive order, 238,000 employees will be forced to take off two unpaid days per month through June 30, 2010. Managers will receive either the furlough or an equivalent salary reduction during the same period.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Schwarzenegger’s finance department, said the mandatory time off is the equivalent of about a 9% pay cut for affected workers. He said the furloughs would save the state more than $1.2 billion.

It is unclear how many people will lose their jobs. Palmer said each department will have to cut its payroll by 10% and will make its own decisions on how many workers must go.

The dichotomy of Prop 8

I was reading the L.A. TImes story on Prop 8 this morning and came across a quote I thought was interesting:

“This has been a moral battle,” said Ellen Smedley, 34, a member of the Mormon Church and a mother of five who worked on the campaign. “We aren’t trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want — it doesn’t change anything that they’re allowed to do already. It’s defining marriage. . . . Marriage is a man and a woman establishing a family unit.”

Talking to opponents and proponents of the proposition that appears to have a victory, I asked about this quote and the issue of the dichotomy of the arguments being made.

The interesting part of this quote is where the woman says “We aren’t trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want — it doesn’t change anything that they’re allowed to do already.”

The argument is often mirrored by those favoring gay marriage, suggesting gay marriage doesn’t change anything about religious beliefs and practices, it doesn’t affect anyone’s way of life by allowing it.

And I wonder how two sides, so different, in a contentious issue that has become quite divisive could have such similar arguments. And not only that, argue that one is somehow better than the other. There is a lot of gray area on this issue.

Anyway, I just wanted to open up that topic for discussion. Most discussions on the comment boards on stories and blogs on this issue haven’t been civil or helpful discussion, but I will give it one more try.