The California Open Primary has the practical effect of stifling Republican political speech in November, when it matters most

This election will be the first election since California voters decided, in 2010, to turn ours into an Open Primary state.  The practical effect of having done so is that the November election, rather than being head-to-head combat between the two parties, will be a run-off between the winners from the June election.

The road to this limited November ballot has already started, with candidates from all parties reaching out to voters.  The problem, of course, is that the candidates’ have only just begun their fund-raising, and only die-hard political junkies are really paying attention. Then, in June, the Open Primaries mean that voters can vote for anyone they want, across party lines.

Once the votes are counted, the two candidates who got the most votes go on to the November ballot.  Everyone else vanishes from the scene.  In states that have a heavy party majority in one direction or the other (as is the case with Bright Blue California), the practical effect is to banish minority party candidates from the November ballot.

Those who support Open Primaries contend that it is an efficient way to ensure that, when people are really paying attention, the majority of voters get to pick from the two most favored candidates, without having the airwaves — and their brains — cluttered with advertisements and speeches from candidates who don’t have a realistic change of winning.  Those who oppose the Open Primary process — and I am one who does — contend that it effectively shuts the minority parties out of the political debate.

The point of the primary system is to give citizens who are members of a specific political party the opportunity to pick that candidate who best represents their views.  Then, in the Fall season, those cherry-picked party candidates get to go head-to-head, giving voters a genuine ideological choice.  This is important even in states that tilt heavily in one direction or the other, because it means that, when voters are actually paying attention, they are exposed to more than just the majority party’s viewpoint.

In other words, if an Open Primary state tilts heavily in favor of one party or the other, the minority party isn’t just precluded from winning (and this holds true even if the majority party has some major scandal over the summer that causes its total collapse).  In addition to being banned from the ballot, the minority party is also entirely denied a voice in the marketplace of political ideas.  Without a candidate on the ballot, the minority party has no commercials, no debates, no opinion pieces, and no candidate interviews.

In True Blue California, seeing Republicans banished from the ballot entirely has been the Democrat dream — although supporters are careful to frame this one-party outcome in terms of “moderation”:

Carl Luna, a professor at San Diego Mesa College [and, judging by this post, one who leans Progressive, rather than conservative], said the hope is that the new way of voting will increase voter turnout and will lead to election of more moderate candidates.

“Since anybody can vote for anybody, you might have to appeal more toward moderate candidates, toward independents,” he said. “So you get two Democrats who win in one district, they go to the general election and the Democrat that can get Independents and even moderate Republicans to vote for them has a better chance to win.”

Here in Marin, because the ultra-Progressive Lynn Woolsey is finally gone for good (yay!), a multitude of Democrats have lined up to try for her seat. The same cannot be said for the Republican side of the ballot.  As is often the case in Marin, it’s been hard to find a Republican candidate willing to do the hard work of campaigning, knowing that the campaign won’t go anywhere.  We’ve had good people in the past (for example, Todd Hooper or Bob Stephens), but both men ran knowing full well that victory was unlikely.  Ultimately, they didn’t run to win; they ran to be heard.

This year, Dan Roberts is fronting the Republican party’s primary ticket for Woolsey’s former seat in the House of Representatives.  (Since he’s the only Republican in the primary, I guess he’s back the ticket too.)  I wish him well, I really do, but honesty compels me to say that Roberts doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.

Two years ago, Roberts’ low melting point wouldn’t have stopped him from having a voice in the November campaign.   His presence on the ballot would have brought conservatives to the polling places.  He would have run an Op-Ed in the local paper, and his supporters would have sent letters to the editor. Indeed, if the summer bought more bad news for Democrats (skyrocketing oil prices, war in the Middle East, massive Obama administration malfeasance and scandal), he might even have benefited from a Democrat collapse, and pulled out a Republican victory.  None of those things, however — whether the opportunity to have conservative ideas heard or the possibility, albeit small, of a turn for Republicans in Marin — will happen.

In November, in keeping with the Democrat dream, California conservatives will be silenced.  The ballot will have only the names of the two top Democrat candidates for Marin’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The newspaper editorials and letters to the editor will say nary a word about conservative approaches to the serious problems vexing this nation.  There will be no commercials and no speeches.  The Free Speech that is a fundamental part of our democratic process (that’s small “d” democratic) will have been smothered and buried in June.  And, should the Democrat party suffer a national collapse over the summer, it will still wipe the board in California.

To give more dimension to the anti-democratic tilt of the Open Primary, and of the ethical dilemma conservatives face, I spoke the other day with Stacy Lawson, who is one of the Democrat candidates seeking Woolsey’s old seat.  Stacy seems like a very nice gal, whose selling point is that, with her business background, she is the moderate Democrat in the race, one who supports small businesses and true economic growth.  She’s pro-Israel, which she correctly identifies as the only true democracy in the Middle East.  Stacy specifically disavows ties to the Progressive branch of the Democrat party.

This is all for the good.  Except that when you talk to Stacy, it’s clear that, while she doesn’t have the anger that characterizes Progressives (which is why I think she’s a nice gal), her world view is antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.  Why?  Because she believes government is the answer.  Rather than supporting small business by having government back off in terms of taxes and regulations, she believes government should be in the front line of fomenting growth, especially by subsidizing and promoting green energy.

Stacy was kind and polite when I suggested that green energy was iffy and expensive, and that we might do better to promote America’s huge fossil fuel reserves, while focusing on ways to refine and use those reserves in the cleanest way.  Nevertheless, it was clear that Stacy thought that my suggestion was a direct road to the old-fashioned, 1970s’ type of river, one that was filled with dead fish and caught on fire periodically.  In other words, even thought Stacy is indeed a moderate Democrat, she’s also an AGW, Big Government, vaguely anti-military (that’s where she’d cut the deficit) politician — or, as I already said, antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.

In a perfect world, I would not vote for Ms. Lawson, even though I like her and appreciate that she is, by current Democrat standards, a moderate.  In a perfect world, with all due respect to the courageous Dan Roberts, I would also have some real choices in June on the Republican side of the ballot.

But this is not a perfect world.  In this, the real world, because Marin is an almost impossible venue for Republicans, and because we now have an Open Primary that allows for only two spots on the November ballot, when November comes, it is a dead certainty that, with the exception of the presidential ticket, my only choices for the House of Representatives (and for any other political office) will be Democrat versus Democrat.

I don’t like being forced to deny my political self (that is, I don’t like being forced to vote against my own party’s candidate), but pragmatism says that there’s an advantage in using the Open Primary to temper the other party so that there is at least one person who is relatively sane on the ballot.  This, of course, is precisely what Carl Luna (the professor I quoted above) hoped would happen — Republicans will vanish, but they’ll serve the vestigial function of protecting Democrats from their worst excesses.

So I have a question for you:  In June, should I cast a symbolic vote for the Republican Dan Roberts, thereby making a principled stand for my party, or should I vote for Stacy Lawson to help ensure that, when the November election takes place, the top two contenders for U.S. House of Representatives include a Moderate Democrat, rather than two Progressives?

(Incidentally, when it comes to the judges running for Marin County Superior Court this year, I’m not being forced to make the choice between a good Republican who can’t win, and some Democrats, one of whom might be better than the others.  There are only two men running for judge:  Judge James Chou, a moderate Democrat whom Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the bench, and Russell Marne, a self-professed Progressive.   As between them, the choice is clear:  It’s the moderate, experienced James Chou all the way.)

A matched set about the PC train wreck that is California’s higher education system

California used to have the finest public education system in America.  It wasn’t lack of funding that killed it; it was Leftist corruption and insanity.  Don’t believe me?  Read these two articles.

From Bruce Kesler:  Important Report On The Sinkhole That Is Higher Education

From Donald Douglas: California State Colleges and Universities May Screen for Sexual Orientation in Admissions Applications

California’s new banking regulator, Teveia Barnes, is smart and accomplished, but views the world through a racial prism

Jerry Brown has nominated Teveia Barnes to be the new commissioner for California’s Department of Financial Institutions.  This means that she is the ultimate regulatory authority for more than 300 California-chartered banks and other financial institutions.

Barnes has an impressive resume, including a lengthy stint as associate general counsel and senior vice president at Bank of America.  This is a woman who knows banks.  Before law, she was a serious academic at Rice, which is a serious school.  She graduated in 1975 with a triple undergraduate degree in economics, German studies, and poly sci.  She then got her law degree from the New York University Law School.  She entered law school in 1975, which was a time when law schools were finally acknowledging that women were part of the legal package.  Those women I know who graduated from law schools back then had a tough time.  They were not made to feel welcome.

In addition to her solid academic and professional resume, Barnes is also a committed Democrat.  Or at least she’s become a committed Democrat since Obama’s rise.  From the years 2000 to 2007, she made $500 in donations to Democrat groups.  Beginning in 2008, and continuing through to this year, her donations totaled $12,500, all to Obama’s campaign, Obama’s PACs or general Democrat groups.  She made herself visible and Jerry Brown responded.  That’s fine.  That’s how politics works.

The one thing that concerns me is that, for the past 13 years, Barnes’ has committed her life to the diversity industry.  She comes to her government job from a long stint as president of Lawyers for One America.  In many ways, just as Barnes is exemplary, so too is the organization.  One of its major goals is to see that minorities in America get good legal representation, something that is often achieved by encouraging high powered lawyers and law firms to take on pro bono work.  The other major goal, however, is simply the usual diversity business:

The lack of meaningful diversity in the legal profession is a grave issue directly related to opportunity.  While people of color comprise approximately one-quarter of the American population, just 10 percent of the legal profession consists of people of color.  Attorneys of color comprise just 3 percent of attorneys in law firms, traditionally the centers of power in the profession.  LFOA assists in increasing the percentage of lawyers of color in the profession. This work helps provide economic opportunity to those to whom it was previously unavailable.

In other words, this is all about affirmative action.  What the affirmative action mavens refuse to acknowledge is that affirmative action doesn’t necessarily serve minority communities well.  The communities get lawyers but, sadly, they don’t always get good lawyers.  Instead, they get lawyers who have been pushed into and through the system because of their race.  Some of them end up doing very well, of course.  Others, well, not so much.  Putting people in over their head means that a few of the strongest will swim, but most will drown.

Despite statistical evidence showing that affirmative action probably ran its course about thirty years ago, Barnes and her group think that professional profiling (Is someone the right race?  Is someone the right sex?) is the only thing that matters when it comes to ensuring good lawyering for minorities:

Ms. Barnes said the legal profession in general is behind the times when it comes to promoting women and people of color. She believes the dominance of white men in the legal profession hurts all of society because minority attorneys are not readily available to provide volunteer legal-aide services.

“For women and lawyers of color, it is difficult for them to have that added time to do that pro bono work that I would otherwise hope they want to do, because they’re struggling with their careers,” she said. “They’re working twice as hard to just maintain their career, to just showcase what they can do, and to prove their value to the organization. And so they have to be pretty well established before they’ll risk doing the pro bono work that all lawyers should be doing.”

This obsession with race and gender strikes me as peculiarly antebellum South.  It’s as if America’s blacks internalized entirely the old Southern message about white male superiority, and black and female inferiority and then, 150 years later, regurgitated it, only backwards.  It was a horrible, limiting, prejudicial attitude back then, and it’s just as bad now, even with the roles reversed.

My concern as a citizen of the once great state of California is that Barnes’ racial and gender blinders, blinders just as thick and distorted as those worn by a Southern planter back in the 1850s, will lead her to make impositions upon and demands of California’s financial institutions that have nothing to do with good financial practices, and everything to do with advancing an antiquated view of humans, one that sees them controlled and limited by their skin color or sex.

I hope that Barnes, with her impressive academic and professional background, will be able to overcome her own prejudices.  I’m not sanguine, though, given that the last twelve years of her life have seen her completely submersed in the racial diversity machinery, one that believes that government’s job is to give minorities a helping hand, and to give whites, especially white men, the back of the hand.

Topsy-Turvy Christmas Temps

Bummer! It’s two days before Christmas and there will be no white Christmas in Chicagoland, this year and the temperature will be above freezing. There’s not much snow north of here all the way to the Canadian border, either. Global warmening?

I called a good friend in Cali’s San Joaquin valley, today: turns out that their temperature right now is colder than here in Chicagoland. They are worried about pipes freezing at night.

I look at the weather maps and all the white Christmas weather appears to be south, in Texas and New Mexico. Even further south, the Aussies are suffering a record cold summer http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16133817?f=rss

 

So, what’s going on?

I know. Bush did it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone! May we all enjoy a happy, prosperous and very normal new year.

 

Kids in California can get HPV vaccinations, but not tans

This is what Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed yesterday:

The governor signed a measure allowing children as young as 12 to seek prevention treatment, such as vaccinations, for sexually transmitted diseases such as HPV without parental consent.

And this is also what he signed yesterday:

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed into law a bill that prevents children under 18 from using the popular tanning method. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

 

Californians elected this legislature

It’s tempting to blame it entirely on the California legislature, but that’s not fair.  California voters elected this legislature and this governor.  I’m just in the suffering minority, and one of these days, I’ll end up voting with my feet and taking my taxes with me.  (But it’s really hard to leave the Marin climate behind.)

Oh!  Did I forget to tell you what triggered this little sermon?  The California legislature is at work.  The highlights:  fewer guns, more unions.  Just what California needs.

The imagined benefits of being too big to fail

I believe it was Mike who commented that California, knowing itself to be “too big to fail,” is doing whatever the Hell it pleases.  (Or more accurately, the Democrats in state government, elected by feckless voters, are doing whatever the Hell they please.)  Over at Ace of Spades, you can find a perfect rundown of California legislative insanity, along with some trenchant humor.

As an American and a small government conservative, I want California to fail.  Nothing and nobody should ever be too big to fail.  As a California resident, and as a native who remembers when it was once the Golden State, I find all of this heart breaking.

California’s raunchy politicians

Do you remember the old Dean Martin comedy roasts?  The zingers were mean, sometimes mildly risqué, and usually funny.  Don Rickles was the acknowledged master of the genre:

The California Assembly has taken the roast to a whole new level.  At a benefit to raise money for programs involving young people and politics (“It’s for the children!”), the past and present assembly members gathered to roast Speaker John A. Pérez.  The tone of this affair, a public event comprised of elected politicians raising money for children, couldn’t have been lower:

From the moment Assembyman Tom Ammiano asked if anyone had an “objection to the f-bomb,” it was clear that the tone of last night’s roast of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez would be more appropriate for “The Hangover” than the Assembly floor.

[snip]

Many of the swipes at Pérez were R- (and even XXX-) rated, with the bulk of the raunchy jokes hitting the Los Angeles Democrat’s weight, race and sexual orientation.

What’s really disheartening is that this was a bipartisan event (although I don’t know whether the Republicans contributed to the raunch).   What’s clear is that the political class has no class.

California now ranks up there with Haiti as a nationally recognized failed state.  This roast is a perfect example of the way in which California’s government is made up of sordid little Neros fiddling their shrunken hearts out while Rome (aka California) burns.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

Spot what’s wrong with the picture

You guys are all connected to the news, so I know that you already know about the Supreme Court decision forcing California to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of the appalling conditions in California prisons.  As a California resident, I’m less than thrilled about the fact that people who ought to be behind bars will be unleashed and prowling.  Alana Goodman is concerned about the burden this will place on the Federal healthcare system (e.g., Medicare), since California has bankrupted itself and can neither afford to house these people (in prison) or care for them (outside of prison).

But I want you to tell me what’s really wrong with California — and the hint I’ll give you is the picture in the Goodman article.  Something about that picture struck me right between the eyes and speaks of a much deeper, more tragic and more economically destabilizing than just the prison system problem.

Because California’s not in enough financial trouble

I’m trying to think of something snarky and clever to say, but I’m actually rendered speechless by this one:

Taking the lead where Washington has wavered, California on Thursday is expected to adopt the nation’s most ambitious plan yet to curb global warming.

The California Air Resources Board is all but certain to vote to approve comprehensive “cap and trade” regulations designed to cut greenhouse gases. The regulations would impose limits, or “caps,” on emissions from large industrial polluters through permits, or allowances, that could be traded on a market.

Those pushing the bill claim that it will be a boon for Silicon Valley.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

As it is, someone might want to mention to an agency that seems to have run amok that (a) climate change is dead and (b) California is broke.

I’ve lived most of my life in this state.  The Bay Area climate works really well for me, and I love my small community.  That makes it very upsetting for me that I’m pretty much watching my state committing suicide.

For more on California’s self-inflicted death (ah, I guess that could also be called a “suicide”), read Victor Davis Hanson or watch this video.

California politics still bad news for America

Laer Pearce is one of the sharpest political observers out there.  He blogged for many years at Cheat-Seeking Missiles, and gathered a loyal following, myself included.  He put the blog on hold, though, to write a full length book about a subject near and dear to his heart — the insanity that is California.  I miss his daily posts, but he’s still doing s0me regular writing, the most recent example of which can be read here, at The Daily Caller.  Laer warns that California, broke and dysfunctional as it is, still has the ability to provide a leadership role for Progressives all over America, all of whom are equally anxious to drag their states down to the same level of dysfunction.

A morning after post *UPDATED OFTEN*

I feel as if I should say something profound, but I don’t really have that much that is profound to say.  I do have a few observations, and then I’ll start compiling a running list of good post-election posts (so check back often):

I’ll repeat what I said yesterday:  it irks me when elections are called before the vast majority of votes are counted.  Projections are not votes.  If my vote is not counted because a projection shuts down the process, I’ve effectively been disenfranchised.  That’s just wrong.  (And as an extreme example, remember that early returns from Phillie had Joe Sestak winning by a mile.  It was only when all votes were counted that it was clear that Toomey won.  And a big yay for that, by the way.)

California gave the governorship and the Senate to Boxer.  Whitman was an awful candidate, so that’s kind of less surprising in a Democratic state.  Fiorina, though?  I don’t get it.  I liked her and her positions.  I think her problem was that she had quite possibly the worst ads in political history, which is really amazing, considering the kind of material she had to work with in Boxer.  If you’re going to run that lousy a campaign against such an easy target, I guess you deserve to lose.

On the other hand, since it’s likely that California is going down in flames anyway, especially since California voters turned down Prop. 23, which will allow the economically disastrous Prop. 32 to go forward, better that it goes down under Democrat leadership, which brought it to this point anyway, than under Republican.  (And yes, I know that Ah-nold is theoretically a Republican, but he’s such a RINO, the R after his name looks more like a typo than an intentional political designation.)

A lot of conservatives are crowing about Senatorial losses in Nevada, Delaware and, possibly, Alaska as proof that the Tea Party is a failure.  I beg to differ.  The House races show that the Tea Party is a wild success.  The other races show some different lessons:  First, with fewer seats up for grabs in the Senate, there was simply less margin for error.  With tons of House seats available, voters could weed out the more wacky Tea Party candidates and still elect Tea Party affiliated candidates in droves.  In the Senate, despite doing proportionately better than the Dems, there simply wasn’t enough margin to cross the BIG finish line and take over the Senate.

Second, the fact that there were fewer Senate races, and that Senate races are more high profile, meant that the media focused on them with ferocity.  As far as the media was concerned, it was “2008 and Palin” all over again when it came to the Nevada and Delaware races.  Voters are slowly wising up to what the media is doing, but if you’re told relentlessly by every local and national outlet that the Republican candidate is a freak, and that the Democrat candidate is a genius, that’s going to affect you, even if only subconsciously.  I know that, when I’m in the grocery store, old jingles still float into my mind as I debate which brand of hot dogs to buy.  It’s hard to resist those subliminal messages, unless you make a hard effort.

Ultimately, the Tea Party did spectacularly well on its first political outing.  If it learns from both its failures and successes, it will indeed mark a signal change in American politics.

Finally, I can’t resist sharing with you what my liberal friend said:  “Put this day on the calendar.  I predict that it will mark the beginning of America’s destruction and the rise of fascism.”  My friend is steadily resistant to the notion that fascism, and all other dangerous -isms have one thing in common:  Big government.

***

And now for a list of interesting posts, which I’ll update throughout the day:

Bruce Kesler on the meanings to be divined from the California results.

Big Lizards has some thoughts on California’s outlier status too.

Thomas Lifson notes that California Dreaming, sadly, is becoming a reality — a nightmarish reality.

You can’t go wrong reading Jennifer Rubin’s recap.

Erick Erickson thinks that, even if the outcome wasn’t as good as the most optimistic predictions, it was still a tsunami.

And here’s a link to my own blog:  Danny Lemieux explains why he’s optimistic.  I feel much better after reading his well-reasoned post.

An astute reader points out that, if you look at the numbers, “As of 1130 Wed there were NO DEM pickups in the Senate, and a measly 3 in the House.”

Fred Barnes has a solid rundown of the Republican landslide.  It’s a reminder that the party of “old white men” elected blacks, east Asians, Hispanics, and lots and lots of women, all bound together by two significant common denominators:  their love for this country and their believe in individual freedom.

Rosslyn Smith notes a huge trend:  State houses have gone Republican (except in California, of course).  Considering that states that have Republican governance do better economically, this shows great wisdom on the part of many American voters (except in California, of course).

Victor Davis Hanson helps understand Obama speak, with a funny lexicon.

On its home page today, the New York Times has a very cool, and quite honest, assessment of what happened yesterday, in the form of a bunch of graphics.

An observation based on reviewing the NYT’s graphics:  Despite a few aberrant states, the message is clear — conservatism was an overwhelming national trend.  Our only hope now is that the conservatives don’t blow it.  The biggest thing will be if their years in the wilderness, and especially the Obama experience, have taught them not to drop and pander instantly when their political opponents start accusing them of non-PC behavior (i.e., racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.).  That is, those words could always stop conservatives in their tracks.  Maybe they’ve now lost their magical power.

Apropos my rant about the fact that the counting should stop only when there are so few ballots left that they cannot affect the outcome, please recall that those ballots most frequently ignored come from overseas troops — the ones willing to fight and die so that the rest of us can vote.

I liked Michael Steele very much when I first became aware of him, and was terribly disappointed by his missteps as RNC chairman.  Jay Nordlinger suggests that his performance last night indicates that he may finally have found his footing.  I hope that’s true.  Like the little girl in the poem, When he’s good, he’s very, very good; and when he’s bad he’s horrid.

If you want an insight into all the wrong-headed things Obama piled into his first post-election interview, read Peter Wehner.  I’m not surprised, of course.  I’ve been predicting since the Year 0 in the Obama administration that this narcissist will find it impossible to concede that he had something to do with his regime’s failure.

Could California go red? *UPDATED*

I wouldn’t have thought so, but AJ Strata thinks it’s an actual possibility.

What’s bizarre to me, a native Californian, is that nobody in California seems to have figured out that California’s golden years coincided with Republican governance and its years of decline coincided with Democrat control of either the assembly or the governorship (or both).

UPDATE:  I should clarify here that, when I say “Republican governance,” I guess I really mean more old-fashioned governance that was not focused unrelentingly on welfare; savage attacks on business; open borders; environmentalism that goes beyond stewardship and into outright hostility to human-beings; unsustainable taxes; pension plans; etc.  In the old days, before the 1970s, whether a Democrat or a Republican occupied the governor’s seat, and whether Democrats and or Republicans controlled the assembly, California was still governed within fairly traditional parameters — and it thrived.

California’s Prop 21 is the most perfect example of wacky liberalism I’ve ever seen

As it’s being sold, California’s Prop. 21 is meant to gladden the hearts of all who love open space, wildlife, natural beauty, etc. I know I do.

Even better, the proposition seems so reasonable: For just $18 per car per year, which is less than most people, even poor people, spend on coffee (or chocolate) per week, California’s state parks (and many of them are truly wonderful) will be protected from California’s current swift slide into bankruptcy. However, much as I love the parks, there’s a little bomb hidden in the proposed legislation that turns me off it entirely.  The bomb is the “State Parks Access Pass.”

Here’s how it works.  The monies collected from this tax (for it is a tax) will be applied to park operations, improvements, restoration, upkeep, etc., all of which is to be expected.  In return, the state will automatically issued a “State Parks Access Pass” to all who are forced to pay this mandatory $18.00 tax.  The Pass functions as an admission pass to the park system:

5087. (a) All California vehicles subject to the State Parks Access Pass shall have free admission to all units of the state park system and to designated state lands and wildlife areas as provided in this chapter.

(b) For the purposes of this section, “free admission” means free vehicle admission, parking, and day use at all units of the state park system and shall be subject only to those limitations as the department deems necessary to manage the state park system to avoid overcrowding and damage to natural and cultural resources and for public health and safety. Other state and local agencies shall designate those lands whose management and operation is funded pursuant to this chapter for free vehicle access where that access is consistent with the management objectives of the land. As used in this subdivision, free admission does not include camping, tour fees, swimming pool fees, the use of boating facilities, museum and special event fees, any supplemental fees, or special event parking fees.

5087.1. The department shall issue rebates of the State Parks Access Pass surcharge to veterans who qualify for a park fee exemption pursuant to Section 5011.5.

In other words:  Everyone who drives a car in California has to fund the state parks, but the people who use the state parks get a full refund in the form of free admission to a place they’d intended to visit in any event.  This means that, as to California taxpayers, the only ones who actually end up paying for the parks are the ones who don’t use them, while the ones who use them get a free ride.

This is an exceptionally sleazy little bit of elitist legislation when one considers who uses the state parks:  elites.  While I have no statistics to back me up, one of the main things I’ve noticed over my many, many years of traveling to California’s state parks is that there are almost no blacks there; almost no Hispanics there; and, aside from Japanese tourists, almost no Asians there.  There are also no really poor people there.

Judging by clothes, cars, and general presentation, state parks tend to be a white middle- and w0rking-class phenomenon.  If my observations are correct (and please feel free to challenge them), Prop. 21′s passage would mean that the whites of a certain socioeconomic status who “get” nature, will have their pleasure funded by the working class, ethnic stiffs who don’t share their appreciation.

By the way, Free Will has a nice round-up of voting suggestions for Californians.  Check it out.

J.E. Dyer provides a comprehensive California voting guide

If you’re in California, it’s easy to figure out which people should get your vote:  Fiorina over Boxer, Whitman over Brown (and yes, that’s something of a nose-holder), anyone over Pelosi, etc.

It gets much more confusing when you get to the numbered items on the ballot.  Prop. 23 is easy:  Vote for that unless you want the state bankrupt in a couple of years.  But all the other numbered ones, the ones about taxes and fees and assembly majorities, are ridiculously confusing, especially since some of the tax and fee propositions appear virtually identical in wording for the confused voter, but will have markedly different outcomes if passed.

Fortunately, someone sane has stepped into this confusion.  J. E. Dyer, a former military analyst, and current blogger at Commentary’s Contentions, Hot Air’s Green Room and Patheos, also has her own blog, and it’s there that she spells out the numbers. (And yes, I did mean to be silly with my words there.  This is such a serious time that a teeny bit of humor is a nice safety valve.)

If you are a California voter, and you haven’t yet cast your vote, I urge you to study Dyer’s post very, very carefully.

San Francisco sign threatens Fiorina and Whitman — by guest blogger Ms. GW *UPDATED*

UPDATE from Bookworm: Poor Enrico’s. Because its name features prominently on the building, people are assuming it posted the sign. It did not. From Enrico’s facebook page:

You may have received an email about a sign that says “FU (spelled out) Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina” asking you to call Enrico’s Restaurant to complain. Enrico’s is not responsible for the sign. It was put there by the Law offices of Tony Serra who has offices above Enrico’s. Enrico’s,like most businesses, doesn’t take political stands and is not responsible for the sign.

And now back to Ms. GW’s original post:

San Francisco sign threatens Fiorina and Whitman

This vulgar sign, spotted in San Francisco above a prominent restaurant at the corner of Kearney and Broadway, raises the same question one more time:

Why must the Left continue to demean female conservative candidates? How desperate is the Left?

To help answer the question, here’s some insight from a licensed psychotherapist who wrote on this very topic after observing the Left’s attacks on Sarah Palin two years ago:

As every woman knows, leering looks, lurid words, and veiled threats are intended to evoke terror. Sexual violence is a form of terrorism. In the wilding of Sarah Palin, the Left shows its true colors. Rather than shield the vulnerable, Leftists will mow down any man, woman, or child who gets in their way.

So: Leftists are bullies, plain and simple. The Left has been in power for two years, but apparently that’s not enough. Using vulgar language is a simple, common tactic to intimidate, repress and silence others. A “f*** you!” says plenty, and its recipient is instantly diminished. Words hurt and vulgar ones stop any conversation cold and do nothing to advance civilization. As our moms used to tell us, “People use bad words when they want attention or lack the language or creativity to express themselves.”

Interestingly, although it doesn’t show up clearly in this photograph, the sign bears the name of J. Tony Serra, a well-known San Francisco criminal defense attorney who has defended Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, Chol Soo Lee, Ellie Nesler, and other “society outcasts,” according to Serra’s website. Notably, Serra’s own website says, “Tony Serra has always known how to express the poetry of the law, while fighting in the ditches and dark alleys of legal practice.”

Poetry of the law, huh? Fighting in the ditches and dark alleys? If Serra did authorize this sign, most civilized folks will find nothing poetic or courageous in the threat of sexual violence against Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Let’s hope Tony Serra and the restaurant are not behind this sign . . . talk about desperately wanting attention.

And by the way, where’s the outrage from San Francisco’s politically correct women? Where’s the outrage from the San Francisco’s politically correct media? Where’s the National Organization for Women when we need them?

Ms. GW is a long-time Bay Area resident and woman who is appalled and offended by the Left’s attacks on any female candidate, conservative or  liberal.

UPDATE II from Bookworm: Please also check out the article on this subject that Ms. GW wrote for American Thinker’s blog. It’s similar, but raises some slightly different points you may find interesting.

Californians: Vote a straight Republican ticket

My friend Sally Zelikovsky says it in the clearest words possible:  Unless conservatives in California vote for the Republicans, we will have a Sacramento government made up entirely of San Francisco Democrats.  If that horrible outcome sounds painfully obvious to you, you don’t know California.

There are two dynamics in California that are a problem.  First, conservatives don’t like the Republican candidates.  (They’re right not to.  Fiorina is lovely — and may she get well soon — but the others are “eh” at best.)  This means California conservatives may be tempted to (a) sit this one out or (b) vote for a write-in or minor candidate.  Those are luxuries of ordinary elections, though.  In California, this election is not about a favored conservative candidate winning; it’s about making sure the Democratic candidate loses.  And the only way to do that is with vast numbers of votes for the Republican, even if that requires some nose holding.

The other dynamic is Prop. 19, the initiative to legalize marijuana.  Have you wondered by George Soros is promoting it?  Do you think George Soros gives a flying whatsit about whether Californians have legal marijuana?  I can assure you that he doesn’t.  But he knows one group that does care a great deal, and it’s a group that votes reliably Democrat:  young people.  Yup.  Prop. 19 is a “get out the youthful Democrat vote” effort.  This means that, while most young people around America are sitting out this election, there is a very good chance that California’s young people will be heading to the polls.

So if you’re a Californian, and you have memories, increasingly faint memories, of a true Golden State, VOTE and VOTE REPUBLICAN.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

“Call me unemployed”

Funny, funny David Zucker video challenging Boxer’s arrogance and cavalier approach to American money:

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

If you’re in California, this year you have a real choice: vote for Carly Fiorina. She’s a true conservative and a dynamic, effective individual.

My mom, who can’t quite let the MSM go, has been programmed to dislike Fiorina and Whitman (well, I actually agree, ’cause I don’t like Whitman much either). I’ve told her it doesn’t matter, even though Whitman is a RINO — because both Brown and Boxer are so much worse, not to mention being rubber stamps for the Obama agenda. You can’t sit this one out; you can’t let personal feelings dictate your vote; nor can you run from the RINO when the opposition is a Leftist dodo. Anything but an affirmative vote for Fiorina and Whitman constitutes active support for the massively damaging Obama/Boxer/Brown ultra statist agenda.

About Meg Whitman’s maid *UPDATED*

I keep meaning to blog about Meg Whitman’s maid, and then I don’t.  Factually, it’s an insanely stupid story, although the lurid headlines in California’s lefty papers may be enough to confuse some independents into abandoning any vague ideas they may have been having about voting for Whitman.  In other words, the story is ridiculous (at best), but still potentially important.  Meaning that really should blog about it . . . but, as I said, I don’t.

Fortunately, Dafydd, at Big Lizards, has paid attention to Gloria Allred’s nasty pro-Brown campaign, so if you’re interested in all that you need to know about the story, check out his post.

UPDATE:  Another good summary of this sordid (from the Brown side) story, along with a good question:  Do Californians still have the critical reasoning skills to understand that they are being conned?

A new website that is, in my humble opinion, a MUST

My friend Laer, who started blogging at Cheat-Seeking Missiles (which is now on hiatus), has created a new website devoted to the insanity that is California.  It is called, appropriately enough Crazifornia, and is part of his ongoing project to document (ultimately, in best-selling book form) what happened in California.  This matters, not just because California went from the greatest state in the union to being a total wreck, but because the problems in California too often spread to and infect other states.

Laer views the project as collaborative, and seeks help:

You can help! Via the “Contact Crazifornia” button above, or by email to crazifornia @ laer [dot] com, send me your own story about how Crazifornia’s ridiculous regulations, ludicrous legislation or puerile policies are driving you crazy.  If I use your story, you’ll get a mention in the acknowledgments of my upcoming book,Crazifornia – How California Ruined Itself and is Poised to Take the Rest of America with It.

As you’ll see when you visit the site, I’ve already shared with Laer some of my “crazy in California” stories.

Bob Stephens for California Assembly

[To keep things clear, unless I explicitly preface a statement by saying "Bob said" or "Bob pointed out," or something similar, the opinions expressed in this post are mine, and reflect my understanding of Bob Stephen's approach to governance, as well as my view about California's myriad problems.]

I went to a party last night held to introduce Bob Stephens, the Republican candidate to represent Marin in the California assembly.  Bob is a courageous man.  How courageous?  Marin is so overwhelmingly liberal, he’s the only person willing to try to run as a Republican against Jared Huffman, the Democratic incumbent.  Even the good news that registered Marin Republicans have swelled from approximately 26,000 to approximately 31,000 since Obama was elected means that, in a county with about 100,000 liberals, he’ll have a hard time finding a winning majority.

Still, if anyone can penetrate Marin’s liberal hegemony, Bob might be the one to do it.  He’s got a straightforward political platform, which is really predicated on a single issue:  California is broke and going broker.  Politicians like Huffman who tinker with green this and green that, are essentially putting make-up on a soon-to-be corpse.  Bob explained that, unless the climate is made more business friendly, unless the bureaucracy is cut, unless pensions are controlled, and unless out-of-control spending is stopped, there will be no California left at all.  As it is now, Bob pointed out that Moody’s bond ratings place California, once the wealthiest state in the union, at number 50 out of 50.  (Hurricane ravaged Louisiana ranks higher than we do.)  Bob also reminded the party’s attendees that, in education, California, which was once the top-rated state in the union, is now 48 out of 50.

California’s government infrastructure is so bloated it has to be seen to be believed.  To make this point, Bob unfurled seven pages of paper, taped together (meaning they are taller than I am) listing, in single space, without hard returns, and without paragraph breaks, California’s many agencies — more than 500, in fact.  Bob acknowledged that many are necessary for a functioning state, such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Education (although I’d seriously clip the latter’s wings).  Others, however, are duplicative or of dubious necessity (or both).  Bob brought our attention to a perfect example of overkill in the consumer protection realm:

Surely those can be consolidated? As it is, each of those agencies, which serves the same constituency (people who buy things in California) has its own staff and budget.

It’s clear that, whether or not he is associated with the Tea Party movement, Bob is a tea partier insofar as he is a fiscal conservative who believes that taxpayers should not and cannot be forced to pay for a bloated, ineffective government that sucks up money without generating conditions within which wealth can be created.

My major concern about Bob after hearing him speak is that he is manifestly a really nice guy.  As the RINOs in Congress show (nice guys all, I’m sure), nice people can easily be intimidated by Democrats who have no compunction about smearing people as racists, if they oppose illegal immigration or out-of-control welfare spending; or as murderers, if they point out the necessity of cutting back on programs that benefit children and the elderly.  Bob told me that he can handle this heat.  He explained that he is not a career politician.  At 75, he’s entering politics to try to salvage California for his children and grandchildren, not as a means of starting a glorious political career.  With a focus on the bottom line, he says that he refuses to get sidetracked by name calling.  In his mind, the answer to every gratuitous swipe is an obvious demand for one vital piece of information:  “Show me the money.”

And with that last statement, Bob made me see why it’s possible that, in today’s bizarre political climate, a Republican might be able to win in Marin.  You see, unless the Assembly has mastered Rumpelstiltskin’s trick of turning straw into gold, all the Leftist name-calling in the world won’t trump California’s new reality, which is that we’re broke.  If Bob, who is a good communicator, can help Marin voters understand the reality of that bottom line, he stands a better chance with worried people than does Huffman, a man who seems committed to spending taxpayer money so that green, wealthy Marin, can be green long after the wealth is gone.

(By the way, on the point of green, one of the guests at the party told me that Huffman is less green than he appears.  Three of his pet projects — SMART rail, a desalination plant, and a consolidated energy plan — will inevitably result in significant low-income, Democratic-voting population growth along the new train corridor in Marin.  This will bring about 500,000 extra people in Marin, turning Marin from a wealthy, green oasis into yet another California community of, bland, back-to-back, ticky-tacky houses crawling across cement covered hills.  I’ll blog more about this, with greater coherency, if this guest sends me the information he promised on the subject.  Otherwise, this may be all I have to say on the subject, so I throw it out here for what it’s worth.)

Why California is in deep, deep doo-doo

Numbers can lie, but the numbers here are consistent with the same numbers I’ve seen in dozens of other places, and the numbers are consistently drawn directly from government sources.

If you want to know one reason why California has gone from the most extraordinary state in the Union (something I vaguely remember from my early childhood) to a banana republic, this will spell most of it out.  Add to that a political climate that treats businesses like pedophiles, not wealth creators, and you’ve got the answer to California in a nutshell.

The problem of self-perpetuating bureacracy

In the movie Wall-E, the little robot had a task, and it did the task, long after the task’s necessity had passed.  Like a funded bureaucrat, Wall-E just kept going and going and going.

In California, the Department of Transportation was given a mandate and a task, and now, long after the money has gone and the efforts proven fruitless, it’s still going and going and going, sucking up nonexistent funds and making expensive and pointless changes (emphasis mine):

In hopes of luring the endangered steelhead trout into the Santa Monica Mountains, California’s transportation agency is planning to spend $935,000 to pave over part of a popular beach with cement and boulders to build a freeway of sorts for fish.

The project is the latest, yet far from the most unusual, steelhead recovery attempt by government agencies that have spent millions of dollars on concrete fish ladders, cameras, fishways and other contraptions to allow seagoing trout to spawn in Southern California streams.

The problem, even some conservationists say, is that there is little evidence construction efforts since the 1980s have done anything except absorb taxpayer dollars. The work to save the species has led to about a dozen concrete fishways at a cost of more than $16.7 million.

A $1 million fish ladder — a structure designed to allow fish to migrate upstream over a barrier — may cost $7.5 million in stimulus funds to rebuild. Another fish ladder would require fish to leap 8 feet to reach it. Studies alone for replacing a third ladder have cost an estimated $3 million.

Read the rest here. Taxpayers and steelheads alike are weeping.

The above is a perfect example of the problems inherent in vesting too much power in government.  I’m perfectly sure that the various individuals involved in the project are good people.  Nevertheless, the bureaucracy for which they work has taken on a life of its own.  For these people to secure their jobs, they have to just keep working.  As long as they “look busy,”* they’ll keep getting funding, regardless of the fact that their task is pointless and costly.  Government never shrinks; it just grows.

How much better it would have been to have created a goal, and then tasked the marketplace with achieving that goal.

_____________________

*In my family, the phrase “looka busy” ties in to a very bad old joke my Dad used to tell, which is why I put “look busy” in quotation marks.  Here’s the joke, and please pardon the pathetic 1960s Italian-style accent that’s a part of the joke:

On a hot summer’s day, two Italian monks are working in desultory fashion along the roadside, pulling weeks.  Suddenly, the first monk gets a look of wonderment on his face.  “Hey!  Looka there.  Itsa Jesus Christ himself, a-walking to us.”  The second monk grabs his hoe and replies.  “Don’t just standa there.  Looka busy.”

See, I told you it was bad.  I was a little girl when I first remember Daddy telling it, and he spent an inordinate amount of time explaining to me the whole principle of looking busy around the boss.  I think that’s why the joke stuck in my brain.

Help curb voter fraud in California

One of the things the last few elections has revealed is escalating voter fraud in America, fraud of the type that aligns us more closely with a banana republic than with a traditional Western nation.  Thus, we know that groups such as ACORN have registered thousands of non-existent people.  And because America has traditionally had an honor system at the ballot box (“If you say you’re Minnie Mouse, than I guess you’re Minnie Mouse.  Please, go vote.”), little has been done to stem the impact at the ballot of those fraudulently registered voters.

There is now a ballot initiative circulating in California that officially concedes that the honor system no longer works.  It will require all California voters to show photo ID at the polling place, and it mandates steps to protect against voter fraud in absentee ballots too.  Lastly, as a little extra benefit, it allows an extra 15 days for votes sent in by overseas troops.  In other words, the whole ballot is meant to slow down fraud and allow every vote to be counted.

I only heard about this ballot initiative today, but I can assure you that the Democrats will hate it.  They’ll waffle on about the fact that poor people just can’t manage to obtain government ID, making this an impossible hurdle between themselves and democratic participation.  That this argument is demeaning is obvious.  It also makes no sense when one considers that these same people are able to handle the system with some level of skill when it comes to collecting government benefits.  (And I speak with solid second hand knowledge about this, since someone close to me lives at that level, as do her friends.  Whacked out on perpetual 60s head trips they may be, but they know how to get their welfare checks and food stamps.)

If you are a California voter who is interested in making this initiative a reality on California’s ballot, go here, print-up the petition you’ll see, sign it, and mail it to

Vote SAFE
925 University Avenue
Sacramento, CA  95825

A couple more things:  First, time is of the essence, since all petitions must be received 131 days before the election.  Second, each petition is written so that two people from the same county can sign it.  Of those two (or even if there is only one signatory), though, one must not only sign it, but also fill out the “circulator” declaration.