January 2012 archive

CA-Sen: Santa Monica Republican Businessman Al Ramirez to Challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein


Another challenger, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, has emerged to challenge long time incumbent California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Another  Republican has joined the short list of mostly little-known people willing to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this  year.

Telecommunications professional Al Ramirez of Santa Monica, 43, announced on Tuesday he’s running and wants to be “California’s first Hispanic U.S. senator.”

Ramirez, who said he’s spent some 20 years in sales and network development, ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in 2010. That was the year that Republican nominee Carly Fiorina lost to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

This time he believes his prospects are better, in part because he has more political experience and “better relationships” with state Republican Party leaders, Ramirez said.  He also cited Feinstein’s low approval rating in a recent Field Poll.

Another  announced candidate to challenge the 78-year-old Feinstein are autistic children’s advocate Elizabeth Emken of Danville, who ran unsuccessfully for the  GOP’s nomination  in a 2010 congressional race.

This race is a long-shot for Al, but he is a good guy with whom I have talked.

I wish him luck.

Senator Feinstein is very popular and should have any easy time in her re-election bid.


AD-38: Scott Wilk Releases California State Senator Tony Strickland from Endorsement


Santa Clarita Community College Trustee Scott Wilk

This is an interesting development and I have to say I have never seen this before – a candidate for office releasing a POL from his endorsement.

On the heels of his announcement to run for Congress, state Sen. Tony Strickland is no longer endorsing Scott Wilk in his bid for the state’s 38th Assembly District seat, Wilk confirmed Monday.

“Tony Strickland gave me the option of releasing him from his endorsement,” Wilk said. “He told me I could keep the endorsement but gave me the option of releasing him … and I’m going to release him.”

Strickland, who announced his candidacy in the 26th Congressional District election last week, would not comment on the endorsement issue.

“Senator Strickland doesn’t have a comment about that at this time,” said his spokeswoman, Sarah Walsh, when asked if he still endorses Wilk.

I have known Scott Wilk for a long time. Wilk has worked with Tony Strickland a LONG time as well and I recall Scott’s son helping Tony to the extreme during his last campaign, where he beat Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson by a very slim majority (primarily from the Santa Clarita area).

But, there is this piece which sort of explains it.

It is called political pressure by a sitting Congressman, Buck McKeon for his wife, Patricia, who just so happens to be running against Scott Wilk.

I first met Patricia McKeon at Tony Strickland’s announcement for Congress. Here is a photo of her with Simi Valley Republican activist Steve Frank.

Contested primary elections are HARDBALL enough with an open (no incumbent) Santa Clarita based California Assembly seat, but throw this into a top two system change and you have some interesting permutations come June.

Tony Strickland, seems to have them calculated.

Now, will Strickland endorse McKeon?


California Election 2012: California Democratic Party Pre-Endorsement Conferences


Scott Lay at AroundtheCapitol.com and The Nooner has the breakdown on some of the results.

The Democratic Party held pre-endorsement conferences around the state over the weekend for state legislative and congressional races. Candidates receiving 70% of the vote of delegates to the conferences will be placed on the “consent calendar” for endorsement at the party’s February 10-12 convention. If one candidate receives more than 50% but less than 70% of the vote, the endorsement for that district will be considered at caucuses held at the convention. The candidate that received over 50% is listed here for reference, but they are not the only eligible candidate for the endorsement for that district at the convention caucuses. Here’s the official guide from the California Democratic Party.

Of interest to Ventura County are the following:

  • SD19 – Hannah-Beth Jackson – over 70%
  • SD27 – Fran Pavley – over 70%
  • CD26 – Steve Bennett – over 70%
  • CD30 – Brad Sherman – 50% – to convention

If you  are confused as to what these California Democratic Party Pre-endorsement conferences are or how they work, then head over to read John Meyer’s post here.

Thankfully, the California GOP will NOT weigh in with such a convoluted process – much to the dismay of California Republican Party Big Wigs who would like to be in control.

California voters will just have to decide for themselves, as to who is GOP enough and who is the RINO, I suppose.

I trust the voters, to make the RIGHT choice.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: January 19, 2012


Venice, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Jerry Brown defends high-speed rail

Gov. Jerry Brown took ownership of California’s controversial high-speed-rail project on Wednesday in his State of the State speech, forcefully defending the plan that has received blistering bipartisan criticism in recent weeks.

Brown likened the project to massive infrastructure advances of past decades, including the building of the Panama Canal, BART and the interstate highway system – all of which he said were derided in their time – and he called on the Legislature to approve several billion dollars in funding for the first phase of construction “without any hesitation.”

“Those who believe that California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking,” Brown said in his 20-minute speech to the Legislature and other dignitaries gathered at the Capitol. “I understand that feeling, but I don’t share it because I know this state and the spirit of the people who choose to live here.”

Brown also used his address to propose changes in schools to shift power from the state to local officials and to cut down on student testing, and said the plan for a huge project to move water through or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta would take shape this summer. He also said California was on the financial mend and that the state is in position to become the epicenter of renewable-energy development.

Auto rate initiative qualifies for California ballot

Auto insurance companies will get a second shot at asking California voters to allow them to use a motorist’s coverage history when setting rates.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today that the proposed auto insurance pricing initiative has qualified for the November 2012 ballot. Proponents had submitted more than 800,000 voter signatures to election officials late last year.

The measure, backed by the American Agents Alliance, is similar to Proposition 17, the failed June 2010 measure bankrolled by Mercury General. Supporters, who say the change would allow companies to extend existing loyalty discounts to new customers who want to switch providers, have updated this version to address concerns about rates for members of the military and the unemployed.

Critics say the change would result in increased rates for motorists who experience a lapse in coverage.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of State speech puts focus on big projects

After years of economic pain and deep budget cuts, Gov. Jerry Brown declared California to be “on the mend,” saying the state is emerging from financial turmoil and proclaiming his dedication to a string of ambitious public projects.

Delivering his annual State of the State speech to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Brown acknowledged more spending reductions to come, saying they are needed to complete the “unfinished business” of closing a $9.2-billion budget gap.

But the reference to austerity was a passing mention in a 20-minute address dominated by the sunny optimism that characterized the state during Brown’s first governorship, more than three decades ago.

“California has problems,” the governor said, “but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.”

He proposed large investments in infrastructure, urging construction of the nation’s first bullet train, as well as significant changes in the state’s education and public pension systems.

The speech, which drew moderate applause and a few chuckles, stood in stark contrast to last year’s, his first State of the State address after being elected in 2010. Then, he focused on fiscal discipline, offered no major policy proposals and appealed to lawmakers in both parties to support tax hikes to balance the budget.

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown puts his contradictions on display

Jerry Brown devoted much of Wednesday’s State of the State speech to dissing “declinists” who portray California as failing because they don’t understand that “California is turbulent, less predictable and, well, different.”

He could have been speaking of himself and his odd way – little changed from his first governorship three decades ago – of simultaneously embracing positions that would seem to be self-contradictory, at least to lesser beings than himself.

The 20-minute address was full of them.

Enjoy your morning!


Flap’s California Blog Says Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate


Members of Congress need to STOP It!