A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alameda Democratic Club Gets a Blog

Mark Briggs, long-time fellow delegate and now Issues Chair for the City of Alameda Democratic Club, pointed out to me that the club now has a blog:

It's called We've Got Issues.

Naturally, I've subscribed to the RSS feed for this; I hope you will too.

(And if you are still reading blogs over the web and you haven't discovered RSS, google around and learn how to save tons of time checking for new content!)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sandré Swanson Punished for Not Falling in Line

I just learned that our assembly member, Sandré Swanson, and two other Democrats in the State Assembly have been stripped of committee chairmanships because the refused to fall in line with the rest of the Democratic caucus.

Swanson was striped of his position as chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment committee by Assembly speaker Karen Bass, because he voted on principle, breaking with the Democratic caucus.

A Contra Costa Times article from Wednesday has the story. In this article, Swanson is quoted: "To ask members not to protest these cuts — it's a violation of my principles when I know workers are there to serve the elderly, catch a person when they fall," Swanson said. "Particularly at a time when this budget had $1 billion in tax breaks for corporations."

Apparently the Democrats had come up with a budget compromise to woo enough Republicans to join them to get the 2/3 majority needed to pass the budget. Even if I disagreed with Swanson's position, I think that he has a right to vary from the Party line from time to time. (If our representatives voted alike 100% of the time, why bother having multiple representatives?) Swanson should first and foremost be allowed to represent us, the voters in his district.

An editorial this morning from the CC Times disagrees with Swanson's position — this is Conservative Contra Costa, after all — but believes that these three lawmakers shouldn't be punished for independent thinking.

Democrats stand for diversity, but in this case, Karen Bass is showing that diverse opinions in her party will result in retribution.

Please call Karen Bass's office at (916) 319-2047 and let them know what you think. The email I got alerting me about this said that Bass was not even aware there was any controversy about this, so every phone call really counts.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

SCA 5: A solution to our stupid budget situation

We all watched in horror as the California legislature tried to get a budget passed over the last few weeks. Unlike most states in the country, California needs a 2/3rds majority vote to get a budget passed. So no matter which party has a majority in the senate and assembly, the budget is always going to be like this.

In a state where a simple majority vote in general election is able to alter the state constitution with a simple 50% majority, this seems particularly ironic.

I had been thinking "Well, who is going to do something about this mess?" Well, it turns out that our own new State Senator, Loni Hancock — whom I had supported because she's the kind of politician who takes bold steps — had already started on this, back in December! Here it is, SCA 5. Assembly speaker Karen Bass introduced a similar bill, ACA 4.

Hancock is a superhero in my book.

Here is an interesting article about the whole affair.