Thursday, October 23, 2014

Imagine That: It's the Politics of Photoshop

I am always amazed at the people who manage to think up these sort of slogans. In a world of hyperactive communications, it seems to me that a pithy statement ends up carrying a lot more influence than one would normally expect. The photo below appears to be the result of a Photoshop exercise that turned a "Hands Up - Don't Shoot" display into something entirely different. (Notice the extra space between Don't and Loot as well as the lack of foreshortening in the P and T in pants.)

Nevertheless, I was inspired when I stumbled over this photo while reviewing my @augustine25 twitter account. This seems like a particularly important message given the news that forensic studies are confirming the version of events recounted by police officer Darren Wilson. Apparently, there was residue from gun powder on Michael Brown's hand, a result that verifies Wilson's story that Brown had tried to grab his gun from him. 

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Second Look: Dr. Drew's CA Voter's Guide for Constitutional Conservative - Tea Party Activists

Dr. Drew's painting of the
Finangler - 2014.

I am getting ready to vote myself and I thought I'd take a second look at the candidates and propositions so that I could offer my recommendations for the November election from the point of view of a Tea Party activist. I reviewed a number of other voter guides and picked up some fresh ideas. If you are depending on my recommendations, then please use this most recent blog post. 

If you feel I've made any mistakes, please leave me a comment below and I'll look into the issue further. Most of these recommendations are based on the offices that are most important to Tea Party activists living in Orange County, CA. I've borrowed liberally from the folks at the Orange County Tea Party Blog and the great work done by Kelly Hubbard. I have also reviewed the work done by Roblyn Nordell's Conservative California Election Website, and the truly excellent work done by Kathy Dittner's Kathy's Picks websiteKathy was the founder and director of "Salt & Light," a pro-family, moral issues ministry which operated at Saddleback Church for almost 20 years. She is the past Vice-President of the Saddleback Republican Assembly and is a former Orange County Republican Central Committee member. She strikes me as a courageous lady who deserves our encouragement.

In some cases, my recommendations are based on my long-standing dislike of crony capitalism and preference for defending the interests of residents rather than developers.
As you will see in the comments below, many of the candidates from both parties are not really worth voting for right now. In addition to my recommendations, I am indicating N.R. where there is no reasonable recommendation possible.

State of California Offices:

Governor: Democrat Jerry Brown vs. liberal Republican Neel Kashkari – N.R. (Kashkari is a former Obama voter and a ridiculous choice for our Republican nominee.)
Lieutenant Governor: Dem. Gavin Newsom vs. Rep. Ron Nehring – N.R.
Secretary of State: Pete Peterson
State Controller: Dem. Betty Yee vs. Rep. Ashley Swearengen (supports high speed rail) – N.R.
State Treasurer: Greg Conlon
State Supt. of Public Instruction: Torlakson and Tuck are Dems. Write in Lydia Guiterrez*
Attorney General: Dem. Kamala Harris vs. Rep. Ronald Gold (not a conservative). N.R.
Insurance Commissioner: Ted Gaines
Board of Equalization, 4th Dist.: Dem. Nader Shahatit vs. Rep. Diane Harkey (She lives in my area and I never warmed up to her. She seems hostile to men. No matter what, it looks like she and her husband have questionable ethics in business. I don't think she merits your vote.) N.R.
U.S. Rep., 45th Cong. Dist.; Dem. Drew Leavens vs. Rep. Mimi Walters (Walters is another disappointment to me. She broke anti-tax promise, and lied about where she lived as a State Senator. I think we can do better.) 
N.R.California State Senate, 36th Dist.: Dem. Gary Kephart vs. Rep. Pat Bates – N.R.
California Assembly, 73rd Dist.: Dem. Wendy Gabriella vs. Rep. Bill Brough – N.R.

California Supreme Court

Justices have more power than most voters realize. It is incredibly important to do a good job on picking out these folks. Regarding the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court there are 13 offices (listed left to right in ballot order), vote yes or no:

Goodwin Liu – NO 
Mariano-Florentino Cuellar – NO
Kathryn Mickle Werdegar – NO 
Terry B. O’Rourke – YES
Gilbert Nares – YES 
Alex C. McDonald – YES
James A. McIntyre – YES 
Thomas E. Hollenhorst – YES
Kathleen E. O’Leary – NO 
William F. Rylaarsdam – YES
Richard M. Aronson – YES 
David A. Thompson – YES
Richard D. Fybel – NO

Orange County

Judge of Superior, Office No. 14 – Kevin Haskins
South Orange County Community College District Board Member, Trustee Area 4 – Nancy Padberg
Or. Co. Board of Supv., 5th District – I used to like Robert Ming but he approved high density housing at a key choke point for Laguna Niguel, built a dream City Hall, and then left for higher office. His opponent is endorsed by Rep. Darrell Issa who I really like, but she appears to be too liberal for me and my neighbors. - N.R.
Or, Co. Assessor: Claude Parrish
Or. Co. Measure G – NO. I changed my mind on this one. I read all the ballot arguments and the measure itself. It looks to me like a thinly veiled attempt to harm potential Board of Supervisor candidates like Deborah Pauley. The ballot argument for the measure demeans those who run for office and come in second place as candidates who have been "rejected" by the voters. All in all, it looks like the current system is working just fine and that any changes would only appeal to the incumbents who may not have our best interests at heart. 
Or. Co. Measure E – NO. I am still happy with my "No" recommendation on this even though now I oppose this measure for a different reason. At first, I thought it was a power grab by the folks in state government. Now it looks more like a proposal to bypass stricter local controls on elections finance laws. Sadly, it skirts the real need to establish a county ethics commission.

Mission Viejo

Mission Viejo City Council – key race for three seats – conservatives vs. two progressives and a lobbyist.
Ed Sachs – strong financial and business management background. Retired CEO at Pioneer Electronics. (Great guy!)
Greg Raths – retired Marine Corps colonel who is running as a fiscal conservative.
Desi Kiss – reliable conservative with backbone. Engineer and business owner.
(Do NOT vote for pro-developer Leckness or Reardon. Bucknum is a lobbyist for the housing industry.)

Laguna Niguel - two seats are open. 

After reviewing the ballot statements of the candidates and the various recommendations by the different voter guides, I am okay with voting for both John Mark Jennings and Elaine Gennawey. I know Jenning's church - Mission Lutheran Church - and it is a kind, well-run institution. Gennawey is endorsed by the local CRA as is Jennings.

Water Districts

No recommendations.

FYI: The water districts, in my view, are primarily responsible for all the pinhole leaks in our copper plumbing. The costs they imposed on us could have been prevented by making changes to our water chemistry. My general policy here is to simply vote for the non-incumbents hoping that they will care about the end users of the water supply.

California Propositions

Prop 1, NO: Water quality, supply and infrastructure – $7.12-billion bond, contains a lot of pork.
Prop 2, NO: Increases “rainy day” fund. Note Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. says YES on this one.
Prop 45, NO: Requires Insurance Commissioner’s approval of health ins. rate changes.
Prop 46, YES: Drug testing of doctors. (Doctors can be drunks and drug users...they shouldn't be able to hide this from their patients. I also have some experience in studying the problem of people gaming the system in search of pain-killing medications. I don't see how you fix that problem without some sort of state-wide data-base.)
Prop 47, NO: Reduces penalty for most nonviolent crimes and requires the release of convicted felons.
Prop 48, NO: Tribal state gaming compact, mainly would allow casinos outside reservation land.

*Do not write in a name except for nonpartisan races with a blank line and box. OK for Guiterrez.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.