A California Trilogy: Poor DiFi “Wiped Out” by KinDur; Dems’ Shameless Initiative Power Play; Will Brown Expel Huff’s Rectal Valium?

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Poor Little DiFi “Wiped Out” by KinDur

Would we Californian Americans really be better off with an actual Republican in the Senate in place of octogenarian DINO Dianne Feinstein?  With another Republican in the Senate giving that constipated body that much more veto mojo?  And probably losing one more voice for the few things the old fixture DiFi IS good on – the environment, women’s rights, gay rights?  Well, now that you put it that way, I guess not. 🙁

Does Feinstein’s loss of “possibly millions” of her previously 5-million war chest to the prodigious-but-now-beached treasury-raider Kinde Durkee really make it thinkable that she could be beat by a better Democrat, like say Debra Bowen, Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Sheila Kuehl?  Um.  Okay, again, probably not. 🙁

So it’s hard to think, right now, of any actual good that could come of this remarkable calamity.  Except for the schadenfreude of us progressives, when we think of all the ways the battle-axe has let us down over the years – her constant support, throughout the Bush and Obama years, of endless war; her always dependable attacks on civil liberties and privacy;  her unswerving allegiance to the Likudnik expansionists of Israel;  her horrible votes (does she think we’ve forgotten?) to confirm Bush appointees KKK Judge Leslie Southwick and torture-endorsing AG Mukasey which led many of us California Democrats to call for her censuring in 2007; her tireless work on behalf of the interests of her phalanx of huge corporate backers such as California’s Big Agribusiness; her “tough-on-crime” and pro-Drug War stances; and her current leading of the lynch mob against the irreplaceable Wikileaks – all of this causes us to smile a little when thinking of so much of her ill-gotten gains vanishing into Kinde’s mysterious vortex. 🙂

Anyhoo, even though multimillionairess Dianne Feinstein and her war-profiteering husband could write a check to cover the loss without batting an eyelash, we’re sure her old faithful contributors will pony up again – PG&E, Edison International, Diamond Foods, Pfizer, Sony, Disney, General Electric, General Dynamic, Bechtel, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, Qualcomm, Wells Fargo, and all the rest – and our progressive state will continue to be represented by this reactionary corporate fossil until she finally can’t take any more and crawls off in the manner of Strom Thurmond, or in the words of the late Harold Pinter:

I’ve seen this thing before:
the exit out the door
by way of belly and floor.

Sac Democrats’ Brilliant and Shameless Power Play on Initiative Timing

But this is good news though – and will really infuriate my Republican readers if you haven’t heard about it yet!

As CalBuzz has been reporting/predicting for a couple weeks – and this is big news for California voters actually – on 1AM Friday night Saturday morning, Senate Bill 202 was quickly and quietly passed, which will assure that all state initiatives will only be on NOVEMBER ballots when turnout is highest – no longer on June primary or other special-election ballots.  You see, up until now, when a measure was voted on in a low turnout election, that gave a decisive advantage to old, rich, idle rightwingers who do nothing much with their lives any more but sleep, play golf, and vote.  Some of these initiatives had a big influence on all of us.  Now (assuming Jerry signs this) there will be a lot more of us making these decisions.

As Speaker John Pérez (no relation to our beloved Julio, yet) explained to the few half-awake spectators:

“SB 202 simply affirms that the California Constitution is right when it says initiatives should be voted on in general elections.  We have had instances where far reaching proposals that affect all Californians are determined in the lowest turnout elections. We have a chance to fix that, and I’m not willing to choose complacency over the Constitution.

It’s funny because it’s true!  The California Constitution DOES specify that initiatives are to appear on “general election” ballots, which is DIFFERENT from what’s now called the “voter-nominated primary elections” in June (although it’s complicated, and arguable.)  But of course, that’s not the real reason that Democrats and Labor finally (and furtively) embraced this good-government reform.  The PROXIMATE cause – the fire in the pants – was the re-appearance of a Paycheck Deception measure which was very likely going to qualify for next June’s ballot, where it might stand a chance of succeeding and castrating unions – with this reform, it will now be on the November ‘012 ballot when even the pot-smokingest Democrat may very well remember to show up and pull the lever against that old square Perry or Romney.

Regarding the way this bill was slammed through like a stealth bomber, CalBuzz in their inimitable moral ambivalence opines:

“[This is] not how the system should work, but it is how the system does work. Moreover, it’s the right thing to do and Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it.  Why? Because a) elections have consequences, b) Republicans have proved themselves unwilling to actually participate in governing and c) it’s better that big changes in the law and Constitution should be voted on by the widest possible electorate.”

Now, I wouldn’t have thought of connecting this bill to the Kinde Durkee apocalypse, but the Nooner’s Scott Lay does do that, and it’s his milieu:

What was this really about?  Well, as usual, it’s all about the Benjamins.

Labor wants to play offense and defense on ballot measures (initiatives and, perhaps, redistricting referenda) next year, and there will also be about a bunch of legislative races to influence, in both the primary and general. Oh, and there’s that presidential thing.

To save money, labor wants to buy in bulk, and do so in November. It will be a lot cheaper waging war on “bad” ballot measures and promoting “good” measures if it can do it only in November. From slate cards to phone banks, it’s a lot cheaper to only do it once. People may criticize labor’s strategy over the last few years, but this was brilliant.

Now, the only problem is that there were a lot of Democrats that weren’t crazy about the idea. Until Kinde Durkee

While many Democrats were not happy to cast a vote for SB 202, they had no choice. Labor needs time to charge up its depleted bank accounts and prepare for major ballot measures next November, including possibly taxes, union dues limits, pensions, redistricting and more. Labor additionally can argue that its public employee ranks have been reduced because of state budget cuts, and it thus needs more time to raise more money. This is the mother’s milk of Democratic campaigns, and that was a very persuasive argument.

Labor wanted SB 202 before the Durkee scandal, but it wasn’t clear the votes were there. After the scandal broke, however, SB 202 had a strong gust of wind behind its sails, even if a lot of folks still aren’t sure they really wanted to be in that boat.

So, Governor!  Have you noticed that little thing about California Republicans not being serious about governing the state, only being serious about preventing anyone else from governing it?  That phenomenon has surely caught your attention by now?  Then SIGN this dirty bomb!

Will Brown Expel Huff’s Rectal Valium Bill?

Will Governor Brown smack down this Rectal Valium bill which is sitting on his desk and was authored and pushed by the lamentable Bob Huff?  I sure hope he does, and we must encourage him to do so, to veto Senate Bill 161.

Somehow I’m on the mailing list of North Orange County’s rightwing foe of public education, Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar.)  I probably must have importuned him once or twice about the Fairgrounds Swindle, back in the day.  Well, last week I got an e-mail from him that made me give a small fraction of a double-take:  Huff was boasting about some bill he had managed to get passed and onto the Governor’s desk, something about making it easier for epileptic kids to be treated in school.

“Funny, doesn’t really sound like a Republican bill,” I thought, before hitting delete.  Sounded kind of harmless.  Apparently most of the legislature thought so too.  Not familiar enough with Bob Huff, not living far enough North in this vast county, I failed to make the simple connection:  Bob Huff – Rectal Valium. What the bill does is to allow school volunteers to rectally administer Diastat, a gel form of Valium, into students who are experiencing epileptic seizures.

A friend of mine, epileptic himself, who’s also one of my Sacramento pajaritos, asks me, “Why is Huff of all people interested in this?  Did a student die in his district?”  I answered, “Probably not, or we’d be hearing about that nonstop, and the bill would be called the ‘Betsy Conroy Act of 2011’ or something.”  “Yeah, you’re right,” nodded my epileptic interlocutor.

In any case, there’s still great controversy on the safety of untrained volunteers administering this medication.  And I am still trying to solve the mystery of the mercenary Huff’s interest in this specific issue, by sorting through all the different pharmaceutical interests which have contributed to his campaign.  But the most obvious angle is that this is a shot across the bow of school nurses, part of a larger strategy to make them unnecessary.  Do you want your kids at school with no school nurse?  Me neither.  Let’s encourage Governor Brown to veto SB 161, the Huff Rectal Valium Bill.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.