Friday Commentary

Well, it’s Friday again and I’ve been bereft in blogging and commentary the last couple of weeks. The only page I’ve done any updating of has been my Spam/Scam Phone page — unfortunately, it’s had much too much business lately. A pox on these telemarketers, scammers and thieves and their “partners” in criminology — the telecom companies and politicians beholden to their monies.

Commentary on Taxes

On a more positive note Tax Day has come and gone. Owing to a couple of late financial documents and a bit of a mix-up at my tax preparer’s office, my tax returns did not get filed until the last day — April 18th. But my refunds have already been deposited into my credit union checking account.

The main reason we got refunds this year were medical expen$e$ — eye care, doctor$, pre$cription$ and dental cost$. I’d rather not have had the costs (and deductions). And I am very glad we’re still covered by my wife’s health insurance from her former employer — we still have to pay for it, but it’s a lot cheaper than getting it on our own or doing without.

The good part about this is that I used the refunds and just paid off the last of the dental costs I’d charged on my credit union charge card — with a couple of dollars left over for other things, such as, the co-pay on her next prescription which I will pick up on my afternoon walk today.

Commentary on Elections/Voting

The California Presidential Primary Election Official Voter Information Guide (California) arrived in this week’s mail. (This is a throne-reading document.)

“If you are registered with a political party: You can vote for a candidate running for President in that party.

“If you are registered with no party preference, you can vote in the Presidential primary for the following parties: Democratic, American Independent, Libertarian.

“If you registered with no party preference and want to vote in the Presidential primary for one of the following political parties: Republican, Green, Peace & Freedom, you must re-register to vote with that party by May 23, 2016.”

So, if you registered as an “independent,” that is, you are not registered with any political party, or you registered as a member of the American Independent Party by mistake and want to vote in the Republican primary, you have less than a month to correct your error. (If you registered in the American Independent Party and want to vote in the Democratic primary, you also have to re-register.)

On a related note there is Prop 50: Suspension of Legislators. Legislative Constitutional Amendment. Summary: Authorizes Legislature to suspend Members, including without salary and benefits. Prohibits suspended Members from using powers of office or legislative resources. Provides suspension may end on specified date or by vote of Member’s house. Fiscal Impact: No effect on state spending in most years. Minor savings in some years. (Read between the words, why not?)

I found it amusing that the two legislators who wrote the “Argument Against Proposition 50” began with the following:

“Proposition 50 is a scam brought to you by those that would turn a blind eye to a culture of corruption in our State Capitol! Voters should oppose this measure because: It perpetuates a culture of corruption in the state capitol . . .”

These two men are elected legislators and members of this “culture of corruption” . . . ?

Hmmm . . . oh, well, maybe I misunderstand and although they are legislators, they are not members of this culture of corruption. Of course, if this is true, why have they not been yelling and screaming about it . . . maybe they have, and I just haven’t heard them.

Also, in the Voter Guide there is a list of the candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat: a list of 35 candidates. That’s right: 35. I thought that I paid fairly close attention to politics in California, but I have learned to the contrary. I only recognized four (4) names on the list.

One of the candidates is named President. A woman named President is running for the U.S. Senate seat from California.

Each county in California designs its own ballot. How many of these names are going to fit in the same column? How many counties are going to have ballots running more than one page in length for this single office? How many people are going to try to vote for a candidate in each column, or on each page, and thereby cause their ballot to be tossed into the shred-and-recycle bin?

Commentary Links

Well, I just finished my last cup of coffee, and it’s time to quit-and-post. However, for those of you interested, here are some web-links for further information:

An online copy of the Voter Guide:

Campaign finance information: OR

Register to vote online at:

Additional links for the Voter Guide in other languages, registration and voting, candidates and Prop 50 are listed throughout the Voter Guide.

California Politics—Follow the Money $

Money in Politics

Mid-Term elections are coming up in another week—Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 and we are currently being bombarded by, what seems to me at least, an obscene number of ads. These ads appear on almost every street corner, in newspapers and magazines, on radio, television and the internet. All of these ads take money. This money is contributed by individuals, organizations and corporate entities.

Seal of California
Seal of California

These individuals and others do not contribute money out of the goodness of their hearts but because they hope to get something from that contribution.

Many individuals spend their own money to get elected. Why? Ego? Impose their own standards/beliefs upon others? Think they’re better/know more than others? Gain an economic advantage by voting for things that they think will help them and those like them? (Yes, I know I’m a bit cynical, but haven’t you ever had these thoughts about, at least, one politician?)

Organizations, through their individual members, contribute money to further their own aims. The Democratic and Republican parties funnel millions of dollars to election and re-election campaigns in every state and (nearly) every election. Unions (teamsters, teachers, electricians, etc.), associations (nurses, doctors, dentists, etc.), the ACLU, LLPs (limited liability partnerships-many of them lawyers), etc.

Sometimes you will find an organization contributing money to opponents running against each other. Perhaps, the organization wants to influence the winner, no matter who that is? (Yeah, I know, more cynicism, but can you really believe they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?)

“California” Money

For the current election in California the California Secretary of State’s (Debra Bowen) office maintains a website delineating those organizations and individuals who have spent a large amount of money trying to influence the November 4th, 2014 election. This is the Cal-Access website. It contains quite a bit of information on who and what groups are spending money trying to influence the election.

By clicking on the link to the Top 10 Contributor Lists you can find the Top 10 Contributors to Statewide Ballot Measure Committees and the Campaign Finance Data for All Ballot Measure Committees as well at the same data for individual candidates.

Proposition 1 – Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.


Proposition 2 – State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

18 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above propositions. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes these propositions.)

Proposition 45 – Healthcare Insurance. Rate changes. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Watchdog Campaign, California Nurses Association, Kathryn Taylor, Consumer Watchdog, Thomas Steyer

Against: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Wellpoint, Inc. and affiliated entities, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Inc., UnitedHealthCare Insurance Company

Follow the money: could it be that the healthcare/insurance industry doesn’t want the state Insurance Commissioner to veto their increases of rates and charges?

Proposition 46 – Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Attorneys of California and its sponsored committees, Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP; Brian S. Kabateck, Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Davis, Inc., Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Shernoff, Bidart, Echeverria, Bentley, LLP

Against: Cooperative of American Physicians IE Committee, The Doctors Company, Norcal Mutual Insurance Company, California Medical Association Physicians’ Issues Committee, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and The Hospitals

Follow the money: maybe the lawyers do want more lawsuits for larger amounts of money and higher fees, and the doctors and insurance companies don’t.

Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

For: American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., Open Society Policy Center, Hughes, B. Wayne, Atlantic Advocacy Fund, Munger, Molly

10 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes this proposition.)

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Against: Table Mountain Rancheria, Brigade Capital Management, LLC through affiliated entities, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, Riva Ridge Recovery Fund LLC

10 individuals and groups listed for opposing and none listed for supporting the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one supports this proposition.)

Follow the money: could it be that other Indian tribes (and maybe Nevada casinos) don’t want the competition?

Other Information

There is a tremendous amount of information available on this site. All state-wide offices, the Board of Equalization (what a name), the State Senate and Assembly are included. For much of that information you have to dig through several layers, but, if you are interested in following the money, it is well worth the effort.

Be sure to read the fine print.

There is plenty of information about the contributors cited above on the Cal-Access website. Other information is available if you just copy the name and past it into your browser or search engine.

Please, if you are going to vote, cast an intelligent ballot. Do not just rely on television advertising or on the biases of others (or your own biases). Vote to bring about the greatest good or the least harm.

California Flag
California Flag
In the interests of openness:
  • I am a lifelong Democrat, who on occasion votes Republican
  • I am liberal to moderate on social issues
  • I am conservative on most economic issues
  • I was a teacher in California public schools for forty years and, for most of those years, I was active in my local union
  • I am retired

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. (From The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)

Advertising—Door Hangers—Trash

A couple of days ago in the late morning I was greeted at my front door by trash advertising. You know, those annoying door hangers. It isn’t enough that we get bombarded by advertising in radio, TV, billboards, email, etc., but people come on to our property and right to the front door and attach it to the door knob. Dirty word, dirty word, dirty word.

Let’s see what we got:

  1. Super Sale – Vinyl Gates – $594.00 installed
  2. Affordable Floors Inc.
  3. Rainbow Environmental Services
  4. Michael Gates for HB City Attorney
  5. Concrete Ideas – Driveway Special –

I abhor this kind of advertising. Trash at/on my front door. This is worse than the throwaway newspaper and advertising supplements that are thrown on the driveway.

This kind of advertising tells a thief, or potential thief, that I am not home. Please, come and rob my house.

I have an extra bone to pick with three of the above trashers.

  1. Affordable Floors Inc. A simple black print on white, no pictures and a folksy beginning: “Hello, thank you for taking a minute to read this. I’m your neighbor – . . . at 1624 Sandlewood Ave.” Intimating that he is nearby. I live in Huntington Beach; his address is in Fullerton, which is halfway across the county. Neighbor? Bullfeathers!!!
  2. Rainbow – These people collect trash. On their hanger is an ad for Clean-a . We have to separate our trash: garbage, recyclables, yard waste. OK, we use three cans. Clean-a-can will clean these cans for me: “Up to 3 Trash Cans for only $9.99 per month.” Ten dollars a month (One hundred twenty dollars per year) to clean trash cans? What a rip.
  3. Michael Gates for HB City Attorney: . It isn’t enough that we have obscene numbers of signs and posters on almost every intersection of the city for the upcoming elections, but we now have candidate trash left on our front doorsteps. “My Promise to Voters, I will…
    • Protect HB Taxpayers (From what? An elected politician, like he wants to be, who will hurt me by spending my tax money?)
    • Allow Only Constitutional City Ordinances (Like someone else will allow unconstitutional city ordinances?)
    • Eliminate Waste (What kind of waste? Trash advertising waste that he leaves at my front door?)
    • Defend the City of HB (From what? Santa Cruz trying to be Surf City?)
    • Restore Professionalism (You mean the current City Attorney is not acting professionally. I beg to differ.)

Ahhh, well. There you have it. Rant, rant, rant. Rave, rave, rave.

Oh, yeah. Of the above only the one from Concrete Ideas was actually on the door knob, attached with a rubber band. All of the others were just tossed on my welcome mat.