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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Database Reveals Many 6-Figure Govt Salaries in Bay Area

Excerpts below are from an article today by Thomas Peele of the Contra Costa Times, which was part of a consortium that announced a searchable online database containing the salaries of more than 134,000 Bay Area public employees.  See also our April story about 4,820 CalPERS retirees receiving over $100,000/yr in pensions.

Salaries ranging from those of firefighters and janitors to health care administrators and lawyers in 64 jurisdictions is now included in the salary database on the Web sites of the Bay Area News Group.  The data show wide discrepancies in pay and sometimes high salaries in government agencies, such as the Port of Oakland, where a semiskilled laborer grossed $123,450 in 2008, and in Newark, in southern Alameda County, where more than half of the 215 city employees were each paid more than $100,000 last year and the average gross pay was $109,027.

The data show that across the region, 73 public workers grossed more than $200,000 in 2008 through overtime pay that exceeded the standard base pay for their jobs.  A San Francisco nurse took home nearly $183,000 worth of overtime with a base salary of $132,740.  Twenty-four Oakland employees received overtime that exceeded their base pay; all but one of them was a police officer. In Contra Costa County, 12 firefighters also were paid more in overtime than base salary.

Daily 49er: Vote Libertarian to Break Out of the 2-Party System

From a Sep. 22 editorial by Stuart Schmidt on Daily49er.com, "the definitive source for Cal State Long Beach" news:

[...] So what’s the solution to the current big government that seems to do nothing but spend our hard earned money without concern? I have your answer and it’s called the Libertarian Party.

The Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party in the country, but only has 250,000 members. This small, grassroots organization stands for, as they display on their Web site, “Smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Judge Denies Injunction Against L.A. Digital Billboard Ban

U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins ruled Monday that Liberty Media Corp. did not show a likelihood that it would prevail in its procedural arguments against a month-old 29-page Los Angeles ban on digital billboards and multi-story "supergraphics".

The Libertarian Party platform says: "We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.  We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services."
Excerpts from a Reason magazine article by Katherine Mangu-Ward on L.A. billboards in January:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Propositions For Pot Legalization Start To Collect Signatures

Excerpts from an AP article by Marcus Wohlsen at SFGate.com:

Under the proposal, adults 21 and older could legally possess up to an ounce of pot. Homeowners could grow limited amounts, and local governments would decide whether to allow pot sales. [...]

The measure is the most conservative of three pot legalization proposals certified for signature-gathering by California's Secretary of State. A group of Northern California criminal defense lawyers is promoting a measure that would set no specific limits on the amount of pot adults could possess or grow for personal use. The measure would repeal all local and state marijuana laws and clear the criminal record of anyone convicted of a pot-related offense.

The third measure, proposed by a Long Beach pot activist, would repeal state marijuana prohibitions and give the Legislature a year to adopt new laws regulating and taxing the drug. [...]

If any of the proposals do make the ballot, a Field Poll earlier this year found that a slight majority of state voters supported legalizing and taxing pot.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Libertarian Speaks At Riverside Anti-Nazi Rally

On Sat. Sep. 26, Sean Nealon of the Riverside Press-Enterprise wrote about a neo-Nazi rally that day:
Eight Neo-Nazis rallying against illegal immigration Saturday in Riverside fled in the face of 200 counterprotesters who snatched and tore up swastika-covered flags and chanted "Nazis go home." Scheduled to last two hours, the protest ended after 45 minutes when police officers, who wore riot gear but made no arrests, advised the Neo-Nazis to leave. Counterprotesters spit on the Neo-Nazis' Suzuki and Hyundai cars as they drove away. [...] A second counterprotest, attended by about 200 people, was held Saturday morning at Riverside City hall.
Gene Berkman, Vice-Chair of the Riverside County Libertarian Party, spoke at the latter rally:

Libertarians Endorse Christina Tobin For Secretary of State

Yesterday the Libertarian Party of California Executive Committee endorsed Christina Tobin in her 2010 race for California Secretary of State. Tobin is the founder of Free And Equal, an "all-partisan" 501(c)4 advocacy group dedicated to election reform and improving ballot access laws across the United States. While Tobin managed ballot-access efforts for Ralph Nader in his 2008 presidential campaign, Free and Equal helped organize the vice-presidential debate featuring Libertarian Wayne Root, the Constitution Party's Darrell Castle, and Nader's running mate Matt Gonzalez.

Tobin began working on ballot access during the 1998 campaign of her father Jim Tobin, who ran as a Libertarian for governor of Illinois.  Ms. Tobin recently moved to California.  The board of Free And Equal includes Libertarian Party Vice Chair Michael Jingozian and ballot-access expert Richard Winger of San Francisco.  Here is video of an August interview with Tobin about ballot access:

Westwell Gears Up For Huntington Beach City Council Race

Libertarian Norm "Firecracker" Westwell, President of the Ocean View School District Board of Trustees, announced this weekend that he has so far gathered over $7,000 in contributions for his race for Huntington Beach City Council.  A year before the Nov. 2010 election, Westwell's campaign site already boasts a lengthy list of endorsements.  Westwell received over 10,000 votes when first elected to the school board in 2006, and in 2008 was unopposed for his current 4-year term.  Westwell was endorsed for his city council race in April by the 2009 Libertarian Party convention.

Agrella Running For Chaffee Community College Director

On Sep. 26 the Libertarian Party of California Executive Committee endorsed Christopher Agrella in his Nov. 9 race for Chaffee Community College Director.  For TV coverage of Agrella's race for congress this year, see LPCA Candidate Agrella On LA Fox News.

California Says Its Regulations Cost Half-Trillion Per Year

by Jason Gonella

A report was recently released by the State of California detailing the cost of regulation to the state's economy. The results are damning.  Regulation costs just under half a trillion dollars annually. It costs the state four million jobs. It costs the state twelve billion in taxes.

The cost to the state's economy is equal to what is currently one third of the state's GDP. The twelve billion in taxes would close the existing budget gap without resorting to fancy accounting. The four million jobs would put the state's unemployment rate below, instead of above, the national average.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Libertarian Judge Crusades For Marijuana Legalization

On Sep. 22, "El Paso's Online Newspaper" published an article by David Crowder about Judge Jim Gray, who was the 2004 California Libertarian Party nominee for Senate.  Excerpts:

A conservative trial judge from Orange County, Calif., James P. Gray has become a troubadour for the decriminalization of marijuana as the only way to put a dent in illegal trafficking and the destruction that rises from it.

Gray has been on the bench as a governor-appointed municipal court and superior court judge since 1983, served as a federal prosecutor on Los Angeles, run for Congress as a Republican and for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian. (See: www.judgejimgray.com)

Addressing the lunch crowd at The Global Public Policy Forum on the U.S. War on Drugs on the UTEP campus Monday, Gray said the key to the problem is demand but there is little chance that the appetite for marijuana and other drugs will lessen in the United States.

By legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, estimates are the annual revenues would approach $1.4 billion in California alone. Legislation is now pending in California to legalize marijuana, Assembly Bill 390, when and if the federal government allows states to do so.

Gray speculated that legalization would also reduce the availability of marijuana to minors.  “Anyone under 21 will say it’s easier for them to get marijuana than alcohol … because it is regulated, but to buy drugs from a dealer you don’t need an ID,” he said. “And we don’t have Phillip Morris and Jim Beam giving their products away as samples on high school campuses.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Humboldt Update: Eureka Stimulus Funds, Redistricting

Fred Mangels of the Humboldt County Libertarian Party blogged this week about stimulus funds and redistricting in Eureka.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Libertarian Trustee Hickey Interviewed In Redwood City School Board Race

Jack Hickey is a past Chair of the San Mateo County Libertarian Party, and is an elected member of the Sequoia Healthcare District board.  On Sep. 22 the San Mateo Daily Journal discussed his Nov. 3 race for Redwood City Elementary School District board.  Excerpts:

Last week, the four candidates spent an hour in the Daily Journal offices discussing their thoughts on problems facing the district. Conservative financing while expanding programs seemed to be a consensus among the incumbents and Cuniberti-Duran while Hickey made a goal of downsizing the district. [...]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

LPSF's Winger Writes in Bee Against Top-Two Primaries

Today the LPSF blog reproduced Richard Winger's column in the Sacramento Bee:

In June 2010, California voters will be voting on a ballot measure to revise elections for Congress and state office. The measure would provide that all candidates run on a single primary ballot, and all voters get the same primary ballot. Then, only the two candidates who received the most votes in the primary could be on the November ballot.

Greenhut Moving From O.C. Register to Pacific Research Institute

O.C. Register columnist Steven Greenhut, who joined the Libertarian Party of California in 2008, is leaving the Register to join the libertarian think tank Pacific Research Institute.  Excerpts from Greenhut's announcement:

This is the penultimate column I'm writing for the Register as a staff member. I'm heading to the belly of the beast, Sacramento, to start a news bureau and investigative journalism project for a free-market think tank – Pacific Research Institute – as part of the "new wave" of journalistic endeavors sprouting up across the media horizon.  [...]

This has been a fascinating intellectual and ideological journey, as I've moved from a mainstream conservative Republican to a fire-breathing libertarian.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Election 2010 - First Call for Candidates

From Ted Brown:

Dear Fellow Libertarians,

It is that time again.  Campaign 2010 is coming up, and we need Libertarians to run for a variety of partisan offices in California.  The first day to take out papers to run is about January 1, a little over 3 months away.

The offices up for election are:

State of California:
Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner
Board of Equalization (all 4 seats)
State Senate (20 even numbered seats)
State Assembly (all 80 seats)

U. S. Senate (Boxer seat)
U. S. House of Representatives (all 53 seats)

In order to run, you need to be registered to vote as a Libertarian and not have been registered in any other party since March 2009.  If you are registered Decline to State or not registered to vote, you can register Libertarian by December 2009 and still be eligible.

For the district offices, State Senate and Assembly candidates must be residents of the district.  U. S. House candidates do not have to be residents of the district.  To run for the U. S. Senate, you must have been born on or before January 3, 1981.  To run for the U. S. House, you must have been born on or before January 3, 1986.  You only need to be 18 to run for any state position.

Please let me know if you are interested in running for any office, or if you know of anyone who should be interested in running.  You are welcome to pass this message along to other known Libertarian mailing lists.

For liberty.
Ted Brown
Candidate Recruitment Chair
Libertarian Party of California

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Libertarians Protest at San Francisco City Hall

A Libertarian-led protest outside San Francisco City Hall was the lead element of a story yesterday on the Bay Guardian politics blog.  Excerpts:

[...] Outside, former D8 supervisorial candidate, Libertarian Party member and sex worker Starchild, tanned and stripped down to the waist, was demanding an audit of the Federal Reserve as outlined in H.R. 1207, and as part of the “Campaign for Liberty.”

“Obama, Pelosi and Reid are not following through with the desire of their supporters to hold the Bush/Cheney administration accountable, and repeal the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act, and now the administration is spending trillions on bailouts and Congress doesn’t know where the money is going“ Starchild said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LPOC Meets Tues. Sep 29

The agenda and details for the September meeting are here, and August minutes are posted here.  This summer the LPOC has continued its proud tradition of tabling at the Orange County Fair.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monterey Libertarian Leads Tea Party Protest At Health Care Town Hall

Former Libertarian Party Northern Vice Chair Lawrence Samuels led Montery County Tea Party protesters at a town hall meeting on health care convened by Congressman Sam Farr, according to a Sep. 12 article at KCBA.com (Fox 35 in Monterey).  The article said:
Many Monterey Tea Party members showed off their strong messages in the streets. The organizer said the President's recent speech didn't change their views on the health care bill. "To stop Obama care and bring back real reform and health care not government take over," said Lawrence Samuel. [sic]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mark Hinkle Running For Libertarian Party National Chair

Mark Hinkle is California's representative to the Libertarian National Committee, and was Chair of the LPCA from 1997 to 2001.  Last night he sent out this email:

I've just booked my flight to the New Hampshire LP convention in Manchester on October 3rd (Saturday).  The national LP Chair campaign is ON. I'll be flying from San Francisco to/from Boston and then driving up to Manchester, NH.  My intention is to listen to the New Hampshire LP activists to get their sense of the LNC, the LP HQ, and the national scene.

I will also pitch my view that the LP HQ and the LNC needs to be a service organization.  We must serve Radicals and Reformers, Anarchists and Miniarchist, old timers, and fresh faces alike.  They all bring strength, talents, and resources to the LP and we need them all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Libertarians Fear Losing O.C. Register's Editorial Voice

Excerpts from a Sep 3. article on the O.C. Register site by Peggy Lowe:

The parent company of the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy this week. So what does that mean for the capital-L Libertarian slant on the editorial page?

Freedom Communication’s bankruptcy filing calls for the founding Hoiles family, which has owned the newspaper company since 1935, to give up control to the banks. That, depending on who buys the papers, could change the editorial direction away from the family’s longstanding Libertarian views that have been heralded in all 33 daily papers in the chain.

Although a sale doesn’t seem imminent, given the economy and the state of the newspaper industry, leading Libertarians were dismayed at the news of the possible loss of a leading voice for their philosophy. Libertarians support individual freedoms over government intervention, focus on personal property rights and champion broad civil liberties. [...]