Tags >> politics
May 28
2010

Proposition 14

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , news , media , legislation , government , election , current events , California

Bruce Robinson

Primary elections in California would be dramatically different if voters approve Proposition 14 in this year’s June 8 primary.

Backers of Prop 14, led by Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Schwartzenegger (together at left) ,  say it will create more opportunities for moderate candidates from the two major parties to advance through the primary and on to the general election. No on 14 spokesman Dave Gilliard counters that this has not happened in the other stated with similar laws in place.

Another flaw in the initiative, according to Dave Gilliard, is that it would no longer require candidates in the primaries to be identified by their party affiliation on the ballot.

Jeanine English of the California AARP, a supporter of Proposition 14, counters that each primary candidate’s voter registration history, going back ten years, will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website. And she adds, the open primary is expected to boost voter participation in those contests.

Another  earlier attempt to reform the California Primary election process, Proposition 62, was quite different from Proposition 14 in the way it addressed third party candidates, notes Stop Top Two campaign leader Christina Tobin.

 Read the SF Chronicle's analysis of Prop 14 here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 26
2010

The Costs of Israel’s Wars

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , war , teens , speaker , rights , public safety , protest , politics , international , immigration , history , government , families , education , current events , community , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Israeli occupation of The West Bank and Gaza Strip has clearly been a hardship for the Palestinian people there, but activist Dorothy Naor (left)   believes it has also inflicted deep costs on Israel as well.

Dorothy Naor (bio below) will present a talk titled “The Cost of Colonization and Occupation to Israelis and Palestinians,” May 27 at 7:00 pm at the Glaser Center, 547  Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Dorothy Naor (bio below) observes that each generation in Israel grows up amidst a near-constant series of preparations for warfare, something she sees as shaping the character of the nation in some undesirable ways.

The continuing expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza (such as those enclosed by the protective wall in the photo at right) is not just condoned by the Israeli government, Naor objects, but heavily subsidized, too.

Dr. Dorothy Naor lives in Herzliah, near Tel Aviv. An activist with he Israeli dissident groups New Profile, an Israeli feminist and anti-militarist group, she participates in virtually all activities having to do with occupation policy and civil rights in Israel. Most recently, she has become involved in the Israeli Committee for Residency Rights (ICRR), an ad hoc committee working on residency rights for Palestinians and for allowing entry to the West Bank. Dorothy takes people on informal tours to the West Bank and is one of those who responds to the many calls of distress from people in the West Bank who are stuck at checkpoints, need medical care in Israel, etc.

Dorothy was born in San Francisco but immigrated to Israel in her early 20s, in 1958. She has lived in Israel for most of the past 50 years.  She worked for many years as a teacher of English and has a PhD in Education. One of her main concerns is the effect the occupation is having on Israeli society, i.e., increase in domestic violence and violence in general, brutalization of the young, increase in mental illness, etc.

 

 

May 18
2010

Prop 16 Protest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Santa Rosa , rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , Green , government , environment , election , economy , current events , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

The opposition campaign to PG&E’s big-budget backing for Proposition 16 took to the streets—well, actually the sidewalks—of downtown Santa Rosa yesterday (above, with Lady Liberty joined by Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and Healdsburg City Councilman Gary Plass), blasting the measure as “another bailout” for the utility.

The Yes on 16 campaign may have a much bigger budget, but the list of local governments and other groups who have lined up against it is impressive and growing. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, offered a sampling of that roster of opponents at the midday rally on Tuesday.

Healdsburg was among the founding members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a coalition of 17 cities that act as their own electric utility for their residents. ( Read their  statement opposing Prop 16 here.)  There are numerous other such operations elsewhere in the state. Expanding the service areas for any of them would be subject to the 2/3s vote requirement in Proposition 16, as would the creation of any additional local power purchasing entities, says Healdsburg City Council member Gary Plass. But while many cities oppose the measure, there is little they can do to directly combat it.

The lion’s share of the electricity used by the residents and businesses of municipal Healdsburg now comes from an array of renewable sources. Councilman Plass breaks it down for us.

Want to find our more about this measure? You can read an impartial analysis of Proposition 16  or to see the video ads against Prop 16 that won't be shown on television (due to no budget, not topical censorship), go here.

 

May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.