Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jon Fleischman on the California GOP Draft Platform

by Jon Fleischman, CRP Member and Former CRP Regional Vice Chairman
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a platform as a declaration of principles and policies adopted by a political party or a candidate. Once every four years the members of the California Republican Party Central Committee have an opportunity adopt our state party platform. Our Republican candidates, of course, each get to set out their own individual campaign platforms.

Different state parties have platforms that vary in length and specificity, to suit the desires of each of their state committees. The California Republican Party's currently platform is relatively short at eight pages (in larger font), as opposed to say the platform of the Republican Party of Texas which weighs in at a strapping 32 pages (in pretty small font). The Platform adopted by the last Republican National Convention is more like a book, being 55 pages in length (link).

Generally a party platform is an expository document that allows someone to read it and understand the party's policy positions on a myriad of issues faces our state, our country, even our world.  

Typically party platforms are comprehensive and serve to paint a relatively thorough picture. For the most part, party platforms are internal documents. While available to the public, is commonplace for a party to create promotional materials highlighting particular areas of the platform to appeal to particular constituencies (perhaps one might create a flyer or brochure with positions from the "The Economy" section of platform when emphasizing the California GOP's positions and ideas on private sector job creation. Alternatively, if you were looking to advance the party's position on property rights, immigration or the Sanctity of Life, you could similarly create marketing materials consistent with those platform planks.

Of course a political party platform does not reflect the principles or policy positions of every party member or elected official - party platforms represent the views of the majority of the body which adopts it - be it the RNC delegates, CRP members, or even a County Committee can adopt a platform. In America we have a "weak party" form of government, so there is no mechanism for a party to force its nominees to adhere to the platform. A great example would be Arnold Schwarzenegger.   As the state's top elected Republican officeholder for seven years, his differences with many of the planks of the California GOP platform were vast.  Still, a platform is an important defining document for any political party.

Within the party there are really two schools of thought about the platform. There are some who frankly wish there was not a platform - feel that no one reads it, and it's only purpose is to give the liberal main stream media a once-every-four-years opportunity to beat the tar out of Republicans.
But there are many, including me, who think that a platform is an integral part of the definition of a political party. Especially as we usher in this new Proposition 14 era, where no longer do Republican voters have a closed primary to pick their nominees, it is more important than ever that party leaders on the State Central Committee lay out in expository form what the party stands for on major policy issues.

This weekend the full Platform Committee of the CRP (made up of roughly 1/6th of the State Committee) will hold its first meeting after the close of the convention's General Session on Sunday.  
There, deliberations will begin concerning what revisions to make to the 2008 CRP Platform. Ultimately CRP members will consider and vote on the 2012 platform at our Spring Convention - in time for it to serve as input to those drafting the party's national platform.

The CRP's platform is a great document. While significantly shorter than it has been in years past (back in the 90's it was as long as 40 pages), the Platform really gets into a good amount of specifics, as a platform should, about the party's positions on issues. As an elected Platform Committee Member (representing the 71st Assembly District), I strongly support the re-adoption of our current platform (with slight updating as four years have passed) that has been introduced by  

Mark Pruner, President of the Republican County Chairmens Association. This document, which is very much in line with the principles and positions laid out in the much longer and more comprehensive national GOP platform, is one of which the California GOP can be proud.

That having been said, there is an aggressive effort underway to gut the CRP Platform, and actually make it significantly more vague on many issues, and fundamentally change the party's position on other issues. In fact the proposal put forward by a group that cleverly calls it's draft "The Platform For California's Future" is seeking to radically change the commitment of the CRP's Platform on many key issues. If you click here you can actually see a spreadsheet that compares the language of the existing platform to that of the Future group's proposed new document.

If the goal, for specific marketing purposes, is to have a more general statement of principles for the party, there is nothing that prevents such documents from being created. Because the proponents of the "Future" platform know this, one has to assume that the goal of this group is actually to fundamentally alter the California Republican Party's Platform for the purpose of making substantive changes in our policy positions.

Because this column is already so long, let me take just one example of how a significant policy is addressed in our current platform, and then show how it is changed in the proposed "Future" platform:

In the current platform, there is a plank entitled The Sanctity of Life that reads:

The California Republican Party is the party that protects innocent life because we believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death. We support laws that protect unborn children from partial birth abortions, sex selection abortions, tax-payer funded abortions, abortions performed as a form of birth control, or abortions on minor girls without their parent's notification and consent.

We believe that the question of abortion is a matter that should be left to the people through their elected representatives, not usurped by the United States Supreme Court, and believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed.

We support adoption as an alternative to abortion and call on lawmakers to reduce the bureaucratic burden placed on adoptive couples.

As a part of respecting the sanctity of life for disabled persons, we oppose efforts to legalize assisted suicide or euthanasia.

We support a comprehensive ban on all human cloning.

The California Republican Party supports ethical stem cell research that focuses on cures, not destroying innocent human Life.

In the proposed "Future" platform, there is no longer a Sanctity of Life Plank AT ALL. It is no longer a significant enough issue, apparently, to warrant it. Under a section called Deliver Real Health Care Reform there is a single sentence that reads, "We believe in the sanctity of human life."

Seriously. That's it. Could there be a more striking example of gutting our party's commitment on a significant and important public policy issue?

And this is just one example, and a comparison of the existing platform and the one proposed by this "Future" group is replete with a great many more examples.

When you make a decision about the adoption of a new CRP Platform, you have to consider what is in place now, and what changes with the adoption of a new document.

If you believe that a party's platform is important, I urge you to join with me and most everyone to whom I speak in the CRP, and let's readopt our current platform.

And in case you were wondering, the media is intently watching this party discussion, and they have figured out what is going on. This is how Associated Press reporter Michael Blood describes the "Future" platform (see AP story):

"A proposed rewrite of the California Republican Party platform retreats from opposition to same-sex adoption, domestic partner benefits and child custody, avoids any mention of overturning Roe v. Wade and drops a demand to end virtually all federal and state benefits for illegal immigrants."

It is clear that the proposed "Future" platform is intended to move the GOP to the left and it has sparked intense opposition from conservatives, many of whom have said that adopting such a platform will be "the end of the line" for the GOP in California. They have said they will look to forming a new Conservative Party in California should this platform be adopted (You can see their letter here).

Now a new survey demonstrates that the threat of a Conservative Party is not an idle one. GOP pollster Adam Probolsky recently conducted a statewide survey and found widespread opposition among Republicans and independents to eliminating the pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and immigration positions historically advocated by the GOP. Over 63% of GOP and decline-to-state voters oppose weakening the party's positions on these issues, while only 23.6% of those voters support such positions. Moreover, nearly 60% of Republican and DTS voters approve of creating a new Conservative Party, and 50% of them would personally consider joining such a party (See all of the detailed survey information here).

In closing, this weekend's convention will be an exciting time for us to gear up for next year's chance to put a Republican in the White House. We'll hear from some of the GOP candidates for President in person, and no doubt get a chance to see and hear from various surrogates for all of the candidates. We will all be able to cast a ballot in the official convention straw poll. But you will also have a chance to share input with CRP Platform Committee members, and I hope you will urge them all to reaffirm our current platform, and reject efforts (promoting by many of the same people who supported the new open primary measure) to make the Republican Party more like the Democrat Party.

Thank you for all that you do.

Jon Fleischman
CRP Member and Former CRP Regional Vice Chairman

California Republican Party Unveils Draft Party Platform


Below is the Draft Platform.  It falls far short on many of what I feel are key issues.  One issue I will focus on today is the terrible lack of support for the 2nd Amendment. 

The 2nd Amendment is key to protecting all of Civil Rights.  The fact that the Party has placed one sentence in one paragraph says to the country that Republicans are OK with far-reaching gun control laws. 

The Party should take the position of supporting "SHALL-ISSUE" policies and regulations.  Shall-issue means that all citizens shall be issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon unless the citizen is mentally ill or a convicted felon. 

The issues with the CRP Draft Platform are many and nothing is set in stone just yet. 

Draft May 25, 2011
Preamble
A party platform is normally a statement of present positions. This platform is a statement of future action. With this platform the California Republican Party seeks to unite all Californians.

Our Declaration of Independence’s vision for a great nation continues to ring true today and is more important than ever to remember: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

State government has been failing us for years. As it fails, it begins to extinguish the dreams and aspirations of all Californians. For some Californians, this failure threatens their equality... for some their life... for some their liberty... for some their happiness.

This is as unacceptable to us as it was to our Founding Fathers.

We recognize that in recent years, the California Republican Party has not been a viable alternative for many Californians. We want to change this.

We believe we can offer real solutions to bring good paying jobs back to California.

We believe we can offer real solutions to reform our failed state government in Sacramento.

We believe we can offer real solutions to keep our families educated, healthy, and safe.

We believe we can offer real solutions to make sure the California Dream is available for a new generation.

Perhaps most important, we believe Californians have more in common than not. We believe a failed state government hurts all of us - regardless of race, gender, age, political affiliation, or wealth.

With this platform, we hope to clearly convey what Republicans will do in office to ensure the public trust. We want to make state government accountable, effective, and ethical again. Not just for Republicans - for everyone. This platform is our call to all of the people of California: take a few minutes to read what Republicans stand for today.

If you agree with us, let’s stand together to demand the type of government that Californians deserve.


California Republican Party Platform

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today in History - September 14, 1814


At the Battle of Baltimore Francis Scott Key watched as the United States Army fought off a Brittish invasion by land and sea.  Key, inspired by the defense of Fort McHenry, wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner".

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama's Land Banks

Redevelopment lobbyists will be happy to know that their efforts have paid off. 

The White House Press Office says that the American Jobs Act will create “A New ‘Project Rebuild’, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.”

Before reading that, had you ever heard of “land banks”?  I admit this was the first time for me so I did what you probably will do and looked up the term. 

The first Google listing was from the University of Michigan.  There are many other sources of information on land banks but all of them describe the same thing.

The information from UM describe land banks as public authorities created to “efficiently hold, manage and develop tax-foreclosed property.” 

Michigan passed a law to help create a state land bank as well as enable local land banks.  The law permits these authorities to expedite quiet title on properties, which it possesses, and make them available at nominal prices for productive reuse in the community.

The real question, why should a public agency act as the middleman on real estate?  If the properties have ANY value, they can be sold at auction to the highest bidder. 

Several states have acknowledged the failings of land banks and that they create more financial trouble than they solve. 

In short, Obama’s land banks idea is nothing more than Federal Redevelopment in which the government, not the market, picks economic winners and losers. 

The Obama O'Whopper

Just a few quick thoughts on Obama's American Jobs Act.

From the LA Times: Obama spoke against a backdrop of teachers, construction workers, veterans and police officers--a visual tableau meant to reinforce his point that partisan politics should not intrude on efforts to revive the slumping economy.

“This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country,’’ the president said. “This is a bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis. This is a bill based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. And this is a bill that Congress needs to pass.”

The public employee unions were well represented as supporting Obama’s Bill.  Where were the retailers and manufactures?  If retailers and manufactures can support it, then maybe it has a chance. 

The fact remains that the Bill will create mostly temporary construction jobs.  This Bill strongly resembles the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that spent BILLIONS of borrowed dollars to invest in “shovel‑ready projects”.  The City of Fullerton had just one of these shovel-ready projects.  The City spent $2.2-million to replace irrigation at the privately operated municipal golf course.  I can only imagine the waste sure to come from this latest bill.

From CBSNews.com: Obama asserted that his bill "is fully paid for." He said he will lay out a plan for deficit reduction that he says will cover the cost of his jobs bill and bring down the deficit further. Before Congress last week, he said he expects the so-called congressional "super committee" -- already tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings -- to adopt some of the measures he'll propose to pay for the bill.
           
“FULLY PAID FOR”
Are you kidding? Does anyone really believe that the Bill is actually paid for?  And who pays for everything the government does?  WE DO!  Taxpayers like me and my neighbors. 

A business associate made a very astute observation:  Let’s fire all of our union employees which would dissolve the current labor agreement, then hire everyone back as part-time non-union employees.  With Obama’s proposed tax incentives, it would give many companies a reason for firing their workforce and a reason to hire non-union labor.  All of the workers would be offered minimum Obama Care and the companies could get out of paying the union $10p/h per employee. 

The Bill’s Truth (from the White House)
·         A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.
·         Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, while keeping cops and firefighters on the job. (Op-Ed: Obama taking care of the public employee unions)
·         Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country, supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.  (Op-Ed: More public employee union support)
·         Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job. (Op-Ed: Largely, these are temporary jobs.)
·         A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.  (Op-Ed: Ok, here it is… the Federal Redevelopment Agency – more on this later)
·         Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum.  (Op-Ed: Who controls the data stream?  Feds?  Which agency?  Under what criteria?)


What will we do when we have rehabilitated all of our roads and utility systems?  Where will the workers go? 

Service jobs are only part of the answer, not the solution.  The solution is simple: the United States must manufacture products for sale, export, and consumption. 

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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