Catharine Baker walks fine line to keep her East Bay Assembly seat

The only Republican from the Bay Area in the California State Legislature walks a fine line to keep her East Bay Assembly Seat


It does not seem fair. Catharine Baker’s neighboring office holders State Senator Steve Glazer D-Orinda) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) are running for re-election virtually unopposed. At the same time Baker is involved in a tight race fighting for her political life trying to retain her seat in the State Assembly.

Catharine Baker leads the charge at a campaign rally. She takes a middle of the road approach to defeat foes on the far left and right
Catharine Baker leads the charge at a campaign rally. She takes a middle of the road approach to defeat foes on the far left and right.

With the exception of heavy duty politicos or someone close to a Google application, few people even know the name of the individual who is running against her. Why then is Catharine Baker, who has been acknowledged by virtually every non partisan news outlet to be intelligent, thoughtful, hard working, and free of the influence of special interest groups, struggling so much to get re-elected?

The answer is simple. Catharine Baker has the word “Republican” written behind her name. In the entire Bay Area she is the only member of the legislature representing the GOP.  This apparently is a scarlet letter that will not be removed until she is defeated or decides not to seek office.

Virtually all progressives detest Baker even though they will admit in private of their admiration for her work ethic and independence. Despite this she is a Republican whose defeat would mean the Democratic Party would likely have a two thirds “Super Majority” in the Assembly once again. Were this to take place they would be free to raise taxes with impunity. At the same time they would not have to face scrutiny from conservatives an any issues of substance.

If the same criteria Democrats use to evaluate Baker were applied to renting or selling property to racial minorities, they would be branded racists and bigots. Unfortunately, such one sided thinking in the gridlocked-polarized world of American politics today is not only accepted; but revered as well.

In addition, Baker’s difficulty with entrenched advisories on the left does not end with liberal ideologues. As a moderate Republican, she has similar difficulties with conservatives in her own party.  Because of being pro-choice and at times stepping over the isle compromising with democrats, some ultra right wingers want to purge the first term Assemblywomen from their ranks as well.

This is the same Agenda 21-Black Helicopter crowd who favors alleged ideological purity over gaining any success at the ballot box. They would prefer to listen to themselves saying “ain’t it awful” at country club gatherings as opposed to having a major influence in the legislature.

Those on the extreme right worry about the effects Agenda 21. They believe moderates such as Catharine Baker are the problem rather than the solution with iinacting political reform
Those on the extreme right worry about the effects Agenda 21 might have on society. They believe moderates such as Catharine Baker are more the problem rather than the solution with enacting political reform

Recently they have justified their coolness towards Baker because of her reluctance to support GOP candidate Donald Trump. While this might be a legitimate concern on their part, one might ask where her critics have been the last two years as she has served in the Assembly and been a breath of fresh air in the stagnant Republican Party of California?

Indicative of this turmoil in the GOP, during the past couple of years there have been four changes of leadership on the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee.  At the same time this group was of limited assistance to electing Baker, it was virtually worthless in helping a strong candidate Debora Allen progress to the second round in the Assembly race to replace termed out Susan Bonilla in the Assembly.

Indicative of how dysfunctional things have been in the Contra Costa Republican Party, former Vice Chair Hal Bray tendered his resignation after receiving 27 emails one morning of which 26 pertained to different interpretations of Roberts Rules of Order.

While it is true Baker claims that the Republican Party both locally and on a state level has always supported her, it is also known that the level of funds and boots on the ground furnished by Democrats and their allies in labor unions to their candidates, far outstrips the assistance given to her campaign.

Dealing with the assaults of extremists on both ends of the political spectrum, Catharine Baker depends on a delicate coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats, and a large constituency of “decline to state” independent voters to propel her to office once again. Even the slightest change in the electoral landscape can topple her at any time. With only a slim 55% to 45% advantage to work with from the primary, Baker must continue to do her balancing act and hope outside forces don’t take votes away from her.

Of concern this November,  because of the large anti Donald Trump sentiment among usually staunch Republicans, this group might boycott the election. It is also feared that distain for Trump from Democrats and independents may make them reluctant to split the ticket to choose Baker in a seemingly minor race.

This scenario for a close election in the 16th District has not escaped Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). After the June 2nd primary he commented about the Baker race this is a “top pickup opportunity” for Assembly Democrats and promised to spend what it takes to win the seat. During his discourse on defeating Baker, Rendon never mentioned her opponents name.

This is consistent with other Democrats who place more emphasis  on defeating the Republican from Dublin than supporting her advisory Cheryl Cook-Kallio, former Vice Mayor of Pleasanton. Her web site is sparse in details dealing with important issues saying:

Althoughcheryl Cook-Kallia is not exactly a household word in the 16th Assembly district, Democrats hope having a "D" in front of her name will defeat Republican Catharine Baker
Although Cheryl Cook-Kallio is not exactly a household name in the 16th Assembly district, Democrats hope having a “D” in back of her listing in the voters guide will spell  defeat for Republican Catharine Baker on Nov 8th

“A celebrated public school teacher respected Pleasanton City Council member and tireless community activist Cheryl has fought to: enhance public education, increase affordable housing options, improve streets and roads, and make our community safer.”

Her web site advocates pouring more money into public schools with no accountability, It states Cook-Kallio will continue to be a champion for women and families, take on the fight for equal pay for equal work.  She is in favor of increased background checks for gun owners and wants to invest in infrastructure projects to assist in building the economy.  These stands are consistent with those of most Democrats holding office in the legislature

Despite lacking specifics on dealing with pension and budget deficits, educational reform, cap and trade, quality jobs leaving California, BART strikes, and a host of important issues, we can look for a flood of brochures to flood mail boxes in the 16th District  prior to election day extolling Cook-Kallio’s virtues.

It will then up to voters to determine what is most important to them. Will being a Democrat “trump”, (no pun intended) the quality of the opponent in the Assembly race. Baker, with her back to the wall as usual, hopes that her constituents will be able to discern facts as opposed to the absurd propaganda Political Action Committees (PAC) will be dispensing prior to November 8th.

Assuming that “the force is with her” and Baker triumphs, perhaps it will be appropriate that the GOP gives the Assemblywomen the long overdue recognition she so richly deserves. In this case this would be bestowing a leadership role to her in the Republican hierarchy of the State Assembly 

This would signify that Catharine Baker has more than fulfilled Al Davis’s motto,” Just win baby.”



The Affordable Housing Czar answers all questions

My mission in life is to explain with total impartiality what is going on with the rental market locally and throughout the entire State.


Let me introduce myself. Experts in the business call me “Mr. Affordable”, the Housing Czar. I am totally non partisan not being a Democrat, Republican, socialist, green, red, blue, libertarian or any derivation thereof. My mission in life is to explain with total impartiality what is going on with the rental market locally and throughout the entire State.

Who, what, where, and how is California going to solve their affordable housing crisis?
Who, what, why, where, and how is California going to solve their affordable housing crisis?

To answer your queries:

What is affordable housing?

This is a good question. In reality “affordable” is what people have ability to pay without draining their economic resources to support their families. “Affordable”, can also be defined in part by where people are living. In Danville where the average family income is well over $150,000 per year contrasts with Concord where about $68,000 supports the medium household. A better criterion is that rent or a house payment should be 30% or less than the gross disposable income of those living in a residence to be affordable

This is why families are struggling in the Monument Corridor of Concord where few can meet this 30% threshold. As a result two or even three families are forced to live in a 2 bedroom apartment. In addition to having crowded conditions, combining families leads to kids to spending more time on the streets. Historically, such a predicament has resulted in increased gang activities and problems for law enforcement.

The word affordable also comes up with Section 8 Housing where governmental agencies subsidize rents for those who are unable to put a roof over their heads. It is supplying this type of dwelling which most cities dread because of the problems associated with those who reside in these places.

Does rent control make housing more affordable in communities where it is being practiced?

Rent Control does make housing less expensive for those individuals who have been residing in housing covered by it for a long period of time. Good examples of this are apartments discussed in last week’s article in San Francisco which ranged from $ 1400.00 to $3600 per month for the same unit. For those who move into rent controlled apartments in tight urban markets, they end up in most cases paying a higher amount as landlords try to compensate for lost revenues.

Rent control also ends up tying up fluidity in the marketplace as those who live in apartments covered by it lack incentive to move. Constricting housing inventory tends to reduce competition putting those with large incomes in the driver’s seat when space opens up at the expense of those with less buying power.

Does rent control even with the intervention of Government Boards to hear grievances improve the quality of the apartments under their jurisdiction?

affordable housing that more resembles barracks than place people would want to live are projects cities want to avoid
Affordable housing that more resembles barracks than places people might  want to live are projects cities want to avoid

In most cases just the opposite occurs.  If a long term tenant is paying significantly less rent than the market commands, landlords have little incentive to make capital improvements such as heating, bathrooms, kitchens, etc…  As a result rent control units seldom see a facelift which entails anything more than an occasional coat of paint or a new faucet if the old one can’t be repaired.

Other than helping to protect people from unsafe conditions, rent control boards do not have the power to make property owners make any improvements beyond minimum code standards. As proof of this reality when a previously rent controlled unit is vacated, it is only then that property owners are inclined to make major improvements. They call this phenomena “capitalism” When government intervention messes with the laws of supply and demand, good things seldom happen.

Why has there not been more housing built to meet the demands of moderate income families that rent control is designed to protect?

This is a complicated question whose answer  sounds like the old advertisement for Anacin which touted a “combination of ingredients” to lesson headaches. To start with when Jerry Brown began his third term, the first thing he did to deal with the State’s budget woes was to put an end to Redevelopment Program that encouraged cities to rid themselves or blight and replace it in most cases with affordable housing. Combined with the effects of the recession, little new construction has been done since Brown took office.

But wait there’s more! Another leading factor to the absence of affordable housing being constructed in the Bay Area and throughout California are all the laws, taxes and permit costs which make every apartment constructed expensive before the first shovel is turned. Environmental impact reports, seismic studies, water hook-ups, road improvements, money for public transportation, electricity, sewers, schools; you name it, they must get their cut.

Along with these factors which often include government regulation from more than one jurisdiction is the high price of land in the Golden State. Reducing the amount of buildable property by imposing urban limits of where construction can occur along with creation of more open space, has taken its toll without much consideration of what the consequences of these policies might have in the marketplace.

What is Jerry Brown been doing to rectify the affordable housing shortage since he has been in office 6 years ago?

To make up for past mistakes Gov. Brown want to bypass local planning processes to meet demands for more affordable housing to be built
To make up for past mistakes Gov. Brown want to bypass local planning processes to meet demands for more affordable housing to be built

Trying to fix what is wrong Brown wants to jump start the construction of affordable housing in the state to make up for past mistakes. Already the effects been visible not only in the lives of low income folks, but also has lead to an exodus of high paying jobs from California to places where housing is more affordable for families.

What Brown has proposed is the State taking over the planning process from local communities to short circuit getting the all the prerequisites  needed to construct housing. His ideas are geared to streamline the approvals process for multi-family housing developments that are built in urbanized areas and include affordable units. If passed, this proposal would mean that eligible housing proposals across the state would be given the “green light“ by right,” meaning they would not be subject to case-by-case local approvals or review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

To put it another way the Governor wants the State to determine what is to be constructed in local communities including density discounts, no matter how their consequences effect traffic and congestion. In taking this “Big Brother” approach which would negate local control of urban planning, it did not occur to Brown to repeal the laws and regulations that have constricted new developments in California in the first place.

This could never happen as admitting past mistakes have never been even a minor part of the Progressive agenda.

What are the chances Brown’s plans if enacted will work?

Let’s play the point spread. When was the last time any project undertaken under the supervision of State Government every come in on or under budget? As an example look at the cost overruns on the construction of the new span for the Bay Bridge or the work that has been going on forever on Hwy 4. The defense rests.

With regards to constructing new projects respected developer Merle Hall stated, “The best way to create affordable housing is to allow the forces of an unrestricted free market to work. Government involvement does just the opposite. It creates undesirable cheap ghetto housing because from the economic standpoint, taxpayer subsidies are not going to build the Taj Mahal.”  (Or should have Hall referred to then as the Section 8 Estates?)

Will the new development at the Concord Naval Weapons Station include enough affordable housing inventories to make a difference?

Despite their pledge to spend $ 40,000,000 to build affordable housing in the first phase of construction, Urban Lennar whom the Concord City council choose to develop the CNWS property, has a dismal record recently of creating this product.

Outside of costing the States retirement fund almost 1 billion dollars with the bankruptcy of LandSource in 2009, they have yet to build one unit of low income housing at Mare Island. Lennar’s performance is almost as dismal in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point development where thus far they have delivered fewer than 10% of what they promised to construct by 2015

This is not entirely Lennar’s fault. There have been some hazmat problems in both places. In addition constructing low income housing is less profitable than building market place units. As a result this needed product is often the last thing constructed in large developments. As an indication at the CNWS, Lennar first plans to build over 200 market place units when the final  approvals are in place. Affordable  can come later.

When will construction be started and completed in the Concord project?

Perhaps the better answer might be in whose lifetime? While the advocates of low and moderate income housing were in ecstasy when the new plans for the base were unveiled, very few will be breathing when the first phase is completed. Realistically, it will be 10 years at the earliest when anything of substance will be built.  Double that for any affordable units of large numbers.

Why is “Mr. Affordable the Housing Czar” so cynical and cranky about government trying to spur development of badly needed new housing inventory?

History! Just review what has transpired during the last quarter century to determine if respect can still be found in the morning.


Standing up to bureaucratic tyranny

Just like Britain, California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, is being governed, to paraphrase and quote Mr. Nelson, by officials Californian’s “don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office.”


“A date which will live in infamy.” That is what President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Congress the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack occurred on December 7, 1941.

WPJ_summer_bureaucracyThe president sought — and received — a declaration of war against Japan. Congress took less than an hour to pass the declaration.

June 23, 2016, may be another date that will live in infamy. On that date, British voters decided that their country should leave the European Union (EU). The EU is a 28-nation trading bloc that covers most of Europe, including Britain.

The EU is the world’s largest trading group. The EU’s output of goods and services exceeds that of the United States.

The British vote was 52 percent to 48 percent in favor of quitting the EU. The term for British departure from the EU has been called “Brexit.”

In an June 24 essay in The Wall Street Journal, Fraser Nelson, wrote a long article bearing the headline “a very British Revolution.” Nelson is the editor of the Spectator and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Both publications are British.

In his essay, Nelson said: “The Brexit campaign started as a cry for liberty, perhaps articulated most clearly by Michael Gove, the British justice secretary. . .”

Nelson continued: “As a minister [Mr. Gove] said, he deals constantly with edicts and regulations framed at the European level — rules that he doesn’t want and can’t change. These were rules that no one in Britain asked for, rules promulgated by officials whose names Brits don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office. Yet they become the law of the land.” Much of what we think of as British democracy, Mr. Gove argued, is now no such thing.”

California is plagued by the same phenomenon as Britain: Unelected bureaucrats are imposing taxes, fees, and regulations on the state’s residents.

Perhaps, some day California will have a similar vote, rebelling against unelected bureaucrats.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are three prominent bureaucracies that threaten liberty. They are the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA).

Each of the three agencies has authority over the nine-county Bay Area.

Among the three agencies, voters have not directly elected any member of any agency’s governing board. Yet, these three agencies have imposed taxes, fees, and regulations on Bay Area residents.

On July 18, 2013, MTC and ABAG, in a joint meeting, voted in favor of Plan Bay Area, a scheme to impose, on all Bay Area cities, high-rise, high-density housing.

On January 13, 2016, SFBRA’s board of directors voted to place a property tax on the June 7, 2016, ballot. The money derived from the tax is, according to SFBRA’s website, to be used “to generate funds to protect and restore San Francisco Bay.”

The California State Legislature set up SFBRA in 2008.

Measure AA passed. The “yes” vote was 70 percent; the “no” vote was 30 percent.

Just like Britain, California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, is being governed, to paraphrase and quote Mr. Nelson, by officials Californian’s “don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office.” The words in quotation marks are Mr. Nelson’s.

On June 6, 1978, California’s voters, enraged over rising property taxes imposed by unelected officials, passed Proposition 13. Property taxes were going up without voters’ approval. Proposition 13 rolled back existing property taxes, put limits on how much such taxes could rise, and required voters come up with a two-thirds supermajority to pass future property-tax increases.

Has the time comes for California to have another tax revolt like Proposition 13?

Will California mimic Britain and have a voters’ rebellion against bureaucracy?

The time for change in California may be coming.


Post Brexit, Contra Costa County should secede from California

Britain has voted to leave Europe. It’s time that Contra Costa County voted to leave California.

brexit-posterOn June 23, British voters, by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, decided to leave the European Union (EU).

The EU has 28 member states, including Britain.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, in the middle of his fourth term as governor, has become an autocrat. He wants to usurp the powers of local government and install statewide control over local communities.

In early June, Brown, a Democrat, said he “wants to wipe away local and state rules on parking, height, density, and environmental reviews beyond those already required through zoning.” (Los Angeles Times, June 2).

In April, Brown signed legislation mandating that California’s minimum wage, currently set at $10 an hour, be raised to $15 an hour — a 50 percent increase.

British voters were displeased by all kinds of controls being imposed on Britain by the EU bureaucrats in Brussels, Belgium, the center of EU operations. The voters were also upset over the number of European immigrants who have been taking up residence in Britain.

Governor Jerry Brown ruined CaliforniaThe cities of Contra Costa County in California, are being constantly bombarded with rules, regulations, and taxes emanating from Sacramento.

In 2012, Gov. Brown urged the state’s voters to approve Proposition 30, which raised the statewide sales tax by one-quarter percentage point and gave the state the highest personal state income-tax rate in the nation: 13.3%.

In recent years, the California Department of Housing and Community Development has told local communities to have a Housing Element. The Housing Element requires that hundreds of new homes — some of which have to be set aside for low-income people– be built in local communities. Some of these communities — like Orinda and Lafayette — have essentially no room for additional housing.

On July 18, 2013, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), in a joint meeting in Oakland, approved Plan Bay Area, a scheme to erect high-rise, high-density housing in all communities in the nine-county Bay Area.

The directors of MTC and ABAG are not directly elected by voters.

So, if Great Britain is fed up with unelected bureaucrats making rules for the British people, perhaps residents of Contra Costa County might welcome an exit from California.


Rocky Chavez: Time for California to send a Republican to U.S. Senate

Rocky Chavez believes that it’s time for California to elect and send a Republican to the U.S. Senate


Assemblyman Rocky Chavez is not your grandfather’s Republican. He appears to be more comfortable at the Panera Bakery where we met rather than at country clubs where many GOP events have historically taken place. He does not talk about abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana. His campaign issues are about building the economy and transferring power from Washington D.C. to local communities.

Rocky Chavez is running for the U.S. Senate
Rocky Chavez is running for the U.S. Senate

Unlike other GOP candidates for Statewide office, Rocky Chavez is no millionaire. He is a retired officer in the Marine Corps with almost 30 years service. As a Colonel he was responsible for coordinating logistics for the Camp Pendleton and served on the City Council of Oceanside prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2012.   Chavez was also a director at a charter school where he lived, and also served as the acting Secretary for the California Department of Veterans Affairs under Arnold Schwarzenegger

Even though at this time he does not have mega campaign dollars at his command like Democratic candidates California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Chavez believes his positive message of improving his constituent’s lives thru less government involvement will resonate with voters in 2016.

Recently, Chavez sat down with Contra Costa Bee to explain his stands on many of the issues that will be placed before voters in determining who will succeed retiring Barbara Boxer in the United States Senate.

How do your qualifications match up with Kamala Harris & Loretta Sanchez in running for the Senate?

Actually, very well. If you look into one of the biggest issues which is water, I have a good track record both as a councilmember and legislator with the San Diego Water Authority. In foreign affairs, which is very important with the downing of the Russian Plane and the terrorism of Isis, I have a military background which will prove valuable serving in the Senate. Unlike my opponents, I have experience overseas, as an executive in several capacities, and as a legislator.

Do you have a preference of which one you would prefer to run against?

Nope, not at all.

In entering this race in a dark blue state like California, do you feel as a Republican like a sacrificial lamb or as a candidate that can win in the General election?

I know I can win this election because California is not as blue as everyone thinks. Over 30% of the population is in poverty. We don’t have enough water and have infrastructure problems.   Kids are not graduating from schools. We are ripe for a change in government.

Are voters going to continue to act like robots and continue to elect candidates merely because they have a “D” under their name?

The fastest growing groups of voters in California are independents and decline to state and that clearly shows voters are not like robots. There are veterans who are divided between Democrats and Republicans who will support a Marine. Latino’s are very clear that opportunities are passing them by because of problems with public education. Young people and Millennials are questioning things. Having spoken with many of them in colleges and Universities their issues are not those that either of the political parties have dealt with.

What are some of those issues?

College debt. Marijuana, gay rights, lack of jobs and opportunity, freedom and safety of the internet. Millennials have a different life style. You could see this recently in San Francisco with the initiatives with the AirB&B’s.

Democratic frontrunner Kamala Harris
Democratic frontrunner Kamala Harris

What separates you from Harris and Sanchez who are both considered to be progressives?

I think as someone raised in California that we are pragmatic and care about the environment. That’s why we live here but we also want the state to work. In the past some of the rhetoric outside the State has hurt the Republican Party here.

How does the pension reform referendum of Chuck Reed figure into your campaign?

Pension reform is something the whole country is going to have to deal with. I think it is totally appropriate to honor the obligations to those who are in but if the Department of Defense recognizes that the military pension system could not be met and was changed some 15 years ago, it’s about time California figures this out as well. It is not so much of a policy issue as a math issue.

If this issue is put on the ballot in California would you support it?

Yes, but in a measured way because we are running a campaign of opportunity, expanding the economy and making sure education works. This initiative might be viewed as an attack on unions which is something I am not interested in doing.

Are you supporting at this time any particular Republican candidate for President?

I will be supporting the Republican candidate.

Are there any that you particularly like?

I am more in line with the centralist Republicans such as Rubio, Kasich, and Bush.

I am going to mention a few issues that will come up in the campaign. Please give me a couple of sentence response to them.

Cap and Trade:

It’s been abused in California especially by the governor siphoning money to the High Speed Rail. Cap and Trade needs to be relooked at. Brown is picking and choosing who and what organizations to take money away from. Originally the intent of cap and trade was to redefine our energy system to be more self sustaining. It was not designed to go build a train and buy land to take out family farmers in the central Valley.

Is cap and trade affecting job growth?

Sure it is. This is the cost of energy we are dealing with. If you go to manufacturers as I have done, they will show you charts on the cost of energy and how it impacts their bottom line for a product.

What can be done to stimulate job growth in non-service areas that one can support their family on?

One of the best resources we have in this state is our people. We are in a changing international economy and one of the things we have to do is being capable of re-training people for new jobs. Those are not service economy jobs but rather technical ones. Like application development and tech-med. There are a lot new industries coming forward people have to be educated in. These are good paying jobs. We need to invest in our people.

Global warming and climate change?

I believe in it. Climate change is happening.

What are responsible government policies to deal with it?

I believe California has gotten way out in front on that. The recent effort to gain 50% renewable energy may be a bridge too far. To do that we have to put everything on the table. Our current plan does not take into account any measurement of hydroelectric. because California does not like hydro because it is not considered a green energy. The same goes for nuclear. If you go to Chile, their biggest energy source is hydro. If we are really serious in dealing with climate change and dealing with the carbon footprint, we cannot pick winners and losers. We need to look at all energy sources with a diversified portfolio.

Do you have a position on the Keystone Pipeline?

Yes, it needs to go through. This represents a diversification of resources. Even if we are able to do solar, wind, and other clean energy, we still will need fossil fuels for years.

Urban planning. Who should decide where and the type of construction that should be taking place?

Local communities. That is why people live there. San Francisco and Oakland are completely different from where I live in Oceanside. That’s OK because they are different areas. It is a local government issue and should not be directed by a higher authority.

Water policy- What should be done to both with conservation and creating more capacity?

The San Diego Water Authority is a perfect example of what needs to be done. It’s called diversification of resources. You need to do everything from reducing consumption to landscaping, building codes, retention, to using aquifers and desalinization. It’s such a critical area for all of us.

Where are you on Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan for the Sacramento delta?

It will destroy the agriculture in Stockton and the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Studies I’ve seen have shown the salinity level of the Delta will change which would negatively impact the entire area.

Reforming or eliminating Obama Care?

It has to be reformed. It likely can’t be eliminated because there are not enough votes in Congress to do so. But there are a lot of indications that it is not working well. Just look at insurance rates, deductibles and the level of care. I think there was a mistake on the issue between healthcare and wellness. The whole things need to be reformatted. Democrats identified a really good issue with catastrophic impact on families and use of emergency rooms and insurance. They indentified a good issue but unfortunately had a poor solution.

Immigration policy (What course should be taken)

I have been in favor of immigration reform ever since I have been in the Assembly. There are three components to it. One is Citizenship has to be earned. There is no front of the line or Amnesty. Two, borders have to be secured especially with this world of terrorism. The third one is creating a system of residency where cards would be issued, taxes paid, and cars legally driven. These people would be part of our community because they are here anyway. I would never send a mother or father away from their child.

Do you favor the Federal Government to curtail in some way the Sanctuary cities that are ignoring existing laws?   If so what would you do?

We should not be doing this. Our public safety is not a just an issue for local communities. It’s about gangs, cartels, and drugs which are international in scope. The incident in San Francisco was a tragedy and a failure of government.

If the Sanctuary City Program continues, would you be in favor of the Federal Government taking away money from these places?

That would be the last resort. Having been in local government, we see changes take place. Just look what happened in San Francisco where the Sheriff got kicked out of office. I don’t like turf wars between the local, state, and federal governments.

What can you do in the Senate that the time Democratic Representatives is not doing?

Pass immigration reform. Be proactive in the diversity of energy which Barbara Boxer has not done and push the issue of increasing water capacity to name a couple.

As you know there has been a lot of racial discord recently in intercity places like Ferguson, Chicago, Baltimore and parts of Los Angeles? Why all these problems?

It’s more an issue of economics. Look at the numbers showing of kids of color dropping out of school and without jobs. Poor, young women and men hanging out on the streets doing nothing then caught up in the wrong things. It’s tragic. We are losing valuable resources because we are not insuring them skills to be party of the American dream.

What can the U.S. Government do to deal with this?

Identifying it but allowing the solutions is locally driven. I submit to you the educational needs are different in Oakland compared to say Carlsbad; so allow local entities to develop the best programs for their people. On a State level we always want to come up with a cookie cutter response to a very dynamic, complex, challenging problem. Local solutions are better.

Educational policy and role of Federal Government with State and individual school districts including Common Core?

I think it’s appropriate for the Federal government to highlight the importance of education but I think inappropriate for them to dictate down to schools what they should be doing. With that being said I think Common Core standards are needed. There is a lot of misinformation on this subject.

Let’s move to Foreign Policy. Any ideas on what the USA should be doing in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan?

We should start maintaining more resources there and being able to interject ourselves when appropriate. The problem with the USA is that we have been so herby jerky. We are in we’re out and there is no stability. We see the countries in the Middle East moving towards Russia to meet with Putin. One thing people want in this area is stability which is country has not done.

What about our relationship with Israel?

Israel is critical to the relationship in the Middle East to the United States in the same way Japan is to us in Asia and Germany is critical to the USA in Europe.

Are you for or against the deal made with Iran to curtail their construction of nuclear weapons?

Against! When you listen to arguments that the accord will bring Iran into the World community this does not make sense Back in the 70’s when I was studying this nuclear proliferation was a great concern and it was projected that 50 or 60 nations would have it by 2000. It did not happen because we had a good international system to maintain control. This is not about Iran being a partner but rather the proliferation of a very dangerous weapons system. Having been trained as a nuclear weapons appointment officer by the US Army, I know a lot about this subject from my experience in the military

Military spending? Should it go up or down?


What should be the priorities?

First of all the money in the military is designed to support the national strategic objectives of the country. The United States under President Obama has not really clearly defined what this strategy actually is. But if we are to believe Obama talking about pivoting to the East, we will need a stronger Navy.

I would anticipate if his issue is not having boots on the ground, than I would say heavy land forces aren’t things he will be doing. So I would say the best expenditures would be in the Navy to control the waterways and still influence an area.

The next priority would be space command because of all the technologies we have are the satellites above us. Though international law has declared this a sanctuary area for all countries, this is a huge weakness if some country tries to take out salinities. It would shut down whole economics so Space Command is a military area we will have to spend money on.

Thanks Assemblyman Chavez for your time and insights.



Terrorism in San Bernardino not about gun control

As if things could not be get worse, and act of terrorism in San Bernardino that left 14 dead and numerous other victims last week, California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome sent out an email that stated:

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the tragic shooting in San Bernardino. But one thing is obvious: We’ve got a problem. So far in 2015, there have been more mass shootings than days. In fact, the BBC opened yesterday’s broadcast, saying, “Just another day “Just another day in the United States of America… “We’re becoming defined by our inability to act.

fashionable empty suit
Gavin Newsome’s positions blandishments fit like an empty suit.

Even just yesterday, in the wake of this tragedy, Congress caved to the NRA again and refused to act. But we are not bystanders. We can do better. In the past 48 hours, I’ve heard from thousands of people who want to know: In the face of congressional inaction, what can we do? Well, in California, we can pass the Safety for All Act – a historic ballot initiative that would require things like background checks on ammunition purchases and a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines (the type of magazines that contain 20, 30, even 40 bullets, allowing the shooter to inflict maximum damage without having to reload).

Following this rant, Newsome left a link to the anti-gun ballot initiative he is sponsoring for next fall’s election to leave money to finance its passage.

In this discussion nowhere was the mention that the horrendous atrocities like Paris or terroorism in San Bernardino were the act of Islamic Terrorists. By not stating this, Newsome implied that if stricter gun control laws and background checks were in place, these shooting deaths of innocent people could have been avoided.

With this pretzel logic we are to believe the terrorists would not been able to assemble their arsenal of weapons including pipe bombs because they would have been prohibited by law from doing so.

Of course this notion is ridiculous. Newsome and other liberals including Hilary Clinton and President Obama are blaming Republicans and the NRA for perpetuating atrocities carried out by individuals who are dedicated to destroying the United States. On a similar vein, it is believed by them those ghetto gang banger killings in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson, Oakland, and other metropolitan areas could be prevented with stricter gun control laws.

Again, we are asked to buy into a “leap of faith” mechanism used in fiction to suspend reality. In this case the public is supposed to think that drug dealers, who obtain firearms illegally, would stop shooting each other if guns and bullets were unavailable to them because of more stringent background checks

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism and the United States fight against Islamic State during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, December 6, 2015. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism and the United States fight against Islamic State during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, December 6, 2015. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool

By taking a tragedy such as terrorism in San Bernardino to push forward plans for more government regulations on firearms, Gavin Newsome and his Progressive coherts are taking advantage of an act of terrorism to push forward their political agenda. Note that in their narratives of what has transpired, Islam, Isis, El Qaida, and Middle East are somehow absent from their vocabularies.

Being disgusted by these actions this does not make me a supporter of the so called gun lobby and a blind defender of the 2nd Amendment allowing unrestricted sales of firearms. Quite the contrary I am very concerned about some of the weaponry that is available legally and in the black market that is far beyond what one needs to defend his or her family.

As an individual who has seldom fired a gun and has no intention of ever owning one, it is difficult for me to understand why anyone needs to pocess an AK-47 with clips holding 40 bullets to feel safe. In a similar vein I don’t think ordinary citizens should own hand grenades, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, or rocket launchers to order to defend their households.

I am as disgusted as anyone with the needless killings that go on using firearms. With this being said I also know that the reasons people (especially gangs) are so violent is because of their feelings of hopelessness in their lives. Government programs and entitlements no matter how well intended have not broken the cycle of poverty which has continued unabated since many manufacturing jobs started dried up following World War II.

Thinking that free lunches, more police training, better education, and additional entitlements will reduce violence is the height of absurdity. The only thing that will reduce crime are jobs and the stability that only a nuclear family can provide. Until these basic needs are taken care of,  gun violence will continue no matter how many new laws are enacted.

Instead of politicizing everyday events to influence the next election cycle, lets place what could be termed  “meaningful dialogue” where it belongs

An act of ISIS terrorism in San Bernardino killed 14
An act of ISIS terrorism in San Bernardino killed 14

Terrorism in San Bernardino has nothing to do with gun laws. They are about Islamic Terrorists that have been recently been killing innocent victims from California to Paris, Mali, and elsewhere. How can we stop these people? How much and what type of surveillance is needed to do so? What new steps need to be taken by local police, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Armed Forces to deal with radical Islamic factions?

This is what we should be talking about ; not trying to divert attention to  non-sequitur political agendas.

We need to distinguish between gun control laws and terrorist activities. Both are topics that are important and have to be dealt with separately. For now the best way to do this is through the ballot box in 2016, especially with the election of the President.

Do we want a continuation of President Obama’s policies of ” leading from behind” telegraphing our intentions to advisories, no boots on the ground, and be reluctant to take on the United States historic role of being leader of the free world? If this is the case the next President should make this clear and let the chips fall as they may.

As a counter to this isolationist approach does America want a military fixing problems in the Middle East and elsewhere spending a great deal of the country’s economic resources in doing so? Would this make us safer and prevent terrorists from carrying outtheir horrible work?

As with most questions pertaining to military and political strategies, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The best way to get there is to elect non-doctrinaire leaders who know the difference between a gang related shooting and a terrorist act. Whether they are Republicans or Democrats should make no difference as our countries future is in the balance.