Author Archives: calbluedog

Home Improvement at the Capitol

Nov. 12, 2019

Imagine you’re getting ready to demolish and remodel your entire home. The carpets are old. The paint is tired. You need more space. Your plans have been drawn up and you’re about to drop a small fortune on this major home improvement project.

How many of you would even contemplate some little fix-ups before the project starts in a year or two?

I thought so. Ridiculous, right?

Apparently not in our statehouse, where nearly $200,000 has been spent to spruce up offices soon destined for the wrecking ball, according to the Sacramento Bee. I suppose we could make this a partisan deal since most of the lawmakers involved happen to be Democrat. But the issue is bigger than the majority party. It’s a matter of power and being grossly out of touch with reality.

$548 for a touch-up paint job? From $6,000 to $12,000 to carpet a relatively small space? At those rates, how about hiring people off the street as a way to address income disparity.?

Sadly, just another example of our trusted tone-deaf public servants obliterating common sense and any respect for tax dollars.

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Joe Biden is normal — and that sounds really good to me

Main Dog

Interesting piece by Anna Navarro. Shows there are Republicans out there looking for a Democratic alternative to Trump. The Progressive faction of the party shouldn’t dismiss the importance of bi-partisanship, which some radical Dems are viewing as a dirty word. (Joe Biden is normal — and that sounds really good to me)

Here’s an excerpt:

“I have given up any realistic hope of Donald Trump getting a serious challenge in the Republican primary. He will be the Republican nominee. Also, I have zero expectations that Trump will be impeached.

I am begging and pleading with Democrats not to screw this up. Please nominate someone who can win, someone that can unite the Democratic base, energize the Obama coalition and not alienate right-leaning independents and Trump-rejecting Republicans (like me).

Joe Biden brings a lot to the table. He is everything Trump is not. He knows policy. He is a uniter. He calls for our better angels. He is empathetic and draws on his own grief to console and encourage others through theirs. He laughs easily. He is decent. He is devoted to his wife, and she is to him. Gold-leaf and wealth do not define him. He is not perfect and he has the humility to accept that.

Biden is not a shiny new toy. He is not flashy. He is not going to set hearts racing. He is comfortable, knowledgeable, experienced, reliable and dependable. We know what we’re getting with him. He inspires a feeling of trust and confidence. He is normal.

After the chaos and turmoil of the last three years under Trump, “normal” sounds really good to me.”

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Republicans Push to End Executions

By Dan Frosch Febuary 20, 2019

Main Dog An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal suggests another move by Republicans to center themselves through criminal justice reform — this time “Republican lawmakers in at least six states are pushing to eliminate the death penalty, signaling a broader reversal by many conservatives on an issue that has long been a bedrock for their party  . . .

The about-face on an issue that has long been key to the GOP’s tough-on-crime credo is the latest sign of a nationwide, bipartisan shift on criminal justice reform.

“Conservatives pride themselves in limiting government, having fiscally responsible policies and believing in the sanctity of life,” said Hannah Cox, national manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. “When you look at the death penalty and say ‘Does it meet any of these qualifications?’ The answer is, ‘It does not.’ ”


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Cal Republicans Push Back on Trump

California Republicans get a bad rap. On Capitol Hill, they are viewed as too liberal. In their own state, Californians are eager to unfairly paint them with the Trump brush.

But in this no-man’s land, several California state legislators are not afraid to take on Trump for a callous tweet the president issued this morning to announce FEMA will no longer help California’s fire victims.

In a news release today, Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) and Assemblyman James Gallagher(R-Yuba City) pushed back on Trump, saying:

“The President’s threat to withhold FEMA funds from California is wholly unacceptable. He made a commitment to the people who have lost everything in these fires, and we expect the federal government to follow through with this promise.”

Nielsen and Gallagher should be commended for reminding us that we are Americans first regardless of party or if we happen to live in a blue state.

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Newsom Gets Off on Right Foot

Bone In a small but symbolic step, today’s newly minted Governor Gavin Newsom, has decided to move his family to Sacramento into the Governor’s Mansion because the daily commute to the Bay Area was too taxing (something a lot of folks looking for affordable housing know about).

But staying in Sacramento sets the right tone in a number of ways, including it shows this as a full-time gig. It also forces Newsom and his family to experience life outside of San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the nation and a place out of touch with average Californians. Hopefully, he will be less detached and more in tune.

Beyond the move to Sacramento, Newsom appears to be saying and doing all the right things, including steering from left to center, holding down government spending and allowing businesses to breathe more freely and without fear of more and more red tape. We all know that will be a tall order. But let us fiscally restrained moderates give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves us wrong. All Californians, regardless of politics, should wish the new Governor well and pray that he can accomplish his bold agenda  with minimal damage to the economy and taxpayers.




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The Death of Representative Democracy in California


Like Sandra Bullock drifting untethered into outer space in the movie Gravity, the California Legislature continues to disappear into the ether of unreality.

In one of the most tone-deaf, self-serving moves in recent memory,  Governor Brown signed a measure (SB 1250) that gives lawmakers permission to NOT reside in the districts they were elected to represent. Yes. You read right. There is no requirement that your representative live in your community.  They just need to be registered to vote there.

There is not a lot of commentary necessary on this one. Hard to find any gray area of rationality here. Senate and Assembly districts are so huge that lawmakers are already pretty detached from their constituents.   This offensive and outrageous new law just makes it worse while blatantly eviscerating the most fundamental values of a representative democratic government.

Regardless of party affiliation, voters should make a mental note to reject anyone pretending to represent them. The gross symbolism of this law is disgusting and further alienation of an already alienated populace.

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DiFi Deserves Credit

Feinstein cartoon

While it is hard to see the Kavanaugh circus as anything but a blatant, last-minute political smear campaign, there is one thing worth noting that has been lost amid the noise: Senator Dianne Feinstein’s conduct. By all appearances, she has been reasonable, restrained and respectful throughout. When someone upsets both parties, they are probably doing something right. DiFi upset the left-wing Dems by being “too polite” during the initial hearings. And the right-wing Republicans have accused her of waiting until the last minute to release a letter by Kavanaugh’s accuser; though it is unclear if she is even the one responsible for making it public. What’s wrong with being respectful and civil?

The answer is nothing. The real problem is the demise of civility and integrity in American politics. Even though I do not always agree with her, we need more people in Congress like DiFi. Let’s hope she continues to set the bar for decorum tomorrow. Apparently, no one else will.


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Governor Brown’s Most Important Legacy

Gov Brown


dog_withboneDuring Governor Brown’s time in office, those in the Capitol community trying to assess his support or opposition of legislation have often factored one big question into the mix:
How will he view his decision in terms of his legacy?

 This was on full view in his State of the State address, which confirmed the long-held conventional wisdom that Brown wants to leave a lasting legacy for the Golden State on par with his father, Governor Pat Brown, whose contributions to the state’s infrastructure are legendary. This helps explain the Governor’s fixation on building the Delta tunnels, high-speed rail and zipping off to Europe for climate change summits.

Whether he is able to have success with those lofty global ideals is hard to say, which is a polite way of saying he may fall far short. Time will tell.

But Brown’s legacy has been astonishing and praiseworthy for something far more mundane: He simply has been the adult in the room more often than not.

His concern about the fragile nature of the California economy, his attention to the ticking time bomb of public pension obligations and his disciplined focus on building a rainy-day fund for the state is a major accomplishment – especially when he has had to deal with a liberal Legislature that thinks it prints money and seemingly believes every problem – real and imagined – requires new laws, bans or an expensive government program.

Governor Brown has not been perfect. He has signed some serious anti-business measures into law that could very well come back to haunt the state. Many of his agencies are rogue fiefdoms wildly running amok without checks and balances. But the fact at one time or another he has upset those along the entire political spectrum suggests he has been entirely beholden to few, if any, special interests save Californians and California.

The state’s moderates and independents should be grateful for his fiscal restraint and ability to balance the books. Hopefully, the next governor has been taking copious notes on this vital yet hardly sexy topic.

Governor Brown should be proud of his legacy and contributions to California no matter what happens to his massive pet projects.









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McCarty + Ting Attempt to Pull Off Lame Heist


Bone Kudos to the Sacramento Bee editorial board for its royal beat-down on the illegitimate brainchild of Assemblymen Kevin McCarty and Phil Ting (Assembly Democrats offer a dumb tax bill. Republicans love it”).

The lawmakers are proposing Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22, in an effort to ask voters to impose on corporations doing business in California a “surcharge” of 10 percent on net earnings of more than $1 million.

These are probably the same jokers who actually think Amazon has any serious interest in locating its HQ2 in California. Furthermore, ACA 22 completely contradicts other measures being considered to find ways to offset the disproportional tax hit on such blue states as California.

ACA 22 is a great example of why the Capitol needs a strong bloc of moderate Democrats who don’t possess an audacious entitlement mentality when it comes to stealing money from the private sector.

Again, nice job to the Bee for blowing this horrifically irresponsible measure out of the water before it has even had a chance to float.


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What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?

This BitesIn surveying the myriad assaults on freedom of speech and thought, there appears to be a unifying culprit: Groupthink. Borrowing from George Orwell’s 1984, the principle is simply that enormous pressure within a particular group or political party stifles independent thinking or alternative viewpoints.

One of the most honorable aspects of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is that the organization will defend the right for individuals and groups to speak their minds — regardless of how abhorrent they may be (i.e., the KKK).  This basic freedom is under assault from all quarters.

The left and right and media continue their march to the extreme fringes of discourse. They are all complicit in this disgusting trend, which feeds off controversy, fear, emotion, hyperbole, the demise of civility and power of social media. The results are as shameful as they are sickening:

  • In the nation’s capital, Sen. Elizabeth Warren if yanked off the floor for reading a statement by widow of Martin Luther King.
  • Last week in Sacramento, the Democrats did the same thing by removing Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) as she sought to deliver a speech criticizing the late Tom Hayden for his anti-war activities.
  • Panel discussions on both CNN and Fox News are nothing but forums for bias and shouting under the guise of journalism.
  • President Trump bans news outlets from news briefings in retaliation for unfavorable coverage.
  • Universities – including UC Berkeley (birthplace of the free speech movement) cancel speeches from controversial figures.
  • Protestors disrupt town halls with no intention of finding common ground.

What is happening, America?

We have become a state and nation of thin-skinned people who already have their minds made up in lockstep with their peer groups and according to their respective Groupthink labels. In this type of environment, anyone holding a different view is public enemy number one and a target for attack.

This is especially damaging to moderates, who often find themselves in a no-man’s-land that seeks to balance and find   valid elements of opposing views in an effort to reach consensus or compromise. One would think this approach would prevail because most people want solutions. Yet extreme Groupthink drowns it all out. This reality only confirms the adage that the only things in lying in the middle of the road are dead.peace-love

Enough with the labeling. Enough with the intolerance. Enough with hate.

About the only silver bullet the Blue Dog can come up with is to change our national anthem to Nick Lowe’s “(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” as performed by Elvis Costello.

Since this song was written by a Brit, maybe everyone can agree to this. Go ahead and laugh. Got any better ideas?

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