Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from California's Central Valley Democrats!




The Central Valley Democrat - California's Central Valley News Source 
Brought to you by Patty Hughes

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TODAY! 4th Annual "Yes We Can" Food Drive

The 4th Annual "Yes We Can" Food Drive is today, November 20th.  



Collection Location - 

Queen Bean Coffee House

1126 14th Street, Modesto, CA
Join us from 1p -2:30p


It is that time of the year again friends! 
Local food pantries need our help! 
Demand for food has risen and overall donations have 
dwindled in our communities and across the country! 
Invite your friends to participate and spread the word! 
Please give for Thanksgiving!
For more information contact:


Patty Hughes (209) 303-4042 or
email: demwomensclub@gmail.com



https://www.facebook.com/events/218272954911480/

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ELECTION DAY! Stanislaus County Democratic Voter Guide

Stanislaus County Democratic Voter Guide



City of Modesto Mayor
Garrad Marsh

Modesto City Council
District 3 Dave Lopez, Carmen Sabatino
District 5 Joshua Esteves, Jenny Kenoyer
District 6 Douglas Dyrssen


Modesto City Schools
Solange Altman
Cathy Flores Hallinan
Rickey McGill
Amy Neumann

Ceres Unified School District
Teresa Guerrero

Riverbank Unified School District
Angie Timpone

Salida Union School District
Ana Rocha-San Nicholas

Turlock Unified School District
Harinder Grewal

For more information on candidates please go to: http://www.smartvoter.org/ca/stn/
Not all candidates are listed here.

Local Measures
Measure Q NO Advisory Vote -- City of Modesto (Advisory Vote Only)
Shall the City seek to move its existing defined benefit retirement plan for employees to a defined contribution retirement plan?
Measure R NO Advisory Vote -- City of Modesto (Advisory Vote Only)
Shall the City Council of the City of Modesto move the City employees retirement benefit calculation from a single highest year salary baseline to an average of the employee's last three years of salary as a baseline?
Measure S NO Advisory Vote -- City of Modesto (Advisory Vote Only)
Shall the City Council of the City of Modesto seek retirement formulas that increase the age of retirement eligibility for city employees?

(Stanislaus - Tuolumne Central Labor Council stance). Local Measure Information provided by SmartVoter.org.

2011 CONSOLIDATED DISTRICT -- NOVEMBER 8, 2011
You can locate your polling place by your residence address. This page will direct you to the correct polling place, and present a map of the surrounding area. http://qa.co.stanislaus.ca.us/ElectionsWeb/pollLocate.jsp

Stanislaus County Consolidated District Election
November 2011
The Stanislaus County Elections Office has posted the list of candidates and measures for the November 8, 2011 Consolidated District Election:
http://stanvote.com/pdf/candidate-list.pdf

Stanislaus County Election Results (after 8:00 p.m.)
http://stanvote.com/returns.shtm

This voting guide does not serve as an endorsement of candidates by the Democratic Women's Club of Stanislaus County.
Information provided is the most up to date as is known - some information may have changed. www.DemWomensClub.com
Questions? Contact Patty Hughes DemWomensClub@gmail.com

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Democratic Women to be Honored! Democratic Women Inspire Awards 2011



Ladies & Gentlemen
You are Invited!

The Democratic Women’s Club of Stanislaus
Presents
Democratic Women Inspire Awards 2011

Please join us in celebrating extraordinary Democratic women! Time
Sunday, October 30 · 11:30am - 2:00pm

Honorees
Dolores Huerta
Co-Founder United Farm Workers of America

Cathleen Galgiani
Assemblywoman District 17

Anna Caballero
Secretary of State and Consumer Services Agency

Phyllis J. Babcock
Community Activist

Addie Brinkley
President CWA District 9 Retirees Member Council

Lisa Mantarro Moore
Deputy Chief of Staff Congressman Cardoza

Mickey Peabody
Senior Senator California Senior Legislature

Speakers
Kimberly Ellis - Executive Director Emerge California

Dr. Jennifer Ong - Commission on the Status of Women
California Democratic Party Women's Caucus Liaison
Candidate for Assembly District 18

Galletto Ristorante
1101 J. Street
Modesto, CA

Tickets
$30.00 Per Person
$250.00 Reserved Table
Sponsor Opportunities Available

Purchase Tickets Online
https://secure.actblue.com/page/inspireawards

Make Checks Payable to:
Democratic Women’s Club
312 DeVega Ct
Modesto, CA 95354

Make your lunch selection and RSVP by October 20th (209) 523-4203
Your payment is your confirmation.
Limited seating! Tickets are not available at the door.
Questions? Email - Patty Hughes at: demwomensclub@gmail.com

Merced Democrat Cardoza to retire from House


WASHINGTON – Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, announced his retirement today, culminating a San Joaquin Valley political career that dates back to a college internship three decades ago.
Cardoza, 52, said he will step down at the end of 2012 rather than battle it out in a newly redrawn congressional district with his long-time friend and colleague, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
"I love the people of the Central Valley, and thank them for the confidence they have placed in me," Cardoza said in a statement. "While I plan to retire from public service after this term in Congress, I will energetically continue my efforts to improve California as a private citizen."
But in voluntarily leaving a job he first won by unseating a former boss in 2002, Cardoza also is departing a Congress where he decries the loss of fellow moderates and the media focus on partisanship.
"The constant focus on ‘screamers’ and the ‘horse race’ of elections is smothering useful discourse and meaningful debate of public policy," Cardoza said.

Cardoza did not specify his career plans once he leaves the House of Representatives and its $174,000 annual salary. He and wife Kathleen, a physician, live in a new, 4,130-square-foot house on two acres in rural Maryland. They have three children, two of them adopted.
Cardoza's decision leaves Costa as the favorite to represent the newly redrawn 16th Congressional District, which spans Merced and Madera counties and part of Fresno County. Democrats enjoy a 48% to 33% voter registration advantage in the new district.
Cardoza's decision did not surprise his colleagues or other political professionals, who had been reading the tea leaves for months. Tellingly, Cardoza's fundraising slowed considerably since July, and newly filed statements show his campaign treasury currently has only $62,471 available.
By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/20/2583811/merced-democrat-cardoza-to-retire.html#ixzz1bKrG8aTK

Monday, October 17, 2011

Future Shock? "SWAT Officer Responds to Call" In Sixty Seconds this Video shows a Danger to Public Safety that could put Modesto Citizens at Risk!



VOTE no on Measures Q,R and S!



Modesto Police Officers Association

Right Wing Assemblywoman Involved in Sarah Palin Flap Helps Ed Lee with Anti-Leland Yee “Robo Calls” Stanislaus Assemblywoman uses her campaign funds to falsely attack Senator Yee


SAN FRANCISCO – An ultra-conservative Assemblywoman who once bragged about her 0% rating from the Sierra Club and who was involved in the cover-up of Sarah Palin’s speaking fee at CSU Stanislaus is using her campaign funds to finance negative and false “robo calls” against Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).
“San Franciscans have a right to know who is behind these negative attacks, and in this case it’s yet another Republican helping Ed Lee,” said Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager. “It is almost unbelievable that a Republican involved in the Palin cover-up would be attacking Leland Yee on this issue, when he has one of the best records in California on transparency and open government.”
In the robo call, Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen (R-Modesto) falsely attacks Senator Yee for not releasing his office budget; however, Yee’s office budget has long been public and has been released on numerous occasions. In fact, Yee’s office budget currently has a surplus of over $65,000.
Olsen was the public relation’s director for California State University Stanislaus when the university failed to release the speaking contract of Sarah Palin last year, and lost a public records lawsuit filed by Californians Aware. Last week, while Yee was earning the Phil Burton Badge of Courage Award from the Sierra Club, Olsen bragged on twitter that she received a 0% rating from the environmental organization.
Yee has a long record of fighting for transparency in government. Yee has authored dozens of laws to protect whistleblowers, allow greater public access to government documents, ensure speech rights, and increase accountability of public officials.
For these and other efforts, he has received several awards, including the Beacon Award from the First Amendment Coalition, Freedom of Information Award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and Sunshine Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Californians Aware dubbed Yee “Senator Sunshine.”
“San Francisco’s gain would be a loss to the Legislature of its most consistent and effective champion of what we call public forum law—not just government transparency, but also whistleblower protection and the rights of professional and student journalists,” said Terry Francke, General Counsel of Californians Aware.
“Ralph M. Brown, Bill Bagley and Quentin Kopp achieved undeniable milestones of legislation favorable to open government, but none of them had such a comprehensive record of advancement for all the components relevant to CalAware’s stated mission: ‘Helping citizens, officials and journalists keep Californians aware of public issues, by supporting and defending open government, an inquiring press, and a citizenry free to exchange facts and opinions,’” said Francke.
Yee has released a detailed “Independent City Hall” plan designed to strengthen ethics laws and increase transparency, which can be read at LelandYee.com.

Yee is the only candidate who is endorsed by all of the following - San Francisco Teachers, California Nurses, SF Firefighters, Sierra Club, SF Labor Council, SEIU, AFSCME, and the SF Building and Construction Trades Council.
Yee immigrated to San Francisco at the age of 3. His father, a veteran, served in the US Army and the Merchant Marine, and his mother was a local seamstress. Yee graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, then earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology, and later served in various mental health and school settings. He and his wife, Maxine, have raised four children who all attended San Francisco public schools. Yee has served in the State Legislature, Board of Supervisors and Board of Education.
###
Contact: Anthony Thomas (415) 829-7302 to volunteer or contribute to Leland Yee's campaign.
http://www.lelandyee.com/releases/right-wing-assemblywoman-involved-in-sarah-palin-flap-helps-ed-lee-with-ant/

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jose Henandez for Congress Candidacy Announcement Transcript



"In the midst of economic and political turmoil, it is difficult to
imagine and embrace the fundamental values that we as Americans
believe in; the things that make our country the greatest nation on
earth. *Sadly, these tough times have made far too many middle class
families believe that the American Dream is far from reality.*

But I am writing to tell you that the American Dream does exist – "and
I am living proof of it's incredible promise."

The son of migrant-farm workers, I was able to rise from the fields of
California and touch the sky on the Space Shuttle Discovery as an
Astronaut, a lifelong goal I was able to achieve thanks to the promise
of the American Dream. *Now retired, I feel it is my obligation to
help others achieve the American Dream just like I did.*

*That's why today I am proud to officially launch my campaign for
United States Congress in California's 10th Congressional District.
Learn more about my campaign and watch our introduction video right
here:* [ http://joseforcongress.com/ ]

[ http://joseforcongress.com/ ]

I didn't achieve my dreams alone – in fact, I was lucky enough to have
the support of two loving parents and find the right government
program that would help me earn a college education: Upward Bound, a
Federal Trio program that prepares underprivileged kids for college.
*It was through that program I came to understand the important role
government has in fulfilling the American Dream for millions of
underprivileged kids.*

That's why I am running for Congress. I understand that we must start
fighting for middle class families and protect vitally important
programs like Upward Bound, Social Security and Medicare. I also
understand that Congress must start focusing on creating good jobs if
we're ever going to prove the American Dream stills exists.

But these days all we hear from Washington is how important it is to
cut these program so we can lower taxes for the wealthiest one
percent. That's the kind of unacceptable mentality that exists among
our elected leaders and it's just one of the many ways the American
Dream is under attack. *It's time we do something about that.*

*Sign-up to get involved in my campaign for U.S. Congress today and
watch our introduction video here:*


I know that if we work together, we can finally start creating jobs
and restore the American Dream for millions of middle class families
who deserve the same opportunities I had. *I hope that you will join
me in this journey.*

Thank you,

– Jose Hernandez"

Democrats Election 2012


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @cvdemocrat

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Hawn vs. Hawn" - Mayoral Candidate, Modesto City Councilman, Fights His Own Words



In 90 Seconds of Video you will see what's at stake and who can lose on a Technical Knockout in "Hawn vs. Hawn"

Please click on this You Tube link to watch Modesto City Councilman Brad Hawn "Fight" his own words as he tells the Modesto City Council his reasons for putting Measures Q,R, S on the Nov. Ballot. And see how Hawn fails to disclose on the Official Ballot Statement, which he wrote, the $106 Million cost to taxpayers. Know before you Vote!
PAID FOR BY THE MODESTO POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
##
The Modesto Police Officers Association is a non-profit organization that represents 198 sworn men and women of the Modesto Police Department. We have three main functions as a Police Association.

To protect the rights of our members and provide them with the best possible legal representation.
To negotiate for adequate benefits and competitive wages.
To support our community through donations to local programs and worthwhile charities.
www.modestopoa.com

Gov. Jerry Brown OKs Online Voter Registration in California

Californians will be able to register to vote online for 2012 elections under legislation signed into law today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 397, by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, allows to state to begin registering voters online ahead of the completion of a new statewide voter registration database.

In the meantime, election officials and the Department of Motor Vehicles will work together to match registration information submitted online with DMV records containing an electronic copy of a voter's signature.

Supporters had argued that the bill would make it easier for Californians to register to vote, increasing voter participation.

"In the 21st century, especially here in California, it is long overdue to have online voter registration," Yee said in a statement. "SB 397 will not only help protect the integrity of the vote, but will allow many more individuals the opportunity to register and participate in our democracy."

The Democratic governor also vetoed several measures affecting elections and the initiative process, including:

• Senate Bill 205, a bill by Democratic Sen. Lou Correa, to prohibit paying canvassers to register voters on a per-registration basis. "Efforts to register voters should be encouraged, not criminalized," Brown wrote in a veto message.

• Senate Bill 199, also by Correa, which would have allowed voters to submit their vote-by-mail ballots at any polling location in the state, instead of one within their county. Brown cited concerns that the change would "add complexity to the voting and election process without commensurate benefit."

• Senate Bill 334, which would have required the top five contributors for and against an initiative to be printed in the statewide voter pamphlet. He rejected because it would only include contributions received at the time the guide is set for publication. "I am concerned that this outdated information could mislead voters about the true supporters and opponents of a ballot measure," Brown wrote in his veto of Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier's measure.

• Assembly Bill 65, by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto, which would have mandated disclaimers in the ballot pamphlet about restrictions on the use of any revenues generated by an initiative. "I am sympathetic to the author's concerns that voters should understand more clearly the consequences of initiatives that dedicate revenue to a specific purpose," he wrote. "But the disclaimer mandated by this bill won't provide voters greater clarity."



Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/10/jerry-brown-signs-bill-for-online-voter-registration-in-california.html#ixzz1aQZSqyBo

Press Release: Jose Hernandez to Announce Candidacy for Congress Jose Hernandez - Former NASA Astronaut Announces Campaign to Restore the American Dream


**MEDIA ADVISORY**
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: AJ@joseforcongress.com
October 9, 2011 (415) 652-0042
Jose Hernandez to Announce Candidacy for Congress
Former NASA Astronaut Announces Campaign to Restore the American Dream
Tracy,
CA

Valley Native and retired NASA Astronaut,Jose Hernandez will formally announce his candidacy
for the 10th Congressional District.
What:Campaign Announcement

Tuesday, October 11,
11:00 AM

Modesto Centre Plaza
1000 L Street
Modesto,CA 95354
Participants:
Jose Hernandez and local community leaders.
##
About Jose Hernandez:
Born in French Camp, California, Jose spent his childhood with his family as migrant farm workers. With his family’s encouragement he went onto the University of the Pacific in Stockton
to study electrical engineering. After completing graduate school Jose worked at the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory where he helped develop the first full-­field digital mammography imagingsystem. Jose then went onto to work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston where in 2004 he was accepted into the astronaut training program. In 2009,Jose flew on STS-­128the Space Shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station as a Mission Specialist.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Democratic Women Inspire Awards 2011

Democratic Women Inspire Awards 2011 is honoring: Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder United Farm Workers of America; Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani; Anna Caballero - Secretary of State and Consumer Services Agency; Phyllis J. Babcock - Community Activist; Addie Brinkley - President CWA District 9 Retirees Member Council; Lisa Mantarro Moore - Deputy Chief of Staff Congressman Cardoza; Mickey Peabody - Senior Senator California Senior Legislature.

October 30, 2011
11:30a - 2:00p

Galletto Ristorante
1101 J. Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Tickets
$30.00 Per Person
$250.00 Reserved Table
Sponsor Opportunities Available

Make Checks Payable to:
Democratic Women’s Club
312 DeVega Ct
Modesto, CA 95354
Order Tickets Online https://secure.actblue.com/page/inspireawards

Make your lunch selection and RSVP by October 20th
Your payment is your confirmation.
Limited seating! Tickets are not available at the door.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Congressman Cardoza Stresses Link Between Stagnant Job Market and Housing

09/06/11


WASHINGTON, DC – As today’s national monthly job numbers showed that unemployment remains stubbornly high, Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) urged the President to recognize the strong link between the ongoing housing crisis and the stagnant job market. The Department of Labor announced today that the economy added no net new jobs in August and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. The strain on America’s workers is only exacerbated by the collapse of the housing market, Cardoza said. Millions of homeowners across the nation are “underwater,” owing more on their mortgage than their house is worth. In Cardoza’s Central Valley, where, nearly 60% of all mortgages are underwater, the unemployment rate remains between 16-18% -- twice the national average. Cardoza has argued that the distressed economy, caused by the collapse of the housing market, can only begin to recover if the foreclosure crisis devastating middle-income families is first addressed. “Families are trapped by their mortgages,” said Congressman Cardoza. “They can’t pursue new job opportunities because they can’t afford to sell their homes at a huge loss and relocate. As long as the housing market remains in a downward spiral, unemployment will stay stubbornly high. “I urge the President and Congress to get our economy back on the right track by recognizing this link and adopting an aggressive, far-reaching housing assistance program like my Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act.” The HOME Act (H.R. 363) would help up to 30 million struggling homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to benefit from current historically low market interest rates by allowing them to refinance for up to 40 years at a fixed single-digit rate. This would significantly lower the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments, resulting in fewer foreclosures, while stabilizing the housing market and the national economy. “This is a national crisis. We need bold solutions to get the economy on the right track,” added Congressman Cardoza. “As we celebrate Labor Day, we should also keep in mind the millions of unemployed workers across the country who cannot find work to support their families, and are struggling to hold on to their homes.” # # #
WASHINGTON, DC – As today’s national monthly job numbers showed that unemployment remains stubbornly high, Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) urged the President to recognize the strong link between the ongoing housing crisis and the stagnant job market. The Department of Labor announced today that the economy added no net new jobs in August and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. The strain on America’s workers is only exacerbated by the collapse of the housing market, Cardoza said.

Millions of homeowners across the nation are “underwater,” owing more on their mortgage than their house is worth. In Cardoza’s Central Valley, where, nearly 60% of all mortgages are underwater, the unemployment rate remains between 16-18% – twice the national average. Cardoza has argued that the distressed economy, caused by the collapse of the housing market, can only begin to recover if the foreclosure crisis devastating middle-income families is first addressed.

“Families are trapped by their mortgages,” said Congressman Cardoza. “They can’t pursue new job opportunities because they can’t afford to sell their homes at a huge loss and relocate. As long as the housing market remains in a downward spiral, unemployment will stay stubbornly high.

“I urge the President and Congress to get our economy back on the right track by recognizing this link and adopting an aggressive, far-reaching housing assistance program like my Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act.”

The HOME Act (H.R. 363) would help up to 30 million struggling homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to benefit from current historically low market interest rates by allowing them to refinance for up to 40 years at a fixed single-digit rate. This would significantly lower the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments, resulting in fewer foreclosures, while stabilizing the housing market and the national economy.

“This is a national crisis. We need bold solutions to get the economy on the right track,” added Congressman Cardoza. “As we celebrate Labor Day, we should also keep in mind the millions of unemployed workers across the country who cannot find work to support their families, and are struggling to hold on to their homes.”
http://cardoza.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=87§iontree=6%2C87&itemid=800

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HIGH SPEED RAIL-AMERICA WANTS TO WORK!

HIGH SPEED RAIL-AMERICA WANTS TO WORK!
WHEN: Wednesday, September, 7th, 6:30p.m.
WHERE: Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, CA 95358
INFO:
Hear from business, agriculture, environmentalists, and Building and Construction Trades workers about California High Speed Rail. The time to build is now. Each day we wait cost California taxpayers and but also jobs to operate and maintain California High Speed Rail. And even more jobs – hundreds of them, delays tens of thousands of good, family-supporting jobs – jobs which, not only build the trains and rails, including suppliers, food service and retail, and other small businesses and primary job creators.
So come and find out about jobs and California High Speed Rail. Key Note Speaker - Bob Balgenorth Member, California High Speed Rail Authority,President, State Building and Construction Trade Council.
For more information, please call (209)522-4900 North Valley Labor Federation Sponsors www.northvalleylabor.org

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

High-Speed Rail Reaches Out to Small Businesses

Posted at 02:11 PM on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011
By Tim Sheehan / The Fresno Bee

Small-businesses owners can find out next month how they may get a taste of the $6.3 billion proposed to be spent building high-speed rail in the Valley.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation are co-hosting a Sept. 8 forum at the Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno.
The rail authority plans to begin construction in late 2012 for the first stretches of its statewide, 800-mile train system. Building would begin in Fresno for a section between Fresno and Bakersfield.
The forum is intended to show Valley businesses the subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors or joint-venture teams, said Rachel Wall, a spokeswoman for the authority. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 120 companies were registered for the Fresno event.
Small businesses will be "essential to the development of the nation's first true high-speed rail system," said Roelof van Ark, the rail authority's CEO.
IF YOU GO
What: Small business forum for California's high-speed rail project
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 8
Where: Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno
Details: Registration online at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/forum.aspx

"California's high-speed rail project will be transformative - creating tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and making our state more economically competitive in the long term," van Ark said. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to engage private industry and communicate directly with California's small businesses."
Representatives of about 50 companies in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties attended a national industry forum in Los Angeles this year. The local firms ranged from construction companies, real-estate appraisers and engineering firms to real-estate appraisers, security companies and a T-shirt printer.
Officials suggest the high-speed rail project could result in as many as 16,500 construction-related jobs between 2012 and 2017.
Within the next couple of months, the authority will begin screening contractors' qualifications to build the project. It will seek formal bids next year for five Valley contracts.
The first contract would be for a segment from a new bridge over the San Joaquin River north of Fresno to American Avenue at the south edge of the city. The project, estimated to cost between $1 billion and $2 billion, includes 12 new overpasses or undercrossings, a tunnel and two elevated viaducts.
Three smaller contracts are planned to prepare for tracks from Fresno to Hanford; Hanford to Wasco; and Wasco to the northwest edge of Bakersfield.
A fifth contractor would be responsible for building the actual tracks for the entire length of the section.
If future sections to Los Angeles and San Francisco are not built and high-speed trains never run, officials said, Amtrak trains could use the new tracks for faster, improved service through the Valley.

THE REPORTERCAN BE REACHED AT TSHEEHAN@FRESNOBEE.COMOR (559) 441-6319.


Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/08/16/2501521/high-speed-rail-reaches-out-to.html#ixzz1VEFme4qQ

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Considering a run for elected office?

What's involved in running for public office? How much time does it take? What does it cost? What are the rules? What are the enjoyable aspects and what are the uncomfortable parts? These are among the questions that will be answered in a free workshop July 9. It is open to anyone in our region considering seeking public office.
The Modesto Chamber of Commerce, The Bee, and activists from the Republican and Democratic parties have teamed up for more than a decade to offer these workshops. While the organizers don't have common views on many subjects, they do agree that voters benefit from having a choice among well-prepared candidates. The workshops are intended to help people become good candidates.
The workshop will be from 8:45 a.m. to noon July 9 at the Stanislaus County Nick W. Blom Salida Regional Library, 4835 Sisk Road, just off Highway 99.

Reservations are strongly suggested to assure sufficient materials. Contact the chamber office at (209) 577-5757 or mlopez@modchamber.org by Wednesday.


Read more: http://www.modbee.com/2011/07/04/1761366/considering-a-run-for-elected.html#ixzz1RFBGpzDr

Monday, July 4, 2011

The White House Celebrates Independence Day!



Tonight, the First Family is celebrating the Fourth of July by hosting more than 1,200 military heroes and their families for a barbeque, a USO show featuring Train and Amos Lee, and an extraordinary view of national capital fireworks from the South Lawn. Watch live at http://wh.gov/live.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brown's Countdown, Day 172: California teachers win big in state budget deal

By Kevin Yamamura and Diana Lambert

Published: Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Teachers win layoff protection while school finance officials see their powers curtailed in the state budget package Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign today.
The last-minute school legislation, Assembly Bill 114, emerged publicly less than an hour before lawmakers approved it in a late-evening Tuesday session. It reflects the negotiating muscle of teachers as Democratic lawmakers crafted their majority-vote budget with a governor of their own party.
"This provides stability for students and teachers," said Dean E. Vogel, the new president of the California Teachers Association. He said the bill stems the tide of an estimated 30,000 job losses that teachers have faced since the recession began.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/30/3737655/browns-countdown-day-172-california.html#ixzz1QlOjgBtn

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/30/3737655/browns-countdown-day-172-california.html#mi_rss=State%20Politics

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brown Vetoes Budget! (video)


SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed the Democratic budget plan approved Wednesday in the Legislature, restarting talks over how to close California's $9.6 billion deficit.
The Democratic governor says he vetoed the entire set of budget bills passed by majority Democrats. It includes several provisions that would likely face a legal challenge, including imposing a $12 fee on vehicle registrations, a firefighting surcharge on rural residents and an extension of a hike in the sales tax.
He says the plan sent to his desk "will not stand the test of time."
The plan was widely seen as a placeholder until Brown could compromise with Republican lawmakers over whether to extend a series of expiring tax increases.Budget Veto Video


http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18289420?nclick_check=1

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rep. Cardoza Honored with 2011 "Champion of Agriculture" Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) was honored with the 2011 Champion of Agriculture Award by American Agri-Women, the national coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women’s organizations.  Rep. Cardoza was recognized for his leadership on the House Committee on Agriculture to support policies promoting abundant, safe, and affordable domestic food and fiber production. 

Rep. Cardoza, who serves as the Ranking Member of the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee this Congress, has also led efforts to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s overregulation of the agriculture sector.  In March, Rep. Cardoza grilled EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the EPA’s “agency activism,” and the impact their extreme regulations have on farmers’ ability to produce food for the nation.

“I am honored to accept this award from an organization representing thousands of women in agriculture nationwide, including many in the Central Valley,” said Congressman Cardoza.  “A strong agricultural sector is key to our nation’s food security, and I will keep fighting in Congress for pro-farming policies and to eliminate burdensome and unnecessary regulations.”

Barbara Brazil LeVake of Gustine, who serves as state legislative director for California Women for Agriculture and is a second-generation member of the CWA’s Merced County Chapter, said, “I have worked with Congressman Cardoza for years on ag issues, and every time we have gone to him for help, he has been there for us.  As a member of the House Ag Committee, he has gone to bat for the specialty crops program, which is so important to Central Valley ag producers.  Congressman Cardoza has also been a champion for regulatory reform, and has taken on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for policies that are preventing our farmers from being able to grow safe, affordable food.  Congressman Cardoza has been a true champion of agriculture, and we thank him for his support.”

California is home to 81,500 farms and ranches, and agriculture produced $36.2 billion in cash farm receipts in 2008.  The state produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables.  Four of the five counties in Congressman Cardoza’s Congressional District – San Joaquin, Merced, Stanislaus, and Fresno – rank in the top ten agriculturally-producing counties in the state, based on the market value of products sold.

Founded in 1974, American Agri-Women currently has 58 state and commodity affiliate organizations throughout the country, representing tens of thousands of women involved in agriculture. AAW members are actively involved in impacting legislative and regulatory matters at the local, state, and national levels. AAW is also instrumental in student and consumer education about agriculture through national and state programs like “Agriculture in the Classroom.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Viewer Poll on Republican Debate: 25% Undecided, 75% Unconscious

Worrisome News for GOP Field

"Finally, by a wide margin, the poll showed that the biggest winners of the GOP debate were the people who didn’t watch."

The Borowitz Report


NEW HAMPSHIRE (The Borowitz Report) – In what could spell trouble for the current field of GOP presidential candidates, a poll of likely voters who saw last night’s Republican debate found that 25% of viewers were undecided while 75% were unconscious.
Additionally, over half of respondents agreed with the statement, “This field of candidates comes dangerously close to qualifying as a prank.”
Despite this somewhat tepid response, the debate did have its moments of excitement, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann’s official announcement of her candidacy: “I wanted to declare my candidacy here in New Hampshire, the home of the Boston Tea Party.”
Rep. Bachmann received high marks in the poll from voters who said they found former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin “too cerebral.”
While Gov. Palin is not yet an official candidate, she told reporters today, “If I do decide to run, I’m gonna come ridin’ in like Paul Revere at the Alamo.”
Another potential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, offered this statement: “At this time, I can’t decide whether to run for President of the US or secede from the US and become President of Texas.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made the most headlines last night by offering voters this guarantee: “I will never get involved in a scandal like Weinergate because Mattel did not give me genitals.”
Answering a question about the mass defection of his campaign staff, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “They all simultaneously realized I was a douche.”
Finally, by a wide margin, the poll showed that the biggest winners of the GOP debate were the people who didn’t watch.

Friday, June 10, 2011

VOTE: Garrad Marsh for Mayor of Modesto

VOTE: Garrad Marsh for Mayor of Modesto: "'For those of you that do not already know, I am officially running for Mayor of Modesto. Election is this November. I would appreciate y..."

California Citizens Redistricting Commission Maps: First Draft Senate Districts |

Today California takes another step toward reforming the redistricting process and returning electoral power to the people. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is releasing its first round of draft maps for Congressional, Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization Districts.

http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/maps-senate-1st-draft.html
Click here to check out maps.

For Immediate Release: Democratic Women's Club of Stanislaus County has Historic Meeting!

The Democratic Women's Club of Stanislaus has its first general meeting!  The women's club invited its Charter Members and the general public to be a part of their historic first meeting! The DWCS, also celebrated the women's right to vote that was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919.  "This is the first Democratic Women's Club in Stanislaus County and in the Northern Central Valley," said DWCS Founder, Patty Hughes. Founding Officers, Yvonne Allen and Carole Stark, are very pleased with the large group of energized Democratic women from all over the region that turned out for tonight's meeting.  Anyone who is a registered Democrat in California can become a member!  Student memberships are free! For more information contact the DWCS: demwomensclub@gmail.com (209) 551-0501.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Democratic Women's Club: Democratic Women's Club of Stanislaus County - Mee...

Democratic Women's Club: Democratic Women's Club of Stanislaus County - Meeting...: "Patty Hughes DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S CLUB of Stanislaus WHEN: Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. WHERE: Mediterranean Market & Grill, 421 McHenry Ave Modesto...."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anna Caballero Confirmed Secretary of Consumer Services Agency

 Torey Van Oot 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

California High-Speed Rail: A Bridge To Nowhere? Huffington Post

"It's amazing to me that it's taken as long as it has, and there's so much controversy," Gianturco said. "I don't understand why California, why the entire United States, is so much behind the curve."

This story comes courtesy of California Watch.
By David Siders
FRESNO - The plan for high-speed rail in California is to start on the Fresno side of the San Joaquin River, between Bakersfield and Chowchilla, and go until the money runs out.
The Central Valley is for many reasons a practical place to begin: The land is broad and flat and relatively inexpensive, and the federal government, which is contributing billions of dollars, requires it.
The first section will one day form the spine of a system connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, officials say. But there is no money guaranteed to build the rest, and the initial tracks, through towns like Wasco and Madera, are conspicuously far from where most people live.
For the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the location has become a political and public relations challenge.
"It's a 'Bridge to Nowhere,'" said Adriana Gianturco, who was California's transportation director three decades ago, when the state first considered high-speed rail.
A "Bridge to Nowhere," she said, "does not gain political support."
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Farmers on the line are calling lawyers and organizing opposition, and criticism is intensifying at the Capitol.
Last month, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said the rail authority's financial assumptions are optimistic and its management inadequate. It cited "significant risk" the project will never be finished, and it suggested starting in Los Angeles or the Bay Area in case nothing else is built.
Rail officials are undeterred. They plan to release a new business plan in October, including updated financial and ridership projections.
"If that plan is not acceptable," said Sen. Alan Lowenthal, the Long Beach Democrat who chairs the Senate select committee on high speed rail, "then all the money stops."
The project, costing $43 billion or more, is one of the most ambitious in North America. Even on a map it is imposing: Plowing through the Valley, the railroad rises over roads and rivers and tunnels underground, rearranging whole intersections and pushing part of Highway 99 aside. It rubs out motels and fast food restaurants as it runs into towns, and strips of farmland outside them.
Yet nowhere in California is the landscape more open.
"It's the middle that there's nothing there," former rail authority director Mehdi Morshed said. "It's the middle that is now still an opportunity to build something."
The only reason construction hasn't started yet, he said, is politics.
"It's the mayor of such and such a city who wants a station in such a place," Morshed said. "It's Assemblyman or 
Senator X, Y, Z who thinks they have a better idea where to build it."
California has contemplated high-speed rail at least since the early 1980s. But it wasn't until 2008, when voters approved $9 billion in project bonds, that anyone paid much attention. The Obama administration awarded the project about $3.5 billion, and the rail authority, influenced by federal transportation authorities, decided in December where to start.
Its first choice, a 65-mile stretch from Borden, outside Madera, to Corcoran, in Kings County, would have started construction in an area represented in Congress by Jim Costa, the conservative Democrat and former state senator who pushed hard for the project and for funding for the Central Valley.
A banner went up on a cotton trailer off Highway 99: "Looks like a high speed train. Smells like pork."
Costa and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, said the selection was not political.
But Cardoza, fearing the line would bypass Merced, had what he would later describe as a "conniption." In a letter to federal transportation officials, he said it was logical to start building in the Valley, but "it defies logic and common sense to have the train start and stop in remote areas that have no hope of attaining the ridership needed to justify the cost of the project."
Cardoza's mood improved in May, when the project found enough federal money to extend the line north to near Chowchilla. The extension convinced Cardoza the railroad eventually will reach Merced, where a connection to existing Amtrak trains would benefit Valley residents years before the high-speed system's planned extension to Sacramento and San Diego.
Many Central Valley cities are hours from major airports, and passenger rail service is relatively slow. Nowhere else in California could the state lay so much track for so little money, Costa said.
Still, it could be many years before high-speed trains run through the Valley, even if the tracks are built. The planned segment is not long enough and does not connect sufficient populations for high-speed trains to operate on that route alone. Only if the line is extended could service begin. In a worst-case scenario in which nothing more is built, authority officials say, Amtrak could use the line.

Even critics acknowledge the potential benefits of high-speed rail: Improved transportation for a growing population, reduced oil consumption and work for thousands of people during a period of high unemployment.
Yet for decades, as other countries pushed ahead with high-speed rail projects, plans in California stalled.
"It's amazing to me that it's taken as long as it has, and there's so much controversy," Gianturco said. "I don't understand why California, why the entire United States, is so much behind the curve."
It was long ago settled that the path from Los Angeles to San Francisco would go through the Central Valley, and more recently that the route would generally follow Highway 99. The Valley is where trains can reach speeds of 220 miles per hour, and engineering and environmental concerns are less pronounced than on the coast.
Andrew Goetz, a professor at the Intermodal Transportation Institute at University of Denver, said the Central Valley offers a "nice, linear corridor," and Anthony Perl, a transportation researcher at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said it's "not cluttered with people, businesses and other things that will feel threatened by change."
The nation's interstate highway system started in the Midwest, which is roughly in the middle, too.
But Goetz said visibility is important.
"If the first segment is not successful just because it's not serving a real market, then I don't know if you're doing yourself any favors," he said.
The federal government required spending in the Central Valley after concluding construction there was more likely than other areas to meet a 2017 deadline for spending federal stimulus money. Officials believed there was little opposition locally to slow the project down.
But farmers in the Central Valley noticed when surveyors started visiting their land. East of Hanford, the proposed line runs through an almond orchard that has been in Helen Sullivan's family since the late 1800s.
Sullivan voted for the rail bond in 2008, but she said it is foolish to permanently disrupt productive farmland for a line that may never be finished. If officials were expecting "yahoo farmers" to roll over, she said, they miscalculated.
"They can't throw enough money at me to take my land away," she said.
Yet the promise of massive spending in the region - the first section alone is expected to cost $6.3 billion - is attractive to many people in the recession-battered Valley. Cities clamored for stations and are competing for a maintenance yard.
Scott Crawford, chairman of the board of The Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, said a station will bring Yosemite-bound tourists through Merced, and people working as far away as San Francisco could live there.
"It's going to change the whole complexion of our downtown," Merced Mayor Bill Spriggs said.
The response has been less enthusiastic in cities where the train won't stop.
"The cities that are getting a station, they're falling all over themselves to get this thing going," Madera Mayor Robert Poythress said. "I just don't see the ridership numbers. ... It's, 'Let's put down the track and we'll work out the details later.'"
The timing of the legislative analyst's report, issued just days before lawmakers began considering the rail authority's budget for next year, could hardly have been worse for the project's supporters.
The analyst called the project a "big gamble," predicting it could cost $67 billion while relying on billions of dollars in uncertain private investment and additional federal funds.
Roelof van Ark, the rail authority's chief executive officer, acknowledged there is no long-term commitment from the federal government. But mega-projects rarely, if ever, start with all the money they need.
"If you were to wait until you had every dollar set aside and reserved for these kind of infrastructure projects, you'd never build anything," Costa said.
As state lawmakers last month discussed the project's merits, Daniel Krause, executive director of the advocacy group Californians for High Speed Rail, said their "futzing around" risks delay and losing federal aid.
"We're getting this initial chunk of money," Krause said. "We want to build as much track as we can."
Krause and other supporters of high-speed rail responded sharply to the legislative analyst's report. Former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, a former rail authority board member, said it read "almost as if it was written by Lowenthal and (Joe) Simitian," two senators critical of the authority.
"That was the most disgraceful report I ever saw come from that office," he said.
But even before the report's release, Kopp acknowledged the project had developed an image problem.
In a March memorandum urging van Ark to cancel the rail authority's multimillion-dollar contract with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Kopp said the firm's failure was evident in "the worsening legislative, media, academic, and popular comments in the public domain about our project."
The rail authority's outreach challenges came up in a budget hearing recently. Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, said support already has eroded.
"We're losing it," she said. "In my area, we're just losing it like crazy."
The rail authority is pushing forward, staffing up and meeting with people living on the line. Engineers plan to start construction next year, preparing to lift a bridge over the San Joaquin River while pushing south through Fresno.
Tom Tracy, the engineer managing the section from Fresno to Bakersfield, was standing on the Fresno side of the river when a Union Pacific train rumbled overhead.
High-speed rail will look a lot like that, he said. Except, he said, "we'll go by a lot quicker."
David Siders is a reporter with the Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau. He can be reached at 916-321-1215.
This article was produced as part of a joint initiative to cover high-speed rail involving The Bakersfield Californian, California Watch, The Fresno Bee, The Orange County Register, The Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/05/california-high-speed-rail_n_871458.html