Friday, July 3, 2009

It’s Politics

It appears I may have inadvertently ruffled some feathers with a comment I made in my last BLOG post. I think the comment that struck some nerves was this; "Below is my reply and argument against the ideals of the Republican, Far Right, agenda driven political machine and their attempts at destroying the will of the Civil Servant." It appears "Republican" friends who consider themselves "Conservative" took exception to my rant. Let's talk about; Republican, Democrat; Far Right; Far Left; and the differences and what a "RHINO" and "DINO" is. I may belay some of the ruffled feathers and may not. I am not going to apologize for my thoughts, words or beliefs as I have lived them and participate in them.

Have you ever thought about your party affiliation and why you chose the party you did; Democrat or Republican, maybe Libertarian or Independent? I know there are other parties involved in politics; but for this discussion I will stick with two; Republican and Democrat. I will no doubt spark interesting conversation and disagreement with the following observations and comments. I have been involved to some degree or another in the political arena since 1985. I was an elected Director for the SDPOA in 1986 and left the Board 1991. I was the SDPOA Vice President and representative at PORAC (State Organization) and NAPO (National Organization). I then moved on and in 1994 entered the local political arena; running for and getting elected to the Poway Unified School District's Board of Education. I was re-elected two times, serving 12 years as a Trustee on the Poway School Board. I worked with the California School Boards Association and the National School Boards Association. I made another run at the SDPOA and was elected in 2004; served three years as Vice President and left the Board at the end of 2006.

My travels in politics were an eye opening and very educational experience. I learned quickly how to maneuver the halls of ANY political house. I spent time at City Hall; the State Capital; the House and Senate in Washington DC. I spent time with other elected representatives from every level of government. Many were honest, hard working and dedicated people. There were others I would not give you two cents for. I learned to speak without saying anything. I learned to parry questions and change the subject when debating new legislation or seeking increases in funding for various programs; the all too natural "Political Double Speak."

When I began my run for School Board I learned early the need for endorsements. Seeking the endorsement of local individuals; followed by various local business organizations (both very important endorsements to pocket) before you moved to the larger, named individuals and groups was mandatory. To garner an endorsement from another elected official was golden and also hard to accomplish without someone speaking for you. Next was seeking the biggest and sometimes most important endorsement; that of your political party; in my case; the Republican Party. You had better know and support your party's line and agenda (Party Platform) if you expect their support. I learned how to do this and garnered the Republican Endorsement. I was the only candidate in three straight elections for School Board to also obtain the Democratic endorsement. Being a "Union Representative" gave me the edge I needed with them.

Officers in Law Enforcement tend to be conservative in their views, thoughts and personal lives. A large population of those in Law Enforcement find themselves supporting a more right leaning agenda (Christian) and Republican politics. These demographics are changing rapidly in 2009. If you have ever had the pleasure of attending a Republican Party meeting, you would re-think your party affiliation if you are the Republican "Labor Leader" of an organization like the SDPOA. Bill Nemec and I attended a Republican Party meeting during the first election of the mayor to replace Mayor Murphy. We stood along the wall at the side of the room and listened to speaker after speaker bash unions, workers and anyone suggesting new revenue sources or taxes. We heard speaker after speaker talk of the need to "Reel in, out of control wages and benefits." Talk about uncomfortable? We left the meeting asking ourselves why we were both registered Republicans.

If you are still reading this diatribe, you are most likely asking yourself, "Where the hell is he going with this?" The rub we in law enforcement face as we involve ourselves in politics; we are mostly right leaning; but left needing. What do I mean by this? If we expect the right or Republican candidate to support our needs, wants, or desires; we are surly kidding ourselves. If we expect to garner support for our needs, wants and desires for wages, benefits and working conditions it will come from a Democrat. So, for those who represent police officers, they find it difficult at times to navigate the endorsement waters.

Each party puts together their goals for the upcoming elections by way of a "Platform." If you have never taken the time to review your party's platform, as well as their legislative goals you might be a bit surprised to see what it contains. Historically, the Democratic Party has favored farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. Historically, the Republican Party is seen as a Christian valued, traditionally pro-business party and it garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. This may relate to the fact that Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed; more likely to work in the area of management and have higher educational degrees. These platforms are reflective of each party's agenda and history.

In San Diego we are faced with a VERY conservative Republican Party that is further right than the party fathers envisioned. The San Diego Republican Party is lead, run and influenced by the "Downtown Power." The Lincoln Club is a group of wealthy Republican's (Downtown - Power - Money) who maneuver behind the scenes, pulling the strings of the many politicians holding elected office. Add to this equation the fact San Diego is home to ONE newspaper, whose views and opinions are slanted far right. Over the past eight years, legislation involving labor has been mostly negative or regressive. During the Bush era, labor lost in almost every area.

I said in a prior post there was a recent meeting of California City Managers. The topic of discussion was how to spin budgets to secure public support for cuts and elimination of employee wages and benefits. The majority of City Managers are Republican. The "Agenda driven political machine" I talked about is in full swing right here in San Diego. The agenda is to portray unions and public workers as greedy and receiving inflated wages and benefits at taxpayer expense. The playbook was provided by the National Republican Party to municipalities governed by Republicans. The ultimate goal is to reduce the workforce; reduce wages, eliminate unions; eliminate the "Defined Benefit Retirement" and replace it with a 401(k)-style plan; and to reduce taxes. To accomplish this agenda, the power of the press is necessary. Have any of you seen this of late?

I am what is called a "RHINO" or "Republican in Name Only." I am conservative in most of my views and ideals. But I find myself agreeing more with Democratic legislation when discussing labor or work related issues. I support the right to bear arms; oppose legislation to prevent a woman choice; I support raising taxes to pay for the services provided by city's and the government; I oppose "Faith Based" initiatives; I support Stem Cell research; I think you get my point.

It is the Republican, "Far Right" that is in play when talking about the politics of San Diego. It is the agenda of this rich political machine, that is feeding off the print and talk media; gutting the wages and benefits of public workers; all in the name of "Balancing the budget; reigning in out of control, excessive wages and benefits; holding the line on taxes and fees; and reducing government." I am a Republican and am conservative; I am also a government employee and feel I am under attack from that same Republican run government in San Diego. I believe the agenda; playbook; views of the Republican party are out of sync with reality and what is going on in 2009. They seem to refuse to toss it aside and change course. The analogy I used the other day to describe this bent, is a Navy Carrier moving in the bay needing to make a u-turn. Anyone who knows anything about an Aircraft Carrier knows the decision to make a u-turn and pulling it off, need to be planned for, NOW. The execution may take miles and hours to accomplish. To continue on this path is only taking us further into deeper water, farther from where we need to be to accomplish our goal.

So in closing, when I rant about the "Republican; Far Right; Downtown Power," I rant against a party that is out of touch with 2009 and doing more to protect their money and power, than the people they have been elected to serve. I do not rant against Republican's or those people who are conservative in their views and thoughts. But I would suggest you share your thoughts with those Republican Elected Members of Government that are carrying out this agenda against "Public Service Workers" and you who are retired.


Pinko Copper said...

I am a "Pinko Communist" and hate Republicans and Democrats. I had no idea you are a Republican Sparky, that is BAD, BAD, BAD. Why am I reading this crap?

Just Wondering said...

Party affiliation what exactly does this mean. My cynical nature tells me it just another way to get money from those who would rather sit on the sidelines then get dirty playing the game.

For me, I vote my conscious in either direction. I vote for what I believe is right. I believe that's part of what you're saying.

The other part is the need to hold onto power and control no matter what the issues are. This, in my opinion is where the two party system is going wrong in our nation. It truly has developed into the ME versus WE generation.

On the other hand, the current federal leadership goes too far with the WE as long as YOU pay for me.

I regularly go to the PolicePAY blog site, at Police Pay Blog where I read about problems all over this nation. It's not pretty and many are worse off than those of us in San Diego.

I also goto PENSION TSUNAMI where I read about the opinions of those who believe we, public employee groups/unions are destroying our nation a little as a time.

Those who will do anything and everything they can to take away promised and earned benefit are well organized. They are zealots of and for their cause. They WILL succeed if you remain loyal to party affiliation rather than voting for what you know in heart is right.

Over the next few years you cannot afford to blindly follow. You must question the ideals you've been comfortable with for years.

The time of sheep, where shepards led you to the house to be sheered ends now. Sitting passively while being sheered financially is what they need and want you to do.

It's time to get involved. Lead, do not follow.

sparky.sandiego said...

I agree completely "Just Wondering" and yes I have always voted my conscious. I think it is time for a third party for those of us in the middle, who believe both parties are playing outside the foul lines and no longer in the "Field of Play" so to speak.

It is time the silent majority speak up and get involved. We have for too long allowed the vocal minority of both parties to dictate the outcomes of very important issues effecting US.

To "Pinko Copper" I love you man; hang in there...

Paul said...

Genius. Very well written and I see NO room to dispute any single point. We are a two party system. One party represents "we" and the other, "me." I leave it to others to determine which is which.