Friday, March 11, 2005


I have a group of friends who meet periodically to discuss politics. The original members all had this in common - they once ran campaigns, they all have an advanced degree and they have agreed to listen to each others. OFPG stands for the Old Farts Political Group. The group is a diverse one. It includes people who have worked for conservatives and liberals. It is a good place to understand what is happening in California and National politics.

Today we discussed two issues - the mayor's race in LA - where the city seems likely to elect its first Latino mayor since the 19th century. We had a couple of good rememberances of Kennth Hahn - the father of the current mayor who stayed in the position of county supervisor for many decades. The dad began his political career in the Western part of the city but stayed through it long after the neighborhood had gone from white to black. But the son - who looks like a loser in this race - lacks a lot of the skills of the father.

We also discussed whether the Governor's strategy made any political sense. There could be a couple of ways to deal with the issues the Governor chooses to pursue. One could have gone to the legislature - lost the issues and then drop them into the initiative process. The second alternative would be to do what the Gov has done. He drafted a series of proposals - many of which could have benefitted from a bit more vetting - for example the pension proposal seems to cut out widows and orphans of officers who died in the line of duty. The redistricting initiative seems to allow the appointment of a particular brand of retired judge - for example like the dunce who found that God does not belong in the pledge.

The third alternative seems much better - create a citizens commission - do some public meetings and discussion of each of the issues then vet some proposals and put em on the ballot. But it seems that some of his advisors are more interested in reaping the rewards of running a campaign than in achieving long term changes in the system.

There is a lot of grumpiness about the political system in California. Pick almost any area and you will find two things - discontent with the present a and a series of major issues where the public would want the appearance of positive change. Getting things right would seem to be better than getting things active.

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