Guest post from our Alameda County Coordinator, Heather, who has been planning some amazing and creative events for our large contingent of volunteers in the East Bay. Read about her experience below, and please consider joining her team or one near you for the last stretch of efforts this week!
As the Alameda County Volunteer Coordinator, it has been inspirational for me to see people from all over the county come in and give their time to help elect Jerry Brown. It speaks to the candidate and to the amazing volunteers who can imagine a better California and are willing to reach out to their friends, their families and their neighbors to make it a reality.
But more still needs to be done. The polls are currently in our favor, but polls are not reality. Just because someone says they will cast a vote for someone does not mean that come Election Day they actually turn in a ballot.
That's why we must ensure that every voice is heard, every ballot cast. We want not only California but also the nation to know that this state and our elections are not for sale, that we deserve better for our children, ourselves, our environment, our future. It is not a mandate if only one-quarter of the people who can vote, do vote. And this is a message that deserves to be a mandate.
Every time we connect with a voter face-to-face, it increases the likelihood that they will vote by 10 percent. And dropping ten door hangers is the equivalent.
We've been lucky to have good turnouts for our debate potluck watch parties and other events, including the So You Think You Can Vote table at the Paramount Theater during the So You Think You Can Dance auditions.
But we are kicking it up a few more notches in our big push to Get The Vote Out these final days.
This Sunday, we're hosting our very first Knocktoberfest: an afternoon of canvassing followed by an Oktoberfest-themed barbeque, including bratwurst and pretzels - lederhosen optional.
On Tuesday, we're throwing a trivia night. Come to phone back and stay for the Jerry Brown and California trivia. Prizes, including some sweet Jerry swag, will be awarded.
And on Wednesday, we will be hosting Boogie for Brown at Luka’s Tap Room in Oakland. Phonebank from 6-9 and then enjoy free salsa lessons and dancing afterward.
If you don't live near the Bay Area, you can still join in the statewide effort - visit my.jerrybrown.org to join a group near you, sign up for local efforts, and even plan an event of your own.
I hope to see you out there on the campaign trail during our final stretch!
Last week, Jerry held a press conference at LA's scenic Dorris Place School to explain why eMeg's pledge to implement a lavish tax cut for her wealthy peers would have a devastating impact on California's education system.
On Tuesday, eMeg responded by claiming her capital gains tax would not affect school funding, namely because she promises to trim an "overfed state education bureaucracy."
After which she offered no specifics, as usual. So let's look at some basic math.
California's most recent budget totaled $86,551,495,000. Of that pool, $36,079,143,000 went to K-12 education. Divide the latter by the former, and it shows 41.685% of the current budget goes to the classroom.
The California Department of Finance estimates that revenues from capital gains taxes - 82% of which comes from the top 1% of earners in the state - will amount to $5.3 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011.
Take the 41.685% of the budget that goes to education and apply it to the $5.3 billion in revenues from capital gains. That roughly amounts to a $2.2 billion hole in the education budget.
The average teacher in California earns a salary of $66,995 annually. Dividing $2.2 billion by that figure equals 32,997 teachers whose jobs would be in jeopardy should eMeg eliminate the capital gains tax, as she adamantly swears she will do if elected.
Candidates can lie, as our opponent has proven repeatedly during this campaign season. But numbers don't.
In honor of GLBT History Month, here's a little GLBT history for you, courtesy of Mike McQuinn. Mike, a second-year law student at University of San Francisco, works on Jerry Brown's GLBT outreach efforts.
You’ve probably heard about how Jerry Brown refused to defend Proposition 8 (the so-called California Marriage Protection Act) as our Attorney General.
But what you probably didn’t know is that Jerry Brown has been standing up for equality for decades.
Shortly after becoming governor in 1975, Jerry successfully repealed the law which made consensual sex between gay men a felony. The anti-sodomy law was an oppressive bludgeon designed to keep gays and lesbians underground and in the closet by criminalizing us as human beings. This law ran up against an ideal that many Americans take for granted today, namely that the government has no business injecting itself into the most intimate aspects of our lives.
The measure was incredibly controversial at the time. In fact, Jerry’s Lieutenant Governor broke the tied vote in the State Senate. Controversy notwithstanding, when the repeal bill got to his desk, Jerry unflinchingly signed it.
Fast forward a few years to 1978. While Jerry’s re-election was on the ballot in the November election, so was an incredibly divisive proposition that, had it passed, would have given school boards the power to fire gay and lesbian teachers solely because of their sexual orientation.
Along with the likes of Supervisor Harvey Milk and President Jimmy Carter, Jerry campaigned against The Briggs Initiative because – like the anti-sodomy law –the kind of government intrusion that these laws represented is antithetical to the sort of free society that he’s been striving for since his first day in public office.
Running for re-election, a typical politician at the time (and maybe even now) would have ducked the issue and focused his energies on his own campaign. But just like with the anti-sodomy law, Jerry showed us that he’s not a typical politician. Instead, he made a bold and public stand against discrimination. Subsequently, the initiative went down in defeat at the polls, while he coasted to victory.
But Jerry wasn’t satisfied with the progress already made on his watch.
After his re-election, Jerry sounded the call for legislation barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation because, as he said, “[t]he diversity of our people can be a cause of hatred and anxiety or the source of strength and continued achievement. The choice is ours.”
He also appointed five openly LGBT judges to the bench, including two firsts: the first openly gay and openly lesbian judges in United States history.
Unfortunately, nearly 20 years and two Republican governors went by before both another LGBT judge was appointed to the bench and the employment protections envisioned by Jerry became state law.
In Jerry, we have a candidate with more than a 35-year track record of taking principled and sometimes difficult stands for equality. Meanwhile, his opponent Meg Whitman has repeatedly voiced her support for Prop 8.
Jerry's long and consistent record of standing up for equality makes him the only candidate who can get this state working again. For everyone.
Jerry with Kamala Harris at the Alice B. Toklas Breakfast in June, courtesy of Bill Wilson Photography.
Seven years ago, a candidate for California governor emerged with an appealing message.
After a successful career as an action film star, this gubernatorial hopeful pegged himself as a political outsider. Claiming to run the government like a business, said candidate declared himself void of special interest influence and argued the state needed a fresh perspective. Californians elected him wholeheartedly.
Two terms later, Governor Schwarzenegger's approval rating has sunk to a mere 22 percent. The state is in shambles, facing record unemployment and imminent debt. The legislature recently squeaked out a budget--four months late.
Enter Meg Whitman. Armed with the same throng of Republican consultants Arnold engaged during his run, eMeg is dominating airwaves and stump speeches with a familiar claim that California needs an outsider with a business executive's mind to lead us toward better times.
It's befuddling just how similar her campaign rhetoric is until looking at the list of strategists on eMeg's payroll. Of her record-shattering $140 million campaign, $14 million of the pot has been doled out on the same folks who advised Arnold.
You'd think someone with eMeg's self-proclaimed business sensibility would have the good sense to spend her fortune on consultants who do more than mold her into Governator Part Deux. But she's insistent on portraying herself a certain way, thus exposing Californians to the same empty words they heard during the early aughts.
Don't just take my word for it. Behold the identical campaigns below.
Guest post from Patrick Ahrens, a fourth-year UCLA student, who attended Jerry's rally with Bill Clinton last Friday.
Most classes at UCLA are not offered on a Friday, but an unusually large amount of students gathered around the front of the iconic Royce Hall anyway. Armed with clipboards, voter registration cards, and a profound sense of service, they spread throughout campus to mobilize their peers for the upcoming election.
News of the California Democratic Party offering a special rally with President Clinton and Democratic candidates Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom has been the talk of UCLA all month. Despite the overcast weather, a sense of electricity hung in the air as lines to enter the event quickly sprawled around campus buildings.
Not only the droves of UCLA students attended, but thousands from the greater Los Angeles area came together to witness the great trifecta of this election cycle. All three politicians speaking on the importance of investing in higher education, especially in times of economic hardships.
Many students from our club, The Bruin Democrats, decided to show up and urge Jerry to be a champion for the DREAM Act. To our excitement, in front of thousands of supporters, he delivered a firm commitment in his speech. “Whether they are documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here,” Jerry said as we looked on and cheered in raucous excitement.
The rally was an astounding and irreplaceable moment for many UCLA students. We will never forget the night, from the more than 80 volunteers registering voters beforehand to the waves of supporters beaming in anticipation of seeing the next Governor of California. The crowd was so espoused by the thought of all three politicians on stage that by the time Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa gave his introduction, they could not stop chanting.
As Jerry said during his speech that night, “It’s about the people.” The event would not have been a success without the help of all the dedicated supporters rallying behind him.