Thursday, December 02, 2010


Some Changes of Interest

Until the begining of 2010 I was interested mainly in politics.  I had been a member of one Democratic political club or another since about 1958.  At the end of the year 2009 the club of which I was a member came to an end when no one wanted to be the President.  I've had invitations to join Democratic clubs since then but so far I've not joined one.  Instead I have gotten involved in two other organizations: the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Council and the Warner Ceneter Kiwanis Club.  These two have taken up more than the time I would normally have spent on Democratic club activities except for the extra work done during an election campaign.

I'm still interested in politics, of course.  I was pleased that the Democrats made a clean sweep this year of the State offices.  Steve Cooley, the respected and able District Attorney of Los Angeles County ran for State Attorney General as a Republican.  Previously he had been elected and reelected in Los Angeles County by big margins.  The DA of Los Angeles is a non-partisan office.  When running for office as a Republican, he did not carry Los Angeles County.  He lost the election by a slim margin and would have been elected if Los Angeles County had supported him as it had previously.  It's agreed that the Republican label was an anchor or anvil that sank him.  I don't know how long this distaste for Republicans will stay with the voters but for now we Democrats in California can bask in the pleasant knowledge that our opponents are very unpopular.

Now that I am seeing what a Kiwanis Club or a neighborhood council can do, I have come to believe that I didn't accomplish much in all the years that I was an active Democratic club member.  At best I may have contributed to Democratic victories in close elections in local districts.  We club members helped Brad Sherman win election in a district that had been designed for a Republican in 1996, after Tony Beilenson retired.  We helped Fran Pavley and later Julia Brownley in their election campaigns to represent the 41st Assembly District.  However there were other candidates that we worked for and who didn't prevail.  They were running in districts that had traditioally voted for Republicans.

I've noticed that even though the Democrats made a clean sweep of State offices in the election last month, the make-up of the legislature was almost unchanged.  The Democrats still have a substantial majority in each chamber but the majorities are not great enough to overcome the 2/3 vote requirement that gives the Republicans an absolute veto on all legislation if they hang together.  The only way to get anything done is to offer a few Republicans bribes in the form of projects that benefit their districts.

At any rate, the two organizations that now take up much of my time work on projects or on proposed projects that have an immediate effect.  The Kiwanians work on special projects for children.  Neighborhood councils review and object to bulding plans proposed by the Los Angeles City Council.  Some of these activities may not have an immediate effect, but in general the two organizations to have at least small effects on the actual quality of life of individiuals living in this area.  It's more satisfying to prevent a zoning change for a pawn shop than to see an Assemblyman in a safe district reelected even though I was one of a group that did phoning for him.  He probably would have been elected anyway.  The zoning change would have occurred if the neighborhood council had not intervened and held public meetings at which concerned residents could voice their opposition.

I still think about joining another Democratic club.  So far I haven't found one that appeals to me and also holds meetings reasonably close to where I live.

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