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Mendocino County Today: October 2, 2012

AS OF LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON, as temperatures in Comptche reached 104 degrees, a fire broke out at about 2:15pm near the Comptche Fire House, and moved rapidly east driven by the summer winds that arise every afternoon in the Coast areas of Mendocino County. CalFire soon announced that the fire was indeed “expanding rapidly” and an air quality advisory had been issued for the expanse of country between Comptche and Ukiah. The fire is burning in an easterly direction well to the south of the Ukiah-Comptche Road and west of Flynn Creek Road. There are at least two air tankers dropping flame retardant on the face of the fire as it roars through the mostly uninhabited back country lying between Comptche and Ukiah. Water-bearing helicopters are also dipping into Comptche-area ponds for repeated baskets of water to air drop on the flames. A large number of fire trucks from many surrounding communities are either on-scene or en route, including private water tank trucks. Several outbuildings have been consumed and, we understand, at least one home has been lost. The Flynn Fire, as CalFire has dubbed the blaze, had consumed more than 200 acres by 5:30 and was described as “5% contained.”

COMPTCHE RESIDENT Cindy Hollister reports: “Friends & Neighbors, Comptche lost a house behind the firehouse on Flynn Creek Road. A family got out with the clothes on their backs. If you have clothes that will fit a 2 year old girl, 9 year old girl, 11 year old boy-Adult Medium, 13 year old boy-Adult Large sizes, and two adults needing XL sizes (Rosie & Forest), 2 adults needing L sizes (Jared & Kelsey). Toothbrushes are from Comptche Store. Blankets are needed. Drop items off at Christine Clark/Jeremiah Heim's 937-2327. — Cindy CAFA Member.”

AVA READERS tell us that the home destroyed was a caretaker’s house; no one hurt, but a family with children lost everything in the house, adding, “The fire started in the vicinity of the firehouse, with the wind moving it East. At this point, it remains on the South side of Comptche-Ukiah Road. A number of structures were saved. One reader reported, “Over 200 acres have been burnt within 50 feet of our dwellings. No idea what our upper fields and timberlands look like. Two dwellings on other property went up in flames. CDF crews camped in my front yard. Car loaded with photo albums and computer but I refused to evacuate when asked and kept watering down my dwellings — on crutches. CDF will be here all night.”

ANOTHER READER REPORTED: “The fire started on land east of Flynn Creek Rd. and burned up a 100-year old farmstead and the family that lived there barely escaped with the clothes on their back. And it was home to miniature animals, and who  knows what happened to them. The fire then spread East to Philbrick Mill Road which is where a logging operation had left behind piles of slash  and large stands of now dead hack and squirted oak trees.”

CALFIRE’S LATEST REPORT says that five buildlings have been destroyed and 70 more are threatened. 33 fire engines, 14 fire crews, 5 bulldozers, 6 air tankers, 2 helicopters and 444 personnel are already on scene. As of about 6pm Calfire reported, “Fire is burning to the east into commercial timber property. Fire behavior is moderate to extreme with long range spotting.” Which is very similar to the language they were using for the large “Pass Fire” in Covelo last month which destroyed thousands of acres of timber before it was contained after weeks of firefighting. “Cooperating Agencies: Comptche, Anderson Valley, Mendocino & Albion Fire Departments, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation & Ukiah Ambulance (stand by).”

* * *

THE AVA RECOMMENDS

PRESIDENT: JILL STEIN. Is there really any need to list Obama's failures? Is it defensible to vote for a person who represents the opposite of what you think you represent? Obama's first term saw his total capitulation to Wall Street; the waiving of habeas corpus; increased deportations; a reversal of his promise to legalize medical marijuana, and on and on. Name the issue and Obama has been worse than Bush. And Romney dittos all of it. Of course the Democrats, as they have for the last fifty years, are claiming the sky will fall if Obama isn't re-elected for a second term aiding and abetting catastrophe. And it's true that there is one essential difference between the candidates: under Obama things will get worse about a week slower than they will under Romney. Because even the pretense of political democracy is long gone from this country, and we're now ruled by a plutocracy of One Percenters on whose behalf both parties serve, the election process, validated by a toady media, naturally excludes the more viable third party candidates from the corporate-sponsored presidential "debates." But take it from your beloved community newspaper, Jill Stein of the Green Party is perfect on the issues. She's where Obama would be if he weren't a willing creature of the forces of destruction. And she's where most of you on the Northcoast are, too, and you should vote for her rather than more of the same. JILL STEIN FOR PRESIDENT.

U.S. SENATE

Choice here is between the middle of the road extremist Diane Feinstein, basically a country club Republican, and a lady named Emken, a Republican-Republican too young to realize how dangerously crazy her fellow party members are. AVA voters are advised to write someone in or not vote for this office. NOBODY!

CONGRESS

DESPITE its wholly undeserved reputation as a "progressive" hotbed, slightly less than 10 percent of Northcoast libs voted in the primary for the genuinely progressive Norman Solomon over the career office holding mainstream Democrat, Jared "Spike" Huffman, a San Rafael volleyball player and assemblyman. On the issues Huffman is likely to be a little better than Mike Thompson, not that he could be much worse. Huffman's opposed by a token Republican named Dan Roberts, also of Marin. NOBODY!

ASSEMBLY

That eternal curse on Northcoast electoral politics, Wes Chesbro, is opposed by a bona fide good guy in Tom Lynch of Guerneville. While Chesbro has spent his entire adult life moving from one government sinecure to the next government sinecure, Lynch has been working for a living. LYNCH!

MEASURE F. Should the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors pass a resolution against corporate personhood? Do you like your Mom better than Monsanto? And even if you don't much care for the old girl, you surely aren't as far gone to the right as our Supreme Court, which ruled that corporations are people just like THEM, are you?  Yes on F. Our Supreme Court is only occasionally human, but Corporations definitely aren't people. YES ON MEASURE F!

MEASURE G. Should the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program be renewed for another ten years and funded via a $1 or $2 vehicle registration fee add-on? Although there are people up and down the Northcoast who regard abandoned car parts in their front yards as garden art, most of us think of automobile graveyards as eyesores. Keep Mendocino County beautiful. YES ON MEASURE G!

STATE PROPOSITIONS

A few words about the tax measures on the ballot before we begin. Both of them are phony to varying degrees because there's nothing in either of them preventing state government from diverting the money raised to other purposes. Of course if you trust Wes Chesbro to make spending decisions for you we have nothing further to talk about. But if you happen to be a discerning, conscientious person of the type likely to subscribe to this fine publication, you will know that our tax system is unfair — very unfair — because the wealthy do not pay their share of the social load. In France, you may have noticed, the new president wants to tax the rich at about 75%. Which is what we used to do in this country before people like Romney and the Apple Gizmo Corporation, to name two unAmerican tax dodgers, began parking their money overseas where it couldn't be taxed. Or they simply kept their loot at home where Mike Thompson, Chesbro, Feinstein, Obama and the rest of the Republicans lowered taxes for them in return for, I dunno, airplane rides with movie stars? Governor Brown's Prop 30 is typical. It puts a slight tax raise on incomes over $250,000 for seven years but raises the sales tax a quarter cent for four years, meaning the $250,000 people will pay a lot less proportionately than the rest of us will because we'll be paying that quarter cent every goddam time we buy anything! And there are millions of us but incomes over $250,000 have most of the money. So, your beloved community newspaper is recommending a NO vote on the two tax propositions, not out of hostility for teachers or cops or little kids but because we need a fair system of taxation in this state and in this country, not these tiptoe taxes on people who are radically, woefully undertaxed.

PROP 30: Governor Brown's temporary taxes to fund education AND funding for "realignment," the latter being the shuffling of state prisoners to county jails, which Brown did with only one year of initial money to do it. He says the money is for kids and cops, which is pretty cynical even by his standards.  NO!

PROP 31: State budget: A complicated but phony fix that would actually allow the diversion of money from a state budget mostly devoted to school funding. Why would a 2-year budget be any better than a yearly one at a time and in an economy that barely limps along on an annual basis? NO!

PROP 32: Political contributions. The problem of big money in electoral process is obvious, but this one is aimed at unions by rich people who'd return 10-year olds to work in coal mines if they could get away with it. But they can't, so they go after labor however they can, and Prop 32 is their way of chipping away at the little power organized groups of working people have to defend themselves against capital. NO!

PROP 33: Auto insurance: This thing would allow insurance combines to set the prices you pay for insurance. Which they do anyway, pretty much. But they want more control over the rules. And guess who wrote it? They did, the insurance companies. You want insurance companies to have the power to raise your rates even if you have a perfect driving record? That's what I thought. NO!

PROP 34: Death penalty repeal: Without a lot of re-hash of an old discussion, YES, of course. People FOR the death penalty argue that it's a deterrent and that some people really, really have it coming, which they do, but so long as executions are carried out by the midnight needle, and not in full view of the public, even the satisfaction the public allegedly gets from revenge is denied. And if government has the authority to kill people, well, the government just might get around to executing you, buddy. And how many people condemned to death have been found to be innocent when groups like the Innocence Project revisted their cases? Lots. Lock away the monsters, but don't take the chance of murdering an innocent person. YES!

PROP 35: Radical increase in jail time for pimps that would also require that they register as sex offenders. YES!

PROP 36: Three strikes law: A lot of career criminals pick up their third strike for relatively trivial offenses, but you've got to be fairly well committed to crime in the first place if you've already got two serious felonies when you shoplift a fifth of booze from the supermarket. But in its present form Three Strikes can be disproportionately harsh, unreasonable. The root of most crime is a combination of drugs and poverty. It will be a while before either disappears. But until they do, the justice system should be made to be as fair as possible, so..... YES!

PROP 37: Should genetically engineered foods be labeled? Of course. Should genetically engineered food even be available? No. Is Prop 37 the first step to banning Frankenfoods as its opponents claim? We hope so. Will the label make any difference? Answer: How many people read food labels? Frankenfoods are here, although France and Russia have successfully banned them. Of course those countries have more or less representative government, at least France does. Our government is owned by Monsanto, and no one reads food labels. Vote YES but don't expect anything to change.

PROP 38: Another phony tax measure, this one devised by a multi-millionaire, not that Governor Brown is a pauper. This one would supposedly fund early education. But, like Brown's measure, this thing would tax EVERYONE, leveling tiny taxes on personal incomes over $7,316 and topping out at a measly 2.2 percent for incomes of more than $2.5 million, the whole farcical show coming to an end in 12 years. Why not tax the big incomes at 95 percent as we did up through the 1950s?

PROP 39: Basically compels corporations based outside California to pay proportionate taxes in California. YES!

PROP 40: This thing has been withdrawn, but is there still someone out there who doesn't think this state is gerrymandered to keep  the same people in office forever? YES! 950s?

PROP 39: Basically compels corporations based outside California to pay proportionate taxes in California. YES!

PROP 40: This thing has been withdrawn, but is there still someone out there who doesn't think this state is gerrymandered to keep the same people in office forever?

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NO SOONER HAD UKIAH paid out $21 thou to figure out ways to gull passersby into swerving off 101 for a visit, than they got invited to a “regional transition conference down in the delightful drive-by city of Richmond with blah-blah artists from such NorCal jive hubs as, “Meet and network with other Transition initiatives from the region, including Sonoma, Sebastopol, Berkeley, Albany, Santa Cruz and more! –– Be inspired by successful community resilience projects; Help take your Transition efforts to the next level; learn innovative organizing tools and methods; Engaging community diversity of all types, including communities of color, youth, income levels, etc.; Creating practical projects — Successful community resilience projects and what has been learned; Transition messaging that appeals to the massesMessaging strategies and use of media to reach a wider audience and build a more cohesive Transition movement.”

AND SO ON. But I'll bet three of Ukiah's city councilmen — Rodin, Thomas and Landis — will have to be physically restrained from attending.

SAN FRANCISCO is undergoing its annual coyote scare. About a year ago, a woman's illegally off-leash dogs encountered a coyote near the buffalo pens and the coyotes ever since have gotten the blame for missing pets. The Grunge People's pitbulls are the biggest hazard to Frisco park life, including two-footed life, but that's another story. In living coyote fact, there seems to be about a dozen of the crafty little critters in the city, two of which I've seen myself on early morning walks through the very west end of the Presidio. The Presidio coyotes aren't about to jog up to you for a biscuit, but they don't take off at the approach of a human either. They fully co-exist. One morning a sleek 70 pounder (I estimated) trotted across a street right in front of me, then sat on a dune staring at me staring at him, the second time that's happened to me with a coyote, the first time being in Boonville when I got into a lengthy stare down with a coyote sitting nonchalantly at the other end of a big drain pipe. I love the humor in these animals. They will definitely mess with you in that uncanny way of theirs. You hear coyotes night-yowling in Mendocino County more than you see them, and when you do see them in their rural habitat, it's clear from their scraggy appearances they're working for a living. City coyotes are fed by animal lovers, and they are also assumed to help themselves to unattended cats and dogs, although I'd need some proof of that before I'd blame the coyotes. Stop me if you've heard this old coyote joke: Conservationsts committed to humane management of coyotes got together with sheep ranchers to discuss the problem sheep ranchers had with  coyotes preying on sheep. A conservationist asked, "Cant you catch the coyotes, neuter them and let them go?" A rancher stood up and replied, "Lady, the coyotes are eating the sheep, they ain't screwin' them!"

JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: “My next show, ‘All About Money,’ airs on Friday, Oct 5, from 9-10am. The show will be divided into two parts. From 9-9:30 I'll interview Republican congressional candidate Dan Roberts. From 9:30-10, I'll interview his Democratic opponent, Jared Huffman. I'll largely limit my questions to the economy, in general, and to economic development and jobs creation, in particular. I want to emphasize that this is not a debate between Roberts and Huffman. Rather, I'm doing two separate 30 minute interviews. There will be no interaction between the candidates, and I'll try to leave a few minutes at the end of each interview for listeners to call-in.”

TWO FREE POLITICAL ADS, in other words.

6 Comments

  1. John Sakowicz October 2, 2012

    No, not ” free political ads”…I’ll ask tough questions about a subject — a stalled economic recovery four years into the worst recession since the Great Depression — that resists easy, sound-bite answers.

    And listners will get an opportunity to ask a few questions on that subject, too.

  2. Mark Scaramella October 3, 2012

    OK. How’s this?
    Mike Thompson, chair of various wine committees in the House and in the State Senate before that, is known as “an errand boy for the wine industry.”
    Is there anything the wine industry could propose that the candidate would oppose?
    Is there any limit to the number of acres of prime ag land (ag is defined by Mendocino County as “food or fiber”) that can be converted to grapes?
    What is the candidate’s position on the two timberland conversions to grapes proposals (Preservation Ranch being the biggest) on the Mendocino South Coast, which would permanently take thousands of acres of timber out of timber production, take water for irrigation and frost protection that isn’t there, and require hundreds if not thousands of immigrant ag workers for which there is no infrastructure to house or school their children?

  3. John Sakowicz October 5, 2012

    Saw your post too late, Bruce/Mark. Wish you would have emailed these questions to me. I check this blog once a day, usually in the afternoon.

    Now, I’ll forward these questions to both candidates. I’ll hope for answers. Then, I’ll get back to you. Stay tuned.

    BTW, I hope to interview both Wes Chesbro and Tom Lynch on KZYX in two weeks in a format similar to today’s show. I’ll ask your questions at that time.

  4. Mark Scaramella October 5, 2012

    Friday afternoon — Listened to show. No hard questions. No debate. No follow-up to the lob-ball questions even when some of the answers begged for them. A few accidental giggles. (Roberts called Huffman a “tweeker” — apparently a reference to being a policy wonk who wants to make minor adjustments to a failed system, in Roberts’ opinion — then needed to be reminded by host that “tweeker” has other meanings. Another amusing moment was the caller who was outraged that Roberts would dare to call Sen. Dodd and Congressman Frank “crooks.”)
    Other than that, as expected it was two free political ads paid for by listeners and taxpayers.

  5. John Sakowicz October 6, 2012

    Saturday morning — On Friday’s show, I tried to get a few degrees of separation from both Roberts and Huffman between their respective party leaders, Romney and Obama.

    I tried to accomplish that by asking Roberts and Huffman the hard questions that should have been asked of Romney and Obama during their debate on the national economy.

    QUESTIONS FOR ROBERTS AND HUFFMAN: OCTOBER 5 SHOW

    For Huffman: President Obama has spoken eloquently of the need to reduce the influence of Big Money in politics. PACS. Super PACS. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision. It’s gotten crazy. Big donors and their henchmen — lobbyists — call the shots in Washington. Congress and the President do not call the shots. I repeat: They do not. Absolutely do not. What specific measures will you advance to reign in Big Money, if elected to Congress?

    For Roberts: Dodd-Frank hasn’t reformed Wall Street in the ways Congress promised it would. It’s full of loopholes. Besides, the Republican-controlled Congress doesn’t even really want to implement Dodd-Frank. They want to keep Dodd-Frank stuck in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. Would you work to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill if elected? Follow-up question: Our biggest banks on Wall Street are significantly larger than they were before the near meltdown of 2008. There’s been a huge consolidation of both capital and power on Wall Street since the crash four years ago. How would you prevent another bank from being “too big to fail”?

    For Huffman: The Dallas Federal Reserve Board, the most conservative branch in the nation, has called for a limit to the size of Wall Street banks. Even Sandy Weill, the evil genius behind Citigroup – the largest Wall Street bank before the crash, and in many ways the most corrupt – now says in his retirement (from his palatial estate in Sonoma County, by the way) that Wall Street banks should be broken up. If you are elected to Congress, will you support capping the size of Wall Street banks?

    For Roberts: The hyper-inflation of healthcare costs is bankrupting our country. It’s crippling our economy. In this week’s debate, Romney said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, if he is elected to the White House. That would leave 30 million Americans without health insurance. Meanwhile, as Govenor of Massachusetts, Romney championed a small version of the Affordable Care Act. Does that imply it’s more efficient for each state to have its own system for insuring the uninsured?

    For Huffman: This is a question about the war the 1 percenters have waged against the rest of us…the 99 percent It’s a question about the war against the middle class. The middle class is dying. It’s disappearing fast. Last December, in a speech President Obama gave in Osawatomie, Kansas, he noted that in the last few decades the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans — the middle class — has actually fallen by 6 percent. If you’re elected to Congress, what do you propose to do about reversing this disturbing trend?

    For Roberts: The Republican Party’s mathematics — actually, Paul Ryan’s math — has been attacked by those who say it’s impossible to provide the tax cut the Republicans propose, while at the same time expanding the military, as they say they want to do, while at the same time preserving Medicare and Social Security, as they promise to do, while at the same time balancing the federal budget, as they also say they will do, while at the same time reducing the national debt, as they say must also be done. It’s crazy talk. Can you walk us through the math, please, with specific numbers?

    For Roberts: The Republican Party supports states’ rights, and they don’t support wealth redistribution. Yet as you know, the citizens of most so-called “blue” states – notably California, New York, and Massachusetts – send more federal tax revenue to Washington than they receive back from Washington, while most of the citizens of “red” states send less tax revenue to Washington than their citizens receive back. If elected to Congress, would you seek to end this subsidy of red states by blue states?

    For Huffman: Assembyman Huffman, you run on a strong enviornmental record and have major endorsements from the Sierra Club, etc., , so this question is right in your wheelhouse. In the 2008 presidential campaign Obama and McCain both supported some version of a “cap and trade” system for limiting emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. During the last four years, evidence has mounted that climate change may be doing irreversible damage to the planet. If elected to Congress, will you push for a “cap and trade” system, or a carbon tax, or both?

    For Roberts: Romney’s wealth is estimated to be more than a quarter of a billion dollars. Between $250 million and $300 million. That’s a lot of money. It’s also true Big Money in the White House is nothing new. Rich men elected president. Yup, America has had some very rich men elected to the White House. Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. And Democrats Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. But surprisingly, once elected president, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and John Kennedy all fought for equal opportunity, reduced the power of large corporations and Wall Street, and gave average working Americans more economic security. In all seriousness, do you really think Mitt Romney shares these objectives? Be honest. A few weeks ago, Romney seemed ready to write off the 47 percent of American households that are so poor that they don’t owe any income tax.

    For Huffman: TARP authorized not only athorized a bailout of Wall Street banks, but it also authorized relief to distressed homeowners. But Obama chose not to make the bailout of Wall Street conditional on the banks reducing the amount people owed on their mortgages. In hindsight, do you think that was a mistake? A follow up question: It is estimated that one in five American families is still underwater – owing more on their home mortgages than their homes are worth. Here in northern California, that number may approach something more like one in four homes underwater; maybe even one in three. So far efforts to help them have fallen far short. If you are elected to Congress, what specific measures will you initiate do more for these families? Follow up question: Here in Mendocino County, we have a strong movement to put a moratorium on foreclosures. Should we temporarily stop foreclosures and evicting families until the national economy recovers?

    For Huffman: President Obama has faced a particularly truculent Republican congress. Some say he didn’t fight Republicans hard enough during his first term, that he often began negotiations with compromises, and he didn’t use the full powers of his office to get more of what you wanted. This criticism may be particularly true for President Obama’s economic agenda. His “Mr. Nice Guy” act may have actually set back our national economic recovery. Do you think there’s any validity to this criticism and, if so, what would you advise the President to do differently in his second term? Follow up question: Talk about what you were able to get done in the California State Assemby by compromising and working toward bi-partisan agreement, versus what is so dysfunctional about the State legislature that you were better off not compromising on your core vales. When do you give in? When don’t you?

  6. John Sakowicz October 7, 2012

    Actually, I thought the questions were pretty damn hard. They follow below.

    QUESTIONS FOR ROBERTS AND HUFFMAN: OCTOBER 5, 2012 SHOW

    For Huffman: President Obama has been very articulate about the need to reduce the influence of Big Money in politics. PACS. Super PACS. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision. What chance does the Average Joe or Jane have to be heard along side of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, or Bob Perry? It’s gotten crazy. Big donors and their henchmen — lobbyists — call the shots in Washington. The President and Congress do not call the shots. I repeat: They do not. What specific measures will you support to reign in Big Money, if elected to Congress?

    For Roberts: Dodd-Frank hasn’t reformed Wall Street in the ways Congress promised it would. It’s full of loopholes. Besides, the Republican-controlled Congress doesn’t even really want to implement Dodd-Frank. They want to keep Dodd-Frank stuck in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. Would you work to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill if elected? Is Dodd-Frank really that flawed, or can it be made to work? Follow-up question: Our biggest banks on Wall Street are significantly larger than they were before the near meltdown of 2008. There’s been a huge consolidation of both capital and power on Wall Street since the crash four years ago. How would you prevent another bank from being “too big to fail”?

    For Huffman: The Dallas Federal Reserve Board, the most conservative branch in the nation, has called for a limit to the size of Wall Street banks. Even Sandy Weill, the evil genius behind Citigroup – the largest Wall Street bank before the crash, and in many ways the most corrupt – now says in his retirement, from his palatial estate in Sonoma County, I may add, that Wall Street banks should be broken up. If you are elected to Congress, will you support capping the size of Wall Street banks? Would you break up any banks?

    For Roberts: The hyper-inflation of healthcare costs is bankrupting our country. It’s crippling our economy. In this week’s debate, Romney said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, if he is elected to the White House. That would leave 30 million Americans without health insurance. Meanwhile, as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney championed a small version of the Affordable Care Act. Does that imply it’s more efficient for each state to have its own system for insuring the uninsured?

    For Huffman: This is a question about the war the 1 percent have waged against the rest of us…the 99 percent. It’s a question about the war against the middle class. The middle class is dying. It’s disappearing fast. Last December, in a speech President Obama gave in Osawatomie, Kansas, he noted that in the last few decades the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans — the middle class — has actually fallen by 6 percent. If you’re elected to Congress, what do you propose to do about reversing this disturbing trend?

    For Roberts: The Republican Party’s mathematics — actually, Paul Ryan’s math — has been attacked by those who say it’s impossible to provide the tax cut the Republicans propose, while at the same time expanding the military, as they say they want to do, while at the same time preserving Medicare and Social Security, as they promise to do, while at the same time balancing the federal budget, as they also say they will do, while at the same time reducing the national debt, as they say must also be done. It’s crazy talk. Can you walk us through the math, please, with specific numbers?

    For Roberts: The Republican Party supports states’ rights, and they don’t support wealth redistribution. Yet as you know, the citizens of most so-called “blue” states – notably California, New York, and Massachusetts – send more federal tax revenue to Washington than they receive back from Washington, while most of the citizens of “red” states send less tax revenue to Washington than their citizens receive back. If elected to Congress, would you seek to end this subsidy of red states by blue states?

    For Huffman: Assemblyman Huffman, you run on a strong enviornmental record and have endorsements from the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Workers, Enviornment California, Friends of the Earth Action Fund, Clean Water Action, and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, so this question is right in your wheelhouse. In the 2008 presidential campaign Obama and McCain both supported some version of a “cap and trade” system for limiting emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. During the last four years, evidence has mounted that climate change may be doing irreversible damage to the planet. If elected to Congress, will you push for a “cap and trade” system, or a carbon tax, or both?

    For Roberts: Romney’s wealth is estimated to be more than a quarter of a billion dollars. Between $250 million and $300 million. That’s a lot of money. It’s also true Big Money in the White House is nothing new. It’s a fact. Rich men get elected president. Yup, America has had some very rich men elected to the White House. Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. And Democrats, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. But surprisingly, once elected president, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and John Kennedy all fought for equal opportunity, reduced the power of large corporations and Wall Street, and gave average working Americans more economic security. In all seriousness, do you really think Mitt Romney shares these objectives? Be honest. A few weeks ago, Romney seemed ready to write off the 47 percent of American households that are so broke that they don’t owe any income tax. And Paul Ryan made the equally crude statement that 60 percent of Americans are “takers”, not “makers”.

    For Huffman: TARP authorized not only authorized a bailout of Wall Street banks, but it also authorized relief to distressed homeowners. But Obama chose not to make the bailout of Wall Street conditional on the banks reducing the amount people owed on their mortgages. In hindsight, do you think that was a mistake? A follow up question: It is estimated that one in five American families is still underwater – owing more on their home mortgages than their homes are worth. Here in northern California, that number may approach something more like one in four homes underwater; maybe even one in three. So far efforts to help them have fallen far short. If you are elected to Congress, what specific measures will you initiate do more for these families? Follow up question: Here in Mendocino County, we have a strong movement to put a moratorium on foreclosures. Should we temporarily stop foreclosures and evicting families until the national economy recovers?

    For Huffman: President Obama has faced a particularly truculent Republican-controlled Congress. Some say he didn’t fight Republicans hard enough during his first term, that he often began negotiations with compromises, and he didn’t use the full powers of his office to get more of what you wanted. This criticism may be particularly true for President Obama’s economic agenda. His “Mr. Nice Guy” act may have actually set back our national economic recovery. Do you think there’s any validity to this criticism and, if so, what would you advise the President to do differently in his second term? Follow up question: Talk about what you were able to get done in the California State Assembly by compromising and working toward bi-partisan agreement, versus what you do wnen it’s dysfunctional in the State legislature that you are better off not compromising on your core vales. When do you give in? When don’t you?

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