Friday, May 28, 2010

"Mud" in Gulf of Mexico and California

Special "mud" is being injected (or is BP now doing something different) into a blown out undersea well spewing huge quantities of oil and gas in a so far unsuccessful effort to contain that devastating fluid flow. Louisiana marshes, wetlands, dragon flies, other insects, turtles, birds, sea creatures are all under assault by this offshore deep water oil drilling gone awry that is killing the full grown, young and eggs containing future generations. Human families and livelihoods are experiencing life altering havoc and an uncertain future.

Once again individuals in government departments have possibly compromised their supervisory regulatory roll of insuring large corporations meet required measures to safeguard their employees and act in the public interest. The once arrogant slogan “Drill, Baby, drill!” has pundits paraphrasing now with “Spill, Baby, spill!”

Months preceding this environmentally destructive event the news was filled with the drama of West Virginia coal miners dying in underground mines. This large corporate owner operation was revealed in documents to have repeatedly violated safety regulations for which the company was fined. Meaningful inspections and then corrections designed to prevent this disaster may well have been compromised.

I suggest we should all be wary of any candidates for political office who rant against regulations when clearly a need for such has been proven to be necessary as we also consider the financial crisis to which our nation has been subjected. We can partially thank all those political administrative and legislative government leaders responsible for giving us deregulation in our financial system for these crises. Also, those responsible for oversight somehow overlooked or carelessly ignored enforcing existing regulatory stipulations. So we voters are challenged to carefully examine those for whom we choose to vote in our spring Primary elections and later in our General Elections this fall.

A different type of damaging “mud” from that in the Gulf is flowing in California. Currently I am being bombarded with repetitive recorded phone messages from proponents of various candidates and issues. They even fill up my answering machine when I’m not home to accept the calls. My daily postal mail is filled with print mailers and there is an excessive abundance of television ads that are mostly quite negative attacks on some candidate’s opponent. All this advertising has been most successful in influencing my vote – I’m not going to vote for any of them.

I note the California Republican Party has had a litany of candidates but now seems to have boiled them down to two – one a government official, the other from the IT world. They are busy with their anti-opponent statements on TV, phone and in print as the money they spend flows in torrents. The Democratic Party candidates have been much more low key with their field having recently narrowed primarily to one person – a former Governor. Probably the Democrats are reserving their funds for campaigning after our Primary Elections. I shudder to think of all the promotion we voters will be subjected to in the general election campaign if candidates are able to spend so much now within their own parties for the Primaries.

Consider the fact California has the largest economy of any U.S. state, is actually one of the ten largest economies in the world. Keep in mind recent news organizations have stated our state's economy is in worse shape than that resulting in the Greece financial crisis which impacted all of Europe. Certainly California has been building toward this financial condition for many years but we can’t blame the national financial crisis though our sad condition was exacerbated.

When I think of our elections this year I recall a few years ago, despite our raging state debt, the Republican Party promoted spending even more monies we didn't have in a special election recalling our then Democratic governor though only two years were left before a regularly scheduled election. I resented such squandering of resources we didn't have in order to pay for that special election. I thought how naive for anyone to believe replacing our then Governor with the opposite parties macho Republican candidate movie star glamour would somehow resolve our state's money debt issues, but he took over the office. I derived no satisfaction a few years later when that Governor was reduced to proposing the exact same cost saving measure for which he had condemned the Governor he displaced. Meanwhile taxpayers are still out all the money we had to pay for that special election.

I have yet to hear any of California’s current candidates for Governor offer workable concrete ways to correct our state's budget deficit problems. They seem oblivious to the fact that until our state legislators find common ground to present a timely realistic balanced budget each year any governor will be unable to act to resolve our state's financial condition or at least move in that direction.

Despite this state governmental challenge I do look forward to this Primary election because there is one issue about which I'm especially enthusiastic. If this issue passes, we may actually allow all California voters to select a slate of candidates not as limited as now. We'll be able to cross political party lines with our vote in Primary Elections. Legally voting in a California Primary Election will no longer require us to register ourselves with a specific political party thus forcing voters to select candidates from only that parties roster. The later General Election allows us to vote across political party lines for any candidate on the ballot but currently Primary Election voting is much more restrictive. Passing this measure will change that Primary Election voting situation. For those of us who rarely or never vote any one political party ticket in a general election, we'd also like more options when we vote in a Primary election.

If I conclude our government is persistently dangerously lurching too far toward any radical or extreme state I am likely to give serious consideration to a candidate from some other political party than the one in power to try to bring balance to the system. Too many of our electorate from both of the major political parties have fallen far short of acting in the best interest of those of us they've been elected to represent. After this upcoming Primary Election we’ll have to decide what incumbents to re-elect and the new candidates we choose to represent our best interests. I look forward to the June Primary Election results determining who will be candidates as California’s Governor and how they plan to approach our state’s financial problems.

Resolution of the Gulf of Mexico worst-ever-in-our-nation oil disaster remains unknown at this writing.


  1. As usual, you have posted an important, timely and thoughtful article on current issues. I agree with all you said, Jo Ann.

  2. Yes, good post. Hadn't thought of "open primaries" this way before. Your thinking on that is excellent.