Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Save the Democrats

Political Math posted a comment on my blog asking who I feel should drop out first in the Democratic Party to let the nominee prepare adequately for the general election and after pondering the answer is still I do not know. I believe that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama need to sit down with the leaders of the Democratic Party and have an honest and open discussion about who will be more likely to beat John McCain. I know that Democrats have done intense polling on this subject and need to let the numbers do the talking if the Democrats want the White House back in their control.

After these numbers are scrutinized the candidate who is less likely to win needs to accept the Vice Presidency and the fight needs to end for the sake of their party.

the Problem with Healthcare

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on a speech by Dr. Hector Flores who is credited with strengthening the existing safety net and improving economic development in the East Los Angeles region. During the presentation I was shocked to see the statistics on the lack of healthcare in the less affluent areas of Los Angeles. I was upset thinking of parents with sick children and no health insurance and continued to ponder the presentation for the days to come.

Over spring break my grandfather fell and hit his head and was taken to the hospital. My grandfather immigrated to the United States in his early 20’s from Portugal with a sixth grade education. He worked extremely hard to buy and grow his own business and is now successful enough to be able to send twelve grandchildren to school.

My grandfather was at our local community hospital for a few hours after the fall and when I went in to see him he was being prepared to be put on a helicopter to go to Stanford. I could not help but wonder what would happen if my grandfather did not have health insurance or money to pay for the best medical care money can buy. I pulled one of the doctors wandering the halls of the ER aside and asked and was assured that ability to pay, whether through health insurance or not, was not taken into consideration. All people brought to the hospital will be given the best care and if need be will be sent to a hospital that is better equipped to deal with certain issues.

The conversation relieved my fears about sick poor children not being taken care of and also made me ponder whether health insurance was something all Americans are entitled to. Everyone will receive medical attention. The real problem is that in areas with poor socioeconomic status the health care resources will not be as adequate as they are in wealthy areas. This is not the failure of the healthcare system. To fix these issues the United States needs to focus on bringing economic stimulation to low income areas. They need to be safer and business friendly to increase economic activity and employ the people in the area. Safer more vibrant communities will increase the likelihood that healthcare services in the area are of high caliber.

It is also important to focus on lowering the costs of healthcare. Doing so will benefit all Americans and will allow those who do not have access to health insurance options to receive heath care.

All people have should be able to see a doctor and ensure that their children are growing up healthily, but a government run healthcare system is not the option. At work the past few days I have been scheduling meeting for my boss on his trip to Washington DC next month. Almost all of the offices can not even seem to handle a scheduling request for one person properly and with efficiency

If a small government office can not even handle the task of arranging a meeting I am unconvinced that the government should have any hand in arranging healthcare for the entire nation.

There are a lot of questions in my mind that need to be answered in regards to healthcare. In many ways I am still unsure about what needs to be done to fix the system. The one thing I do know is that it is a problem that the government largely needs to stay out of.

Monday, March 24, 2008

10 points for Maureen Dowd

I just wanted to take a second to praise Maureen Dowd as a reporter, female and honorary member of the Party of Logic. She is truly amazing and I look forward to Wednesdays and Sundays so I can read her newest column and send it to everyone I know.

Here are some of her recent bests:

Can Hillary cry her way back to the White House?

Mitt is no JFK

Seven days in December?

The Dream is Dead

O these scandalous politicians

Elliott Spitzer paid for sex. We have heard this story over and over again. I had to boycott the news off during the avalanche of sex scandals last spring and summer. I was absolutely disgusted with the endless stories of pedophilia, rape and solicitation that seemed to plague the Republican Party.

Actually my first reaction to Governor Spitzer’s story was “at least he was having sex with a adult”. Then I started thinking about it. Prostitution is illegal. I may not agree with it being illegal, but it is.

Public officials take an oath to uphold the law. Although I sympathize with sex starved men I cannot condone breaking the pledge that these people took when they were elected. America should not let our elected officials get away with breaking their pledge to us.

But then again, at least he had sex with a consenting adult.

Private v. Public

For the Lenten season my friend Vanessa and I decided that we wanted to volunteer at the Los Angeles Mission. The Mission is a homeless shelter and soup kitchen that also has a program that allows formerly homeless men to get back on their feet. They are given physical, spiritual and mental guidance so they can re-enter society as functioning adults. When volunteering at the mission I worked right along the men in the program to feed the many men who were just at the mission for the night.

It has been about six weeks since I began volunteering and I have found that it is something that I enjoy and look forward to every weekend. It has also reinforced my belief and any true Republicans belief that private establishments and businesses can and will do everything better than the government. I have seen first hand that the LA Mission’s program successfully graduates an overwhelming number of the participants and successfully keeps these graduates off the streets.

Rehabilitating formerly homeless men is a very personal and intimate job and by nature the United States government possesses neither of these qualities. When there is evidence that private institutions can provide these services more efficiently and with better quality then the government it is only logical that the government should step back and just provide monetary support to the places that provide these services the best.

It is also important that the fortunate among us donate out time and talent to places like the LA Mission. Volunteers are critical to the effectiveness of charity organizations but volunteering also allows volunteers to grow and become more aware of the world around them.

Click here for the LA Missions Webiste

Monday, March 10, 2008

UP, UP and Away

Density. Manahatanization. High rises. Whichever word you use to describe it Los Angeles is in desperate need of taller buildings. The Los Angeles Metropolitan area has been at its physical limit for a while now and although the city is unable to build out it has not discouraged people from moving here. Now the only place to go is up.

This translates to density and in 2004 Senate Bill 1818 was passed to encourage density throughout the State of California by awarding extra density to developers who chose to build affordable units in their buildings. SB 1818 aimed at adding density and building affordable housing.

Each city was tasked with implementing SB 1818 to insure that it met each cities needs. Most cities took advantage of this and adopted implementing ordinances soon after SB 1818 passed. Los Angeles was not one of those cities.

The fight over implementing SB 1818 has been going on since the law was passed almost four years ago. Council members who live by the saying, “Not in My Back Yard” refused to implement the ordinance for fear that high rises would be built in their single family home neighborhoods and because they feared that the affordable unites incorporated into the buildings would not be truly affordable.

All of these reasons that Council members used to oppose SB 1818 are not only ill informed but they also fail to see past the need to please their constituents and realize a broader vision for the future of Los Angeles.

All cities have zoning requirements. Because of zoning there is very little possibility that a high rise will be built in the center of a single story home neighborhood. It is not a valid reason not to implement SB 1818, which is state law, because you do not want density in your own backyard.

Other Council members claim the need for affordable housing as a reason to deny SB 1818 which is more unwarranted than the “not in my backyard” members of the city council. In a few years the ordinance that mandates affordable housing will be timed out and there is very little hope that another will replace it.

It is understandable that City Council wants to make it possible for all Angelenos to live in the city but SB 1818 is not going to eliminate affordable housing. SB 1818 is going to ensure that there are at least a few affordable units in place when the buildings dedicated to affordable housing are torn down because they are no longer being subsidized.

Only looking at these small concerns is ensuring that Los Angeles will not be a viable place to live in the future. We are running out of places to put all of the people who choose to live here, and the lack of supply and high demand makes charging exorbitant amounts of money for rent in Los Angeles possible.

Density will add to the supply of housing in Los Angeles and in turn the increased supply will help to lower housing prices for the entire population. Density is not only something that would make living in Los Angeles more affordable it is the only solution to the housing crisis here. The city is bursting at its edges and if Los Angeles wants to continue growing it needs to make it possible to look toward the sky to do so.

SB 1818 was passed by City Council in February but now Councilmember Hahn is threatening to file a motion to petition to exempt Los Angeles from SB 1818. This would mean disaster for the Los Angeles region and its future. It is about time that the future is taken into consideration, not just the changing whims of a council district.

LA Weekly Anti-Density Article

SB 1818

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Heiress

The breaking news of the past few weeks is that voters are falling for Clinton. They find her charismatic, intelligent, and a candidate that they would love to vote for. The only problem is that casting a ballot for her will have to wait because the Clinton voters are impressed by is Chelsea, not her mother, who is currently in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Chelsea, with her fathers charisma and her mothers impressive no-nonsense intelligence is a combination of two of the most common and influential political archetypes. She is well poised to be the heiress to the Clinton political dynasty.

In the past Chelsea Clinton has been hidden from the world. Her teenage years spent in the White House were fiercely protected from the prying eyes of the media. Now well into her twenties she has only broken her no interview once despite being a current fixture on her mother’s campaign.

She has become one of her mothers most valued surrogates, even more so than her father former President Bill Clinton, who has a tendency to cause trouble for his wife. Initially her presence on the campaign trail was received with skepticism, but she has continued to win voters over with her self confidence and easy going attitude.

A few weeks ago the New York Magazine wrote a piece on the daughter of the Clinton’s and pondered her potential future in politics. The article draws a interesting parallel because in a few months she will be the same age that her father was the first time he entered into the political arena. Her role in her mother’s campaign is sparking the interest of politicos throughout the United States and helping to fuel this debate.

Because she appears to have the perfect combination of her mothers mind and fathers likeable personality she is easily classified as the best of both worlds. These personal qualities are what are needed to be a successful politician especially at the federal level.

Chelsea almost appears to have been raised for a future in politics. With no embarrassing college moments such as those as of the Bush twins she is not only a natural but also well prepared for a seamless entrance into politics.

Taking into consideration the fact that I personally may not agree with her politics, as a young professional woman I am still able appreciate that Chelsea is a strong women who can prove to the world that she is more than a pretty face or an object of adoration. Her success is admirable and despite her political ideology I will hope the best for her.

Not only is she a personal role model, Chelsea Clinton should be a role model for all young women who have political ambitions. Despite all of the stereotypes that women have broken and the numerous achievements females have made there are still a number of biases for women in politics. Hillary Clinton is the perfect example.

Hillary is seen as hard and emotionless and despite all of her efforts to appear feminine and soft she cannot seem to get it right. The larger problem is that she has been criticized for this.

I can only hope that Chelsea is the next generation of women who are able to embody mental sharpness and an easy going likeability that men never seem to have an issue with. Her performance on the campaign trail seems to be an indicator that politics comes naturally to her and now the only question left to answer is whether she will inevitably follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a politician herself.

For the sake of my generation of women who have found the balance between masculinity and femininity and intelligence and likeability I hope that she does choose to enter politics, or at least the public arena. She would be the perfect individual to help pave the road for women who would like to have it all.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Which Stain will the Democrats Erase?

“A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, ‘My ancestors came to this country in chains; I’m voting for Barack.’ I told him, ‘Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I’m voting for Hillary.’ ”

The above quote in the New York Times is useful to help us understand the struggle that Democrats are going through right now. One one hand voters want to nominate Hillary to prove that Americans are not mysoginistic and on the other they want to nominate Obama to prove that Americans are not racist. Both types of discrimination are clearly horrendous and it would be wonderful if in 2008 the United States could have either a female or black president.

The only problem is that as much as I find discrimination disgusting I still understand that to be sucessful in the general election the Democratic candidate will be best served by having time to stockpile money, rest and start campaigning against the Republican nominee.

For the sake of the Democratic Party Obama and Clinton need to be locked in a room and flip a coin to see who will be the nominee. If they can set aside their egos America may be lucky enough to prove to the world that we are neither mysoginistic nor racist with a woman/minority POTUS and VPOTUS team.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Clinton's Inner Bitch??

Since Hillary Clinton entered the presidential race people have been discussing what it takes for a woman to be accepted as leader of the free world. In Maureen Dowd's latest column in the NY Times she criticizes Hillary for being to soft and complaining to much. But the same week an SNL skit Tina Fey comments on Hillary's "bitchy-ness"

These two commentaries on Hillary Clinton and her character are very different and it raises the question, "Who is Hillary Clinton?"

On one hand she is hard and emotionless, but there have also been numerous instances where she shows her softer side, shedding tears and hosting intimate town hall meetings. She does not seem to know who she is and neither does the media.

Personally, I think Tina Fey is correct when she implies that there is nothing wrong with a woman who is a bitch because bitches get things accomplished. Isn't that what America and the world needs...A person who can get things done? I do not care if Hillary Clinton likes to cook, or cries often, or has a sensitive overly feminine side. I would be much more willing to support Hillary the bitch, if only she can learn to fully embrace it herself.