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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Health Insurance Reform...The Cause Endures

On March 31st, the Paso Robles Democratic Club held it's monthly meeting at Centennial Park. We were joined by Bill Skeen, Executive Director of Physicians for National Health Program.  PNHP

The program, founded in Chicago, is an advocate for "Medicare for All" or "Single Payer" as many know it to be.

Bill touched on many points of interest, including the fact that 50 million US Citizens Do Not meet criteria for private health insurance! Even in a tiered system, the premium for top notch "Gold Standard" of health insurance can be upwards of $3k per month! Then of course it steps down a couple of levels. Once insurance premiums reach a level where by most American workers can afford (barely), the level of care and co-pays are shameful.

To the corporate insurers, health care is a commodity to be traded IE "Gaming the System"

Did you know that 30%...let me say that again...30% of the premiums paid, go to shareholder profits, CEO incentives and admin, sales and marketing??

In other words, your hard earned money that you pay into private insurance pays for their vacations, cruises, bonuses and advertising!

Since Medicare was implemented in 1965, there was;

  • Huge increases in senior care
  • Less poverty
  • Less suffering
Under private insurance, we have seen;

  • 51 million Americans un-insured with still millions under-insured
  • Lower life expectancy
  • US being the only developed nation where one can go bankrupt over healthcare
  • And finally, "Death by Insurance Company
Those who know me may have heard my personal story of why this subject is so important to me.

My brother-in-law, having been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, was denied what may have been life saving, or at the very least, life prolonging, health care by his insurance company, BCBS, whom he paid monthly premiums through his job for more than 20 years, . Eventually he won his appeal and was dead one week the age of in peace, Brian.

This is a perfect example of "Death by Insurance Company". BCBS directly profited by Brian's death.

So...the system must change, right? What about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -PPACA?? Basically all this is, is private insurance that was tinkered with. It's not what we fought for and we cannot sit idle and not fight for something better.

Single Payer is a system where we pay the government through a tax. The government then pays the public insurance company who pays your physician to treat you, thus recouping the 30% of your money wasted in admin costs.

If you are in California, you need to be aware of  SB810. There are similar bills in other states. Follow this link and scroll down- State Single Payer Bills

Check out some interesting videos at  PNHPNYMETRO's Channel

Don't settle for what the private insurance industry is selling! We need a single payer system and we needed it yesterday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Formerly The Mohave Left

Announcing the name change of my local blog from The Mohave Left to the SLO County Progressive.

 Now that I am living in the beautiful San Luis Obispo County, I must dig in my heels and begin to discover what local deeds and misdeeds in which to write about.

My first concern, of course, is Teaparty member and our local Republican Congressman, Kevin McCarthy. Who is he, and how do we unseat him with a good progressive candidate? We certainly do not want him getting into the White House.

Heads up folks! Kim is back in Paso Robles and ready to fight :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

URGENT Help protect Arizona's Independent Redistricting!

 An urgent plea from Felecia Rotellini 

by Felecia for Arizona on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 2:33pm

Dear Friends,

Arizona's independent redistricting process is under attack. Senate President Russell Pearce and House Speaker Kirk Adams are trying to subvert the independence of the new Redistricting Commission for their own partisan agendas.  They are putting pressure on the citizen panel, the Arizona Commission for Appellate Court Appointments, who is charged with nominating candidates for the Redistricting Commission. This panel just finished a very transparent and lawful process to pick 25 candidates for the Redistricting Commission. This group of 25 candidates is the pool from which our legislative leaders will pick the final five members of the Redistricting Commission. Russell Pearce and Kirk Adams want to control the process – the process that the citizens of Arizona voted to keep out of their hands!

An AzCentral article with much of the background can be found here:

The Redistricting Commission is responsible for creating our state and federal legislative districts that will be in place for the next ten years. This commission has the ability to create more competitive districts so that every vote counts. That is why voters passed Proposition 106 in 2000 -  so that our redistricting process would be in the hands of independent decision makers. Pearce and Adams are trying to politicize and manipulate the independent process voters approved 10 years ago and appoint their partisan favorites. We can't let that happen! 

Below is a letter from a dozen Arizona leaders of both parties calling on the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments to stand up to this raw political pressure.  Please let the Appellate Commission know they did a good job selecting the most qualified nominees and legislators shouldn't interfere with their work.

Please send an e-mail to the Chief Justice and the Appellate Commission supporting their work. Email addresses are: and

The deadline for public comment is TOMORROW, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, so please get your e-mail in ASAP.

The Appellate  Commission will meet Wednesday, December 29, to consider the legislators' complaints.  The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at 1501 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ (State Court House) and there is an opportunity for public testimony.

Please don't let Russell Pearce and Kirk Adams control the redistricting process for the next 10 years! Send your e-mail now!

Let’s keep fighting for Arizona!
Felecia Rotellini

Rodney Glassman For ADP Chair

December 17, 2010 12:04 PM

Connie Finneman
LD19 Board Chair
Good morning State Committee Members,

Most of you attended last night's holiday party and heard Rodney Glassman speak. I am personally endorsing Rodney for the state party chair position for the following reasons:

1) He has committed to doing this job FULL TIME, not part time. I have never known a chairperson able to make that commitment. Because Rodney's wife Sasha will be starting a new job in the Phoenix area after the first of the year, Rodney will not be looking for an new job, so he will make the state chairperson position his full time job which is something I feel is desperately needed for our party. Since there is no salary paid for this position, most people could not afford to make a commitment like this. Therefore, they would only be part-timers in this important position.

2) Rodney has traveled the state during his senate campaign and has met with many people including PC's, district chairs, state committee people, etc. He is a great listener and welcomes everyone into a discussion. He prefers to have more people involved in decision making, rather than fewer people involved. He excels at bringing people together to find solutions.

3) He is accessible. Anytime I've ever needed to reach Rodney I've received a return email or phone call from him within 24 hours and I know he will do the same as state party chair.

4) He knows we exist in the East Valley. He and Sasha attended several events for Kit's campaign, working closely with our volunteers, more than any other candidate by far. So, with Rodney as our new state party chair it gives us in LD19 a voice in the state party!

5) He has proven he can fundraise. Rodney raised over a million dollars in his campaign for the senate against a powerful McCain machine so we already know he can bring money into the party.

6) He has already built relationships with major organizations that endorse him and that can help the party. Organizations like Labor Unions, Planned Parenthood, the LGBT community and the Sierra Club to name a few.

7) Rodney has a vision and the enthusiasm to carry it out. He knows that we need a "brand" for our party. What it means to be a Democrat in Arizona. He realizes that we need to be a strong, united party in order to take back our state. And you need someone with new ideas and the ability to communicate with everyone to make this happen. 

These are the reasons why I personally support Rodney for the position of state party chair.

If you would like to discuss this with me personally, feel free to call me at the phone # below or if you have any questions for Rodney, you can email him directly at Also, if you would like to help make some phone calls to fellow state committee members across the state, PLEASE let me know. There are 800 voting committee members in the state so any help with calling would be greatly appreciated! If you aren't comfortable calling but support Rodney and want to do something, please talk to other democrats that you know, tell them why you support Rodney and encourage them to do the same. Our state party meeting will be held on Saturday, January 22nd. If you are unable to attend you will need to vote by proxy. Please let me know if you do not plan on attending the meeting. More information will be sent after the first of the year.

As our district chair, I am so excited about the possibility of working with Rodney in the future because I believe HE is the one that can increase the energy and build the enthusiasm in the state that we in LD19 already have:) 

Happy holidays to you all and thank you for the opportunity to work with you over the next two years. I am truly honored!


Connie Finneman
LD19 Board Chair

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mayor Gordon: The Truth … For A Change

By Phil Gordon         

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 3:00pm.  

How would you like it if you spent years working to build a city, making it the best place in the world to live, work and do business, only to watch self-serving naysayers tear it down, either to fatten their wallets or to make a grab for higher office?

You would feel frustrated. I know that, because so many of you have shared your frustrations with me. You’re sick of the constant negativity. You’ve spent years making this City a better place, fighting to create jobs, grow the economy and rebuild our downtown. You’ve told me you want the truth to come out.

Welcome to the City of Phoenix, where many of us have worked together for decades, and where city government strives every day not only to create a first-class city, but to conserve every last taxpayer dollar. We’ve heard you. We get it. We work for you. Every dollar we spend comes from you. We must do more with less.

That’s not an empty sentence. That’s how our City does business. Yet to hear the naysayers tell it, we’re a city full of pigs at the trough.

Let me give you an example of how those who seek to tear down the City use an old tactic – games with statistics – to do their dirty work.

Last week, Councilman Sal DiCiccio
sent an email to thousands of Phoenix residents.
I know Sal well. In fact, as he’d tell you if you asked,
I was instrumental in having him appointed to his seat in District 6.

That’s why Sal playing fast and loose with the facts disappoints me. How does he do it?

For starters, the email carries a headline that uses carefully chosen wording to distort the truth: “$100,000/yr city employees to get big bonuses.”

For months, we’ve this has been a unceasing refrain: That City of Phoenix employees make $100,000 a year.

There’s a word for that claim: False.

The average salary for every employee in the City of Phoenix, according to our Budget and Research team, is $60,104 a year. But let’s go inside the numbers.

About 3 percent of our employees earn a salary over $100,000. They’re our top management, our civil engineers, our architects, our judges – in short, the folks who make sure you have clean water, that our buildings are safe and that our laws are followed. Are they well-paid? Yes. Are they paid better than they would be in the private sector? Absolutely not.

After that group comes our police officers and fire fighters, first responders, men and women who run toward danger while we seek refuge. The average police officer salary in Phoenix is $70,437 annually. For a firefighter it’s $72,132. For police supervisors – our most experienced cops, our sergeants and lieutenants – it’s $86,257 a year.

Can we get cheaper heroes? I imagine so, but could we rely on those younger, less experienced heroes when we’re threatened by danger? I’d rather not find out.

Finally, there’s everyone else in the City, our librarians, our park rangers, our supervisors and managers. The supervisors earn an average of $68,000 per year. And the rest of the nearly 15,000 employees of our City?

That group – more than 7,000 positions, or about half our total head count – earns an average salary of $43,345 a year.

Is that a healthy salary? In these times, yes. But it isn’t $100,000 a year. In fact, it isn’t even close.

So how did we arrive at that fantastic headline? You know the old saying – there’s lies, damn lies, and statistics. Councilman DiCiccio simply takes every single dollar that could possibly be associated with the cost of employing someone and he treats it as compensation. That’s every workman’s comp payment, every Social Security dollar, every unemployment insurance payment, every dime for Medicare, every dollar for insurance premium, every uniform allowance, every dollar spent on police safety gear, everything.

Frankly, if I used math like that, I could start referring to Councilman DiCiccio as the “$100,000-a-year Councilman,” by counting not just his $61,600 annual salary from Council and his $7,477 “double dip” pension from his last Council term, but every other benefit and expense that accrues to his employment.

I wouldn’t do that, of course. Because, while it might be semantically accurate – and kind of funny – it’s not what I consider to be the truth, in context.

It’s like saying that the City paid more than $200 million last year for employee pensions. Is that a lot of money? Yes, but it’s also about 5 percent of the City’s $3.5 billion in total spending for the year. That ratio compares more than favorably with private sector businesses that employ 15,000 employees, many of whom receive defined benefit pensions.

As for the City’s health benefits package and holiday schedule, which the Councilman calls “Cadillac” and “generous,” again they compare favorably with private sector companies of a similar size. More important, though, is the trend in the size of Phoenix government and the measures we’ve put in place to steward taxpayer dollars.

I’d file those under “Things The Naysayers Never Bother To Mention.”

Here’s the truth, not the spin of a politician seeking elected office. As you likely know, I’m termed out in January 2012, so I’m not hamstrung by the need to spin.

The City of Phoenix General Fund budget for 2010-11 is $79.2 million – or 7.2 percent – lower than our budget five years ago. This despite a 6 percent population increase and the opening of dozens of new city facilities.

Our General Fund budget is $185.5 million less, or 15.5 percent lower, than our peak budget in 2007-08.

You can follow the logic, I’m sure. When times were flush and our population and economy were growing, City government worked to further that growth. As the economy turned sour and we looked for ways to cut back, we slashed spending and ramped up efforts to do more with less.

That’s why the City has cut its budget six out of the past 7 years. We’re likely the only big city in America who can make that claim, by the way.

That’s why City workers agreed to a 3.2 percent pay cut last year – an agreement set to save us $100 million over the two years. That’s why property taxes in Phoenix have dropped 40 percent. That’s why we’ve instituted an Innovation and Efficiency Task Force that, thus far, has saved our City more than $20 million. And that’s why our head count of employees has steadily dropped from a high of 16,171 in July 2008 to 14,531 employees today.

Today we have the smallest city government, per capita, that Phoenix has enjoyed in 40 years (despite having a larger population by more than a million residents). We have 1,600 fewer employees than we did at our peak, jobs we’ve cut through attrition, not gimmicks. We’ve preserved our AAA-bond rating and we’ve received numerous national awards for management excellence and budget transparency.

We’ve accomplished all that while keeping our neighborhoods safe – our crime rate is at a 20-year low – and keeping valuable services, like libraries and senior centers, operating at reasonable levels.

Is our City perfect? No. We’ve made mistakes and we still have problems that need solving. But we’re working hard to be the best City in America, even in the midst of an unprecedented economic downturn. We’re doing it by taking care of taxpayer dollars and telling you the truth, accusations aside.

Speaking of which, here’s my favorite: That the City has offered workers “a $16,000 bonus for doing a good job.”

Uh, guilty as charged. Kinda, sorta.

The truth is, yes, we’ve ramped up a bonus program for employees who make suggestions – a program that’s been in place since the 1970s. The idea probably sounds familiar, since you may very well have a similar program where you work.

Employees make suggestions meant to save the City money. If a suggestion is adopted, that employee gets a one-time bonus. Last fiscal year, we got about 175 ideas from employees. We adopted 20. That saved the City about $435,000.

The bonuses? They totaled $20,600. All of them, together. A savings of $415,000 isn’t bad in return for a $20,000 investment.

This month, we changed the rules to give employees more incentive to get involved. We held numerous public meetings to discuss how an employee should be rewarded for saving the city a significant amount of money. The $16,000 figure Councilman DiCiccio quotes is the absolute top bonus available, the cap. To earn it, an employee would need to save the City nearly $2 million.

Compare that to the headline: “$100,000/yr city employees to get big bonuses”

You’ve come to me by the hundreds over the past year-plus, expressing your frustrations over the deceit, the distortions and the accompanying silence. You’ve told me you want the truth to come out, to hear about the progress we’ve made and the reforms we’ve passed.

I can’t simply stand by and allow baseless attacks to go unanswered. That’s why you’ve received this piece. I’m sure the naysayers will respond with more skewed stats and more distortions … but now you have the truth.

Please forward this message to all concerned taxpayers.

Thank you.

Phil Gordon

Mayor of Phoenix

 See Mayor Gordons Blog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

President Brewer? Arpaio? Pearce?

I know I'm not alone in feeling defeated and worn out after this last election cycle. Arizona Democrats got spanked and spanked hard. Lessons learned? Unless we have learned from this we have no chance to come back in 2012. Our hard won knowledge accumulated over this travesty must not be in vain. We need to regroup and come out fighting harder than ever. But how?

As I see it, the first thing we must do is fight back at the slurs and lies. No more turning the other cheek! We are honest to goodness good decent people fighting to preserve a country that is 'of the people and for the people'. Somehow being humane and protecting the rights of those who may not be able to defend themselves has become...bad? Un-American? Communistic? Come on!! Stop being afraid to stand up for what you believe to be right! And do so unappologetically. Be proud that you are trying to make a difference. Be proud for having the guts to stand up and say "NO MORE! I will not be intimidated by school yard bullies anymore!" Think on this one...President Arpaio 8-X

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Now You Get Mad?

I tried to find the original author but there have been so many posts of this. Thank you to whomever did write this as it speaks for so many of us. You've read this before, but it's worth reading again.

Dear Teapartiers,


After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?
You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq .
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq .
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden. You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans , drown.
You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.
You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.
You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.
You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.
You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick...Oh, Hell No!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RODNEY GLASSMAN - Now That He's Got Your Attention...

 Rodney Glassman answers questions on his recent music video and important issues facing Arizona on Phoenix Fox10. Once again, John McCain is nowhere to be seen.

On November 2nd, Vote for Rodney Glassman so Arizona can move forward.

Beth Weisser Supports The Dreamers!

Democratic candidate for Arizona State Senate, Beth Weisser, states her views on why she supports passing "TheDream Act" during her Clean Elections Debate against current Republican State Senator,  Ron Gould.

Beth Weisser For Arizona State Senate~~ LD 3

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gould Says "NO" To The Dream Act!

Arizona State Senator, Ron Gould-Republican, states his opinion regarding 'The Dream Act' during a recent Clean Elections Debate in Bullhead City. He feels even those born in the United States must go back to Mexico! And he says he believes in the Constitution? I guess if we are able to pick and choose which amendments we want to follow, then it all makes sense. Buh-bye to the  14th Amendment =((

Shame on you Ron! [-X

  Beth Weisser for Arizona State Senate