Help Perata find a new car

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata must have done something to make Santa mad this year ’cause carjackers in Oakland pointed a gun at the legislator’s head and stole his state-issued, cherry red Dodge Charger with 22 inch rims. (Click here to see the Contra Costa Times story.)

Police found the Charger but now Perata says he needs a less visible car that won’t attract armed thieves. Good idea.

But Perata doesn’t have much time to car shop. He’s busy trying to figure out how to deal with a big state budget deficit and the governor is breathing down his neck on health care reform.

So, I, with a far less demanding schedule, went on-line car shopping for Don this morning and I found the perfect automobile: A 1972 Dodge Dart for $5,250.

It’s cheap (Think of the taxpayers, Don) and my dad gave me this exact model on my 18th birthday and nobody ever tried to steal it.

But I’m open to other ideas on Don’s next form of transportation. Perhaps Schwarzenegger has an extra Hummer he could spare. I mean, really, would someone carjack a Hummer? Probably not unless it’s biodiesel, gas prices being so high and all.

Do you have a suggestion on what Don should drive in 2008? Send it on over.

PHOTO NOTES: Top photo is of Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata at a 2007 press conference with Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger announcing the passage of a bill creating a new water transit authority. Photo appears at dist09.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=GALLERY&SEC={2BD6256C-7DD9-4A47-8C9A-A4F296187840}

Second photo is from azcarsantrucks.com, http://www.azcarsandtrucks.com/classicdodge.html


Chevron conducts telephone poll

Chevron is reportedly polling Richmond residents on their attitudes about its expansion plans and the company’s fight with Contra Costa County over its property tax assessments.

An email to Assessor Gus Kramer from Richmond resident Don Gosney (I’ve pasted it below) outlines one Richmond resident’s take on the questions and the tone of the poll. It contains some interesting observations.

Here’s the email of Dec. 27 addressed to Assessor Gus Kramer:


Earlier this evening I participated in a telephone poll about the state of affairs here in Richmond.

I know better than to ask the pollster who sponsored the poll but usually from the tone of the questions you can get an indication or two.  This one was very obviously paid for by Chevron.  I could tell because almost every question either made them look very good or made you look very bad.  Most of the time it did both at the same time.

Asking whether I strongly approved, somewhat approved, somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved of various people and groups, she asked about Mayor Gayle McGlaughlin, the Richmond City Council (as a whole), the Richmond Firefighters Union, the Progressive Alliance and Assessor Gus Kramer.

She asked a barrage of questions asking for the level of support I had for the Assessor and again for Chevron after she posed several scenarios.  I’m going to be a little bit facetious here but I’m nor stretching things too far with this farcical scenario:  Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer is illegally trying to force Chevron to turn over the monetary award given to them when they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

More in line with her scenarios she would state that Chevron was following the laws as passed by the legislature and the people of California and that Assessor Gus Kramer was illegally and in violation of the law (both phrases repeatedly emphasized) assessing Chevron property taxes based solely on the fact that they had made a meager profit and could afford to pay the additional taxes.  She also put the same scenario where Chevron should be required to pay because the community needs the money.  She suggested that since Chevron had been an integral part of our community for at least three years longer than the City of Richmond existed, that we would naturally embrace Chevron and take sides with our good neighbor over the lawbreaker from Martinez.

Many of the questions also had to do with my thoughts on Chevron’s planned expansion and whether I might be willing to tell my elected representatives of my thoughts on the matter.  It seems that we’ve all been misled—Chevron’s only reason for this expansion is they can meet the energy needs of the good people in Northern California.

The questions went on and on but the tone was the same.  Chevron=Good—Gus Kramer=Bad.

Even though she specifically wanted to know my name (with correct spelling) and my telephone number, I was assured that this was for statistical purposes only.  Of course, she also wanted to know whether I was a registered voter and what the chances were that I might be voting in the near future.  She also asked what the chances might be of my speaking to my elected representatives (like I could ever remain silent).

Whenever I speak with a pollster or a tech rep over the phone I’m always curious where the call emanates from.  When I asked this young lady I asked specifically where she was calling from.  Her first response was that she was of Asian descent but their headquarters was in Orem, Utah. She didn’t say that she was actually calling from Utah but that the company’s headquarters was in Utah.  She did not sound Indian but she definitely sounded foreign.  I say this because she had great difficulty in pronouncing “Chevron” [One of her questions asked me to list the things I thought was wrong about Chevron.  Number four on my list was Chevron and when she asked me to elaborate one of the things I mentioned was that they outsourced their jobs to people from out of the State.  It seems that this is even so when it comes to their polling.]

What I got from this poll was that Chevron is trying to drum up support for their legal right to pay a lower property tax even when the lawless County Assessor ignores the law and doubles their tax rate.  It also sounded like they were going to try to discredit Mayor McGlaughlin and the Progressive Alliance.

I’m sure you’re aware that Chevron is none too fond of you right now and you’re probably also aware of this polling.  Just in case, though, I though I’d pass along my thoughts and recollections.

For the record, I’m for the expansion as long as Chevron meets certain reasonable conditions and I’m very supportive of our County Assessor and his efforts to make the refineries (all of them—in spite of what this pollster was claiming) pay property taxes that are based on reality.

Don Gosney


About FACE, forward MARCH!

Hat tip to brownsox over at Daily Kos

So Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, seeing rival John McCain slowly gain on him in New Hampshire (Romney’s back yard), is goin’ all Mike-Huckabee-with-a-shotgun on the Arizona Senator, per the AP via Yahoo news:

Romney fired away at McCain, repeatedly accusing the Arizona senator of failing “Reagan 101” by voting twice against Bush administration tax cuts. Romney also said McCain’s past support for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States and work toward legal status amounted to amnesty.

But here’s the problem with that, from Romney’s 1994 U.S. Senate campaign…

“I was an independent during Reagan-Bush…I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”

Maybe this is some sort of post-modern, uber-conservatism on Romney’s part, involving conservation of candidates: Now we need only one candidate at a debate, for he can effectively debate himself!


Check out new presidential issue web site

If you’re curious about which of the presidential candidates’ views most closely resembles those of your own, check out the new nonpartisan website Glassbooth.org.

Answer a series of online questions about your views on hot-button issues such as global warming, abortion, immigration, health care and the site will tell you which of the presidential hopefuls has similar positions.

I did it and I was surprised at the results. (And no, I’m not going to share my results!)


Sample ballot deadline approaches

To receive a sample ballot in the mail, voters must register on or by Jan. 7, according to the Contra Costa County Elections Department.

Pick up voter registration forms at city and county offices, Department of Motor Vehicles, libraries, fire stations, post offices and some schools and colleges. Registration forms must be postmarked by Jan. 7 or returned to the Election Department by 5 p.m. in order to trigger the mailing of a sample ballot.

The Election Department is located at 555 Escobar St. in Martinez and its hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Election officials will also send applications to vote by mail with the sample ballot. Voters who wish to vote by mail may fill out the application.

If voters wish to vote by mail prior to receiving their sample ballot, they must submit a letter to the Elections Office requesting that a ballot be mailed to them. Each voter must include the address at which he or she is registered and a signature. Ballots cannot be requested over the phone nor may voters request ballots for others including spouses or family members. Send written requests to the Elections Department, PO Box 271, Martinez, CA 94553 or fax to 925-335-7838.

Voters may also download a vote-by-mail application at the county’s web site, www.cocovote.us.

The final day to request a mail ballot is Jan. 29.

Voters who have registered as permanent mail voters will automatically receive their ballots in the mail starting the week of Jan. 7. If you wish to become a permanent mail voter, call the Elections Department at 925-335-7800 and request an application.


MTC extends on-line poll

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the nine-county organization that holds the purse strings on regional transit and highway money, wants to know what you think about Bay Area transportation, climate change, land use and other issues. To participate, log on through Jan. 18 to www.mtc.ca.gov/T2035.

Here’s what MTC has to say about its poll via a press release:


Every four years, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) updates its regional transportation plan, the region’s blueprint for spending federal, state and regional transportation dollars over the next 25 years. In order to hear your opinions on a variety of issues relating to the Transportation 2035 plan, MTC is hosting a Web survey through January 18.


The online survey asks participants questions about greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, housing, improving traffic congestion, and planning and transportation funding priorities in the region. Participants also may compare their personal answers with the results of a telephone poll of 1,800 Bay Area residents conducted by MTC. The survey is also available in Spanish and Chinese.


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to help create a shared vision for the region’s transportation network that will help protect the environment, preserve our quality of life and improve mobility over the next 25 years.


MTC is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.