Political Fix (3 July, 2014)

Pete McCracken – More than a City Council Member

It was a sad day in Porterville when Renaissance Man, Pete McCracken, passed away June 21st. Mr. McCracken had just been re-elected to his third term on the Porterville City Council.

Being on the city council, and having served as mayor, were just two of Mr. McCracken’s accomplishments.

According to the Fresno Bee, in the 1970s and 1980s he consulted for the World Bank on agricultural issues in Portugal, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand and Yemen. For about three years, he managed a 24,000-acre farm in Yemen and apparently spoke Arabic. Locally, he and his wife owned a Western dance studio and enjoyed dancing themselves. He and his wife also opened a restaurant that served French and American food, where Mr. McCracken was the chef. He was a veteran, having served his country as an Army Specialist from 1965 to 1967.

As the city’s vice mayor, Mr. McCracken supported former Mayor Virginia Gurrola when she attempted to pass a proclamation last year identifying June as LGBT Pride Month. For her efforts, the city council removed Ms. Gurrola as mayor, further removing Mr. McCracken as vice-mayor, and replacing them with city councilmembers Cameron Hamilton and Brian Ward. Mr. McCracken felt that he and the mayor did nothing wrong and that he was voted out of his position on the board because he supported Ms. Gurrola.

Apparently, the voters of Porterville didn’t think he did anything wrong, either, as they voted him back into office.
A week after the primary, Mr. McCracken was discharged from the hospital and had actually participated in the June 17th council meeting by phone in order to pass a new budget. He died three days later.

According to the Porterville City Charter, the city council has 30 days to fill the vacancy. If one candidate cannot get a majority of the votes, then the mayor can appoint Mr. McCracken’s replacement. According to the Porterville Recorder, councilmember Gurrola said, “I’d want someone in that position who has been involved in their community and will do their best for the city.” Unless some councilmembers start playing politics, that person is Matt Green, who took a commanding third place and is committed to public service in Porterville. Mr. Green might have even won if the general public knew that Mr. McCracken had suffered a mild heart attack shortly after Memorial Day. The Porterville City Council will be discussing their options at Tuesday’s meeting, which happens after press time.

The new appointee will hold the seat until November of 2016, as Porterville voters just changed their city council elections from June to November. An interesting twist will be if the city gets sued and has to change to district elections. In November 2016, three seats will be a full four-year term and one will only be a two-year term. How they figure which district will be saddled with the two-year term should be interesting.

Devin Nunes Has Bigger Fish to Fry

Just to keep everything straight: the Speaker of the House is John Boehner, R-Ohio, the House Majority Leader was Eric Cantor, R-Kentucky, and now is Kevin McCarthy, R-California. The House Majority whip was Rep. McCarthy and now is Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Rep. McCarthy is the first lawmaker from the Central Valley to hold the number-two spot in Congress.

So where is Rep. Devin Nunes in all this? Rep. Nunes is much better-known than Rep. McCarthy, and is much more active in making policy and putting forth legislation. Why doesn’t he have the number-two spot?

Many times on the news we have seen Rep. McCarthy standing alongside Rep. Cantor and Rep. Boehner during a press release or announcement, yet personally I never knew who he was. I was shocked to learn that, as a resident of Lemon Cove, not only was he my representative but he furthermore held the third-highest position in Congress.

They say that Rep. McCarthy is stronger on politics than policy, which is true. Last year, when trying to get Rep. McCarthy’s position on immigration for an article, it took five emails for his spokesperson, a Mr. Fong, to finally give me an intelligible response, if you could call it that. His position, at that time, was that he had no position, but will in the future. In the ensuing months the most controversial issue that Rep. McCarthy took a stand on was the West Nile Virus. He’s against it.

Congressional Republicans’ biggest beef with electing Rep. McCarthy as the Majority Leader was the fact that he comes from California–you know, the same state as Governor Moon Beam. No such stigma has weighed down Rep.

Nunes, who has earned his conservative chops by not just talking the talk, but by walking the walk. Because of his work in Congress he is on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Now Rep. Nunes has made it clear he wants to be considered the successor to the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence after the retirement of current chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan.

According to Professor Nathan Moore of the University of California, Merced, as stated in the Visalia Times-Delta, “It could signal a desire to eventually make a move to the executive branch, as a cabinet secretary or head of one of the intelligence agencies, or even a run for the Senate.”

Ultimately, each of our local representatives is where they are supposed to be. You can’t have the House Majority Leader calling his colleagues “lemmings in suicide vests.” And you can’t have someone unwilling to take a stand as the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Conveniently for Rep. Nunes, House Speaker John Boehner has the authority to select the next Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and guess who now has his ear?

A Debate to Forget

The Sacramento Bee, along with other media outlets, invited Gov. Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari, to debate this fall. The same media group sponsored a debate between Gov. Brown and Republican Meg Whitman in 2010 that drew an estimated 2 million viewers.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “Kashkari has called for 10 debates… On Friday, he accepted the invitation from the Sacramento group. Pat Melton, Kashkari’s campaign manager, said in an email that ‘it is critical for voters to hear directly from both candidates about their plans to address the big challenges facing our state.”’

Anyone feel a big yawn coming on? What do they really have to debate? California’s recently signed budget, about which Mr. Kahskari has found little to criticize? Realignment? That was forced on Gov. Brown because of the inhumane overcrowding of our prisons. The $11.1 billion water bond that Gov. Brown wants to reduce to $6 billion?

In Mr. Kashkari’s only televised ad during the primary, he criticized Gov. Brown’s pet project, the High-Speed Rail (HSR). Recent polling shows that voters have changed their minds about building HSR, but not so much to get anyone excited, unless you live in Kings County. Besides, there is much unspoken support for HSR. Rich people want to be able to get on a train and catch a matinee in San Francisco then make it home for dinner. Poor people would like to have high-quality jobs with a comfortable retirement that the most vocal and loudest critics of the train already enjoy.

Both candidates really meet in the middle, and besides HSR, Mr. Kashkari doesn’t have that wedge issue to motivate voters to go to the polls. He needs to use his time in the spotlight to shore up his standing for the 2018 election. He could be the Republican counterpart to the Brown legacy. Gov. Brown’s father, Pat Brown, was a two-term governor and well liked by Republicans. In his old age, Gov. Jerry Brown has made many Republican friends.

Four years is a long time to go without saying something stupid to ruin your chances for the next election cycle. Take Hilary, for example: The more we hear, the less we like her. But Mr. Kashkari is a moderate who stays true to his beliefs. Because he doesn’t pander to the cheap seats of the Republican right, he won’t have to spend 2018 back-peddling statements made in the previous years

Two million viewers? I don’t think so. This debate season won’t create the same buzz or friction that existed in 2010 between Queen Meg and Gov. Brown, But Mr. Kashkari may still walk off the stage a winner.

A Paradigm Change

Does anyone out there think Mississippi is poor and backwards? Well, if California splits into six states, the Central Valley will take over Mississippi’s spot as the poorest state in the nation. Comforting isn’t it?

An initiative that would split California into six states will be on the ballot in November but will never become a reality. Yet this initiative has highlighted an uncomfortable and acceptable segregation in our golden state.

I remember when a friend in college said that agriculture-based economies are screwed. I said, “Really…” and he laughed at my ignorance, which wasn’t an uncommon occurrence as a university student coming from a fairly sheltered life in Visalia. Just like an undeveloped country, Tulare County’s economy overly relies on agriculture, which is a huge local employer, but pays so little that most agriculture workers could–ironically– qualify for food stamps.

Poverty and high unemployment were a problem in Tulare County before Assemblywoman Connie Conway was even a Supervisor. They were problems before Rep. Devin Nunes and Rep. David Valadao were even born. But when their overshadowed critics say we need a change in leadership, it’s the Six California’s initiative that has brought their reasons why to light.

The Fresno-based Central Valley Business Incubator (CVBI) asked the question, “Does the Valley have the talent to sustain high-tech business?” The answer was a resounding, “Yes.” The CVBI stated that the Valley has “the talent, the role models and the capital founders needed for technology ventures in our area to succeed.”

We need our local leaders to lead this county out of our internal third-world status. Tulare County needs an affordable four-year university and more industrial jobs, such as the ones offered by HSR. If our leaders think that the HSR will cost too much, for too few jobs, then they should have already brought other industries in to take its place. With the Valley’s affordable cost of living, we should be overrun by high-tech companies and factories, and our economy not overwhelmingly related to agriculture.

Let’s leave last place to Mississippi and make a paradigm change here.

A Layman’s Rant about the Middle East

When you start pining for the days of Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad, and the stability they used to bring to the region, you know the situation has gone from bad to worse. Israel has conducted airstrikes inside of Syria. Syria has warplanes bombing Iraq, and Iran is fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) entrenched along the border. ISIS has carved out the border area of Syria and Iraq, claiming a new militant Islamist state, or caliphate. Al Qaida actually kicked ISIS out of their club because they were too extreme. All this warfare is because Muslims can’t agree on the legitimate heirs of Mohamed, so of course the only reasonable answer is to kill each other.

Now President Obama finally wants to arm the moderate Syrian rebels. He has wanted to do this for months but has had a hard time discerning what exactly constitutes a moderate Syrian rebel. The expectation is that these rebels will topple Mr. Assad and defeat ISIS. Really? The rebels can barely find their ass with both hands and yet they are supposed to do what Iran, the United States, Iraq and Syria combined have not been able to do? And what happens when our “vetted” rebels abandon their post, drop their United States-supplied arms, and run home–leaving our weapons in the hands of ISIS? How is everyone going to feel about arming the rebels then?

Sitting here between two lounging cats at my home in Lemon Cove, the answer seems pretty clear to me: We need to line our troops along the border of Jordan and Iraq and stabilize that part of the Middle East. Why? Because Jordan actually likes us, and we like them. Sure, it’s a monarchy–but we love monarchies. We practically tripped over ourselves to save Kuwait’s monarchy when Iraq took over that country in 1990.

Who doesn’t love the elegant Queen Noor, widow of the late King Hussein of Jordan? And who doesn’t gawk at her beautiful successor, Queen Rania, while she pursues her charitable work amongst the refugees and orphans, all while impeccably dressed?

While we are at it, we need to do the same in Iraq’s two other neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, hemming in the entire region. Seal off Syria, Iraq and Iran, and let them fight it out like the Christians did when Christianity was the same age as Islam is now. In a hundred years or so, the survivors might decide that how one is descended from Mohamed is not what makes one a good Muslim, and then they can go back to fighting over oil like good Christians do.

14 thoughts on “Political Fix (3 July, 2014)

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  1. “Green might have even won if the general public knew that Mr. McCracken had suffered a mild heart attack shortly after Memorial Day.” You should be ashamed of your self for even saying that, trying to compare “mr green to mr crackens long time service to porterville, and a lot of people did know that pete was sick, mr green is not a good candidate , thats why he didn’t win and come in 3rd and just like the name is very green when it comes to helping run a city such as porterville and its long failing economic development,mr green would be last at best!

    • I respectfully disagree with Mr. Alex Station. Compare to what the public ending up with I know Mr. Green was not only more deserving of the position, but very much qualified to guide the city in a more positive direction. ‘I don’t think Mr. Green would fit into the ‘YES”, “YES” program, which is what the current city council was looking for and that goes for mr. stowe. stowe was the one who granted me permission to hold a political event at the Veterans Park in June of 2012 and allowed the city to get involved in litigation over the civil rights deprivation. As I said, the “YES”, “YES” program. (just go along with the majority) I don’t want to show Mr. McCracken any disrespect, but he was involved in offering a 2012 candidate a position with the city if he did not run for city council that year. This allegation was confirm by the Tulare County Grand Jury, and guess what?, Tim Ward the elected District Attorney refused to prosecute.

    • Mr. Station: It’s not that I am lawsuit (sue-sue,AS YOU PUT IT) happy, because I don”t don’t even like being in court, I just don’t appreciate anyone violating the rights that I chose to defend via the service to my country. Anytime your’re ready to make a the trip so that you can satisfy your curiousity
      feel free to contact me. If you have any problem, everyone in town knows who I am and where I reside . I welcome your interest, maybe through you more people will satisfy their own disbeliefs. But please don’t waste my time or yours if you just want to see the evidence and do nothing about it.

  2. Mr Duran , i really don’t care where you live or who you know, what i do care about is you making assertions and alluring on public sites and in print media, and not backing anything you say with factual info
    such as: ” I don’t want to show Mr. McCracken any disrespect, but he was involved in offering a 2012 candidate a position with the city if he did not run for city council that year.”

    how can that be the city council does not hire people to work for the city lol the city manger and HR department do that…..

    and again if you had any credible evidence maybe you would have won some of your cases ,maybe you do have something is that why the DA been at the last two city council meetings?….

  3. Mr. Station, and you are absolutely right, that the council does not hire people to work for the city, that is why I had questioned the allegations which were presented to me regarding this type of illegal activity of city employees and some of the City Council members.You need not worry about any rulings which have or have not been rendered in my favor. Whether you agree or disagree about me defending my civil rights, I will continue to do so. You should instead be more concerned about the functioning of your city government. Mr. Station, in reference to Mr. Green the third place candidate, think about what happen. We demand that any illegal people coming to our country take their place at the end of the line, in order to continue the process to citizenship. This demand is supported by every politician. Upon Mr. Green going through the process of getting vetted, knocking on doors for votes, walking the streets shaking voters hands to gain their vote, and taking the time to participate in several forums, the city council simply, slapped the voters in the face, by placing an individual at the very beginning of the line and granted him the privilege of representing the citizens who did not even vote for him. The appointed member to council did not have to comply with the demands that we make upon everyone else, not even when it comes to elections. If this is the case, why even register to vote, vote, or talk about voting. Just take applications and give it to your best friends, but be fair and tell the illegals that they no longer have to wait in line or go through the process in order to enjoy the last of our liberties and rights of our constitution. As a matter of fact in the 2016 Elections, let’s just let the government know that we want to consider taking applicants only. As per the DA attending the recent council meetings, HE SHOULD , after all, he is the one who refused to excercise his authority to prosecute criminal activity, referred to him by the County Grand Jury. Regardless if crimes against the public are infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies, it is his duty to uphold the law. The invitation is still open to you. Mr. Station when I say things in public. it is because I have had the allegations confirmed. Do yourself a favor and don’t dismiss the invitation. Please consider the old saying, “Sometimes it’s better that you did not know”.

  4. what does matt green and so called ” illegal people” have to do with a little city council pick ?

    so all you have to do is kiss some babies , and walk around this city and shake some hands and that some how makes you more qualify, again doesn’t work that way

    and keeping quiet about your local government doesn’t do anything for transparency

  5. Mr. Station: Please do not loose you focus regarding this conversation. The issue concerning Mr. Green and the illegals (I sure have said, “undocumented” and I respectfully apoligize”), do ha

  6. do have association with the topic we are expressing. You initially said that Mr. Green should not be compare to the level of Mr. McCracken. and I “respecfully disagreed”, Mr. McCracken served (supposely served) the city for several terms, and personally I did not see any accomplishments.The only thing I do know is that Mr. McCracken was in involved in offering one of the candidate in the 2012 Elections a position with the city, if he stayed out of the race, and I will take you before that individual if you are willing to hear the truth. In regards to the illegals, I said that “we, (as Americans) demand that the illegals take their place in line in order for them to get citizenship, contrary to how the city council, appointed the new city councilman. Let’s not be stupid about this. The Council was wanting an “expericence” applicant, well look what we ending up with. If you check the servay that the Recorder is conducting, you can agree that the majority of the resident do/did not approve of the appointment. This is why I invite you and I to talk so that we can clarify the illusion of representation. If you choose not to contact me, please accept any further response. You did not engage in doing what I and the other 5 candidates did in asking people to support us in the election, and with this said, you have no standing in presenting arguement. In asking the voters to support us, was far more repectful then asking them to “GROW A PAIR”, allow me to ask you, IS THIS THE KIND OF REPRESENTATION YOU WANT?????????

  7. Please excuse the typos, I apologize.”do ha” was related to a click, but it was a continance. “one of the candidate, should read candidates. The word “survay”, should read survey. “of the resident”, should read of the residents. Please accept any futher, should read “do not expect any further communication. Arguement should read “argument”. Again I respectfully apologize.

  8. Mr. Station, The candidates were just not walking around “kissing” babies and shaking hands as you put it, that is absurd. I can not beleive that an intelligent individual like yourself would actually think that is the way the election process works.

  9. oh mr Duran thats really sad that you think pete did nothing for the city that is a very sad and untrue statement but that is your opinion and you are welcome to say what ever you want the guy is dead now,

    and for the “grow a pair” his turn is coming in 2016 and will not be returning the new future voters mostly young people will see to this

    for the so called paper site survey that’s not an accurate survey any one from any where in the world not just residents can vote and as many times as they want lol

    yes i was being funny about the so called election process ,

    i know how it works right? LOL the 3rd runner up gets the spot if someone dies and we don’t have to follow the city charter

    you ran many times before yet never won why is that?

    and i love how people in porterville think they have to sit down with someone to get there point threw i could care less of all the so called what if’s and what who did or may have done, what i care about now is the seated council now and what will they do for the people in the areas that are the most needed items

    1 water
    2 infrastructure
    3 economic development

    yet if you ask them they can’t give a logical answer

    the story in the paper the other day about water and from the city manager point of view said they don’t want the city water cuz that means they will have to follow city rules,

    this is the first i have ever heard of this i know of many property’s that are on city water yet do not count as in the city

    and for the ” The Council was wanting an “expericence” applicant” i think that quote come from the good old paper and i wouldn’t take anything they said with a grain of salt

    so if you and mr green want on council just keep on at it, but history has shown them and the voters they like to see some one that is engaged with the city and the people either by volunteer ,or committee or business owner ,and all types of people with in the city, need to be engage by there so called Representative not just there buddies

    and for the so called “undocumented” not going to go there your analogy is way off

  10. Mr. Station: Thank you for your reply, it was well received and welcomed. From our conversation, I seem to think that we both agree on several topics and this is the way that most intelligent men can come to agreements and move forward to try and fix things, and for this I give you “props”. But just to stand correct, this was my first time to run for the Porterville City Council, and I took interest only because of the many things that I see wrong within the city government. And as for Mr. Greens’ position and from my point of view. I still feel that the next highest vote getter should have been appointed. Why?, because of the principles of a democratic form of government. I personally, to think that the vote of 4 council members should not have prevailed over the vote of hundreds of other citizens. If we wanted to take it a step further, we could say that the 4 council members gained an extra priveliege that you and I did not get, and that was to vote twice.In regards to the “undocumented” analogy, I still feel that mr. reyes did not earn the position, it was simply hand down to him, like an old pair of shoes would be handed down to a sibling or as a token recogniztion or moreover, the bottom of the barrel stock, (NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF). You mention three issues of concern: 1. water; as much money as the city allocates to the limited use of the golf course, maybe they should have invested in more reservoirs. The Chamber of Commerce audit reports for the last 4 years, indicate that the Chamber makes over $300,000.00 yearly. Maybe we should have used the yearly $35,000.00 the city contributes to the Chamber on other water projects. I personally asked 13 businesses within the Main Street area, if they were members of the Chambers’, even I was surprised, when they said HECK NO!!!!! 2. Infrastructure. When you get some time please go and speak to Mr. Jeff Edwards (a long-time resident and business owner) and ask him if the $1,000.00 he and other business owners (seperately paid), had been paying for, for the last 10 years contributed in the maintance of the parking lot behind his their businesses. 3. Economic Development. I do not know if you are aware that the city intends to rebuilt the old Porterville Hotel site to house the District Attorney of Tulare County. Don’t forget we still have 6 court rooms vacant at our new $93 Million courthouse. In order to aquire the hotel the city had to paid down the remainer of a state grant in the amount of $740,000.00, plus a development grant of $450,000.00 and a $150,000.00 note owed to Citicorp. If you get the chance, check out the repairs the city claims it has repaired regrading the drive thru allies along side of Main Street. Mr. Station, I personally, don’t feel that an individual has to serve in any committee, volunteer, or be a business owner in order to be a servant to the people. A Servant simply has to follow the principles of our constitutions, which allows the people to have their freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It takes real men like you and I, to question the intents of local government and not just accept lip service. Sir: Can we have coffee, sometime? I guarantee you that at the end of our second cup, you’ll regret you didn’t vote for me. John

  11. yes i.m fully aware to the new DA offices i was pushing for that some time ago to the city and made that suggestions to some city folks and to mr einns , tho the other ben einns that has the other office across town should not be for the public defender , it would serve the public better to have everything in one area close to the court house and to turn some of the unused building on main into mobile offices

    now I’m aware of the sham of a deal the business’s that our left on main are dealing with i used to talk with old Dick Eckhoff all the time and horowitz

    yes the 35,000 the chamber gets is a joke, now that ms carter is gone it will be harder to cook the books

    and about the appointment per the charter that’s like beating an old horse thats your opinion and your sicking to it

    i was hoping to see some movement on main st since the court house open, but some of the building are just not ready, since government and crime is the biggest profit makers for tulare co ,

    i thought i would have seen a flood of permits, for business’s like a kinkos, law offices,more restaurants, and paralegal and immigration consultant office , bail bonds places to fill up main and maybe even a real cocktail lounge

    I’m mean if they can loan for kohl’s and these other retail places why not to private sectors
    or other type of companies such as wind and solar, and ag technologies, its always the some old story with that town
    and for coffee wow 2 cups in that valley heat i might have to take you up on that in January

    most of the meeting Ive have done in your town, you just have to bring doughnuts and you got em hooked till next time~A,S~

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