It’s the time to make New Year’s resolutions. But sadly, like most people, I usually break mine in about a month. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on making resolutions. It means that instead of making them for me I make them for other people. That way I can get credit for suggesting improvements without getting grief for failing to obtain them. It’s a win-win!
In that spirit, I offer the following New Year’s resolutions for some people and organizations. Let’s see if they can live up to them better than I could.
California Democrats should resolve to quit spending money like drunken sailors. The Legislative Analyst Office reports that we might — might — have a surplus (if we don’t pay down our debts or fund our government employee pensions) and their immediate reaction is to start more programs for a favored few. They can and should do better.
The Democrats in Sacramento ought to resolve to be less corrupt, as well. They get a pass on elimination of all corruption; after all, they dominate in one-party rule with no way to check them. However, you think they could muster enough courage to denounce progressive-liberal state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, who is currently the subject of an FBI corruption investigation. While they’re at it, they should censure state Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, who is caught up in the investigation as well.
Speaking of Democrats, the San Mateo County Democratic Party should resolve to get out from under the thumb of the unions. Compare last election’s endorsements; is there any daylight between the Democrats and the San Mateo County Central Labor Council? A good place to start would be to support the “BART riders bill of rights” that would ban BART strikes. According to a Field Poll, 52 percent of Bay Area residents support such a ban. Will San Mateo Democrats join the people against the powerful unions on this issue?
The California Republican Party should resolve to focus on local races and ignore the governor’s race. Under Chairman Jim Brulte, the party has made great strides in raising money and winning local and special elections. However, with low registration numbers and a thin bench, the party should remain focused on local races. If that helps in statewide races, so much the better. But Gov. Jerry Brown will easily win, so there is no point wasting precious party resources on his opponent.
Republicans also should resolve to do all they can to ensure the defeat of turncoat operative Dan Schnur in the secretary of state’s race. Given the low registration numbers, a Schnur win would encourage more defectors. Republicans need to make sure he suffers the same fate as former Republican, former independent and former Democrat assemblyman Nathan Fletcher of San Diego — complete humiliation.
The local Republican Central Committee should resolve to make some improvements to its operations (I am a member). At 19 percent registration, the county party should be registering more voters. Without a base of 25 percent or more, the chances of a local Republican office holder moving up to Assembly or Senate are just about nil. Let’s see those registration tables!
More openness and transparency ought to be a resolution for our local politicians. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, can take a lesson from U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan who posts the reasons for his votes on his Facebook page. Agree or disagree with his reasoning, these posts allow his constituents to have a better understanding of what is happening in Washington, D.C., and whether he is fulfilling his campaign promises. Speier should do the same.
The school board in my town of San Carlos could use a transparency resolution too. Earlier this year controversy erupted over a curious and ill-timed home loan given to the superintendent. After much public outcry, the school board asked for an independent investigation by the San Mateo County Counsel’s Office. Now, the school board may refuse to release all of the results, citing attorney-client privilege. The “we’re better than you” mentality of the this elected elite is something to behold.
Obviously, President Barack Obama has a few things he can work on too. First, he could resolve to stop droning innocent civilians in wedding parties halfway around the world. In his last campaign, we learned that he personally picks drone targets. He really ought to do a better job. Resolving to stop his National Security Administration from spying on the American people and to quit lying to us about the failures of Obamacare would be great as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll do either.
Whether any of these resolutions are actually kept, and whether you make and keep your own or not, I wish each of you a happy, prosperous and fulfilling New Year!
John McDowell is a long-time county resident having first moved to San Carlos in 1963. In the intervening years, he has worked as a political volunteer and staff member in local, state, and federal government, including time spent as a press secretary on Capitol Hill and in the second Bush administration.