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I was in DC yesterday, giving a talk to the National Association of Business Economists. The subject was the Trans-Pacific Partnership; slides for my talk are here.

Not to keep you in suspense, I'm thumbs down. I don't think the proposal is likely to be the terrible, worker-destroying pact some progressives assert, but it doesn't look like a good thing either for the world or for the United States, and you have to wonder why the Obama administration, in particular, would consider devoting any political capital to getting this through.

Actually, I was glad to see Larry Summers weigh in on the same subject in yesterday's FT. Reading that piece, you may wonder what just happened - did Larry come out f…

Advances under FMLN Governance: (historical background follows this section - see below)

1.       Food Sovereignty: Because of the destruction of agriculture by the international institutions and the Right: national corn production met only 30% of the nation's needs, beans 15%, and rice production disappeared. CAFTA prevents the FMLN from, for example, planting native species because it is considered a violation of the treaty. The Salvadoran government chose to produce seeds in national cooperatives and distribute them among producers: 400,000 farmers receive seed packets to the chagrin of the US Ambassador. This illustrates how the US stabs the FMLN in the back while shaking their hand. Today El Salvador produces 100% of the corn consumed in the count…

Last fall, Gov. Brown signed into law major changes to California's initiative process.  The following changes are cited in an article on KQED blog by John Myers.
  1. a new month long public review of initiatives in which backers can make changes;
  2. a process for legislators and initiative proponents to craft a compromise in the state Capitol and avoid an election altogether;and
  3. a new, continually updated online list of top initiative donors.

Read the full article at: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/09/27/big-changes-to-california-initiative-process-signed-by-jerry-brown/

A delegation of trade unionists and environmentalists met with Rep. Sam Farr recently regarding renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA "fast-tracking") and the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

The group expressed their concerns over the lack of transparency in the negotiation of the trade agreement and asked Rep. Farr to assure them he'd vote against the TPA - citing their concern that Congress by fast-tracking would lose their ability to have real input into regulations of the trade agreement.

Rep. Farr maintained his position that fast-tracking the bill was a necessity, and that he would vote for the renewal of TPA.  (The House Ways and Means Committee has favorably reported the TPA bill - H. R. 1890 - out of committee by a vote of 25-13.)

Rep. Farr has not yet…

On January 25th, state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced a housing-bill package designed to stabilize the lives of young people, families, and Californians struggling to get by on threadbare budgets. 

 AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins)One of the biggest challenges faced by affordable developers is the lack of funding available to build apartments and homes that remain affordable. Introduced by long-time housing champion and freshman Assemblymember from San Francisco, David Chiu, AB 35 would expand the state's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by $300 million annually. Expansion of the state tax credit will have two positive effects: Developers will not only have access to more funding for building developments where the rents remain affordable, but they will also …

"I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?"

So asked John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, on Tuesday, April 28, during oral arguments in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges marriage-equality case.

His question was an afterthought, late in the first round of oral arguments, with the justices questioning the Michigan attorney, John Bursch, he of the baby face and bow tie who had already argued before this court eight times and was now arguing to limit marriage to "one man, one woman."

The country's focus has ste…

The California Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing fast-tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement that the Administration has been promoting.

This message will hopefully influence Rep. Sam Farr to vote no on the Trade Promotion Authority (fast tracking) bill when it comes to the house. Anna Eshoo has said for months that she'll vote against fast tracking, but Sam has not been willing to commit to a "no" vote.  Let's see what happens now.

Trans-Pacific Partnership - Resolution 15-05.52

WHEREAS, the latest provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership's Investor-State Dispute Settlement System aggressively expand the powers of multinational corporations, giving them the ability to undermine democracy by challenging our federal, state and local laws an…

20 people in attendance

Deborah Luhrman, chair of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee (DCC) explained how the PDC fits into the structure of the County and State Democratic Party.  A Democratic Club is connected to the party structure through membership in the county central committee which elects delegates to the state central committee.

While our PDC representatives (Ron Pomerantz, member and Glen Schaller alternate) don't have a vote in the Central Committee's endorsement of candidates, we have a vote on all other decisions and, in fact, our PDC representatives can run for and hold office.  For a list of the current members of the DCC http://www.cruzdemocrats.org/about/member-roster/ .

She did point out that the PDC has taken an active role in the…

Dear Friends, 

Although the Senate has pushed forward and may likely make a final vote to pass Fast Track very soon, our fight is not over! Our next opportunity to kill Fast Track will be in the House of Representatives. As our Congressional Members travel back to their districts for the Memorial Day recess we need to make our voices heard! 

Please join us at the upcoming actions to let Rep. Farr know that when he has to make the decision, we want a NO VOTE on FAST TRACK for the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

Thursday, May 28th 11am - 2pm 

Join us to THANK Rep. Farr & Ask him to continue to champion Climate and Environmental Justice by voting NO on Fast Track for the Trans Pacific Partnership! 

Rep. Farr has done a great job in Congress w…


WHEN: Tuesday, May 26, 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Town Clock Tower - Pacific Ave. and Water and Front Streets. 
Start at the Clock Tower and march through Downtown Santa Cruz to the Civic Auditorium corners for rally in front of City Hall. 

A City that Recovers Together Grows Together

Affordable Housing in Santa Cruz FOR ALL  - Like you, City of Santa Cruz employees struggle to afford to live in the city. In fact, 46% of city workers are unable to live within city limits due to high housing costs and wage cuts workers have agreed to since 2009 to deal with the recession. Stand with us to change that!

A Real Living Wage in Santa Cruz FOR ALL -  From 2012 to 2013, city …

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