Written by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

Perhaps you remember the demonstrations during the Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, when protesters proudly carried placards announcing "We are all Hizbullah". Over at Z Word, you can admire the updated version: "We are Hamas" - a slogan that, as Ben Cohen rightly observes, was "entirely predictable". What Hamas - and therefore the people who identify so enthusiastically with the Islamist group - really stand for has been gruesomely illustrated in the past few days.

Last week, an Israeli air strike targeted and killed Nizar Rayyan (sometimes also spelled Ghayan). He was a Hamas military commander who was regarded as one of the most popular and influential Hamas leaders in Gaza; in addition, he served as a "spiritual" leader for Hamas's armed wing and taught at the Islamic University in Gaza City, where his students reportedly revered him as a prominent Muslim scholar.

What Rayyan taught his students, and what he preached, is described in a post on Jeffrey Goldberg's blog at the Atlantic:

In particular, Rayyan was interested in the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, with a special interest in hadith that painted Jews in a negative light. ... This is what he said when I asked him if he could envision a 50-year hudna (or cease-fire) with Israel: 'The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don't need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.' There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. 'Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God.'"

And make no mistake: Rayyan was a man who didn't just preach hatred against Israel, he practiced it, and nothing was dearer to him than a dead Israeli: In 2001, he sent one of his sons to carry out a suicide attack in Gush Katif's Elei Sinai settlement.

That's what the people who march under a banner proclaiming "We are Hamas" identify with. And this is also what they identify with: as Khaled Abu Toameh reports, "Hamas militiamen had been assaulting many Fatah activists since the beginning of the operation last Saturday ... at least 75 activists were shot in the legs while others had their hands broken ... sources close to Hamas revealed over the weekend that the movement had 'executed' more than 35 Palestinians who were suspected of collaborating with Israel and were being held in various Hamas security installations." CONTINUED »


Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement on the violence in Gaza and around the world:

“This past year, we have seen far too much violence throughout the world, from the continued genocide of the people in southern Sudan to the horrible bombings in the city of Mumbai, to this week’s violence between Hamas and Israel.

“Every nation has the right to defend itself against terrorism and cold-blooded attacks on its people. Israel is no different and is right to defend itself against the unceasing violence of rocket attacks launched by Hamas.

“The goal should be just and lasting peace not only in Gaza but throughout the world, and all sides have the choice and ability to reject violence and work toward that goal.

“My thoughts are with all of those who face senseless violence and with all Californians who are affected by conflicts throughout the world.”



Senators: Barack Obama & Dick Durbin
Representative: Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Illinois Governor: Rod Blogojevich
Illinois House leader: Mike Madigan
Illinois Attorney General: Lisa Madigan (daughter of Mike)
Chicago Mayor: Richard M. Daley (son of Mayor Richard J. Daley)
The leadership in Illinois ? .....all Democrats.

Thank you for the combat zone in Chicago. Body count in the last six months: 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago, 221 killed in Iraq.

State pension fund - $44 Billion in debt, worst in the country.

Cook County ( Chicago ) sales tax - 10.25% highest in country. (Look it up).

Chicago school system - rated one of the worst in the country.

Of course, they're all blaming each other. They can't blame Republicans because there aren't any.

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in Illinois. And he's going to '"fix" Washington politics for us? Good luck and may God help us.


Senator George Runner
Senator George Runner
Serving the 17th District which incorporates portions of the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura and Kern counties.

SACRAMENTO – Today, Sen. George Runner (R-Antelope Valley), as a representative of the California Senate, testified before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court in its case against the California prison system’s alleged prisoner overcrowding.

“There is no question that California’s prison system has problems, but under no circumstances do the problems warrant the early release of prisoner,” said Runner, who has led the charge in prison reform in the State Legislature. “Other solutions exist – solutions that Republicans have introduced in recent times – that would not endanger our communities.”

Runner’s testmony will help the federal government’s three-judge panel (that was created in 2007) decide whether to place limits on California’s prison population. At the heart of the issue is deciding whether the prison system’s delivery of health care to prisoners is constitutional.

Runner affirmed to the court that indeed California does meet the scrutiny of the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment to prisoners.

“California prisoners are afforded adequate health care,” Runner said. “In fact, the mortality rate for California prisoners is lower than that of the general public.”

Runner also testified that California’s prison population has decreased in the past years, making it one of the lowest per capita populations of the 50 states.


Click here for Attractions Spa website


36 years ago, December 23, 1972, a date that is etched in adrenaline memory for many watching and betting on one of history’s greatest National Football League plays. The game: Oakland Raiders verses the Pittsburgh Steelers. With less than 22 seconds remaining in the game, Steelers’ Franco Harris scooped up the loose ball right before it hit the ground after being bounced from John Fuqua; Harris then ran over 35 yards for a touchdown. Forever known in history as the “Immaculate Reception”—a miraculous play.

Miracles define the holiday season—36 years ago it was that final 22 second miracle push that made history. This week we have an opportunity to contribute to giving miracles locally. Ventura County’s food bank, FOOD Share, has entered into the final quarter of their 2008 “Tackling Hunger” food drive with a goal of collecting 250,000 lbs of food by December 31st. The end of the food drive is near and there is still a great need for donations to make that final touchdown and reach their goal. FOOD Share has collected 106,897 lbs entering into the final weeks of the drive and needs that final 143,103 lbs to make their touchdown. 250,000 lbs will help sustain FOOD Shares service demands through the month of March. I am asking you to join with me and many of your neighbors, schools and local businesses, in the spirit of the holidays, to buy a little extra food to help your local food bank reach their goal.

FOOD Share is the emergency food lifeline to those hungry in Ventura County. Over 600 volunteers work to glean, collect, sort, pack and prepare more than 7 million pounds of food each year, and over 40,000 hungry people are being fed each month.

To donate to the VONS/PODS Food Drive, stop by any Vons in Ventura County and put your donations in the yellow FOOD Share containers until December 31st, 2008. FOOD Share is in need for protein rich foods to provide Ventura County residents in need with quality, healthy food such as: canned tuna, chicken and meats, canned soups, canned beef stew, canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned beans, canned spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, rice, dry beans, macaroni & cheese, peanut butter, jelly (in plastic), fruit juices (canned, plastic bottles & boxes).

You can also visit FOOD Share’s website at www.foodshare.com and donate money to purchase the healthy foods people need most.

Miracles happened throughout history; please join me in making a miracle for families in need throughout Ventura County this holiday season. Support Ventura County FOOD Share.

Other Economic Ramifications of Legislature’s Failure to Pass a Real & Comprehensive Budget Solution
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

At one of the most congested sections of I-405 in Los Angeles, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today highlighted the job, economic and quality of life ramifications of the legislature’s failure to pass a real and comprehensive budget solution. The legislature’s inaction caused the state Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) to vote last week to stop $3.8 billion in state infrastructure financing over the next six months – including the halting of $730 million in financing to build a 10-mile I-405 HOV lane in Los Angeles between LAX and US 101 in the San Fernando Valley designed to reduce 23,000 hours of freeway congestion per day. Due to the legislature’s continued failure to provide a real and comprehensive budget solution, 2,000 infrastructure projects in California valued at more than $16 billion are in jeopardy and tens of thousands of California jobs are immediately at risk.

“Last week the legislature asked Californians to pay higher taxes and fees without making a real attempt to put Californians back to work and help them keep their homes. Because of the legislature’s continued failure to pass a real budget solution, funding for infrastructure projects like this I-405 widening project has been stopped. So instead of bulldozers, cranes and construction workers getting to work – all we’ll have is more gridlock. This not only halts job creation and economic stimulus across California, but it also impacts our quality of life,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The time for political posturing is over – its time the state legislature starts solving problems instead of creating them.”

Designed to widen I-405 in Los Angeles County between Interstate 10 near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and US 101 in San Fernando Valley – this 10 mile northbound HOV project would complete the HOV system on Interstate 405 from State Route 14 to the Orange County line. As southern Californians know, this section of I-405 is heavily congested and existing traffic in the project area can be stop and go throughout the day. The HOV project projects to reduce 23,000 hours of congestion per day. Due to the legislature’s inability to resolve California’s budget shortfall, the financing for this project has been halted – and funding for 2,000 other projects across California is in jeopardy. (For a list of all infrastructure projects that could potentially be affected, please see the attached list).

Last week Governor Schwarzenegger declared he would veto the budget bills passed by the legislature because they fail to provide real solutions for California’s budget crisis and also fail to provide economic stimulus and mortgage relief for California. On November 6, 2008, the Governor presented a budget proposal to the legislature that would address all such issues.

In September, Governor Schwarzenegger announced the $730 million Proposition 1B allocation to this Los Angeles 1-405 HOV project. It is the largest individual Proposition 1B project allocation to date.


Supervisor Kathy Long is proud to announce a revitalization of the community of Piru’s Warring Park Basketball Court. Construction of the park’s revitalization project started this week and will replace the current asphalt court with a colored concrete court, new backboards, court benches, and baseball field dugout benches.

The County of Ventura has been working with the Piru Local Parks Commission to move forward on the replacement of Warring Park’s aging Basketball Court that is overrun with cracks and weeds. The new revitalization project is expected to be complete for use by December 29th barring any weather delays; and just in time for a New Years Day basketball game.

Supervisor Long remarks on the new basketball court; “Warring Park is like a favorite pair of shoes—worn and treasured by those that like to play. The new basketball court will bring more than new pavement—our children will now have new and safer opportunities to play, strengthen their confidence and their bodies on the court—the favorite pair of shoes got new soles.”

The revitalization project will cost $56,300 and will be completed by Draper Construction of Somis, who won the bid to replace the basketball court. Funding for the project is through the County’s Quimby Trust Funds that are designated for park acquisitions and improvements. The County is currently planning Warring Park’s next project that is estimated to go to bid January 2009 to level the baseball outfield.


In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter & Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews & observances of their holy days. The argument was....it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s).
The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, “Case dismissed.” The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, “Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter & others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur & Hanukkah. Yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays.” The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, “But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.” The lawyer said, “Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.” The judge said. The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.

City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

6:30 P.M.



IF YOU WISH TO SPEAK: Oral Communications is the time for citizen presentations or comments on items not on the agenda, but within the responsibility of the City Council. Please complete an Audience Participation Form prior to the beginning of oral communications and hand it to the clerk if you wish to speak. Please stay within the time limit indicated by the Mayor. If you wish to speak on an item on this agenda, please fill out an Audience Participation Form and hand it to the clerk prior to that item. AUDIBLE DEVICES: Please ensure all audible devices (pagers, telephones, etc.) are off or otherwise not audible when the Council is in session. Thank you.

AGENDA TIMES: Please note the time listed for each agenda item is the suggested/estimated time for that item to begin. Items may be heard earlier or later than the listed time. The estimation includes providing an occasional 10-minute break. No new business will be considered by the City Council after 11:30 p.m. unless a majority of the Council determines to continue.

MEMORANDUMS: Memorandums relating to agenda items are on file in the Administrative Assistant’s Office. If you have questions regarding the agenda you may call City Hall at (805) 524-3701 or come to City Hall for information. Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the City Council after distribution of the agenda packet are available for public inspection in the Administrative Assistant’s office at City Hall during normal business hours. Such documents are also available on the City of Fillmore’s website at www.fillmoreca.com subject to staff’s ability to post the documents before the meeting.

City Council and Redevelopment Agency Agendas are posted on the Web at: www.fillmoreca.com/cityhall/agendas


Senator George Runner
Senator George Runner
Serving the 17th District which incorporates portions of the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura and Kern counties.

SACRAMENTO–Sen. George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) today was sworn-in to his second and final term in the California State Senate, along with 20 other new and returning state senators.

“I am honored to have voter support, and I am privileged to represent my constituents in Sacramento,” Runner said. “I promise to continue fighting for the rights of taxpayers and support legislation that builds a stronger economy, safer communities and brighter future for Californians.”

Additionally, Runner was re-elected as Senate Republican Caucus Chair where he will continue to advance the policy priorities of the Senate Republicans, which include providing safe communities, building better roads and highways, making sure the state has a plentiful water supply, holding the education system accountable and slowing the growth of government and bureaucratic spending.

Runner represents the Antelope Valley, the Victor Valley, Santa Clarita, and portions of the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County.

Visit his website at http://republican.sen.ca.gov/web/17


Written by Dr. Peter Hammond

Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.
Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.

Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.

Here’s how it works.

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States — Muslim 0.6%
Australia — Muslim 1.5%
Canada — Muslim 1.9%
China — Muslim 1.8%
Italy — Muslim 1.5%
Norway — Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:

Denmark — Muslim 2%
Germany — Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
Spain — Muslim 4%
Thailand — Muslim 4.6% CONTINUED »

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Due to the potential for flooding, mud flows and debris in and around the Freeway, Sayre and Tea fire burn areas, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has directed his Office of Emergency Services (OES) to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and prepare to help local agencies if assistance from the state is needed as a result of the forecast this week by the National Weather Service (NWS).

“The recent fires have left many communities, particularly those near and below steep canyons, very vulnerable to flooding, mud flows and debris flows,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “The state stands ready to help local governments protect lives and property. It’s also important that residents of those communities take steps to prepare now if they haven’t already done so and evacuate immediately when asked to do so by local authorities.”

In response to the weather forecast, OES has coordinated conference calls with representatives from FEMA, the NWS and emergency managers in the state’s 11-county southern region to discuss weather, preparedness, response and recovery issues.

OES has also tasked the Department of Water Resources to provide flood fighting materials to Santa Barbara County and technical advisors to the City of Yorba Linda; tasked the California Conservation Corps to assist Yorba Linda with its flood fight preparedness efforts; and asked Caltrans to support the Orange County city by providing K-rails to keep mud flow away from homes and roads and cranes to move the K-rails.

Working with FEMA, OES has deployed joint state-federal Burn Area Recovery Teams to assess the potential for erosion, flooding, mud flows and debris flows in and around the burn areas of the recent fires and to make recommendations on possible mitigation measures.

As the state agency responsible for coordinating the state’s response to major emergencies in support of local government, OES has the delegated authority to task state agencies to provide resources and services that are outside their normal statutory authority. OES is also responsible for coordinating the statewide mutual aid system for fire and rescue, law enforcement and emergency services. The system helps provide support to city and county agencies affected by an emergency when an incident threatens lives and property and is beyond their capabilities. CONTINUED »

Congressman Elton Gallegly
Congressman Elton Gallegly
Serving the 24th Congressional District encompasses most of Ventura County and inland Santa Barbara County.

Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties) today commended U.S. and Irish officials for signing an agreement making Shannon and Dublin the first U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance airports in Europe.

Since 1986, pursuant to an original agreement between the two countries, passengers on commercial flights bound for the United States underwent immigration inspections at Shannon and Dublin. The new agreement is broader and includes customs, immigration and agricultural screening, as well as screening aircraft for radiological and nuclear threats.

Full pre-screening operations are planned to begin in Shannon in 2009 and in Dublin in 2010. When implemented, passengers and crew on all U.S.-bound commercial and private aircraft from Shannon and Dublin will be pre-cleared prior to departure.

“This is a major step toward improving security on U.S.-bound aircraft,” said Gallegly, who worked with the Department of Homeland Security and Shannon officials on converting Shannon into a pre-clearance airport when he chaired the Subcommittee on Europe. “Instead of screening for potential terrorists once an aircraft lands on U.S. soil, all passengers and crew will be screened prior to takeoff.”

In addition, commercial airline passengers who have undergone pre-clearance will experience faster domestic and international connections within the United States by having their checked luggage automatically transferred between flights. All passengers should experience less congestion at U.S. international airports because passengers from Shannon and Dublin will not undergo additional screening upon arrival in the United States.
Private aircraft flying through Ireland will also benefit. If the aircraft is pre-cleared at a CBP facility, it may fly to any airport in the United States without having to stop at a pre-designated Airport of Entry.

City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore


6:30 P.M.



IF YOU WISH TO SPEAK: Oral Communications is the time for citizen presentations or comments on items not on the agenda, but within the responsibility of the City Council. Please complete an Audience Participation Form prior to the beginning of oral communications and hand it to the clerk if you wish to speak. Please stay within the time limit indicated by the Mayor. If you wish to speak on an item on this agenda, please fill out an Audience Participation Form and hand it to the clerk prior to that item.
AUDIBLE DEVICES: Please ensure all audible devices (pagers, telephones, etc.) are off or otherwise not audible when the Council is in session. Thank you.
AGENDA TIMES: Please note the time listed for each agenda item is the suggested/estimated time for that item to begin. Items may be heard earlier or later than the listed time. The estimation includes providing an occasional 10-minute break. No new business will be considered by the City Council after 11:30 p.m. unless a majority of the Council determines to continue. CONTINUED »


Written by Lane Marten

Remember Lee Iacocca, the VP at Ford credited with the birth of the Mustang, the man who rescued Chrysler, Corporation from their death throws, and the owner of the famous quote "Lead, follow, or get out of the way"? Well, he's back! He has a new book, and here are some excerpts.

Lee Iacocca writes: Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course'. Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned 'Titanic' , I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!'

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you? I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready for and willing to have.

The Biggest 'C' is Crisis ! Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. George Bush, Dick Chaney and who is this Bozo coming up next? One of the most Liberal Idiots in the U. S. Senate and he is talking about disarming America . I can't believe the American people are not seeing what he is about to do to this country. May God have mercy on us all. CONTINUED »

Fillmore City Planner Kevin McSweeney.
Fillmore City Planner Kevin McSweeney.

Fillmore City Planner Kevin McSweeney spoke at the first city Housing Element Public Workshop, Tuesday evening at City Hall. The Workshop was held as part of the Housing Element Update process. The Housing Element is one of seven elements of the City’s General Plan, which prepares for the future housing development in the city. The workshop focused on explaining what a Housing Element is, what the Element contains, and how it affects the Fillmore community. A question and answer segment was included. This was the first workshop; the next one will cover ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ The Housing Element can be viewed on the city’s website at www.fillmoreca.com.
Approvals of the Element will take about one year, according to Mc-Sweeney.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed an executive order to waive fees and help recovery efforts for the victims of the devastating fires in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties.

Yesterday, the Governor announced that a one-stop local assistance center will open in Orange County today to provide services from local, state and community based agencies to those affected by the Freeway Fire. The Governor also sent a letter to the President yesterday requesting a Federal Disaster Declaration to help Californians cope with the effects of these unprecedented wildfires.

The Governor declared a state of emergency yesterday in San Bernardino County and on Saturday in Orange and Riverside counties as a result of the Freeway Fire. He also declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County as a result of the Sayre Fire. On Friday, the Governor declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County as a result of the Tea Fire.

The full text of the executive order follows:


By the Governor

Of the State of California

WHEREAS due to the destruction caused by the wind-driven wildfires beginning on November 13, 2008, I proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in the Counties of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino; and

WHEREAS these fires caused harm to people and property, burned thousands of acres, damaged or destroyed homes and other structures, caused evacuations, and caused damage to resources and watershed; and

WHEREAS these fires caused the loss of valuable personal and business records; and CONTINUED »

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent the following letter to President Bush through Karen Armes, Federal Emergency Management Agency Regional Administrator, Region IX, requesting that he expeditiously declare a major disaster for the state of California as a result of damage and destruction caused by wildfires fueled by extremely high winds over the past weekend. Fires in Southern California have destroyed over 800 homes and burned over 40,000 acres to date. The Governor is specifically requesting Individual Assistance (including the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling and Disaster Legal Services); Public Assistance (Categories A-G); statewide Hazard Mitigation; and any other Stafford Act disaster assistance programs that may be appropriate for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino. He is also requesting U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans and funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Emergency Loan Program for the affected counties.

Text of the letter:

November 17, 2008

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Through: Ms. Karen Armes
Acting Regional Director, Region IX
Federal Emergency Management Agency
1111 Broadway Street
Suite 1200
Oakland, California 94607-4052

Dear Mr. President,

Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, I request that you declare a major disaster for the State of California as a result of extremely high winds and wildfires beginning November 13, 2008. At this time, impacted counties include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara. Winds exceeding 70 miles per hour have worsened fire conditions by fanning the flames, causing them to spread with frightening speed. This wind and fire event has already consumed more than 40,000 acres; caused widespread human injury; destroyed and damaged homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and infrastructure throughout the region; and it continues to threaten the lives and safety of many Californians. CONTINUED »

Governor Highlights Importance of Emergency Preparedness
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today will lead California through its largest emergency response exercise ever to test the state’s readiness and response to a major earthquake. With more than 5,000 emergency responders from approximately 100 local, state and federal agencies participating, the Golden Guardian exercise will simulate a 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the southern portion of the San Andreas Fault. Additionally, more than 5.1 million Californians have registered to take part in the ShakeOut Drill, which will be held in conjunction with Golden Guardian 2008. Combined, this is the largest earthquake drill and exercise in U.S. history.

“California has the best emergency operations and first responders in the world, but we always want to get better, which is why this practice drill is so important,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Here in California we are determined to make preparation the difference between emergency and catastrophe. We cannot make precise predictions about when an earthquake will happen, but we can be prepared.”

Golden Guardian 2008 is the statewide emergency preparedness exercise and is paid for by federal homeland security grants. It will test coordination between federal, state and local response and recovery among city, county, and state agencies, community-based organizations and the private sector, as well as the state’s Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and mass care and shelter operations.

Dozens of state agencies will participate, including the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security (OHS), Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), California Highway Patrol, CaliforniaVolunteers, Health and Human Services Agency, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and others—all with critical roles to play in the event of a disaster. The California National Guard, for example, will be simulating command and control of its more than 20,000 members in crucial areas such as security, transportation and equipment support for the exercise.

“We always want to make sure our first responders have the best training, equipment and procedures,” said Office of Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen. “We always want to examine how we can do things better and how we can best respond to disasters.” CONTINUED »

Higher Taxes mean Fewer Jobs
Senator George Runner
Senator George Runner
Serving the 17th District which incorporates portions of the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura and Kern counties.

With California’s unemployment rate rising above 7%, the national economy shrinking, and the state’s budget deficit widening, voters are looking for answers to ease their financial fears and fix the state’s budgetary mess.

The temptation among Democrats is to raise taxes in order to fund government programs that they believe would both help people through these difficult economic times and balance the budget. However, increased taxes would only worsen the situation by hindering economic recovery, which in the long run means fewer jobs.

California already ranks among the top ten in hostile business environments in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, only New York and New Jersey beat California in harsh business climates.

A hostile business climate does not invite entrepreneurs to expand business or start the businesses necessary to create jobs. This means less investment in the state, which means fewer employment opportunities for California residents.

Nearby states like Nevada, Arizona and Texas – all of which have lower income and sales tax rates – are creating jobs, oftentimes by enticing California entrepreneurs to open shop. Were it not for high taxes and burdensome regulations, many of these jobs would otherwise stay in California.

Furthermore, increased taxes will not lead to balanced budgets, especially if state spending is not cut. California has faced this situation before, and should learn from its mistakes when it comes to raising taxes during an economic downturn. In the mid-nineties when California faced a budget deficit and a cooling economy, state leaders decided to raise taxes. Revenues consistently failed to meet the rosy projections.

In hindsight, their actions prolonged economic hardship without solving the fiscal problem of overspending. Based on that experience, now would be the worst time to consider burdening Californians and hindering our economy with higher taxes. Sacramento should not repeat the failed policies of the past.

Help our Troops Call Home CONTINUED »