Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vote Picks for 2016 for Santa Clara County, Assembly District 28, Willow Glen (ish)

As many of you know, I obsess about politics the way other people do about sports. This has been the most interesting election cycle of my lifetime, both good and bad. I've been pouring over the my ballot, and I get excited when I get my State Voter Guide, which is online. and below are my picks for 2016 all the way down. Feel free to start a conversation on this.

My Picks:

  • President/VP: Clinton/Kaine
  • Senator: Kamala Harris. Look, I love Loretta Sanchez as a person, and I recognize and appreciate what she's done in Garden Grove. But Harris is a serious candidate, and a historic candidate
  • Congress: Zoe Lofgren, now and forever. Proud to have her as my representative in Congress.
  • State Senator: Jim Beall.
  • Assembly: Evan Low
  • San Jose Unified School District: Pam Foley.
  • East Side Union School District. Pattie Cortese
  • City Council: Helen Chapman. Dev Davis is a Republican.
  • Open Space District: Dorsey Moore. PLO is just ballot riding.
  • Prop 51: Yes. Its the only way we can legitimately fund schools in California
  • Prop 52: Yes. Why is this not in the legislature?
  • Prop 53: No. Would make raising revenue for worthy projects harder
  • Prop 54: Yes. Seems reasonable that legislation should be public 72 hours ahead of time.
  • Prop 55: Yes. Proud to extend this, and to pay it. We have to find education somehow.
  • Prop 56: Yes. Leads to a healthier population
  • Prop 57: Yes. Part of the on-going criminal justice reform
  • Prop 58: Yes. Preserves the status quo. Common language is a unifier. I'd also like to see mandatory Spanish as well. Maybe in the future.
  • Prop 59: Yes. Allowing for proposal and ratification of an amendment to overturn Citizens United
  • Prop 60: Blank. Ummm, really? I have to vote on this?
  • Prop 61: Yes. Lowers drug prices. 
  • Prop 62: Yes. End the Death Penalty. Seamless Garment.
  • Prop 63: Yes. Background check for ammo. Guns don't kill people, bullets do.
  • Prop 64: Yes. 420 dood. Then tax it. See Aquinas: "lex humana dicitur aliqua permittere, non quasi ea approbans, sed quasi ea dirigere non potens." (ST 1-2.93.3.3)
  • Prop 65: Yes. Grudgingly. The bag ban is an example of the nanny state. Do you know how many groceries I have left in the parking lot because of this ban? But this redirects money to environmental causes.
  • Prop 66: No. Seems to me like taking away due process rights
  • Prop 67: No. See Prop 65. How much pasta sauce do I need to leave in the Safeway parking lot?
  • Measure A: Yes. We have the largest per-capita homeless population. We need to fix it.
  • Measure B: Yes. Traffic is a mess, future generations need BART. Yes to the sales tax.
  • Measure E: Yes. Be fair on offering extra hours. I have seen this abused.
  • Measure F: Yes. Its a decent compromise. Lets rebuild SJPD.
  • Measure G: Yes. Yes to Business Tax.
  • Measure X: Yes. Supports Job Training
  • Measure Y: Yes. More Property Tax to improve San Jose Schools.

My Current Senate map:


As extra credit: At this writing, my Senate Map looks like this. My current prediction is  50/50 split with VP breaking tie.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Making a difference in Nicaragua

Earlier in the summer of 2016, I send out a call to my frends and family to help me raise money for medicine for the people of northwest Nicaragua. As many of you know, I have been working with a great organization, Amigos for Christ, to help the folks of this area.

Amigos has a systematic approach to helping folks. The have have five foundational areas they work on. Simply put: First, they start by working with communities to build water systems. This work is not charity, but a collaboration. The community must put up half the labor, and some of the money. Once the water system is in, they work on health issues. From there, it progresses to economic development. They have been working on this for 20 years, and the area is dotted with free-standing independent communities.

I have been working with the Health Team for a couple of years. I have been working on eliminating intestinal parasites in children and their parents, a disease which affects way to many people in this area. This year, the group had a special meal for me to celebrate the work we had done, and I was supremely moved.

So, to the donors, I say thank you. But more importantly, so do they. Here's a message from my friend Juanita, a nurse on the team:


My name is Juanita Patricia Gonz├ílez Picado, and I work with Amigos for Christ. I am in charge of the projects for eliminating parasites, and the elimination of Chronic Renal Insufficiency in the communities we work in.  This year, we worked with seven communities, 4 existing and 3 new communities. Thank you for your contributions and donations, which help us realize these projects and serve the people in these communities with stool and urine testing, which helps us in our mission to eliminate parasites and disease. We keep you in our thoughts always.
(Note: The translation is mine. I take responsibility for any mistakes)

The team also put together a slide presentation on the epidemiological data they have been collecting in the communities, which illustrates the level of service and professionalism that these folks provide:



(If you want a translation, post a comment)

I am proud to be able to help them, and I am proud that my family and friends who donated help to make the lives of these people better.