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Columns
2017 looks big for state Dems

Pity the poor California Republican Party. While its national brethren control both houses of Congress and the White House and might as well control the U.S. Supreme Court, chances are no California Republican will even make next November’s ballot in either of the top-of-ticket races whose outcome will be known about one year from today.

It’s quite the opposite for California Democrats, who exert even more control here than Republicans do in Washington, D.C. While it looks like the next year will be dreary for the state GOP, trying desperately to hold onto the meager 14 California congressional seats it now holds, multiple Democrats lead all polls and fundraising in the race to become California’s next governor – perhaps the second most powerful job in America. So far, only Democrats are among major prospects to oppose longtime California Democratic grandee Dianne Feinstein for the Senate seat she’s long held in what promises to become a classic intraparty spat.

Even in down-the-ticket races, it’s similar. Example: It now looks like the November runoff for attorney general will match the appointed incumbent Xavier Becerra and current state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who did not flinch or drop out when Gov. Jerry Brown last year named veteran Congressman Becerra to replace new Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris.

No significant Republican candidate has yet risen for any statewide office except governor, where Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen and Republican businessman John Cox both hope ballot initiative fights can propel them to the ballot.

Allen seeks to ride a tide he believes will lead to repeal of the state’s new environmentally-motivated gasoline tax increase, while Cox is again pushing a measure that would expand the Legislature a thousandfold.

No one knows yet if either putative proposition will draw the fervent support these men hope for, but others have ridden initiatives into office, an example being ex-Gov. Pete Wilson, who attached himself to the 1994 Proposition 187, which aimed to take almost all privileges away from undocumented immigrants, including emergency room service and public schooling. Most of its provisions were later tossed out by federal courts, but the vast majority of the 65 percent of Californians who backed 187 also voted for Wilson as he beat former state Treasurer Kathleen Brown, sister of the current governor.

Because both Allen and Cox have polled in the vicinity of 8 percent in every major survey, if Republicans want a spot on the gubernatorial runoff ballot, they will likely need to convince one or the other to bow out. Things could get even tougher for them if Chad Mayes, the former leader of GOP members of the state Assembly, makes good on a hint he will also run.

In the land of political egos, though, it can be difficult to get determined candidates to quit a race merely out of party loyalty. Meanwhile, both leading Democrats in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, poll at least as much as Cox and Allen together. In the land of Top Two primaries, that almost guarantees an all-Democrat race even if one Republican drops out.

Over on the Senate side, only Democrats so far have mounted anything like credible early campaigns against Feinstein. There is as yet no public polling on this race, but no Republican figure with name recognition akin to what Kevin de Leon acquired during three years leading the state Senate has entered the race. Meanwhile, Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer, mulling a Senate run, can write himself a check for however much he wants or needs.

It’s true that largely self-funded candidates aside from muscleman movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger have not had much luck seeking California office. The defeated include former Northwest Airlines chief Al (Checkbook) Checchi, financier William Simon, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman and shipping heir William Matson Roth.

Unlike them, Steyer, with the large mailing list of his NextGen environmental organization readily at hand, would have no trouble raising significant money from others.

Put it all together, and it looks like many California Republicans will be mostly occupied in the next year staving off congressional challenges fueled by massive California hostility toward President Trump and anyone backing his agenda.

This should keep the races for top offices largely in the hands of Democrats, who could have major intra-party warfare.


Crime
contributed
Bookings
Bookings and Blotters

Police Hanford

Monday, Nov. 6

12:03 a.m. Vagrancy, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.

9:34 a.m. Vagrancy, 100 block of West Third Street.

11:03 a.m. Hit and run traffic accident, East Seventh/North Douty streets.

11:32 a.m. Petty theft, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.

12:44 p.m. DUI stop, 1000 block of East Ivy Street.

2:16 p.m. Petty theft, 700 block of West Grangeville Boulevard.

3:02 p.m. Petty theft, 1600 block of West Lacey Boulevard.

3:37 p.m. Stolen vehicle, West Grangeville Boulevard/13th Avenue.

5:42 p.m. Battery, 500 block of North 11th Avenue.

6:49 p.m. Burglary, 1800 block of Leoni Drive.

6:50 p.m. Burglary, 200 block  of West Second Street.

8:06 p.m. Stolen vehicle, 1600 block of West Lacey Boulevard.

8:16 p.m. Petty theft, 500 block of West Lacey Boulevard.

8:20 p.m. Stolen vehicle, 1600 block of West Lacey Boulevard.

Jail

Sunday, Nov. 5

Teshawna Nicole Kennedy, 31. Suspicion of criminal conspiracy, bringing a controlled substance into prison, possession of a controlled substance in prison, non-inmate selling a controlled substance to prisoner, possession of marijuana for sales and sales/furnish marijuana related offenses.

Jordan Scott McBride, 29. Suspicion of possession of a leaded cane/billy club, shoplifting, possession of paraphernalia for unlawful use and possession of a controlled substance related offenses. 

Monday, Nov. 6

Jamie Marie Hensley-Richardson, 34. Suspicion of criminal conspiracy, possession of drugs/alcohol in prison, officer asked/received bribe, CDC employee engaged in sexual activity with a prisoner and warrant related offenses.

Joshua Daniel Bennett, 33. Suspicion of robbery and warrant related offenses.

Michael Dwayne Gosvener, 23. Suspicion of DUI and warrant related offenses.

Jose Alfredo Aragon, 40. Suspicion of DUI-alcohol, DUI-drugs, being under the influence of a controlled substance and warrant related offenses.

Howard Raydean Brown, 32. Suspicion of possession of injection/smoking paraphernalia, possession of controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance and four warrant related offenses.


Opinion
contributed
Public meetings
Public meetings

MEETINGS 

MONDAY

Corcoran Planning Commission: Monday, 5:30 p.m., the Corcoran Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at the City Council Chambers, 1015 Chittenden Ave., Corcoran. 

Lemoore Planning Commission: Monday, 7 p.m., the Lemoore Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit www.lemoore.com

Hanford Parks & Recreation Commission: Monday, 5:30 p.m., the Hanford Parks & Recreation Commission, will hold its regular meeting in the Hanford Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com

KCAO Affirmative Action, Personnel and Board Development Committees: Monday, 4:30 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold a Personnel, Affirmative Action & Board Development Committee meeting at KCAO offices, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202. Visit www.kcao.org

TUESDAY

Kings County Board of Supervisors: Tuesday, 9 a.m., the Kings County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit www.countyofkings.com.  

Indian Education Committee: Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., the Indian Education Committee will meet at the Santa Rosa Rancheria Education Center. Tribal Council members and parents of Indian Children will be provided an opportunity to evaluate and discuss educational programs assisted with reviewing the State Test scores for your child’s district.

Lemoore Parks & Recreation: Tuesday, 7 p.m., the Lemoore Parks & Recreation holds a regular meeting in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit www.lemoore.com

Hanford Planning Commission: Tuesday, 7 p.m., the Hanford Planning Commission holds a regular meeting in the Hanford Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com

HJUHS District Board: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 6 p.m. open session, the Hanford Joint Union High School District, Board of Trustees will hold a regular meeting at the HJUHS district office, Hanford Joint Union High School, 823 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford. Visit www.hjuhsd.k12.ca.us

KRHS District Board: Tuesday, 5 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. open session, the Kings River-Hardwick School District will hold a regular meeting in the Board conference room, at Kings River-Hardwick School District, 10300 Excelsior Ave., Hanford, 582-0471. Visit: www.edline.net/pages/krhsd

Corcoran City Council meeting: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., the Corcoran City Council holds regular meetings in the City Council Chambers, 1015 Chittenden Ave., Corcoran. Visit http://bit.ly/2yDlQ6b for more information. 

CUSD Governing Board: Tuesday, 6 p.m. regular meeting, held by the Corcoran Unified School District Board of Trustees in the Board Room of the Administration Office, 1520 Patterson Ave., Corcoran. Call 992-8888 or visit www.corcoranunified.com/Governing-Board

FILL VACANCY

Corcoran Irrigation District to hold biennial election

Corcoran Irrigation District will hold its biennial election on Thursday, to fill two seats on its Board of Directors. The seats to be filled are for Division 2, and Division 5 of the District. The District is a landowner voter district. Directors must own land in the division they represent. Those interested in the election may contact the District at 992-5165 in order to obtain information regarding filing for the offices to be filled by the election.


Editorial: Ten days that shook a century: How the Russian Revolution still echoes
Editorial: Ten days that shook a century: How the Russian Revolution still echoes

A band of political radicals seized the reins of power in post-tsarist Russia a century ago this week, installing Vladimir Lenin as their first leader and setting in play some of the forces that made the 20th century the bloodiest in human history. It’s hard, in fact, to imagine just how different today’s world would be had Lenin and his comrades failed in their coup and had the Soviet Union never been established. ...

 Despite its inherent flaws as a political system, communism spread globally — with the help of Soviet agents in some places, through insurrections by emboldened Marxist true believers in others. Mongolia was first (aided by Russian troops) in 1921 but was followed over time by China, Vietnam, North Korea, Angola, Congo and Cuba, among others.

Throughout, communism enabled brutal totalitarians — Stalin’s reign of terror killed millions through forced collectivization of agriculture and ethnic cleansing programs, as well as the execution of perceived rivals, political heretics and resisters. The Cold War became a struggle by the Soviet Union to spread communism and by the West — led by the United States — to spread democratic capitalism around the world, each seeking dominance or at least hoping to block the advance of the other.

The rise of international communism also, perversely, influenced domestic policy here in the U.S. When the Great Depression eroded faith in capitalism, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned to quasi-socialistic policies such as Social Security, public jobs programs (the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps) and the Rural Electrification program that extended power to remote areas through local cooperatives using federal loans to hire the unemployed. If communism hadn’t been rivaling capitalism for political support, those New Deal programs might not have gained political traction.

How else do the Bolsheviks echo today? Through the communist regimes that remain (in various forms), from Cuba to Vietnam to China. And in Americans’ almost Pavlovian distrust of government-led communal action, left over from the Cold War. Never mind that such things as pooled-risk insurance, the national park system, interstate freeways and all manner of other government services we rely on are born of the recognition that shared risk and shared wealth can in many instances provide broad benefits for all without threatening individual liberty. But the Bolsheviks also echo through the anguished screams of the executed, the whimperings of the starving, the remembered betrayals of neighbors and relatives for the sake of the party. And they echo in the reminder that democracy lives and dies on the faith and willingness of the people to embrace and sustain it. As Hitler’s political rise in a democratic Germany taught us, even democracy is not safe from totalitarianism. So maybe the rise of the Bolsheviks echoes loudest in its warning of how precarious democracy can be.