Campaign Update:

August 14, 2008

A post by Sarah Shoenberger, Atkins-Clark Field and Volunteer Coordinator.

Hello! I have a couple of important items to announce!

Last night both George and Linda were enthusiastically endorsed by Democratic Central Committee!

Linda Atkins will be unveiling her plans to make Eureka City Streets safer, more walkable, and more bicycle friendly with a Transportation Policy Event and Discussion.

It’s on Saturday, August 23rd at the Clark-Atkins Headquarters, 322 F Street. George Clark will be on hand too, and we’re hoping Kyoko will bring her sushi as well!

In support of Linda’s efforts to make Eureka’s streets safer for all pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, we’re planning a community bike ride to the event! We’ll be meeting at the Teen Center on J and Harris at 12:15 and will be leaving at 12:30.

If you have any questions please feel to call me at the Atkins-Clark Headquarters (443-3777) or volunteer. See you soon and don’t forget to bring a helmet!


“Always Cheaper Politics!”

August 11, 2008

A Guest Post by Campaign Director Alec Johnson

Wal-Mart Targets the Democratic Party & Unions.

Those who fear that “partisanship” might intrude into local politics should be deeply concerned about this development: The largest corporation in the world. The largest retailer, the largest grocery story, the largest automotive store, etc. and so on, in these United States: Wal-Mart, aka China’s 6th largest trading partner, has determined that not only unions but the Democratic Party are bad for their business.

I’m not sure how this story got overlooked when it appeared in the Wall Street Journal, August 1st. “Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win,” it begins:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they’ll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies — including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don’t specifically tell attendees how to vote in November’s election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

“The meeting leader said, ‘I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won’t have a vote on whether you want a union,'” said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. “I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote,” she said.

It turns out that what has Wal-Mart going for the jugular is their fear that the next congress, along with President Barack Obama will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. This law supports what is often known as the “check card” method for establishing that workers want to exercise their right to have union representation. The “secret ballot” approach is vastly preferred by corporations, particularly those like Wal-Mart that are masters at intimidating workers throughout that far longer process.

It does seem ironic, however, that Wal-Mart would, of course, think nothing if any of their customers were to sign a card joining the Republican Party. It’s grossly unfair that workers should be held to a higher standard when they’re exercising their lawful right to organize.

What, you might ask, has any of this to do with us in Eureka? It turns out that the Chamber of Commerce is helping Wal-Mart in its crusade to preserve us from the perils of safe workplaces, good jobs and decent wages. Read on:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made defeat of the legislation a top priority. In the past six months, it has flown state and local Chamber members to Washington to lobby members of Congress. On Thursday, the Chamber began airing a television ad in Minnesota and plans to run ads in other states as part of a broader campaign.

Locally the Chamber of Commerce receives a government handout from Eureka’s Taxpayers of over $100,000 this year alone! How can an organization so extremely at odds with the majority of Eurekans receive such a generous subsidy?

There are 2750 licensed businesses operating in Eureka. That’s public information. Amazingly it appears to be something of a secret exactly how many of them are members of the Chamber. Clark campaign staff has asked the Chamber for this information several times after fruitless attempts to get the data from their curiously inscrutable website. They claim 650 members, many of which are not businesses, but if they all were, that would still be less than 25% of Eureka’s businesses.

This privileged minority enjoys a quasi-public status, and with their Tax dollars in hand thumb their noses at Eureka’s citizens by supporting Calpine and the Big Box on the Waterfront. While we can’t stop them, it appears, from assaulting our Democracy, I’d rather they not do it while still receiving public funds. A good start would be to come clean about how many businesses in Eureka are actually members of this organization.

Republicans running on off-shore oil drilling.

August 9, 2008

In an article in today’s New York Times Economist Paul Krugman wrote:

So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now!

The same people who brought us the Iraq war and the deplorable response to Katrina now have their plan to relieve energy prices by granting more favors to big oil companies.

Krugman goes on to point out:

Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid. . .Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. . .What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

Never mind that even the government’s own Energy Information Agency insists that it’ll take a decade before any oil might emerge. Leading energy banker Matthew Simmons, a Republican energy advisor to the Bush Administration says offshore drilling is a farce. Simmons points out that all the world’s oil rigs are in use. It overlooks the fact that oil discoveries have been declining for over 48 years. This is a well established trend. Here in the U.S. we only produce 3% of the oil we need. Even “big” discoveries from such a meager base would prove a drop in the bucket.

Here in Humboldt County we have much at stake if this reckless know-nothingism grabs hold. Imagine the impact oil spills would have on our aqua culture and fishing. In Eureka we have more to gain by learning how to use less oil, not destroying our environment to find a few drops more. George Clark knows this and has put forward plans to build our economy from the inside out, relying upon, rather than destroying the quality of life we value so much.