Author Archives: David Markland

Elton John: Gays should settle for civil partnerships

Elton John, who’s been in a civil partnership with another man since 2005, had some words about why Prop 8 passed:

“What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage.”

“I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” John says. “The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off.

“You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.” [from USA Today]

So, then if gay couples who enter a civil partnership aren’t married, how do we refer to them? Civil partnered?

Is this really a ridiculous, semantical debate about the ownership of the word “marriage”? Since when has bigotry been so petty?

What John’s quotes don’t reflect is the sentiment among the anti-gay marriage crowd is that being gay in itself is either immoral, unnatural, a choice, a disease, or a combination of all four. Perhaps John is totally aware of this, but is willing to settle for a “seperate but equal” legal definition over what is technically the same thing?

Gay marriage supporters boycotting classic L.A. Mexican restaurant

Pic by Amy Lemur used under Creative Commons

Pic by Amy Lemur used under Creative Commons

Some gay marriage supporters are calling for a boycott of El Coyote Cafe after learning that manager, and reportedly partial owner Marjorie Christoffersen donated $100 to Proposition 8 group ProtectMarriage.com.

Flickr user Jeff Johnson writes that he talked with Marjorie at El Coyote this evening and asked her about the situation. She told him, “I love you guys, I would never do anything to hurt you, I wish I hadn’t done it”.

According to Jeff, Marjorie is having an open breakfast at 11:00 AM on Wed, Nov 12 to speak to the community.

My friend James, who tipped me off to this, added:

The only thing that will get them out of this is a huge public apology and a shitload of money for Repeal Prop. 8.

I guess the message is: Don’t fuck with the gays. They’ll trash your hair, your clothes, your interiors…and then they’ll close down your restaurant!

My question is this: is it worth boycotting what has been known as a gay friendly restaurant over a donation made and view held by one person, affecting the paychecks of dozens of other employees? Is this an effective way to rally people to your side?

Fightin’ Mad Mary, and Micah at Shut up! I know!, have joined the boycott, and Eater LA has chimed in on the issue.

Early voters find the fun in four hour line

Note: I’ve been moving all of my local political writing from here at California Faultline directly to KNBC’s new site, NBC Los Angeles.

In spite of an anticipated 4 hour plus wait, voters outside of the L.A. County Registrar/Recorders Office on Sunday were surprisingly jovial. Many had come prepared with chairs, mp3 players, and books, but most seemed to be caught up in conversation struck up with fellow Angelenos they had only just met in line.

Early voting in Norwalk, CA

In a highly unofficial survey, I tried to find out who’d read the most while waiting in line, and was usually disappointed to hear people had only read a couple pages, or in the case of Marie from Bell, had “read the same page seven times.”

Early voting in Norwalk, CA

The winner was Edana Almanza (above), who’d read through over 200 pages of “Breaking Dawn,” one of the novels in the “Twilight” series. The mother of three came to Norwalk with her husband Matt because she couldn’t find a babysitter for Tuesday.

While most voters were aware that their employers were required to give paid time off to vote, none seemed aware of the express ballot option that would have allowed them to simply call in and reserve a ballot, thus saving them hours in line (if only they’d read NBC Los Angeles more often).

Early voting in Norwalk, CA

Actor Eric ### rolled up and asked for suggestions where to park, but considered coming back Monday after hearing of the long wait in line.

Early voting in Norwalk, CA

This motley crew of new friends were among 10 people who’d sent another man out on a McDonalds run.

Early voting in Norwalk, CA

Possibly the most depressing sight all day: “Waiting Period from This Point Is 3 Hours” greets voters into the tent after standing in line for over 2 hours, although staff members said most people would finish much quicker. Once inside, voters waited for their number to be called. When “666” was announced, the entire tent erupted with applause.

Poll: Gay marriage ban, parental notification proposition losing

Poll results released by the Public Policy Institute of California indicate low confidence in economy and direction of the state.

A survey taken this month by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California indicates close races for key state propositions but strong dissatisfaction of government and little faith in the economy.

Poll results show 46% of likely California voters support Proposition 4 calling for parental notification before a minor could have an abortion. A measure that would allow redistricting of state office lines, Proposition 11, shows support of 41%. Perhaps the most volatile of state measures, Proposition 8, appears likely for defeat with 46% supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The Institute based its results on the polling of 2,004 English and Spanish speaking Californian residents between October 12th and 19th, and has a +-2% margin of error.

Additional results:

  • 56% of likely voters will cast ballots for the Obama-Biden ticket,  with only 33% going for McCain-Palin, a 23 point deficit.
  • 71% believe California is heading in the wrong direction.
  • 74% forsee California’s economy having “bad times” over the next 12 months.
  • 79% believe California is in a recession (and 39% would call the recession “serious”)
  • 47% responded that they don’t believe the Federal government’s actions to fix the financial crisis have helped.

[h/t Policy Report]

Is a Right Wing talk show trying to suppress Democratic votes?

A Bakersfield talk radio host who previously made news after posting images on his website that read “Obama ’08 Hope, Change, Dead Honkys” is now being asked by Kern County elections officials to stop lying to the public when to vote:

County elections got more than 15 calls after Jaz McKay reportedly recycled the old voter suppression tactic of announcing that turnout is expected to be so high that Republicans are being urged to vote Nov. 4 and Democrats Nov. 5. [Bakersfield Californian]

Last May Jaz McKay came under fire for posting bogus slogans on the KNZR 1560 AM web site that appeared to be from the Obama campaign, including one reading “Kill Whitey!”

A peek at early voting in L.A. with Kirsten Dunst

Jacob Soboroff from Why Tuesday? went with actress Kirsten Dunst to the Los Angeles County Registrars office, video camera in hand, and cast their ballots two weeks before election day.

As you can see from the video, the Registars office is already crazy busy with citizens eager to vote early. Is this an early sign that the polls will be jammed on election, that Los Angeles desperately needs more than one early voting location, or both?

The Why Tuesday? Foundation seeks solutions to increase voter participation by creating dialogue about  election systems currently in place and changes that could be made, in part by asking why we vote on Tuesday instead of, say, over the weekend. Read more about them here.

Speaking of, the LA County Registrar’s office is now open 7 days per week through election day, so you can vote over the weekend. And this Saturday, the California Obama staff will be holding an “early vote rally” at the Registrar’s office from 9am – 4pm. More info on the Facebook event page.

Myth: Gay marriage in California created by activist liberal judges

gay marriage california getty justin sullivanLast May, when California judges overturned a state law banning gay marriage, countless right wingers blamed the move on judges “ruling from the bench.” But what the anti-gay marriage crowd failed to point was that the judge who wrote the ruling, along with many who agreed, were Republican appointees.

Josh Richman at the Political Blotter writes that the term “activist judge” is “what a lawsuit’s losers call judges who ruled against them.”

The details:

For the record, the California Supreme Court’s opinion was written by Chief Justice Ronald George, an appointee of Republican Gov. Pete Wilson; he was joined by justices Joyce Kennard (appointed by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian), Kathryn Werdegar (Wilson, again) and Carlos Moreno (Democratic Gov. Gray Davis). And in the Massachusetts case, the trial judge was a Reagan appointee while one of the appellate judges was a George H.W. Bush appointee, one a Clinton appointee and one a George W. Bush appointee; their ruling was unanimous, and the U.S. Supreme Court this month refused to review it.

Activists one and all? Hardly. They’re jurists interpreting and state and federal laws and constitutions, as their job descriptions entail.

photo credit: Getty/Justin Sullivan

Comic strip “Mutts” barks in on Prop 2

mutts patrick mcdonnell prop 2Nationally syndicated comic strip “Mutts” has dedicated this week’s theme to animal cruelty in a nod to artist Patrick McDonnell’s support for California’s Proposition 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals.

In an interview with Huffington Post, McDonnell explains the roots behind his involvement:

In MUTTS I try to see the world through the eyes of animals. This has made me more conscious of how tough many of them have it on this planet. In 2000 I was asked to join the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States, and became even more aware and involved. I felt that my strip could address (hopefully, for the most part, in an entertaining way) some of these issues and help give the animals a voice.

Prop 2 asks voters, “Shall certain farm animals be allowed, for the majority of every day, to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around?” Animals affected would be “pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens.”

Most of the discussion has centered on egg production, and opponents argue the bill would put increase costs that would put local farmers out of production, forcing consumers to purchase potentially unsafe eggs from Mexico and elsewhere.

Prop 8 backers looking forward to high pro-Obama turnout.

California Prop 8 backers look forward to large pro-Obama turnoutPresidential candidate Barack Obama has expressed his opposition to Proposition 8, California’s proposed ban on gay marriage. But the people behind proposition are counting on Obama supporters to seal win for Prop 8… what gives?

Farhad Manjoo at Slate explains:

The Democrat is expected to bring a surge of black and Latino voters to the polls on Election Day. This spells trouble for gay marriage; in some surveys, minority voters have expressed much greater support for banning same-sex marriage than have whites. Chip White, a spokesman for the pro-Proposition 8 campaign, stopped short of saying that Obama’s presence on the ballot will help the measure. But he did point out that the campaign plans a big push in minority communities, especially through churches and other religious networks. “Traditional marriage initiatives have historically been supported by African-Americans,” he says. “We think this one will be no different.”

While this indicates some gloom for gay marriage proponents, some campaign finance details may indicate otherwise.

Stats released by the Nielsen Company showed that the “Young Digerati” segment of the US population were the largest donors to the Obama campaign, with over 80% of their support going to the Democrat. This segment, described as “comprised of affluent, highly educated, ethnically mixed and tech-savvy residents of fashionable urban fringe neighborhoods,” likely consists of employees for companies such as Apple and Microsoft who, at least in California, appear to overwhelmingly favor voting no on Proposition 8. As mentioned last week, $32,322 was raised to oppose Prop 8 between the folks at Mac and PC, while other employees at those companies only gave $6,695 in support of the proposition.

GOP voter registration fraud and ACORN alive and well in California

california voter registration formThe head of a voter registration firm used by the GOP was arrested this weekend following accusations that the firm of tricked thousands of California voters to switch to the Republican party.

Mark Jacoby of the Young Political Majors, or YPM, was charged with voter fraud by registering to vote in 2006 and 2007 in Los Angeles, where he was not a resident, allegedly to meet requirements to gather signatures.

Also of note, as mentioned last week on California Faultline, in 2006 another GOP backed voter registration drive was also accused of fraud.

ACORN’s California registration efforts focused in San Diego

The more infamous voter registration group, ACORN, has also been busy in Southern California.

Of the 39,600 voters ACORN has registered in California, 24,644 have been in San Diego. The embattled group’s state spokesman, Amy Schur, told the San Diego Union Tribune that the focus was there because, “We saw a high percentage of people who were eligible to vote.”

The Union Tribune reports that 17.6 percent of registrations ACORN turned in to local elections offices “were red-flagged for incomplete or invalid information, such as missing signatures or birthdays,” although after review only 7% were considered invalid.

The most alarming figure was that out of 200 local short term employees ACORN hired and trained for their voter registration drive, 75 were fired after it was discovered they had submitted inaccurate registration cards.

Neither the FBI or the Secretary of State’s office would offer comment to the Union Tribune if they were investigating ACORN in San Diego.

The good news for California’s voting integrity

While voter registration drives in California appear to be ripe for bi-partisan fraud, Reuters reports that even with our ink and paper ballots, our voting system may be the best in the nation:

California is deemed the best prepared of the 50 U.S. states for election system problems this year, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and voting watchdog groups.

photo by Andy Sternberg, used under a Creative Commons license…