Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Caring, Civility, Courtesy, Foresight, Tolerance, and Humor: The humane values immigrant parents and grandparents gave the elected California leadership

Going into 2019, the United State of California has cut itself free from the political polarization of our country.

This will allow Californians to radiate the following values across the American public arena: caring, civility, courtesy, foresight, tolerance, and humor!

Elections in California during this decade have created what could be the 21st Century leadership role for California in restoring orderly efficacy to the American public arena. Consider the following table:


Caring, Civility, Courtesy, Foresight, Tolerance, and Humor

Two of the best known California Governors were Republicans - Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Earl Warren and President Ronald Reagan.

Nonetheless, at the beginning of 2018 across the United States almost no one knew that a Republican appointee held one of our state's highest offices, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

As indicated in the table above, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's Hawaii-born father was of Filipino and Portuguese ancestry Her mother was of Filipino ancestry. Her father worked as a sugar and pineapple plantation worker when growing up, her mother sorted tomatoes and picked figs in California’s Central Valley. After WWII, he worked as an instrument repairman at McClellan Air Force Base and she worked as an executive secretary for the state Department of Corrections. Justice Cantil-Sakauye has two daughters with her husband retired Sacramento Police Lt. Mark Sakauye whose parents of Japanese ancestry were interned during World War II.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has impeccable Republican credentials. A U.C. Davis Law School graduate, in 1988 after working in the the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office for four years Cantil-Sakauye become Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary, then Deputy Legislative Secretary, to Republican Governor George Deukmejian. In 1990, Deukmejian appointed her as a Judge of the Sacramento Municipal Court. In 1997, Republican Governor Pete Wilson appointed her as a Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court. In 2005 Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her as an Associate Justice of the California Third District Court of Appeal. On July 21, 2010, Schwarzenegger nominated her (and the voters subsequently approved her) to succeed retiring Chief Justice Ronald M. George on the California Supreme Court.

"I was struck by the fact that she has a tremendous ability to get along with people and build consensus," George said at the time of her nomination. "And at the same, while being a diplomatic and pleasant person, she has a backbone of steel — she is a strong woman with a strong commitment to the administration of justice."

Consistent with that evaluation, a news story that appeared last week Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Kavanaugh shouldn't come as a surprise :

    California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quietly given up her Republican registration and re-registered as a no-party-preference voter, saying Thursday she had become increasingly uncomfortable with the GOP’s direction nationally and in the state.
    In a phone interview with CALmatters, Cantil-Sakauye—who was a prosecutor before becoming a judge 28 years ago and California Supreme Court chief justice in 2011—said she made the final decision to change her registration after watching the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
    “You can draw your own conclusions,” she said.
    She answered the question about her party registration Thursday after appearing on a National Judicial College-hosted panel at the National Press Club with judges and justices who discussed attacks on the judiciary.
    Cantil-Sakauye last year sent a pointed letter to then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly urging that federal law enforcement cease the practice of “stalking undocumented immigrants” to arrest them in courthouses. She warned that it would prompt immigrants to stop reporting crimes.
    “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair,” she wrote.
    Kelly and Sessions dismissed her request, telling her to address her concerns to Gov. Jerry Brown and that California “sanctuary” policies “threaten public safety, rather than enhance it.”
    Until recently, the court had been divided, with four justices appointed by Republican governors and three by Democratic Gov. Brown. Brown’s fourth appointee, Joshua Groban, is expected to be confirmed at a hearing next week.
    Decisions during Cantil-Sakauye’s tenure as chief justice, however, have generally conveyed cohesion, with the court regularly issuing decisions that are unanimous or near-unanimous.

A another article published last week California Today: ‘Why Is California Not Polarized?’ Ask the State’s Chief Justice noted:

    [Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye] praised the state Supreme Court’s consensus-based approach and said she doubted that the court would be much different with a majority of Democratic-appointed justices.
    “I think all of us value the fact that there can be no resolution without courtesy and civility and humor,” she said.
    In her remarks, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, 59, spoke about a new generation of judges who embodied what she described as California values — judges who cared about homelessness, climate change and “what are we going to do about guns.”
    She defined the California ethos as “underdog centric” and criticized the federal immigration authorities for making arrests in courthouses.
    “People ask this question all the time, ‘Why is California not polarized?’ We are divided as a nation but not so much as a state,” Dr. David A. Carrillo, executive director of the California Constitution Center at Berkeley Law [and and life member of the La Raza Lawyers Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association], said. “I think it’s particularly telling that we have a state high court that reflects that consensus.”

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's heritage reflects the rich ethnic history of California which, as you can see from the table above, is also reflected in the other 12 statewide offices listed in the table. As you can see, Californians elected two rich white guys to be in leadership roles beginning in 2019 including Governor-elect Gavin Newsom and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

A divorced and remarried rich white guy and former Mayor of San Francisco, Newsom was a prominent early advocate for same sex marriage, euthanasia, universal healthcare, the legalization of cannabis, and the end of the death penalty and was elected Governor receiving 61.9% of the vote against a Republican opponent.

But it is the other rich white guy Californian who will be the curiosity in 2019 as he is the only person listed in that table who is a Republican after Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye ended her affiliation.

California Leadership of U.S. House of Representatives

Can the California political values of caring, civility, courtesy, foresight, tolerance, and humor be effectively inserted into national politics? In 2019 Californians will provide the leadership in the House of Representatives.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who since 1987 has served as U.S. Representative for California's 12th congressional district  consisting of four-fifths of San Francisco, will return to the position of Speaker of the House.

But what is surprising is that Republican Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Representative for California's 23rd mostly rural congressional district since 2007, will become House Minority Leader in 2019.

McCarthy is the first Republican in his immediate family, as his parents were members of the Democratic Party. On June 15, 2016, McCarthy told a group of Republicans, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God." In 2003, while minority leader in the state assembly, McCarthy "support[ed] most abortion rights, but oppose[d] spending tax dollars on abortions." By 2015, however, McCarthy was a "staunch anti-abortion-rights advocate." But....

In the past two years, he has strongly fought for Trump's policies on tax reform, health care, and immigration. McCarthy worked to assure support from his fellow California Republican Representatives. McCarthy now has to face reality regarding these policies and the Republic losses in the House.

Forty Republican House seats were "flipped" in the 2018 election, seven of 14 in California. Of California's 53 House seats, beginning in 2019only seven will be Republican. And Trump's policies are the problem.

Only 36 percent of likely California voters approved of the Republican tax law, about the same losing number that voted Republican. In defeated Republican Representative Mimi Walters’s affluent previously solid Republican Orange County district surrounding Irvine, 46 percent of residents used the state and local tax deduction eliminated in the Trump tax reform. That increased taxes for those residents. Many, many of those residents are lower level corporate executives who fully understand that their corporations received huge tax breaks, and they know that the money was used for purposes that did not significantly benefit employees.

But it has increased the deficit "hugely."

“We went out and borrowed money and used that to cut everyone a check, and much of that was spent,” Mark Zandi, the chief economist with Moody’s Analytics, recently noted summarizing the impact on the economy. That's the tax reform issue.

Regarding the health care issue, the recent Texas federal court ruling ending the Affordable Care Act represents a potential death knell for Republicans in 2020. The judge ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, finding that the law cannot stand now that Congress has rolled back the mandate that everyone carry health insurance or pay a fine.

In a previous ruling on a suit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court specifically upheld the Act as a tax referencing the individual mandate which levy's a penalty for non-compliance. This new lawsuit filed by the 20 Republican dominated states indicated in the map to the right, supported by the Trump Administration, argued that since Congress now has eliminated the penalty associated with the mandate then in the context of the Supreme Court ruling the Act is no longer a tax and thus unconstitutional. The judge agreed.

The ruling was stayed and will be appealed. The case likely will be heard by the Supreme Court just in time for the 2020 elections. The fact is the Affordable Care Act, particularly the individual mandate that makes it possible to cover preexisting conditions, is very popular. That explain why so many Republican candidates claimed to support those protections while campaigning in the 2018 midterms, despite the lawsuit filed by Republican-controlled states.

This is not good for Republicans, but the fact that the Democrats took control of the House will alter the political dynamics. "This ruling would have been terrible for Republicans if they still controlled the House, but because they don't, they have the opportunity to sit back and focus on message and really this has the potential to give Republicans second life on this issue," GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said. And that's the health care issue.

And then there is the immigration issue. McCarthy needs to look at that table above, particularly the column on the right. It's hard to not notice that all the the official leadership of California's government have parents and/or grandparents who are immigrants. (Except for the other rich white guy on the list whose immigrant ancestors are more than three generations earlier like McCarthy's.)

And he might notice that Speaker of the House Nancy Peolosi's mother and paternal grandparents were Italian immigrants.

Exactly how is McCarthy going to work with these folks who reflect California's rich ethnic makeup and how is he going to try to get some Republican House seats back in California in that context?

And that's immigration issue for McCarthy.

To be relevant in California, at some point the Republican Party leaders like McCarthy must stop catering to Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Mississippi, the least populous among the 11 ex-Confederate states, the only state in the South with a majority of residents still residing outside urban areas, and a state having just 2.9 percent of residents who are Hispanic.

In 2012 Mississippi passed a law calling for police to check the immigration status of people they arrest and in 2017 passed a law prohibiting cities, counties, community colleges and universities from adopting sanctuary policies. And this reflects the policy position of Trump's Republican Party.

Read again above what then Republican California Supreme Court Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye wrote to Trump's recently fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump's recently fired Chief of Staff John Kelly. And note as she explained giving up her affiliation with the Republican Party that regarding partisanship she said: “I think all of us value the fact that there can be no resolution without courtesy and civility and humor.”

Whether McCarthy can thread his way through Trump's Old South white bigotry to find a way to create Republican appeal in his own state in which 9 of the 11 state leaders approved by the voters statewide have immigrant parents remains to be seen. The challenge is significant. The fact is in California ⅔rds of the votes cast for House candidates were cast for Democrats.

It would help him if he would work with Pelosi to bring into Congressional policy-making process the California political values of caring, civility, courtesy, foresight, tolerance, and humor.

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